Curry and Lager-for Simon

DUE to the amount of medication I am taking at the moment for a variety of ailments, I feel permanently drunk. My head spins, I'm a little bit high, I feel a teeny bit sick. I'm probably talking a lot of nonsense most of the time but I guess my friends would say "what's new?"
I daren't actually have an alcoholic drink- all my meds tell me to avoid alcohol and that many red notices on the boxes can't be wrong.
I don't really miss it. On the whole I don't drink a lot. It's just that when I do, I drink too much.
I am basically a teenager when it come to booze.  I don't like the taste of most wines or beers so I tend to go for spirits disguised in fruit juice or fizzy drinks, or the kind of wild coloured alcopops favoured by 14 year olds at bus stops. In Cyprus I was delighted to discover Baileys Frappes - alcoholic milkshakes! Marvellous!
Mmmm. Baileys Frappe.
Of course when I actually was a teenager they hadn't invented alcopops. My drink of choice - which at the age of 16/17 I thought was very sophisticated - was a babycham or sweet martini and lemonade.
I once spent most of a family Christmas Eve party hidden upstairs by my cousins who thought it amusing to load me up with snowballs, assuring me first that there was no alcohol in them.
So, bit of a lightweight then.
Then at 18, back in the 80's, I moved to Cardiff to study journalism. I should have known what I was letting myself in for when before I had even unpacked a single thing in my room at the halls at Cyncoed the other girls in my hallway (also trainee journalists) had suggested a pub crawl.
I went off to live in
And so began a delightful year of drinking and curry eating. Oh, and some study occasionally
Now,  about the curry-eating part of my year. I am a bit of a fussy eater. Pause while my friends laugh hysterically. Ok that may have been understatement of the year. I am not just a fussy eater - I am the dinner party guest from hell. I don't like cheese, tomatoes, spicy food, food that's mushed together (casseroles, soups, stew etc). Not mad about fruit and won't even eat a sandwich unless I have made it myself or closely supervised its creation. Ok, I have issues.
So imagine my dilemma on my first night at Cyncoed after well and truly trying out the range of alcoholic beverages available when my new hack friends naturally suggested rounding off a boozy night in that age-old traditional fashion - with a ruby. I didn't know what to do. I had never eaten Indian food - I was that person who orders chicken and chips in The Taj Mahal restaurant! I didn't even know what to order. But I didn't want to miss out on all the fun with my new friends.
I had a brainwave (impressive if you could have seen how drunk I was). I would call my mum and ask her advice on what to order! This was before mobile phones so at 1am on a Tuesday night I queued to use the payphone at the bar and did just that.
Bless her, my mum accepted the reverse charge call from her totally ratted daughter without ranting and calmly suggested a couple of Indian dishes I might like. She was right - I did like them and I have been eating the very same dishes ever since.
By the end of the first year in Cardiff I was not only knocking the booze back like the professional journalist I was to become, I was even entering drinking competitions.
Simon Carter
(pictured c.'87/88)
Like most Unis our campus had lots of visits from booze companies offering promotions. One night a lager company had a special night planned where every time you ordered a pint they stamped a card. If you filled the card in completely you got a T-shirt.
I was determined to get this T-shirt but after 8 pints of lager ( this from the girl who gets smashed after two babychams) and two colourful vomiting sessions I was finally taken back to my room to sleep it off.
I was so disappointed! But one kind ( and more hardy) soul took pity on me. My mate Simon carried on drinking for me and when I finally emerged from my room with the hangover from hell he proudly handed over the prized T-shirt!
So this post's for you mate- because of you even decades later as Chardonnay sipping wannabe yummy mummy I can proudly boast about winning a T-shirt in a lager drinking contest -even if it isn't strictly true that I drank all the lager needed to win it!

Unlike me, Simon is still a professional Journalist- he is sports editor at the Southern Daily Echo and also blogs at ;

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