So, where can I get a decent (booze-free) drink around here?
If anyone is kind enough to invite me to a party at this time of the year, the first thing I do is make for the drinks trolley to see what's on offer. And nine times out of ten, I'm disappointed. There's so little to drink, for the likes of me.
In December, I attended a reception in London's high-toned Belgravia, and was duly offered a choice of wines. "Don't you have anything non-alcoholic?" The Spanish staff looked at me as if I had asked for a line of cocaine. Eventually, someone said it might be possible to go downstairs to the kitchen and procure a glass of water.
Mindful of the fact that in some parts of the world clean tap water is a luxury, I didn't disdain the offer, nor complain any further. I'm accustomed to the idea that for all the caterwauling and complaints about people boozing too much at Christmas - and other times of the year - too few hosts and hostesses bother to provide decent alternatives to alcoholic liquor.