Last night a friend of mine was throwing a big drinks party for her birthday.
A few days ago, another old friend, S, (who lives in the country) called to ask if she could stay the night after the event.
Now, S and I go back a long way. We're old drinking buddies. Many a night we'd sit cackling on a sofa at some party or other like a pair of old crones. She is Godmother to one of my children, and I am Godmother to one of hers.
I know that she is not very happy about me not drinking, so I was a bit nervous about her coming to stay.
I find drinks parties the most difficult situation to navigate sober. I still feel less sparkling, less witty, less interesting in that scenario than I used to (although it is, slowly, getting easier). I handily forget how utterly boring I could be after a few too many drinks.
Despite that scratchiness, I loved the party, loved parking right outside, loved catching up with old friends, loved the fact that they served virgin mojitos.
BUT by 11.30pm the crowd had thinned out massively and I was ready to head home.
Not my guest, however, so Mr SM gave her his keys and she said she'd follow on in a cab a little later.
We were woken up shortly after we'd fallen asleep by S who was having problems making the keys work in the lock (remember that feeling, anyone?).
Mr SM let her in and she stayed up a little longer for a nightcap and a cigarette while we went back to sleep.
We had to get up early this morning as it's a school day. Mr SM walked out of the bedroom first and I heard him yell "Oh my God, what's happened here?!"
"What?!?" I replied, suddenly wide awake.
"You'd better come and look."
There was a five foot hole in our staircase, and three of the carved, wooden bannisters were lying on the landing in pieces.
It turned out that S had staggered up the stairs to bed, tripped over her bell bottomed trousers and all six foot two of her had hurtled back down the stairs, like a giant redwood being felled in a forest, and through our bannisters.
She's fine. Just a little bruised and embarrassed.
Our staircase isn't.
Now, had I been drunk or hungover when this all came to light we may well have had the sort of row that would ruin an old friendship.
But I'm sober. I am zen. I've been to yoga twice this week. My chakras (whatever they may be) are aligned. I am, according to my oncologist, currently cancer free.
(And it was a welcome reminder that parties may be a little bit harder sober than drunk, but at least I'm not careering round the country destroying other people's property).
So I got the kid's UHU out of the craft box, found a roll of Sellotape, and did a temporary patch job, before sitting down with a hungover S for a debrief on the party.
"Sorry about your stairs," she mumbled over her breakfast of strong coffee and Marlboro.
"That's okay," I replied, passing her two of the extra strong ibuprofen I'd been given after they removed a sizeable chunk of my left boob, "but don't expect me not to tell anyone. It'll make a great dinner party story. That's the quid pro quo. You may not be a perfect guest, but you're a fabulous anecdote."
What she doesn't know is that I'm sharing it as a cautionary tale with thousands of my friends on the internet too...
Love SM x