|Flickr: Tim Pearce, Los Gatos|
I'm no expert but this seems so sensible it has to be true, and is at the very worst a harmless idea. Nonetheless, following a minor gum infection and a visit to the dentist I have antibiotics and yes, they're the sort with which you mustn't drink alcohol.
Contrary to popular belief this isn't true of all antibiotics. I know, I saw it on QI so it must be true. The fact is that in the early days of antibiotics they were prescribed to sailors who'd been into port, found a prostitute and got themselves infected with something nasty. So they were prescribed and - because the patient would be more amenable to getting reinfected before the last lot had cleared up when under the influence of alcohol - they were told drink would render the drug ineffectual.
Nonetheless I've checked and mine are indeed the alcohol-free variety (and the infection is, honestly, a gum thing). The snag I'm going to face is that I don't like sugary, sweet drinks, so sitting at dinner with a can of Coke isn't an option I'm going to relish. I find water quite dull and elderflower gets a little cloying after a while.
It's while looking at the range of drinks available at supermarkets that I start to realise just how in love with alcohol we are as a society. At the end of last year I referenced the excellent blog by Wendy Hurrell (who I see has been kind enough to reference this entry for which my thanks) in which, for a TV documentary, she went without alcohol for a month. I'm only aiming for a week so it's going to be a pushover, but I'll be interested to see whether I start to notice changes in my health and sleeping patterns - and indeed alertness and maybe even weight (a tall order for a week).
At the moment I'm still at the stage of being struck by just how much we orient ourselves around alcohol at the moment, and whether I'm going to find anything I find halfway palatable to have as my preferred 'tipple'.