January Blues – not me!

January seems to be a universally hated month which has always seemed a bit unfair for those whose birthdays fall in this month.  Not only do they have to deal with the joint present for Christmas and Birthday thing but their birthday celebrations are always a bit of a damp squib since most people are neither drinking nor eating. Well, I wish to redress the balance – I like January – a bit left field I know but that’s me, glass half full.  So banish those January blues and here are ten good reasons to like January (as far as I am concerned).

1. The children are back at school – this is far and away the best thing about January for me.  Having suffered the school holidays in shocking weather where not even the most insane mother would force her children outside, I have to admit that, although I love my children dearly, I was literally counting the minutes until my children became someone else’s responsibility between 9am and 3.30pm.  Since their return to school a couple of days ago, I have finished every single cup of tea I have made for myself (first time since mid-December) and I have managed to speak on the phone without conducting a parallel conversation with one or other child.  These are good things.

2. Christmas is over for another year – I know this sounds a bit bah humbug but it’s true – Christmas is a right palava and yes, there are some wonderful bits especially with young children but there are also some really irritating bits…

3. …which brings me onto “tinsel” – regular readers will know that I am allergic to tinsel – I hate the way it looks, the way it feels, the way it is omnipresent in the festive season and I actually hate the sound of the word, it sounds, as it is, tacky.

4.You can take the jumper that Aunt Maud gave you back to the shops and buy twice as much thanks to the sales.  I love a bargain – I really love a bargain and nothing makes me happier than exchanging something I don’t like for twice as many things that I do like.

5. It is perfectly acceptable not to entertain, not to cook for anyone and if you are as bold/odd as to invite people round in January, it is perfectly acceptable to have a take-away (maybe not pizza, but the local Indian or Thai restaurant fits the bill). In January I no longer have to pretend to be the offspring of Delia Smith, Nigella, Herman Blumenthal or whoever the chef du jour is.

6. It’s nice to do nothing – since I don’t fall into the camp of people insane enough to invite others around in January, I get to spend my evenings in January either watching the boxsets I got for Christmas or watching strangely fascinating “real-life” TV programmes that I wouldn’t go near at any other time of year.

7.The supermarkets are empty – the Christmas “Preppers” have gone and it is actually possible to pop to the shops for a pint of milk without running headlong into the panic-buying marauding masses who make

1024x768 Tree  - January 2012

1024×768 Tree – January (Photo credit: iluvgadgets)

buying even the simplest thing a herculean effort.

8. My credit card bill for January is the lowest of the year. January is the month when my credit card cools down after an extended period of overheating and just at the moment when it is about to spontaneously combust, it is allowed its “day of rest” – January.  If there is such a thing, I can say that January’s credit card bill is my favourite bill of the year.

9. The days are getting longer.  Always one to look on the bright side, we are on the way to summer – a long way off admittedly, but we are now the right side of the end of the year.  The odd snowdrop lifts the spirits further still. Am I pushing the point a bit…?

10. Everyone else in on a diet or having a no drinking alcohol month except me. Ergo they are miserable and however miserable they are, I am less miserable by virtue of the fact that I am still eating and still drinking. Cheers!

So there you have it, ten reasons to be joyful in January.  Perhaps I’ve stretched the point a bit but it’s not all bad and it’s only 31 days (744 hours for those who are counting) and as of today we are a third of the way through. Happy New Year all.

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Operation Christmas School Holidays

Household Cavalry on Garter Day

Household Cavalry on Garter Day (Photo credit: hmcotterill)

Operation Christmas School Holidays:  Commander-in-chief – me; soldiers under my command – 3

Day 1: injuries sustained – one bruised chin (from scaling the kitchen table during dinner), one  minor knock to head during a skirmish (friendly fire incident (between brothers)). Morale – high; obedience – minimal.  Some issues with chain of command.

Yes, it is that time of year again – my favourite – the school holidays with the added stress of Christmas thrown in too.  So I have decided to adopt a different approach this year and treat the entire holidays as a military campaign.  No doubt there will be victories and defeats along the way but I am determined to instil respect for authority and behaviour fitting of those representing their family on the world stage.

I wouldn’t say the first day has been an unqualified success.  My first hurdle has been a degree of overfamiliarity amongst the ranks – notably, I have been addressed by one soldier as “mate” throughout the day which is not a form of address that I feel befits my status and as “idiot” by another soldier when I suggested that he might like to entertain himself rather than play Fifa 12 on the X-box.

A second issue that has arisen has been the inability of any of the soldiers to sit anywhere near the table when eating or in fact sit at all.  Indeed it has become patently obvious why a “mess” (in military speak) is named thus when you look at my kitchen floor post eating.  I am definitely going to have to crack down on this over the coming few weeks and will need to form a strategy for coping at mealtimes (i.e. me coping with their disregard for the food I’ve cooked, table I’ve laid, floor I’ve cleaned etc).

Perhaps the issue which has raised the most dissent amongst the ranks today has been my (some might say ambitious) decision to spend a day without any TV or electronic devices. In retrospect I am not convinced this was a strategically sound decision for the first day of the holidays and I suspect that the person who suffered the most was in fact, me.  After a rather trying start to the day, I can report that the troops rallied and even attempted a group activity by mid-afternoon (decorating Christmas tree shaped ginger biscuits).  Astonishingly, this activity was completed with minimum destruction to the kitchen and without a single skirmish.

So here we are towards the end of the day.  One soldier has been granted leave to attend a local pantomime; one soldier is watching a division 2 football match from circa 1976 (why?  I have no idea) and the youngest soldier is “learning” Spanish from Dora the Explorer.  I do have to report that the TV has now been switched back on – I do believe it is important for personnel to have down-time before re-entering the fray.

What about me?  Well, I need down-time too – leading is so exhausting – and I am going to reward myself with a glass of wine.  Mission accomplished – Day 1 completed, all troops present and correct.  As for Day 2, we’ll be joined by Field Marshal Husband who shares command – sort of – at weekends. Progress report to follow.