Saturday, 18 December 2010

Reversals Of Fortune And Of Good Intentions - Largely Ed Miliband's Fault.

Ouch, my head hurts. Why the hell do I drink? And what the hell sort of festive celebration was that? The whole thing was such a bad joke that I don't know where to start.

So much for Greg's and my plan not to get drunk, and to go back to work after the Christmas meal. We seem to have accidentally reversed our intentions, ending up as drunk as lords and not actually returning to the office at all - or not when it was open, anyway.

We were both doing quite well for the first hour - drinking fizzy water and managing to stay neutral on the Human Rights Act. I think we even succeeded in distracting the Party staff from the fact that The Boss was only interested in talking to Vicky.

It was only when everyone else started arguing about Ed Miliband that we gave up and started on the wine. It seemed safer than voicing an opinion on that particular issue.

Things got very heated once someone mentioned the lack of a policy agenda, and the argument about community safety went on for ages, so Greg and I probably did get through rather a lot of wine. Even so, I didn't think I'd drunk that much until I went to the loo, and couldn't seem to work out how to get the cubicle door open again.

Then I panicked a bit, and got all hot and bothered. By the time I realised I was turning the handle in the wrong direction, everything was spinning and a voice in my head was saying, "Get home - now."

Things became a bit blurry after that, but I have a horrible feeling that, when I came out of the loo, I took my coat off the coat-rack and staggered out of the restaurant without saying goodbye to anyone. Then I started walking along the pavement at a very bizarre angle.  I think I may have been relying on leaning in the direction I wanted to go to give me some forward momentum.

I don't know whether being bent double was the problem, but my limbs didn't seem to be working properly, so I decided I'd better phone Max and get him to come and pick me up. That's when everything got really messy.

"Need you to fetch me. Please. Now. Sorry," I said. "Can't walk, no taxis at the rank. Sorry, sorry, sorry."

I may have done some hiccuping as an added bonus.

"Um," said Max.

"Please," I said. "Can't seem to stand up properly. Ed Miliband-induced red wine."

"I haven't got the car."

In retrospect, the clue was in how hesitant Max sounded when he said that, but red wine makes idiots of us all. Or of me, anyway.

"Huh? I haven't got it. Or at least, I don't think I have," I said. "Oh, God, have I lost the car somewhere?"

"No, you haven't."

Max sounded very uncomfortable by now, and did a lot of throat clearing before he explained:

"I lent it to Ellen for the weekend again."

I can't remember much about what happened next, but I know I somehow ended up back in the office, lying on the sofa in the Oprah Room and waiting for a taxi to turn up. Honestly, as if the MP's office isn't the bloody last place you'd ever want to picked up from when you're as pissed as a parrot. I can't bear to read today's local paper in case there are photos of me in it. I bet the driver had a camera phone.

So I'm spending today hiding out in bed, while Max is over-compensating by bringing me endless cups of tea and offering me food that I can't face eating.

"Is there anything else you need?" he says.

"Yes," I say. "I want the car back. With the number of times we end up taking Josh to A&E at night, I'm not happy being without it."

Max agrees that this is sensible, and tries to persuade Ellen to cut her trip short. He's not exactly assertive about it, though - as she still isn't going to return the car until tomorrow morning.

"Hmm, well - you'd better hope that Josh stays out of harm's way this evening, then," I say. "Especially given the temptation to snowboard through Northwick."

I'd normally have more to say on the subject than that, but a) I'm feeling far too fragile and b) it turns out that I've got other things to worry about.

When I check my mobile, I see that I sent Johnny a drunken text last night. Presumably from the Oprah Room after I found out about the car.

It says, "Sod this. Yes to meeting. Lara. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx"

I don't know if I intended to send all those kisses, or if I'd just lost control of my fingers. As well as everything else.

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