Anyone who knows me finds out that my family have this drinking problem. We are terminally incapable of holding onto anything containing liquid. I’m sure you remember my previous post about the pint of strawberry milkshake I threw all over myself in college? That wasn’t the only beverage I’ve knocked, dropped, splashed, smashed or poured over myself-and others.

I’m also an expert at finding that cup of coffee you’ve placed beside your chair leg to finish later. I can guarantee I’ll find it and knock it over for you. Some of the problem is genetic. My family have long gangly arms and a tendency to wave said arms around when they talk,and we also trip over stuff that isn’t there. One of my sisters who shall remain nameless, took a spectacular dive from the top of the stairs at the National Theatre beside the Thames-with an open box of egg sandwiches in her hand-not a pretty sight.

I wasn’t too bad at the Romantic Times conference, but I did manage to knock my entire glass of iced water into my lap at one of the lunches which made me jump up in the air and screech like I had the winning bingo ticket because it was COLD, startling the other diners at my table. Luckily I had black pants on so no one could see the damage.

But the worst thing happened on the plane home…
I had the window seat and a rather attractive young man came and sat on the aisle. He was chatting in ITALIAN on his cell phone and casually taking off a rather nice leather jacket as he spoke. I gave him my best smile and he smiled right back. So far so good. No one appeared to take the middle spot so I focused on dozing (it was a tiring week) The drinks came and the guy let down the center seat tray and we both put our drinks on it.

I had hot tea and he had a can of apple juice and a cup filled with ice. We also got a couple of bags of pretzels each (whoopee!) As I sipped my tea, the guy went to sleep. I’d almost finished my tea and went to put it down when the plane kind of got into some turbulence and I knocked my tea over…

So picture me frantically trying to stem the tide of tea covering the whole of the little tray with 2 napkins made from air. I’m scooping tea over the side back into the cup with my hand and trying to stop it dripping all over Italian guy as he sleeps. The pretzels are covered in tea, the napkins are useless, I can’t find the call light in the darkness and I’m unwilling to wake IG up by making a fuss. I start to look through my carry on bag for any more tissues and can’t find them. By this point, stuff is starting to mass ominously on the edge of his side of the tray and I’m desperate.

Inspiration strikes. I don’t know about you, but I always carry a pair of clean panties in my carry on just in case. Let me just say that they came in very handy mopping up and that IG didn’t even wake up while I stemmed the tide.

Of course he did wake up eventually and shot me a disgusted look as he picked up his still damp packet of pretzels…but I smiled sweetly and apologized and he let it go. Thank god he didn’t see the green panties or he might have thought I was some kind of nutcase…

Mr Kate was horrified when I told him this story, but I insisted I was simply resourceful. It took me right back to the day I threw up after swimming practice on the bus home and got a team point for using my initiative and throwing up in my plastic swimming hat.

As I said, me and liquids, don’t mix.

Please send good thoughts for my missing cat, Jasper. He’s ten years old, 20 llbs of ginger fur and of a very crabby disposition.