For the last few deifheid dinner invites I've been tragically unable to attend, but I could see this time I was going to have to make an appearance.
It wasn't actually as bad as usual. There were a number of reasons for this.
For one thing, they had an extra dog there, a real live-wire border collie, desperate to play, so I was able to spend a lot of the time in the garden with some decent animal company.
I took along half a dozen home brews but drank the expensive stuff that was offered. Never drink your own carry-out. I learned that trick from a Duneditin delegate.
After one of their designer beers I moved on to a sparkling Shiraz, which is a downmarket drop but I loved it.
The heid deifheid must have been spoken to, because he made a big effort to be less boorish than usual. And for my part I resisted the urge to disappear under the table.
His partner seems to have grown out of her taste-free cuisine, and the food was magnificent, culminating in a dessert frenzy of home-made ice cream and home made Xmas cake.
When it was time to leave I didn't have to fake my gratitude.
Of course overall it was a waste of an evening, but the good thing is, I won't have to go again for a while, now that I've done my bit.
PS - Here's a photo of Albert enjoying a teetotal social event.