It's my 41st birthday and I find myself being laid low by the demon drink.
To be honest, this is not entirely unusual as far as my birthdays go. But on this occasion I haven't actually drunk the substance in question. And yet I have been broken down by alcohol.
All in all I've had a very good birthday. The weather hasn't been entirely helpful, with a wind that could be caused lazy, in the sense that it tries to go through you rather than around. But people have been very generous. I have presents galore. I have a t-shirt with the famous Andy Warhol print of Marmite jars. He did do that one, didn't he? I have new trainers which I have christened 'Jamie Oliver shoes' because they have big thick tongues. No-one has bought me socks. It's gone well.
This evening we ate at the Harbour Inn. My mixed grill resembled an entire farmyard put on a plate. Somewhere a vegetarian is crying. It's all causing me to move a little more slowly.
But none of this explains why I'm laid low, a broken man. I'm afraid I have to blame the booze this time. In particular, a bottle of 14-year-old Lagavulin currently lying, unopened, at my feet. The peaty liquid that was put into a barrel in the late 90's by skilled craftsmen in a distillery in the far northern island of Islay. That was lovingly bottled after 14 years of gently maturation. That was bought for me as a birthday present. That slipped gently out of its display box from a height of four feet to land squarely on the big toe of my right foot just now.
I have been enthusiastically mining a brand new seam of swearing. I have even dropped the C-bomb. It must be serious. Katie hasn't laughed, and she normally takes pleasure in my discomfort, as is her role as dutiful wife.
I get to my feet, my toe throbbing like in a cartoon, and hobble across the room. When they talk about the 12-Step Programme, I'm not entirely sure this is what they have in mind.