Mortifying shame of the respectable women driven POTTY by PROSECCO.

Mark Willingham Uncategorized

Mortifying shame of the respectable women driven POTTY by PROSECCO… from the school bursar who did a cartwheel into a Christmas tree to the mother-of-three who fell pregnant after a one-night stand

Brits spent a staggering £182 million on the Italian sparkling white last year

Prosecco is now seen as the perfect accompaniment to any girls’ night out

The large bubbles of carbon dioxide in prosecco lead to greater intoxication

Source: Daily Mail

By Helen Carroll for the Daily Mail

8 December 2016

Arriving at the New Year’s Eve party with her husband and two children, all dressed up for the occasion, Tracey Roscoe was thrilled that her family had finally broken into the inner sanctum in their village community.

This was an annual event, hosted by the local rugby coach and his wife at their beautiful farmhouse and, with their son now part of the junior team, the Roscoes had at last got a coveted place on the guest list.

Fast forward four hours, however, and Tracey – at the time a bursar at a respected local school – had ruined everything: her reputation, her dignity, and also her host’s tastefully decorated, 8ft Nordic Christmas tree, into which she cartwheeled, sending it crashing down, baubles-and-all.

The root cause of this outrageous display? Tracey, 45, lays the blame entirely at the door of prosecco – the drink of choice for so many middle-aged, middle-class women today.

Retelling the story still has Tracey, who is married to Steve, a facilities manager, and has a daughter and son, Martha, 14, and George, 11, wincing with mortification. Flashbacks of being helped up by other guests, and picking pine needles out of her hair while gushing apologies, can creep up and assault her, two years after the event.

‘I’d never drunk prosecco before,’ she pleads. ‘People kept topping up my champagne flute. It was absolutely delicious, and went down so much more easily than the one or two glasses of red wine I’d usually sip on social occasions,’

‘Normally I’m so responsible – I’d go so far as to say boring. My children had never seen me drunk before, or hungover. I really don’t know what came over me.’

It’s a lament many women will, no doubt, be echoing this season, when prosecco corks will be popping up and down the country.

We Brits spent a staggering £182 million on the Italian sparkling white last year, when prosecco outsold champagne for the first time. And our thirst doesn’t show any signs of abating, with women, in particular, its biggest fans.

Clever marketing means prosecco is now seen as the perfect accompaniment to any girls’ night out, according to Katherine Brown, director of the Institute of Alcohol Studies.

‘Prosecco is found on supermarket shelves, among all the delicious Christmas nibbles, so we’re being guided to associate it with fun, happy times,’ says Katherine.

‘Light, sweet drinks are also very much targeted at women, and, like fizzy soft drinks, it’s easy to consume large quantities without realising.’

And that, says Tracey, was what became her undoing.

‘I was having a lovely time, chatting, when all of a sudden this really funky song started playing and all the little girls started doing cartwheels,’ she recalls.

‘I’ve no idea where the idea came from, but suddenly I thought it would be fun to join in.

‘I’m normally too self-conscious even to dance, and I haven’t cartwheeled since I was a child – but, with a bottle of prosecco inside me, it seemed a terrific idea.

‘So I cartwheeled right across the room before crashing, legs first, into their gorgeous, tastefully-decorated Christmas tree.

‘My memory is a bit hazy, but I have vague recollections of baubles flying everywhere and of other guests helping me to my feet, then picking up the tree.’

Her husband and children were mortified, and eager to leave, but Tracey insisted she was fine to have another glass of fizz to toast the arrival of the New Year.

However, she promptly dropped the crystal flute on the floor, shattering it.

‘Steve had never seen me so drunk before,’ she says. ‘He bundled me out the door practically on the 12th stroke of Big Ben.

‘The next day, I felt so rough I just couldn’t get up – and then the horrors started. I spotted my Marks & Spencer leather trousers on the floor and thought: “How on earth did I cartwheel in those?”

‘Although I couldn’t remember doing it, my son George told me I had also embarrassed him by insisting that all the little boys take lessons from me in how to hold and shoot their “Nerf” guns [a foam pellet gun, popular among boys] .

‘Until two years ago, I was in the RAF. It’s not something I talk about often but that night, apparently, I wanted everyone to know.

‘Steve kept asking how much I’d drunk, but I honestly had no idea. I lost track of the refills early on.’

Eager to put right the one thing she could repair, Tracey went shopping the next day for a box of two Riedel crystal champagne flutes in replace the one she’d broken.

She delivered them, together with an embarrassed apology for her behaviour, to her hosts, who graciously told her not to worry.

‘Steve and George gave me a really hard time in the days and weeks that followed, saying we’d never be invited back.

‘And sure enough, the next year, although George was still on the rugby team, no invitation arrived.’

Tracey admits it came as a relief when she and her family moved 50 miles away to Flintshire, for Steve’s new job. She left her position at the school and is currently applying for new roles.

Ironically, their new neighbours presented them with a bottle of prosecco as a housewarming gift the day they arrived – and suggested popping over some time to help them drink it.

‘It’s still in the fridge,’ says Tracey. ‘I’ll never make the mistake of drinking it again. In fact, lest I ever forget, I bought a little plaque which I keep in the kitchen that says “The prosecco made me do it”.’

While most prosecco has around 11 per cent alcohol content, less than many still whites and reds, the large bubbles of carbon dioxide that make it light and tingly on the tongue also lead to greater intoxication.

‘Those bubbles also speed up the absorption of alcohol through the stomach lining – literally pushing it through and into the bloodstream,’ says nutritionist Dr Elisabeth Philipps. ‘That’s the reason why fizzy alcoholic drinks make you drunk faster.’

Also, while champagne is still considered an expensive treat and only the most extravagant of hosts could afford to keep it flowing all night, prosecco, retailing at as little as £6 a bottle, is deemed to be an affordable way of keeping everyone well refreshed.

Deborah Hodge, an author from Bexleyheath in Kent, is another woman acutely aware of the potency of the tipple.

The 43-year-old was at a poetry recital at a pub in the village near Chichester where she was living four years ago when the Italian fizz began flowing.

At the time, she was a 39-year-old divorced mother-of-three, whose children were staying with their father. She was working as head of the art department at the local secondary school.

During an interval, Deborah got chatting about poetry to the 24-year-old brother of one of her pupils.

‘I remember prosecco bottles turning up in ice buckets, one after another. The men were falling over themselves to buy more,’ she recalls. ‘Eventually there was a lock-in at the pub and I found myself holding court and telling jokes.

‘I have no idea how many times my glass was refilled. I can’t remember very much about that night at all.’

One thing’s for sure, she and the younger man hit it off and, when the barman asked everyone to leave, he invited Deborah back to his house, where he lived with his parents and younger brother.

‘I must have been very intoxicated to agree to go back to his family home, given the age difference and the fact that his brother was one of my pupils,’ says Deborah.

She awoke at 7am the next day, utterly disgusted with herself.

‘I hoped to sneak out unnoticed, but the rest of the family were already awake,’ she says.

‘My face was crimson as I let myself out, and then I had to do the walk of shame in my evening dress, the very last thing you expect to be doing after a poetry recital, in what was a very small, gossipy community.

‘Of course, news of my overnight stay spread around the school like wildfire.’

Although they exchanged phone numbers, in the cold light of day, without prosecco running through their veins, the difference in their ages and circumstances – her a mother of three, him still living at home with his parents – left them in no doubt how unsuited they were and they didn’t arrange a second date.

But Deborah’s one-night-stand was not going to be as easy to forget as she hoped.

A few months later, she found herself standing in a toilet cubicle at work staring, aghast, at a positive pregnancy test.

‘I was so shocked that every part of my body was shaking,’ recalls Deborah. ‘I was still shaking when I went back into lessons that afternoon, one of them teaching the brother of my child’s father.’

As the pregnancy was already quite advanced, Deborah never contemplated abortion.

The repercussions of her prosecco-fuelled night were felt far and wide. Her eldest son, who was 16 at the time, refused to speak to her for a week. Likewise, the rest of her family were horrified and chastised her ‘like a delinquent teenager’.

The only person pleased for her was, to her relief, the baby’s father.

The couple tried to make a go of their relationship, and were together for Amelia’s birth in July 2013. But they separated soon afterwards when they realised they had little in common.

‘Changing nappies as a 40-year-old single mother was not in my life plan at all,’ says Deborah, who has since given up her teaching job to write novels.

‘It’s hard, but I wouldn’t be without Amelia for the world.’

Deborah hasn’t touched prosecco since that fateful night – and has no intention of doing so again.

‘I used to love sharing a bottle with a girlfriend on one of my rare nights out, but now I know the effect it can have it’s lost its appeal.’

Another woman who knows the damage prosecco can wreak is 35-year-old mother-of-two Lindsey Brough. She has not dared show her face in the village pub after polishing off a bottle and making a ‘complete show’ of herself shortly before Christmas last year.

Her usual tipple is gin and tonic but, after seeing so many of her girlfriends posting pictures of themselves on social media with glasses of Italian fizz in their hands, she decided to find out what all the fuss was about.

Lindsey, who runs a craft and design business from her home in Wrexham, North Wales, was enjoying a rare night out while her daughters were with their dad.

When she and her friend sat down for dinner, they discovered that, as well as the prosecco they had purchased, Lindsey’s ex, aware of how rarely she went out, had also arranged for a bottle to be put on ice on their table.

‘We shared the first bottle with our meal, then, already feeling pretty merry, we decided to drink the second one at the bar,’ recalls Lindsey.

‘I spotted a guy who’d previously sent me some flirtatious text messages asking me out on a date, and decided to show them to all his pals.

‘Then I recognised a man I’d been at primary school with and told him that his nickname used to be “cheesy feet” because of the odour they gave off when we changed for PE.

‘The poor soul was so embarrassed and said I must be mixing him up with someone else, but I insisted I wasn’t.

‘By the time the second bottle was finished, my friend was asleep with her head on the table and I was weeping uncontrollably on the shoulder of an old neighbour about losing my mum, who had passed away 11 years earlier.’

Although the bar staff took the liberty of calling them a taxi, Lindsey and her friend set off into the freezing cold night to walk the two miles back to her home, most of it along dark country lanes.

Lindsey recalls falling over a number of times, painfully banging her head on one occasion, and then being aware that her purse had fallen from her bag but being too drunk to search for it.

Several hours later, they finally made it back to Lindsey’s house and fell asleep.

At 5.30am, Lindsey woke with a start, still drunk but suddenly eager to retrieve her purse.

She persuaded her friend to help her search and, incredibly, they located it in a dark country lane, beside a field of sheep, a mile from Lindsey’s home.

It was only in the cold light of day that Lindsey realised just how risky her behaviour had been and felt terribly guilty.

‘We were so drunk and incapable that anything could have happened to us on our way home,’ she says. ‘As a mother of children aged just seven and four, it doesn’t bear thinking about.

‘I’m usually such a sensible person, and have no idea why prosecco affects me in that way.

‘I shan’t touch it ever again – but that doesn’t stop me being haunted by the memories.’

This is a feeling all-too-familiar to Tracey Roscoe, who has to switch off the radio whenever a particular song comes on – the one that was playing at the party that night she cartwheeled into the tree.

‘I used to love that song,’ she says. ‘But now I cringe from the tips of my toes to the top of my head, picturing myself being pulled out that Christmas tree. I can’t bear even the first few bars

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