"Metronidazole?" laughs the nurse. "It's hilarious when we give it to alcholic tramps in A&E. We warn them, but they don't listen."
I ask him what will happen if I have just a tiny glass of wine. We're having supper. A glass of wine would be lovely.
"Oh, you'll throw up," the nurse assures me.
Just the glass of wine?
"No. Everything in your stomach, right down to chewing gum you swallowed when you were ten. You'll be in agony for a day. But there's a chance it won't affect you."
"How much of a chance?"
"Let's just say I'll move my chair back a little."
We leave the Stockpot. It truly is the cheapest place to eat in London. Next to us are a couple on a first date. "Choose whatever you want, baby!" says the man. "Thanks," says the woman. It is obvious to all but him that this restaurant has been A Bad Choice. After glancing at the menu, she twists the knife a little. "What would you recommend?" she asks sweetly.
He suggests the special. Boiled potatoes, tongue and a bowl of minestrone soup. Fatal.
The nurse and I leave, going for a walk along the Thames. Halfway along the Thames path we realise we're surrounded by rats. Large rats. We both scream and clutch each other, and then stand laughing on the path. We spend the next quarter of an hour daring each other to move. Eventually, eyes clamped shut, we run hand-in-hand past the vermin, and find ourselves outside the kind of hotel it would be very nice to have a cocktail in. But we can't. As I don't drink.
So instead we walk up to St Pauls. The nurse tells me about a disastrous evening with his ex ("I was soooo dignified in the pub, then I went round to his flat and screamed at him until someone called the police. Augh!"), and then he's off to the pub he works at ("Maurizio's working tonight. He's so sweet. He really fancies me but doesn't do boyfriends. I keep telling him not to be so damaged, but he just keeps wearing more perfume. I don't know what's going on there.").
I go home and smoke 7 cigarettes. I don't feel drunk. I walk to bed in a straight line.