Well today I feel terrible – and I really do appreciate it. Seriously, this has to be my most welcome hangover ever. I had been feeling rotten every day for the last month – this would be varying degrees of rotten you understand – I caught the Covid and for a few days I felt utterly deathly but then that passed and now I have the recovery covid. For those that haven’t had the pleasure this particular form of recovery takes fecking ages and looks like nothing at all. Basically I look completely normal (and I feel fine) when I get up and this continues until 3 o’clock or so when I don’t look completely normal because I am in my bed. Wappit. To an external observer I just look like a lazy waster – and given my natural predilection for being lazy this is a completely understandable assumption on their part. Unfortunately for me I am not being lazy, I am just bone weary. I am also brain weary. Never has there been so much of my brain obfuscated. Ask me anything and all you will get is a blank look. What’s your name? Zzzzzz…… Walking up a flight of stairs, lifting the big frying pan out of the cupboard, taking laundry out of the washing machine and hanging it on the whirligig… all of these will have me sitting down for 10 mins. Although I am not going to lie, I don’t need much of an excuse to avoid doing the laundry. It is how I imagine I will be if I make it to my late 70s. Just… knackered. To the point where opening a jar counts as ‘something I did today’. So, given my poor state of energy it was with some trepidation that I accepted an invitation to go next door to a barbecue. I know what you are thinking. How tiring can a BBQ be? You have to understand our next door neighbours. They’re from up north. Highlanders kinda. And that means Highland Hospitality (capitals are deliberate). These people are generous to a near fatal degree. Food is free and drinks are… endless. You know when you go to a restaurant with the kids and you get the option to have eternal refills? Well this is like that. Only with booze. The lovely wife of this deadly pairing is a ninja host and when you find yourself talking to someone for any length of time you will turn back to your glass to find that it has somehow refilled itself. Almost as if some alum of Hogwarts had waved a wand from across the room. It was knowing all this that inspired the trepidation. The last time I drank alcohol was with the same people – a month ago at the Scotland v England game. Football aficionados among you will recall that the result was actually a cause for celebration north of the border and a celebration is what it became – until the early hours. It took me a good couple of days to recover and I had not touched a drop since. The mere prospect of a hangover on top of your covid was just inconceivable. But when you gotta go you gotta go. And it went just as it always does when we visit the highlanders… And so today I am suffering and the beauty of it is that I don’t mind a bit. I’ve got up feeling poorly and had to take paracetamol to get myself capable of making coffee. But every day this last month has been like that so nothing new there. And I also got to have a social life. Did we talk shit? Hell yeah. Did we set the world to rights? Absolutely. And technically you should be able to do these things online. But you can’t. Last night went as it always does. After about ten o’clock (or ten drinks) another neighbour simply has to have a go at Nicola Sturgeon because I am there. He knows I’m a fan and he isn’t particularly. On social media it would descend quickly into an all caps shouting match. In a social setting? It just doesn’t. For some reason we can see the whole person. He’s more than just that opinion. I am allowed to disagree with him, laugh and move on to the next subject. Is the next subject serious? Might be. We talked a lot about covid and a lot about climate change (and we agreed on much more than we disagreed I can tell you) but we also talked football and cars and kids. Conversation is organic in real life, I was reminded. And I bloody loved it. I also got to meet somebody new and he asked me a question which kinda encapsulated the whole thing for me. He asked me ‘Do you like your job?’ And it had been so long since I was out in the world I had actually forgotten that there were people who don’t. I love what I do – I run a charity, I get to work with my best mate every day near enough. People smile when we turn up and it’s always different. Sure, there’s paperwork sometimes (and I HATE paperwork) but that is generally me raising money to do more work. So yeah, I love my job. But it’s not just what I do, it’s why I do it. He doesn’t love his job. For reasons of his privacy I won’t go in to what he does for a living but the long and the short of why he doesn’t change things is financial. It’s a shit job but it has a great pension. Which means he will be fairly comfortable when he stops working at 60 (or 68 maybe, it’s up in the air). And that’s all very sensible I guess. But I couldn’t do that. I’ve been doing a lot of research and reading lately and have come to the conclusion that being happy is a process only really brought on (for me) by doing something for others. It has been hard to be separated from that, to be kept apart from others and to have that fundamental reason removed or made distant. So as much as we got hammered at the BBQ (so hammered) I don’t think I’ve done anything as healthy as that in ages. Social media is all very well (no it isn’t but I will share this on social media) but actual socialising simply can’t be beat. I am off to enjoy my wonderful hangover and watch the British Grand Prix. A covid spreader event if ever there was one – I totally get why the fans went though.