EACH era has its characteristic modes of holiday. The Regency had the Grand Tour, the Victorians had the seaside, the baby boomers the Costas.

Now, there is one holiday ritual which has carved a niche for itself in our times – the stag weekend.

Wherever a no frills airline departs for Euro capitals, you’ll find them.

In matching custom-made T-shirts, lurks the stag party – banter-a-fly of larks to come or high-jinks they’ve had.

And this weekend I’ll be on one, so to speak. Myself, with six friends will be taking to Berlin for a (hopefully) sedate few days.

Until this year I’d managed to go through life having only gone once on a stag.

That was in Amsterdam during the 1998 World Cup and was spent drinking lots of wheat beer, strolling round canal-side bars and watching football. This too was reasonably tame.

By that I mean none of our party was stripped naked and left dangling from a canal bridge or forced to dress like a Dutch milking maid.

There is the tradition that stag dos are supposed to be celebrations of male excess – one last hurrah before the being ensnared by married life.

Quite how a group of friends shaving another’s privates and leaving him on a traffic island in Bratislava does this I don’t know.

I’ve been abroad and felt a sense of dread when hearing the boisterous roar of an approaching stag. Once it echoed round a medieval street corner in Prague, and I quickly sped the other way.

Another time in the palatial Szecheny baths in Budapest, I heard a distant semi-drunken growl. Among the Hungarians playing chess or enjoying the thermal baths, was a group of men.

‘Do it for Dagenham!’ one was shouting. I looked round with a sense of dread. They were taking turns to snort red hot paprika then squirming in agony with streaming nose and eyes as their mates cheered. Because unless you’re part of it – a stag party is best avoided.

Hopefully there'll be no spice abuse in Berlin, but if you hear of semidrunken renditions of Calon Lan on the Unter den Linden I know nothing about it.