Boringly, I have a very good relationship with Katie's parents. Given that she is an only child, and I was instrumental in taking her, kicking and screaming from the family home, one could have expected a different outcome.
But no. In fact, at the time my new father-in-law commented that he'd not lost a daughter, he'd gained a bathroom.
This is the man I have to blame for several things. I knew pretty much nothing about wine or single malt whisky before I met his daughter. Over 14 years later, I still now very little about the two subjects, but I am now rather more frequently three sheets to the wind. It's mainly his fault, although I guess I have been a willing victim.
As they don't live far away, we tend to see the in-laws on a regular basis - last night being a fairly typical example. There is a formula to these occasions.
F-i-l will drive over with Swiss-clock accuracy to pick us up. He used to have this habit of calling us before he left their house, assuming we wouldn't be ready. After we assured him that we weren't asleep or hopelessly mired in an opium haze or somesuch, he stopped doing this.
We will then bolt along the darkened streets of suburban Birmingham (as much as you can 'dart' in a Vauxhall Corsa, I suppose) until we arrive at Chez Inlaw.
M-i-l will be panicking.
It doesn't matter that it's only us. That we've done this scores of times. That we really don't mind a repetition of the fabled Pavlova moment (eternally renamed by us as the Pavlunder). She will have spent much of that day in a state of high anxiety. F-i-l will chide her. We will reassure her. She will pay no heed whatsoever. It's like a tradition.
Dinner will be served, last night's lamb cobbler being a representative sample of the excellence on offer. A lot of wine will be drunk.
All action will cease for f-i-l to check his lottery numbers. There will be sighing. Another bottle or two might get opened.
Then the whisky onslaught.
At some point in the evening, one or more of us will be asleep. This number hasn't yet reached four, but it's a close call. A minicab will be called.
I will wake up the following morning with no recollection whatsoever. Perhaps I should write things down?