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Colette Fitzpatrick: My pal had not drunk wine at all... she'd had a bottle of crazy followed by a bottle of psycho

New Year. New You. Drinkaware.ie has created a Personal Online Drinks Diary to allow you to add up the drinks you consume in a week and compare your drinking with the recommended limits.

"Thank God," a friend confided. "I can't take any more drunken blowouts with my beloved, especially the wine induced ones."

(S)Wine flu she called it. The (s)wine was bad for her and anyone who came near her.

What is it about the grape, of all inebriants, that alters respectable, upstanding members of the community into imbecilic, emotional fools; that makes the legs of heretofore co-ordinated individuals so unsteady they look like newborn calves.

The night of the worst row my pal had with her husband started out auspiciously. Stage one: They were enjoying a lovely bottle of wine in a restaurant. She was admiring his intelligence and thinking 'he's so smart but never makes me feel stupid'.

Stage two: The second bottle of wine was open and she was admiring his eyes and upper body. 'Can't wait to go home,' she thought, adjusting her wine goggles. After this next one.

Stage three: Bottle three, and it dawned on her that she wasn't getting enough credit for what she brought to the relationship. She reminded him that while working, she still ended up doing most of the housework, remembered birthdays and cooked without getting Bolognese sauce in the cutlery drawer.

Stage four: In a bar and on bottle four, it was clear, she concluded, that he was dismissing her. By stage five and bottle five, he was telling her she'd had enough.

"I'm not an alcoholic," she pronounced. What spewed out of her mouth next was not unlike the famous scene in The Exorcist. The row was now not about feeling unappreciated but featured a distorted version of a previous row, his family, her family, threats of jacking the whole thing in and even a sloppy pass. She hadn't drunk wine at all. She'd had a bottle of crazy followed by a couple bottles of psycho.

The following morning my pal found bruises in odd places like her hips, a sick stomach and an even sicker conscience. (Party related injuries, she called them).

The only upside was that her row was cheaper than if she'd had it before the Budget. The drop in excise duty means a bottle of vino collapso and the hurtful things she said that couldn't be taken back, cost 60 cent less.

- Note. It is a common journalistic device to use the word 'friend' to describe personal situations, so as to avoid embarrassing oneself. This technique was most definitely, absolutely not used here.

I'm a bloodhound at the sales -- but sniff out duds

Knee pads, shin pads, easy on/off clothing and a wad of cash. But the rucksack-style handbag to keep two hands free to rifle through the rails, is my real declara-tion of intent when it comes to the sales.

I have form in the sales and can sniff out a bargain like a bloodhound. But I have a Swiss cheese memory when it comes to remembering parting with legal tender for duds. Note to self: The excess ballast you lose in your annual wardrobe detox comprises of mostly sales items.

There were the far too vertiginous 'car to bar shoes', worn only once. A dress that was more or less a full box office viewing, with lace panels included in the extras. That silly bint in the boutique. "It really suits your shape," she smiled. Wide-eyed. Should have brought the sartorial big guns with me: my sister and best pal. They would have also copped that the leather dress I procured was not even 'nearly leather'. More 'pleather'. Like Utterly Butterly or the Continuity IRA, it was not the genuine article.

A top that was 70pc off picked up ar nos na gaoithe when my brain momentarily short circuited, has the distinct sound of a barrel being scraped coming from it.

"No, I did not win the bet," I informed a colleague on its first outing. A bargain alert website sent me to that particular Aladdin's Cave. I should never have trusted a blogger with the alias Alexis the Bitch.

I was once cut out of a pair of leather trousers in Karen Millen. Faulty zip. Seriously. Faulty zip.

But sales are when you roll the dice. If your idea of risk-taking is jumping the queue in Superquinn, taking a 70pc off risk on some threads makes looking before you leap seem stick in the mud.

And you get a sneak preview of the spring/ summer collection. Can't make up you mind? Buy it and bring it back, if it doesn't look right.

Boomerang shopping. It's the new black.

And God created woman

It was Women’s Little Christmas this week and all the chores were meant to be done by the man. I was supposed to carouse on the tiles with mna na hEireann and buy a present for my own mum to celebrate Nollaig na mBan. “Why isn’t there a men’s Christmas?” mused a colleague. “It’s antimen.” Anti-men? Reminds me of a pal’s musings on the less fair sex. When God created Adam, he thought: “I’ll have to do better than that…”