I've been to two Christmas events this year, both catch ups with 4 or 5 girlfriends for drinks and a meal in a bar/restaurant type place.
Unusually, the table has been booked for 4pm both times, instead of the traditional 7 for 7.30pm. I asked one of my friends about this last night- why the change?
The reason is due to Scotland's strict drink driving laws. These laws have been in place for one year now and limit the blood alcohol level allowed for driving to a level much lower than before, such that it is highly possible to remain over the safe limit the morning after - a problem for the drive to work.
So the move this year is to start early, finish early and have a longer period alcohol free before the next morning. Eminently sensible and for once, also a huge bonus for the non drinker.
No more waiting, starving, at 8pm for the drunk gigglers to focus on the menu long enough to choose what they're want to soak up the alcohol. No more waiting until 11.30pm for the dessert to be served and it becomes reasonable to leave- exhausted.
Last night was fab and suited me just fine.
I drove us all to the venue for 4 pm. We were eating by 5. Had dessert by 7. I stayed until 9.30-10 while they had a few more drinks as I was enjoying the chat and I left when talk of 'moving on into town' began.
I feel as if I've had the best of both worlds: a great night out catching up on gossip and having a laugh, enjoying food including dessert, staying as long as I wish, leaving when I choose AND, the icing on the cake, not having to stay out half the night to do so. I was home by 10pm.
Sobriety: allows a good night out AND an early night in simultaneously. What's not to like?