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At last! After many years of arduous inquiry I have discovered the mythical ‘silver bullet‘ for productivity – and it turns out to be…the common or garden hangover. Yes, those who say that one must suffer for one’s art are by no means mistaken and I have the evidence to prove it. Consider the facts…

Case 1: A couple of weeks ago I somewhat rashly attended a postgraduate fresher’s cocktail party on a schoolnight. Disinclined to worry about work as most postgraduate freshers are, it was the wee small hours of the morning before your intrepid reporter was able to disentangle himself from the festivities and stumble home. Imagine his state of alarm when he awoke the next day to face the prospect of a full day of graft. And yet, by the end of the day he had written a rather nifty little regex scraper and accompanying java parser that mapped all our legacy documents in a GIS by hunting down National Grid References. OK – so it turns out that the Grid References are already held in a database somewhere, but that’s hardly the point now, is it?

Case 2: A not entirely unfamiliar melange of unattributable guilt, general misanthropy and toxic shock embraced me this morning in bear-like fashion after what I had previosuly assumed would be a fairly gentle gathering of pathologists. Do not trust people who drip things into baby rabbits’ eyes. Before you know it they’ll have you drinking Scrumpy Jack (apparently it’s the only guaranteed way to kill the superbugs they work with – and check this great review). But despite my impaired faculties I managed not only to get out of bed, but also to sort out my rather fancy new gaff, which I now invite you to gaze at, slack-jawed and green-eyed with envy, courtesy of the ever-obliging Flickr. Window seat, floorboards, fireplace, own bathroom, brass bedstead, Aga, conservatory (with fishpond!), you name it. It even has a rather nice pianoforte although I fear that my best musical years are behind me since that unfortunate incident with the woodchipper. And just 15 minutes trot along the Thames/Isis/Froggle Brook (depending on latitude) to Oxford Archaeology Towers.

So there you have it: cast-iron proof, were it ever needed, that drinking is both big and clever. I’m off to get sloshed.


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