Here’s a quick rant about the sheer drudgery of staying on an even keel
I SOMETIMES WISH that I had a quid – or even a penny – for every hour I’ve spent working on my bloody mental health.
I feel like the Fast Show character – “Mental ’ealth? 30 years, man and boy, I done it! Hardest Game in The World, that is!” – when I think of all the time I’ve lost to shoring up my mood.
I’m thinking about all the runs and rides I made myself do, so I’d feel better…. the hours and days reading self-help books and articles…. the journaling and unsent letters to people who’d hurt me…. the years and years in therapy.
It’s the month when things start to change for the better – just not fast enough
IF EVER A MONTH had no mates, it would surely be February.
The 28 days we’re currently living through – or should that be enduring? – have had no end of detractors. In word and song, as well as in real life.
Perhaps its most famous rinsing came 50 years ago, when Don McLean sang: “February made me shiver/with every paper I’d deliver”.
And since then, a long queue of writers and musicians has formed to give our least favourite month a proper kicking.
Author Anna Quindlen, for example, once called Feb “a suitable month for dying”.
“Everything around is dead,” she added, “the trees black and frozen so that the appearance of green shoots two months hence seems preposterous, the ground hard and cold, the snow dirty, the winter hateful, hanging on too long.”
Alice McDermott asked: “late afternoon in early February, was there a moment of the year better suited for despair?”
Terrible, dreepy, dark”
Sebastian Barry, meanwhile, called the year’s second month: “Terrible, dreepy, dark”, and Clive Barker likened it to a monster, writing: “The great grey beast February had eaten Harvey Swick alive.”
But, personally, I think we should be laying off February: for me it’s nowhere near as horrible as it’s made out to be, at least on this side of The Pond.
In fact, February is the month when things start to change for the better – it’s real problem is that it doesn’t change things quickly enough.
Surprisingly, happiness lies in a blast of adverse weather
TODAY WAS THE SORT of January day we all dread – cold and grey, with north winds driving tiny needles of sleety rain hard into your face.
We don’t have the world’s harshest weather here in the north temperate zone but – trust me – today was horrible enough.
When you threw in the post-Christmas comedown, worrying rates of Covid infections, and the Government announcing another six-weeks of lockdown, it added up to the perfect excuse for just sitting around and feeling fed up.
It’s the shortest day today, which always means there’s light after the darkness
THERE’S BEEN a lorra lorra gnashing and wailing in the UK this week, after the Government did yet another U-turn and cancelled Christmas.
Faced with a highly infectious new coronavirus strain in London and the south east of England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson banned Christmas travel to and from the capital – and restricted festive visiting nationwide to December 25.
While no-one is arguing much with the need for stricter measures, pretty much everybody thinks the timing of Johnson’s announcement stinks.
Just days earlier, he had said it would be “inhuman” to deny Brits a proper Christmas after nine months of worry, sacrifice and hardship.
Yet the announcement did precisely that, coming just as millions were putting presents under the tree for relatives who now won’t be able to open them – and buying Christmas treats that now can’t be shared with loved ones.
Please Santa, let me get fit enough to run on Xmas morning!
Now that we’re into December – and sort of out of lockdown – ’tis the season when Christmas preparations crank into overdrive.
Here in London, people have gone for it early – putting up their trees and outdoor decorations last weekend, when of course we were still in November.
Christmas purists like my wife (who believes that no bauble ought to go up before December and every pine needle should be gone by Twelfth Night) might look slightly askance. But no-one seriously wants to stop people from squeezing all the light and joy they can out of this bleak time – except maybe the Government.