pigeonBy Flora Cramp

The Cramps have an Easter Sunday tradition of visiting Auntie Maureen, taking her somewhere ‘nice’ where she can have a walk and eat a scone, and then arguing about whether Paul Shane was in anything after Hi-de-Hi, until it’s time to go home. My input in the day’s proceedings is to turn up feeling delicate, hand over some sort of Easter themed cushion / teapot / garden ornament and then feel my condition deteriorate rapidly, until I vomit in a layby off the A1. There is no earthly reason why I should be so viciously hungover every Easter Sunday; I never plan a massive ‘Holy Saturday’ piss up, it just happens and I’ve come to accept it. I call it the ‘Paschal Curse’ and, like X Factor and ringworm it is embarrassing, painful, and makes you want to crawl into the airing cupboard and just die for a bit.

Last Sunday, I woke up boiling hot, shaking and covered in little red marks, where I had slept on a set of Allen keys, used the previous day in a pathetic attempt to fix my headboard (cheers Ikea). I crept downstairs like a constipated cartoon witch and splayed myself on the kitchen floor, with my cheek resting on the cool tiles in front of the fridge. My mother, carrying a wicker goose and an old lamp, stood over me, shaking her head ‘you look like that bloke they found on Clapham Common, living in that hole’ she said, ‘you’ll have to put the goose on your knee in the car; the back seat’s full of those papiermâché swans the kids have made.’ I had an unpleasant shower, got dressed and wedged myself in the back of the car, amongst boxes of bedding plants, a tray of trifles and six terrifying swans with murderous orange eyes. Within half an hour, the car was static and I was vomiting in a bin surrounded by used condoms and Lucozade bottles, somewhere on the outskirts of Saffron Walden. ‘Look at the state of her, poor love’ my mum said ‘it’s just like the Brontë Parsonage all over again.’

On an Easter trip to Haworth four years ago, Auntie Maureen had encouraged me to take charcoal tablets to settle my stomach.  This resulted in me projectile vomiting black bile onto a passing pigeon, in front of thirty Japanese tourists. It was like a scene from The Exorcist. ‘She looks awful, like a ghost’ Auntie Maureen had said ‘Heathcliff would bloody shit himself if that came knocking at his window.’ Bronte-Pigeongate had since become a yardstick, by which to measure the severity of the hangover experience.

I got back in the car. ‘Never mind love,’ my dad chirped, ‘only 86 miles to go!’

We arrived at Auntie Maureen’s and were immediately given the task of washing three settee covers in an old twin tub, to the soothing sounds of Michael Ball’s One Careful Owner. Then lunch was served, and I was forced to eat a sausage roll that was still frozen in the middle and an ‘Easter cross;’ a pair of Cadbury’s Flakes stuck together with icing sugar and wedged upright in a slice of Swiss roll. Soon after, I locked myself in the bathroom and curled up in a ball next to the toilet, like a half-dead ferret. Auntie Maureen stood outside the door, sharing words of encouragement: ‘chin up Flora, nothing can ever be as bad as when our Lee’s mate shat himself at Beamish…what was that kid’s name?’ ‘Dale Vest’ I murmured weakly, before vomiting again. ‘Well, that lad had no chance, did he – his mum’s a born again Christian and his dad’s a taxidermist. Do you want a port and lemon?’

After arriving home in a state of extreme distress, I decided to research hangover cures, in preparation for the forthcoming May Day trip to the York Railway Museum. In the hope of preventing similar Pigeongate experiences across Britain, I am happily sharing my findings:

Cure #1 More booze

It’s not big or clever, but sometimes a shot of tequila or a pint of ice cold lager can work wonders, especially if accompanied by a large bag of salty chips and a sofa bed. Never, ever drink ginger wine, Midori, cava or White Russians on a hangover, particularly if you plan to travel from Leeds to Milton Keynes by National Express later that same day.

Cure #2 Sprite

No. The Chinese researchers have got it wrong. Anything that tastes like Toilet Duck on sober days will taste like Toilet Duck mixed with piss on hangover days. Avoid.

Cure#3 Exercise

Don’t even consider playing rounders, crazy golf or Irish dancing.

Cure#4 Bacon

Yes. Unless purchased from the buffet bar on board a Virgin train.

Cure#5 Sex

A good idea, provided the person you’re at it with is also hungover. Remain on your side, avoiding jerky movements and all eye contact. Never go on top.

Cure#6 Raw Cabbage

This cure was invented by someone who hates all people

Cure#7 Washing up liquid

Earlier this month, it was reported that Horrific Human Being Charlie Brooks had downed a pint of Fairy Liquid following a night on the booze, to showcase his madcap ‘crazy’ personality to his guests. This is a bad idea. Not only will everyone in Britain think you’re a massive attention seeking wanker, but you’ll be passing foamy turds well into next week.

Bottoms up!