Popping magnums of champagne, sipping cocktails on sunloungers and enjoying pints after endless rounds of golf, just a sweeping look at the cards on display in your local newsagent will confirm one thing: retirement is a time for winding down and drinking up.
We know too well in this country about the problem of 'drink'. Statistics linking the abuse of alcohol and human misery are stark. The relationship between alcohol and health, crime, cancer, child welfare, mental health and suicide is clear. There is not an Irish town or village that has not seen what happens when a family member abuses alcohol.
Diageo are keen to promote their swish Guinness Plus app, which can be downloaded conveniently onto a smartphone. When boozers first use the app, they can claim a free pint of stout at a local pub. There is another free pint provided on the user's birthday and the brewer promises "extraordinary prizes". Drinkers are urged to keep checking their phone for regular rewards.
Let me tell you all about my long and complicated relationship with alcohol. Actually, it's not that complicated: we met, we became tempestuous lovers, and now we keep breaking up and getting back together. Me and white wine? We're the Liz Taylor and Richard Burton of the booze world. Sometimes I cheat on it with a beer, or a Baileys (Baileys! What am I? Eighteen?), but I always come back to it: a nice, chilled glass of Chablis with a couple of cubes of ice in it. The ice is crucial - somebody told me it waters the wine down but actually I suspect it just makes it even more pleasant so I end up drinking it faster.
Tick tock, tick tock, that's the sound of wine o'clock. For many women like me, in their 30s, our poison of choice is wine - so civilised and lovely, such a necessary complement to a delicious meal, the sophisticate's drink of choice. Wine is all that, and of course it's an instantaneous de-stressor. Bad day at the office? A glass of wine is always the solution. Friday night wind-down on the couch with Netflix? Time to crack open a bottle of cabernet sauvignon.
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