Happy New Year!  Seems entirely inappropriate as I look outside at the gloomy vista beyond while, on the other side of the world, Australia burns and people fight for their homes and their lives.  2020.  I heard Graham Norton on the radio yesterday reminiscing about how, growing up, the prospect of such a year – way in the future – conjured up images of Star Trek: space travel, ridiculous outfits, pointed ears and Klingons!  Not forgetting, ‘Beam me up, Scotty!’.  Yet, here we are and the reality, far from the Hollywood version, is considerably more scary.  Where did the years go and what a mess we’ve made!

2020 and forget Klingons, what about the onesie?  It would seem that, with the passage of time, not only anything goes but taste has gone!  Social media is a lure to those who covet public affirmation; the need to document one’s every move for others to approve.  There is no putting the genie back in the bottle but there should be a nod to self-respect.  One of the fashion faux pas of now – the onesie – it’s only a matter of time before that of santa claims its victim.  Now, that’s an image one would struggle to ‘un-see’!

2020 and both Manny and myself vowed to attempt Dry January.  I don’t think we prefaced anything with the word ‘attempt’, at the time, but …  Well, New Year’s Day, there was a bottle of champagne in the fridge and orange juice so that would just have been silly to waste it.  Bucks Fizz all round!  Then, Thursday was stressful driving back and forward to Edinburgh in the driving wind and rain to the accompaniment of the incessant beeping of my car’s overhead computer.  Quite frankly, I think my beloved old Jeep is displaying signs of early Alzheimer’s!  The ‘hood’ is not open!  So, glass of wine needed to steady the nerves.  How was Manny doing?  Well, he wasn’t feeling great and had to partake of a little brandy for medicinal purposes – quite understandable.  Then, there’s the weather and the bleak news headlines …  Here’s to the compromise of a Dri-er January and may I confirm that my favourite Christmas present of a bell emblazoned with ‘Chime for Wine’ remains in its box – for now!

We didn’t have a tree this Christmas.  Little point as we weren’t going to be here and, particularly, given that I always end up decorating it on Christmas Eve.  Perhaps I am of Austrian or German ancestry being as that is their tradition?  Speaking of which, we have collected some lovely Austrian garlands and advent pieces over the years and, together with fairy lights, they are Christmas for me.  Loathe to take them down, yesterday was the day but it meant packing them away under the eves in my bedroom and both Becca and Manny have heard the patter of tiny feet running across the roof and up the walls in their rooms of late.  No sightings – yet – but I did not relish the prospect of crawling into the darkness to be faced with a pair of eyes or, worse still, a tail!  I did it, though, and survived unscathed.

Perhaps this post will be a little shorter than usual there being little to report.  Little to criticize?  I doubt it but I am lacking in momentum today.  Beside me on the table is the Judy Garland biography I finished reading in Austria, not back in situ on the book shelves as there is a quote I want to add to my book of ‘words’.  Such a tragic life and such a waste.  Only forty-seven when she died, Elvis was only forty-two!  I mention Elvis because I ended up watching a biopic of his early years on television this afternoon and it struck me, the parallels in their demise.  Both possessing of huge talent, their naivety rendered them pawns and enabled an addiction to uppers and downers, a coping mechanism which, in turn, ensured an early and painful death.  It struck me, though, how controlling Elvis was and demanding of his entourage.  Whilst he, himself, was Colonel Parker’s puppet with little or no control over his own life, he could, however, manipulate his friends who, in turn, became ‘yes’ men.  Echoes of an eating disorder?  Interesting.

So, I suppose 2020 really starts tomorrow.  The nation returns to the grindstone adorning, once again, the obligatory identity tag and lanyard, removing all clothing of colour and climbing back onto that incessant treadmill.  Excuse me while I remove that ‘chime for Wine’ bell from its box.  I’m depressing myself!  While I pledge to write that book (intro complete) and endeavour to christen a new column on my bank statement – the ‘in’ one – I have my first drumming lesson this coming Wednesday!  Yes, I know, it’s over a year now since Manny gave me drumsticks for my Birthday but …  Then, on Thursday, I have been invited to a lunch party by my old friend, Roddie.  An absolute one-off, he tells me that of his seven guests, most are retired bankers and one a retired barrister.  Entirely obvious where I fit in, I can only assume I fulfil the role of the erstwhile court jester – or the dishwasher has broken!  Joking aside, Roddie is a ray of sunshine in an increasingly grey world.  Full of character, he regales the stories of his privileged background and chequered life with humour and self-deprecation and is an absolute joy to be around.  Now, why can’t the world be full of Roddies … and Jack Savorettis, Tom Odells, Hugh Grants and Jackmans?!  Not a lot to ask.  A world of talented individuals rather than characterless clones.

To a colourful 2020 – reminds me, I must get some Vitamin D supplements …

Let me leave you with an ‘un-owned’ quote I came across in my search for something humorous:

‘This year my wish is that everyone gets exactly what they deserve.’


This is Trish, signing off.