Tuesday, 2 January 2018


I hate January. I hate diets and thinking about what we eat and all that stupid stuff. Drink less, Live longer. There is an age old joke about people who don't drink. They don't live longer, it just feels like longer. The new diet I saw today in one of the top newspapers was that you can eat carbs but you must give up red meat. I'm not quite sure where the science is in this but you can know for sure, somebody is making a whole lot of bucks out of it.
Mary Berry shows us how to eat cake, while remaining about six stone and she's posh and a national treasure.  All those biscuits, cakes, sweets and puddings we feel obliged to indulge in while not giving a shit about Jesus. There is something less than wholesome about it all. Okay, I'm going to be smug now. I lost weight over Christmas. No, I didn't diet, I walked my daughter's labrador for miles and ate just what I always eat and that never did include crap like mince pies. Christmases like this were for feasting We don't need to have a festival of feasting, we do it all the time. When was the last time you didn't eat what you wanted? The whole thing is ridiculous.
There were four young people on breakfast television the other day and they have all written books about giving up alcohol and yes, it would be lovely if we didn't need such addictions but there they were, all thinking about the money they'd make and it wasn't as if they'd been alcoholics. Just smug bastards out to make a buck because you are worried about your liver. Ferraris all round.
I suppose the only good thing is that I'm now too old to die young of assaulting my liver or not taking enough exercise or loving butter.
I want to live forever, of course, as long as I'm not pissing my knickers in a nursing home or have lost my marbles but only if my friends are still here and they are not bedwetting, thinking they are Henry the eighth or like my poor aunt, continually knitting without needles or wool until finally their bodies give out.
I'm amazed I got this far. Widowed young, cancer at forty nine, shit on by my family, a difficult job and other people boring the shit out of me over and over again. God save me from other people.
So I will carry on as usual, drinking red wine and eating red meat, hoping I don't expire of a sudden cancer or that my liver disintegrates but let's face it, sooner or later the reaper comes for you.
There is a lovely cartoon which I found on Facebook when on Halloween he comes to the door for a man's soul and then sees chocolate and gives up on the idea. Where would we be without all the things we aren't supposed to be and do and live for? We'd be fucking bored stiff.
Jack Kerouac once said that he grieved over all those years his teachers had stolen from him. I feel the same. My life is for me now and whatever I choose to do with it I'm not going to live forever and I'll be sorry, if I can still be anything.
Shakespeare died in his fifties. And he was the most talented playwright who ever lived and he has given more joy, more pleasure, more fascination, horror and love than possibly anybody else whoever lived to other people, millions of them so if he can die then what does the rest of it matter? He gave us huge bounty, endless incredible words. I even managed to sit through Hamlet last time I saw it.  Three and a half hours. It's glorious, it's what life is all about.  I must have seen Hamlet a dozen times and there it goes again, there it is reinterpreted and shining brilliantly.
One thing I love in January. I go away to some wonderful city and listen to music and this year I am going to Vienna. I have always wanted to go to the opera house and my wonderful wonderful daughter has bought tickets to the opera. Mozart's Don Giovanni. Now that to me is what Christmas and celebration is all about. Music and being with the people who love you, who don't bore you or judge you or expect too much. She's taken me to Prague to the ballet, and to Milan where we couldn't afford the opera and to Athens where we had a hotel room which looked out at the acropolis. She took me to Budapest where we plodged about in hot pools and there we had the opera and the ballet. We went to Paris, which was ghastly, I got the flu and to Rome where she found the most gorgeous restaurants in tiny back streets. We take her labrador to beaches in North Wales and Northumberland and we walk her in Cheshire in the big posh parks and in durham by the railway line. And this is it. As somebody once didn't say a person is  not just for Christmas but for life. To love and be well loved is what it's all about and it doesn't really matter what time of year it is.
Happy January, whatever you are doing. The green shoots of the bulbs which Howard planted for me last autumn are already showing in the garden. He planted lots and lots of crocuses and there are daffodils and tulips. On we go, regardless. Enjoy!!

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