Call me a hair-shirt wearing, self-flagellating grinch but January has always been my favourite month. I casually mentioned this on our way to a festive Boxing Day lunch with friends and was surprised by my husband’s catatonic response: “You could drive a man to suicide.’
True he’s weathered fifteen of these fervid born-again Januaries and once, in the earliest days of romance, I even persuaded him to join me in a seven day juice fast I was road-testing for The Telegraph. Looking back I can’t believe the way I packed him off to his office each day with a flask of carrot and ginger juice and a Tupperware box of crudities for emergencies. He broke on the third day when a crooked computer repair man refused to give back his still broken laptop unless he parted with huge sums of money. His white hot volcanic rage shocked the entire shop into awed silence and almost had him arrested for GBH. Ever since then the January scourge has been a solo event. Come New Year’s Day you’ll find me happily slinging the empties into the recycling bin and ripping open sachets of Fennel tea with the enthusiasm of a crackpot zealot. I love the spirit of optimism that pervades January. I love the weighty, sweaty, puffed out joggers who crowd the country lanes each morning, I love the libraries crammed with aspiring novelists, I love the collective hopes and dreams of a nation who, for this month anyway, just want to be perfect. I’m pretty sure there’s some lapsed Catholic guilt powering this constant drive for self-improvement but what the hell. Right now I’m liking everything about the New Year when I’ll be a robotically fit, model parent and published author with the sensitivity of Mother Teresa, the brain power of Nietzsche. Come and get me 2012: I’m ready.