Saturday morning, and across Manchester men are jumping from their beds, rubbing their sleepy little faces, and crying, "Is it time? Is it really time?"
Bless, them, with their tousled hair and hopeful expressions; yes, it really IS time, little ones, for the annual Manchester Whisky Festival. I did not myself attend the event, as I would honestly rather swill with a glass of TCP than spend the day tasting whisky, but here is a brief itinary of the day as it unfolded:
1. First boy (apart from the one already in residence) arrives on doorstep at 11.30. Dangerously excited look in eyes. Gives me perfunctory kiss on cheek (seems distracted) and hands me some wine, "for later". Admire boy's optimism.
2. Drive boys to friend's house to collect next boy. Friend has thoughtfully prepared carbohydrate and protein fest to line stomachs - egg and bacon butties. All boys eat at least two each.
3. Friend drives boys to Whisky Festival at Dukes 92 in Castlefield. I spend a serene afternoon shopping and doing The Times crossword.
4. Boys arrive back, still wildly over-excited, and talking very loudly and slowly in feeble bid to prove not drunk. Charade exposed when each admits to tasting 15 whiskies. That they remember.
5. Each boy becomes tired and naughty and is put to bed for an hour. I end up sitting downstairs, showered and Jo Malone'd, wearing ace new dress, drinking the first boy's wine, and watching Strictly alone. Please insert your own comments about Ann Widdecombe here.
6. Normal service finally resumed with arrival of classy, sober friends, who make appropriately admiring comments about new dress, and reappearance of now-pleasant boys. Dinner eaten at The Third Eye in Didsbury, and much enjoyed by all.
7. Husband starts counting down days to next Whisky Festival, and goes to bed to dream sweet visions of enormous dancing whisky glasses.*
* Or he would, if his wife had permitted.