The Independent, 22 August 2011

When it comes to taking children on day trips, I cannot claim to be an expert. I once took my god-daughter to the zoo, but couldn’t deem it a total success, as she was more impressed by a bin than by any of the animals. Though to be fair, the bin did look like a frog, and a considerably larger one than any the zoo had to offer. I have certainly never tried to take more than one child at a time anywhere, partly because I don’t think I’d enjoy it, and partly because I think that’s called kidnapping.

So in my mind, if you do have children, and take them on day trips, you are basically a saint. You are willingly giving up several hours of your life, and a pile of cash only slightly smaller than you’d have to fork out for a holiday, only to discover that your chosen destination is considered lame by your offspring, who then spend the entire day texting their friends about what a rubbish time they’re having. I would almost certainly turn to drink.

Yet that might not be allowed, if the experiences of two women, Ali Ineson and Emma Rutherford, are anything to go on. The two friends spent a morning climbing Monument with their four kids, and paused for a drink at a pub en route to visiting HMS Belfast. And who wouldn’t? Even a Temperance preacher would surely need a drink during that day.

But the barman refused to serve them booze because he thought it inappropriate for them to knock back a white wine spritzer when accompanied by children (thus neatly failing to observe that the only market for white wine spritzers is women accompanied by children. The rest of us are drinking white wine neat, and cackling while we do it).

Does having children really mean you are barred from having any fun? Wanting a diluted glass of wine doesn’t make you a bad mother, it makes you a thirsty one. Although Ali Ineson is married to the actor Ralph Ineson, who played a Death Eater in the recent Harry Potter films. In other words, not only is she a woman who will knowingly consume a unit of alcohol when children might be watching, she is basically in league with Voldemort. So perhaps she should have cast a convenient petrifying spell on the barman, and poured herself a double.