I am lucky to have been born on New Year's Day (my Mum was maybe not so lucky spending New Year's Eve in labour). It's great because I get to celebrate at midnight on New Year's Eve when everyone is in festive mood and happy to make a fuss of me and again on my actual birthday, when everyone is off work and happy to make a fuss of me.
The day before my fifteenth birthday, I was invited to a New Year's Eve party with my boyfriend's family. I don't remember now who or what it was for, but I remember that it was in a hall rather than someone's home and that it was a take-your-own-drink affair. I spoke to my Mum, who said she had a very small amount of Martini, about two measures worth if that. She agreed that she would top the bottle up with lemonade for me to take to the party. As it happened, she found she had more Martini than she thought, so what she gave me was considerably stronger. She forgot to tell me this.
When we arrived at the party, I drank the whole bottle very quickly, thinking it was little more than lemonade. I followed this up with two vodka and orange juices provided by my boyfriend's Dad, and was very shortly throwing up in the toilets. Soon after that I decided I had better go home and my boyfriend and I set off. The thirty minute walk took two hours because of the state I was in and was made even longer by my drunken insistence on taking a rather long short cut through the park, being sick a few more times, then deciding I felt much better lying down and refusing to move. As my fifteenth birthday dawned, I was lying on my back on the grass watching fireworks and stars spinning in vertiginous circles above and around me and feeling truly dreadful. Eventually I felt slightly better and staggered the rest of the way home.
My parents had friends over to welcome in the New Year and as we approached my home, I did that thing, you know the one, where you draw yourself up to your full height and attempt to look as sensible and normal as possible so no-one will suspect. Confident that my parents and their friends would have no idea I was as pissed as the proverbial newt, I unlocked the door and entered the house in dignified and determinedly sober fashion. My 11 year old brother appeared before me and blew my cover completely.
'Eww' he said 'You STINK of sick'.