News Opinion

Sunday 23 October 2016

Working it out: If you want to party, stay the night

John Masterson

Published 20/07/2015 | 02:30

Good chat: Declan Sinnott
Good chat: Declan Sinnott

I was in party mood this last weekend. Events conspired to ensure that I moved from one set of good company to another, and parties being parties, alcohol was somewhere in the mix. Living where I do, driving is also part of the mix, and life is much better for all if never the twain meet. There is no greater killjoy than trying to estimate how much you have had and whether you are under the limit. It is a mug's game.

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Friday night I think of as my night off. So I knew a night of fizzy water was unlikely to be possible. I drove to my friend's house and had decided that if I did not stick to zero drinks I could prevail on one of the other guests who does not drink to return me to my bed. Tee totallers are a very valuable species of human in rural Ireland. I would return on my bicycle the following day to retrieve my car.

When you drive to someone's house you do not get an accurate impression of just how many hills you traverse and how steep they are. The following morning, I had ample time to ponder this as I struggled to my destination, put the bike in the boot, and returned home a shattered man.

Recently I had the opportunity of a good chat with Declan Sinnott, mostly about his superb new album Window on the World. Nestling in the middle of it is a song I liked called Sleep out on the Beach, and he played it for me. I remarked that every one of the last 10 summers I had said I must sleep in a tent. I had done so back in television-making days when I spent a month in Tonga and another in Fiji and just loved waking up under the stars, and admittedly, the sun. In chatting with Declan, I decided that this was the year and promptly forgot all about my intentions. Until Saturday morning, half way up a very long steep hill on that infernal bicycle.

Saturday night promised to be a pleasant evening with good friends and food of similar quality. These people also lived higher above sea level than I do and I was not going to repeat the get-a-lift-and-cycle routine.

I arrived in good time with my tent, and was the centre of attention, which is not always a bad thing. I blew up my airbed and even got some help from people who had not done any physical activity for too many years.

Designated drivers were sorted out and I could not care less. After midnight I slipped off to my temporary home. Fearful of waking up in the outdoors, and thinking I had died, I had drunk sparingly, but not sparingly enough to drive.

I awoke to cattle mooing and the sun shining at about eight thirty, after a wonderfully restful night's sleep. I dismantled my tent and put it in the car, all without making much noise or waking the household.

I drove the few miles home and sat in the sun with a cup of coffee feeling law-abiding, virtuous, intelligent and well-refreshed. Try it.

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