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I had one of these today. I woke up feeling a bit crooked up. Slight ache behind the eyeballs, mouth tasting as if I’d been gargling with turpentine and burnt matches. Vague gastrointestinal discomfort. General low grade malaise. A few aches and pains I couldn’t explain, with no external signs of damage. I expect most of you can identify at least in part with this. I sometimes use the word ‘shopsoiled’ to describe this condition. Definitely felt a bit shopsoiled.

I was incensed. I rarely get hangovers, so this was a bit of an unusual occurrence in and of itself. But I’m damned if I can see why I should wake up with a hangover when I’d been leading such a blameless life.

I effectively ran out of money on Saturday, so Sunday and Monday required me to live a life of monastic simplicity. I didn’t have a drink, I’d run out of cigarettes/tobacco, all healthy stuff. I ate frugally and simply, some bread, some cheese, some fruit, lots of water. Blameless, as I said. I went to bed early on Monday night, slept well (for me), and woke feeling as if the Statspolizei had paid me a brief and unremembered nocturnal visit.

Just how unfair is that? It is, isn’t it? I can remember my idiot drinking days, when I might wake up uncertain of where I’d been, or of how I’d got home, and yet still be feeling fresh as a daisy, ready for the big boy’s breakfast and back down the pub. If I’d really pushed the boat out I might feel a bit woolly, a bit vague, but nothing a huge ingestion of the four basic food groups (fat, protein, fat, and burnt bits) wouldn’t fix in a hurry.

So how can I live like an ascetic for a couple of days and feel unwell? I’ve heard the theory that hangovers get worse as you get older, but since I so rarely get them I couldn’t comment. But surely to have a hangover, you need to have gone over the top a bit, or a lot? You have to have had too much to drink. Them’s the rules. Then you get your just deserts, and don’t expect any sympathy. It’s a self inflicted injury. But all I’d done was spend a lot of time walking (I call it walking, but with my knees, you know, it’s more a gentle and erratic amble), reading, writing, reviewing some work from others. I’d been a scion of respectability and restraint for the best part of three days.

I’m beginning to wonder if the water was off. Maybe that’s it. My metabolism isn’t set up for water, or healthy foodstuffs, or no cigarettes, any more. Detox is bad for me.

Actually the whole idea of detox diets and regimes is nonsense. If your body doesn’t detox itself on a continuous basis, you’re dead in about three days.

We’ll see. I’ll keep you posted.