A huge thank you for all your fabulous comments yesterday on my centenary. You made my day!
Apologies for not replying to you all individually. I was horribly, but happily, busy.
My day culminated in a charity quiz night. Great fun, although we couldn't understand why our team name choice ("The Big Fact Hunt") was vetoed ;-)
I was woken up on beautifully sunny day 101 by the Today Programme on Radio 4.
A quick aside here, but I do hope that the digital era and music streaming don't kill off radio. Certain radio programmes and theme tunes can immediately transport me back decades.
'The Archers' on Radio 4 was the background to my childhood, and then, when I was at boarding school, we used to race back to the dorms at morning break to try to catch Simon Bates's 'Our Tune' on Radio 1.
On Sunday evenings we'd huddle round a tape deck trying to record all that week's top 40 tunes onto a cassette tape (remember them?) without getting any of the talking in between. Then we'd fall asleep listening to the pirate Radio Caroline.
In my twenties my radio alarm clock was tuned to Capital Radio, so I was woken up by Chris Tarrant and Cara. If there's anyone of my generation reading who used to do the same, then here's a trip down memory lane: the Hobart Tasmania theme tune that Chris Tarrant was obsessed by.
But now I've turned into my mother, as we all do eventually, and my radio alarm is tuned to Radio 4. And today's news included a piece about chimpanzees in West Africa who'd been discovered indulging in 'habitual drinking' of alcohol. Here's a link to the full story in The Guardian.
Apparently, these chimps start drinking fermented palm sap at 7am (worse than me, then!), and can drink the equivalent of a bottle of wine a day.
I wonder whether they start telling boring jokes, make inappropriate passes at each other's partners, and then wake up with a sore head saying "Oh God, I was at the palm sap again last night. What was I thinking?"
This study, it is claimed, lends weight to the 'drunken monkey hypothesis' which states that: natural selection favoured primates with a taste for alcohol, because it stimulated the appetite, helped them hunt for fruit and so boosted calorific intake. About 10 million years ago, our ancestors – and those of apes – gained a genetic mutation that improved 40-fold our ability to break down ethanol. Without it, consuming large amounts would be even more dangerous.
This led me to several conclusions:
1. We (ex) 'enthusiastic imbibers' are obviously at the very top of the evolutionary scale. I'd suspected as much.
2. We kid ourselves that we drink because our modern, hectic, high octane lives lead us to it, but actually even the most primitive of societies, and our less evolved ancestors, are just hard wired to want to get blitzed.
3. Next time I look at the pompous, self satisfied, fat cat banker in his bespoke Saville row suit with his trophy wife, swirling his wine round his glass and droning on about provenance, vintages and south facing slopes of vineyards, I shall just remember that big, fat, hairy ape guzzling his fermented sap from his plate-like hands. Not so very different at all.
Bring out your inner chimp today (but leave the fermented sap alone, obviously), and have a great one.
And congratulations to Edinburgh Housewife on a whole month sober. Way to go, EH!