Statisticians have identified mid-January as Britain’s Annual Low-Point – our spirits communally crushed by a mix of post-Christmas detox, debt and dismal weather.
Boo-bloody-hoo, I say. Most of us have food, shelter and a choice of towels. What’s to fret about?
The January Blues, that’s what. They’re mean critters, who clutch your soul, twist your spleen, and then make you do stupid things like read Gwyneth Paltrow’s New Year Resolutions or check your reflection in the car mirror. (IS IT THE SAME FACE YOU HAD YESTERDAY? IS IT BEFORE 9AM? THEN DON’T LOOK, YOU TWIT).
There’s no telling some people though. So to lead by example, I’ve decided to share the five reasons I’m entering 2016 cock-a-hoop:
1. I’m not bald.
Last year (like many women in their 40s apparently, who knew?) I experienced a definite thinning of the thatch.
In the space of months, I went from a bitching barnet to widow’s peak – and not just up-top. (Don’t panic – I shan’t cross the Bikini Line – but I can report a waning in the armpit area. Raising my arm no longer exposes the hirsuit hinterland of erotic fiction and/or Kate Winslet in ‘The Reader’, but a damp, mossy…well, pit).
Things got a bit tense come November. I’d started to fear I was going the way of Rab C Nesbitt, and would have to start to grapple with concepts like ‘combover’ and ‘hat indoors’. Some concerted drinking through December appears to have stabilised the shedding however, and I can now declare my look parked somewhere between Alan Partridge and the Child-Catcher from ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’. (I have subsequently resolved to stop wearing black and/ or walking round with a net).
2. My children aren’t ill. They’re just ugly.
Yep, January’s taken its toll, and though the blasts and bugs of winter may’ve caused no real suffering (touch wood) I don’t think Burberry are going to be calling any time soon.
Germs are going round in a giddy carousel – one child’s nose starts to stream as another’s tummy starts to run – and the only colour in their cheeks comes from eczema. My kids look like they’ve stepped out of a black & white, 1930s slum photo. Especially as my 8 year-old son won’t wear anything but shorts, and my 6 year-old daughter insists on ankle socks because they take less pulling.
Obviously, I could play the parenting card (ie sufficiently feed, comfort and clothe them) but it’s easier to wait for summer, when we can head out as a family to pick up a carcinogenic tan.
3. Lorraine Kelly.
She cheers me up. Not only does she possess all the things I lack – kindness, a career and eyes that twinkle – she gets to talk to celebrities for real, as opposed to dissing them like she knows them (which is all I and my mates do when we get together, what with our own lives being so boring and nowhere near Dubai).
More importantly, Lorraine Kelly looks the sort of woman you’d want to get drunk with – the kind who wouldn’t fight men, cut her arm on broken glass and/or cry about David Bowie. Which is why she’s on the telly, and not hanging out with me and my mates.
4. Bedtime is 9pm.
IT’S OFFICIAL. Winter’s won, we’ve all stopped trying to have that exotic thing called ‘an evening’, and come 8.45pm, the nation is a-bed – watching ‘Veep’, playing Clash of Clans and pretending sex is theoretically on the table.
About blinking time too. I’ve done being vilified for wanting to ‘retire’ about ten minutes after my kids. I don’t want to stay up watching Nordic sex-crimes or tweeting about Cameron. Nor do I want to go out and quaff over-priced drinks with middle-aged folk too prosperous to STAY HOME AND DRINK like sensible 15 year-olds.
But for the duration of dry January – and a fair bit of Fucked-Off Feb – I am not the odd one-out. We are all home. And we’re none of us up.
Which brings me to…
Am I the only one taking it to bed with me? It started as a post-festive clear-up – a dutiful attempt to empty the fridge of rogue fromagerie. (“What’s this in the plastic? It’s fine, I don’t need the cracker”).
But cheese is dangerously portable, isn’t it? It started coming to the table with me, then the sofa – and so to bed. Now it’s not unknown for me to keep a small saucer of something crumbly on top of the bathroom loo.
This was my guilty secret until we received a spate of visitors (ie two guests over the course of a five week period) both of whom gifted us a stinky ball. Dairy is obviously ‘de jour’, and I should no longer blush when people tell me I have “a little something” on my top lip and it turns out to be a clump of Port Salut with the weave still on it.
So there you have it. My five reasons to be cheerful –
Hair Loss, Ugly Kids, Lorraine Kelly, Bed and Cheese.
All the ingredients for a life-enhancing January. Or a film involving Wallace and Grommit.