Curiously, for once, I was awake at midnight this year. Had I been asleep the barrage of Barry fireworks would have ripped me violently from slumber into a very rude awakening. So much for austerity – I thought fireworks were expensive, the extravagance of the amateur pyromaniac akin to setting fire to a roll of banknotes. Don’t misunderstand me I’m not a kill-joy rather I’m actually a little bit frightened of them; my recollection of Bonfire Night is the smell of the lining of my father’s anorak as I hid from the bangs! Viewed from my bathroom window the New Year sparkles lighting up Porthkerry Park was quite beautiful (if a bit close).
The problem is during the festive break, as with any period of absence from the routine of work, I lose all sense of time. Without the imperative of the hamster wheel life of a freelancer time becomes elastic; I go to bed later and sleep longer. A normally punctual person becomes slovenly and lax in terms of time keeping – why this happens heaven only knows I have no excuse to offer! Back in the family home I reverted at times to being a teenager; one night I found myself at midnight simultaneously eating Ferrero Rocher whilst smoking a sneaky cigarette out of the bedroom window! What was that all about?
So on New Year’s Eve I assumed that as it was a Saturday and not a bank holiday that retail opening hours would be unchanged. It took me all day to finally get showered and dressed; in my defence I had been cooking (in my PJ’s (under a striped apron). Sweet Potato Soup, stewed apples and pears plus my body weight in fruit salad (2 pineapples, 2 melons, 4 grapefruit and several pounds of grapes); I can’t leave reduced fruit in the shop thereby creating a rod for my own back as it needs immediate attention to avoid further disintegration!
At 6pm I thought I’d return various items to M&S before possibly popping over to see a friend (who I was concerned about being on her own on New Year’s Eve). I sent said friend a text and jumped into the car. Of course arriving at Culverhouse Cross I found everything had closed at 6pm! I had two thoughts simultaneously: one that is the decision of a responsible employer and two this would never happen in the US. How shallow am I? What to do now on this rainy evening? No response from friend so I decided to go home.
I had intended to purchase something tasty to eat on account of it being New Years Eve and along with every other woman of my age the 1st January marked a return to responsible eating. So when I say tasty I do of course mean ridiculously indulgent sugar and or fat laden goodies. Of course I thought I’ll get a Chinese takeaway on the way home; excellent decision! So I call into a suitable establishment in Dinas Powys although I confess I did loiter outside for a while before going in on account of it being full of men leaning proprietarily on the counter.
I do look a little quirky in my cloche hat with my Russian Cossack style coat accompanied by black crutches held in black leather clad hands. Frankly I’d stare and give me a second glance so why wouldn’t the residents of Dinas Powys! A little flustered I order the only thing that comes to mind – Sweet and Sour Chicken, Egg Fried Rice and Prawn Crackers. The easy to remember fall back option without having to quote numbers!
Getting home I am distracted by the presents from ‘Friend with Benefits’ delivered the day before and abandoned on the dining table. Taking off my coat I unpack the take away and put it in the microwave to heat up; at this point I realise the chicken is in batter (a lot of batter) but hey why not? It will be perfectly acceptable once the semi congealed sauce has been heated to a more saucy consistency; if only this were to be true.
Whilst the food is being nuked I wander back into the dining room because 3 minutes in the microwave gives a girl loads of time to attend to other minor duties doesn’t it? I pick up the skin for my Kindle; a sticky back plastic patterned protective cover to ‘protect’ the equipment. This is one of the presents along with the biography of Steve Jobs. My eye is drawn to the title of the pattern ‘The Enamoured Owl’ and to the card ‘To a Special Friend’ written by said gentleman. It’s the time of year when one is inclined to read too much into casually written words; and yes I did just that! Pathetic behaviour from an adult who should know better! The giver of the gift has form for god sake!
So the recipient of the gift who vibrates without the accompaniment of mood music decides to apply the sticky skin to the electronic reading device; in the 3 minutes available and yes the process does require a steady hand to make it something other than wonky. Oh and yes the cover fits around the intricate design of a scaled down type writer style keyboard; a piece of cake! Not. Forty minutes later I sit back admiring my handiwork and realise that I will now have to look at this reminder every day (unless I get SO irritated I decide to remove it (supremely unlikely))!
By now the takeaway is even colder than when I arrived home (or so I thought). Best zap it for another five minutes I think. Plonking myself in front of the TV I pick at the now searingly hot offering; after a couple of lumps of batter lie like solid pellets in my stomach I spend the rest of the time extracting the chicken. And yes I am ashamed to say I threw most of it away; pleasant it was not! Nausea and fatigue drive me to bed. Not even Christopher Eccleston in the Borrowers (so wrong) could keep me awake.
A couple of hours later the chicken decides to take revenge with vengeance hence I found myself awake seeing in the New Year from the bathroom! Common sense and resolve not being something I appear to manage to hold on to. I had resolved not to involve ‘Friend with Benefits’ in alleviating the perennial itch of which I have previously spoken coupled with an agreement with my own Doc Martin to reduce my intake of painkilling drugs. The side effects of both more recently were outweighing the benefits. I succumbed to the former thereby being left in more pain than I could cope with without resorting to the latter! When will I ever learn? Hey the lapse was last year and 2012 allows for a nice cleansing fresh start! Happy New Year sophisticated ladies; ditch the resolutions and avoid beating yourself up in a month’s time; February is dreary enough without adding to it!!