I know loads of parents for whom 7pm means only one thing: one o'clock. No sooner are their little darlings all tucked up in bed and it's time to uncork the Merlot.
Not in my house, I hasten to add. For one thing we're more beer drinkers than winos, and I try - oh, how I try - to stick to a no-booze-on-a-school-night rule in general.
But sobering words from the head of Public Health England might persuade many more parents to think twice about declaring it wine o'clock as soon as the kids are in bed.
The Daily Mail reports:
"An NHS chief has said alcohol is becoming a 'silent killer' in the UK as he warned middle class drinkers that a glass of wine is just as harmful as downing three shots of vodka."
"Duncan Selbie, the head of Public Health England, said deaths from alcohol-related illnesses had soared by 500 per cent since the seventies to become the third biggest killer of working age people in the UK. Britain is now the only country in western Europe except Finland where cases of liver disease are increasing."
"Mr Selbie added that the middle classes would often pour themselves a glass of wine at the end of the day with 'no idea' how much they were actually drinking."
Oof. That's not easy to swallow. Because while few of us (I hope) would think about downing three shots of vodka on a regular basis of an evening, I know plenty of people who see a nightly glass of wine - which is undoubtedly likely to be a rather generous measure - as a harmless wind-down ritual that marks the end of the day and the beginning of what we call 'grown-up time' in our house.
On the other hand, I've also encountered people who resolutely refuse to drink alcohol with kids in the house in the event that they might need to make an emergency dash to hospital for some unforeseen medical emergency.
So where do you sit on this issue? We'd love to hear your thoughts...
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