I hate that moment, the one when you just wake up and for a split second your world is OK, but then you realise its not OK, its far from OK, you realise you are not at home in your bed next to your beautiful wife, but in a strange hotel room, and to make matters worse you know that any second now your hangover is about to start.
It is a quality hangover, and sixteen hours further along the day I still have it for company.
Entirely my own fault, if only I had exercised self control, but I didn't and today I have paid for it.
I was in Manchester on a course, a module of what will lead to a post graduate certificate in Behavioural Forensic Psychology, all very grand but just think of it as informed guessing and that would be a fair approximation of what it all boils down to.
Anyway, as usual I was not looking forward to leaving my wife and life at Rock HQ to go on an expenses paid trip to a city. To some that would be a great perk of a job, to me its an ordeal I have to get through. I was lucky that this time I went with a colleague who I like, rather than the London trip where I could have happily pushed my colleague under the train.
Manchester was the location for this training so I travelled up the day before to acclimatise. Within minutes I had decided that it was worse than London and safely barricaded in my room I began counting the hours until I could return home.
The training was in a centre next to the Mounted Section and Dog Section of the Manchester Police, so most of Tuesday morning I sat listening to the lecture interspersed with howls from some distant dog. Coffee break and I queued quietly for my shot of caffeine when I heard a deep voice booming "Speed!" My nickname from many years ago.
I turned to find Silvanus, a detective sergeant smiling at me. I hadn't seen him for around ten years, we have known each other since 1983 when in a previous life I was a Police Officer and we were in the same intake, in fact Sil was the first black man I had ever met. We had nothing in common, except our job, he having grown up having an inner city childhood and me from the farm, but we both hit it off and have been firm friends ever since. Our careers took very different paths but we stayed in touch, meeting up periodically and doing very silly things.
He took me to black drinking clubs and showed me spaghetti junction, I took him to the village fete and the local pub where he was given the traditional rural welcome, this entailed the locals staring at him with their mouths open.
We were a bit surprised to find each other on this course and after a few minutes catching up we got back to the lectures.
At the end of the day we all arranged to meet up for a "quiet drink". Sil and I promised each other that it would be just that, neither of us would egg each other on to do anything stupid and we would not in any way shape or form attempt to outdrink each other.
My headache is testimony to the fact that this quiet drink quickly degenerated into a very long, loud, expensive drink that went on for hours, only ending when the majority opted to go for a curry. As I had eaten already I pulled the eject handle and baled out down a side street and thankfully found the right hotel.
As I sat with my head pounding in todays lecture I drew some comfort from the fact that Sil felt worse than I did and unlike him I hadnt woken up with my face in a subway sandwich that I didn't remember buying. Tight as ever he ate what had been his night time salad facial rather than waste it.
He is coming to Rock HQ in a few weeks, I shall have to stock up on paracetamol and Andrews Liver Salts.