Lauren Bravo: In need of a reason to leave...

ON THE face of it, the Tube running all night from 2015 seemed rather brilliant news.

No more night buses. No more two-hour crawls through the backwaters of London with your sleeping head half resting in a box of Chicken Cottage’s finest.

No more strategically planning your seating with regard to whoever looks least likely to be unwell in the aisle.

With regular trains throughout the night, people’s departures will be staggered and manageable – there’ll be no more desperately contorting oneself into the human Tetris of the Piccadilly line at 12.30am, as though it were the last chopper out of Saigon.

We shall all be warm and safe and civilised as we speed home to bed in the safe bowels of the world’s finest metro system.

But then it suddenly dawned on me... Without a last tube to catch, I’ll no longer have reasons to leave parties. The dawning of 24-hour travel means the end of excuses.

Up to now it’s always been easy – you can go out and have a nice time, relaxed in the knowledge that as soon as midnight strikes you can trill, ‘must catch the last Tube!’ and skip off like Cinderella.

No one can argue with the last Tube argument. We all know the alternative is sharing the back seat of the N253 with a gently drooling student vet in a penguin onesie.

But, from 2015, what will I say when I want to go home?

Obviously, it can never be the truth: “It’s been lovely, but I am the wrong side of 25 now and I’ve run out of small talk and there are a cup of rooibos and an electric blanket at home with my name on them.” So, I’m worried that, instead, we’ll be compelled to think up increasingly extravagant cover stories to get us out the door.

I’ve started compiling a bank of them in advance, so I’ll be ready.

“I really must go home and mist my orchids,” is a current favourite. Likewise, “I put a wash on earlier and need to hang it out before it gets that mildew smell.”

Perhaps a new code of party conduct will form. “I make a point of never staying after the guacamole’s gone brown. Cheery-bye!”

“It’s been grand, but I think my software updates will be installed by now.”

Or how about “I left the slow cooker on six hours ago and my beef shin is about to reach peak tenderness.”

What I really need is some help from you lot, my Sussex cronies. How do you leave parties politely without the last tube excuse? Tell me on a postcard, or on the internet, or carve it on a pebble and put it on the 10.17am to Victoria. The following answers will not be tolerated: ‘have children’ and ‘have fun.’ Thank you.

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