Almost midnight and I'm just getting over my birthday hangover. Eugh! Yes, I know what you're thinking, I was giving up alcohol for Lent. But, well, I kinda lapsed once too often, and decided that perhaps it was a waste of time persisting with the charade. That was no reason to get so hideously drunk last night admittedly, but the excuse I'm clinging on to like a security blanket for my conscience is "hey, it was my birthday, and others bought the drinks!".

The evening began innocently enough, with a couple of games of ten-pin bowling. I surprised myself by being half-decent at it - all those early teenage birthday celebrations at Superbowl seem to have finally paid dividends...

Later, we found ourselves freezing to death in our shirt-sleeves in the deserted streets of Huddersfield, and retreated to an HSBC ATM vestibule to warm ourselves under the hot-air vents. How wussy is that? I wonder what other uses people find for those places, as they wander the streets half-drunk? The mind boggles, but I expect someone will now mail me a list of ATM-related urban myths to satisfy my curiosity.

As Thursday night turned slowly to Friday morning, we found ourselves in ever-seedier pubs and clubs, whilst becoming increasingly lairy and debaucherous. I'll not go into details here to avoid embarrassment and humiliation, but needless to say I became physically ill due to the ingestion of a large variety of alcohol-based birthday presents. Don't you just love generous colleagues who're hellbent on helping you abuse your body?

Today, then, more than most, has been an utter write-off from a productivity point of view, and I feel incredibly guilty about this, because by nature I am quite conscientious and eager to do a good job. But it was apparent that today I simply wasn't going to be much use, so I headed off home just as soon as I'd sobered up enough to drive - no point charging the client for my wasted afternoon.

Right now, I don't feel 23. I feel 38, and getting too old to repeatedly do this to my mind and body - I'm gonna take things easy for a while, concentrate on my health, career, and family some more (I still owe my little nephew a present dating back to January 5th). There're plenty of social occasions coming up to look forward to, but I need to balance things out a bit more.

Mind you, it can wait until Monday morning... ;)

Tomorrow some friends are coming over for a few shandies in Sheffield to celebrate some more. Any excuse...