- Number of Christmas gifts received: one. A Breville smoothie maker from my assistant Nicola. Oh, and a scarf, socks and a box of Bonio dog biscuits for the puppies from her mum. I gave Nic a cash bonus and a Molton Brown candle, while her mum got Chanel No 5 parfum – none of your cheap rubbish.
- Number of cards received from family members: none.
- Number of cards received from friends: none.
- Number of cards from work colleagues: one, the aforementioned Nic. I’m beginning to look back on the days when I received a frozen butterball turkey from the newspaper I worked on as halcyon.
- Number of thank-you texts from my ‘boyfriend’ for his Christmas gift: none. I am vaguely wondering what finally made him dump me. Was it the column where I wrote he doesn’t read books? (He doesn’t.) Or the fact I sent him a book for Christmas? Did
he think I was trying to change him by doing so? Or was it the column where I wrote that trying to have a conversation with him was like trying to parler with a potato?
- Number of Happy New Year texts: two, from my friends Dawn and Meena. A small but moot point: they were not unprompted. I received one Happy New Year email. It was from the Kennington Tandoori.
I’ve just been reading a feature in a tabloid about five women who all kept their New Year resolutions. One changed careers to become a therapist, another lost a huge amount of weight and can now fit through the revolving doors at Selfridges and run marathons, another gave up using plastic. I think the only resolution I made last year was not to go to bed in the clothes I’d been wearing all day. And I didn’t keep it. Nowhere even close.
I didn’t go to my ex’s house party for New Year’s Eve. I hadn’t wanted to walk over to the main house from my hovel in the annexe to breakfast to find a table stuffed full of rich wives, wearing kaftans, facelifts and waggling their jewellery, spoilt teens planning gap years. I would be, literally, the poor
They would all have stopped talking, in case I started making notes. I’ve often wondered before, at these sort of parties, how such women got these men. I talked to Nic about the phenomenon, that the women are uninteresting lumps in black tent-like dresses, not even bodycon, with no careers as such. ‘Children,’ she replied, sagely. The men are funny and interesting (‘and rich’ Nic interjected) while the women just talk about their gardens and where to get great food in the Borders, and whether or not said restaurant gets fish delivered daily.
In the end, I went for a curry in a restaurant in Richmond where the wine ‘list’ simply said ‘red or white’. But, onwards and upwards. I am determined to be braver this year, not always anxious, in a perpetual state of panic. The worst I could imagine has happened to me (not losing David; losing my home) and I survived, just about. Everything was put in perspective when I texted my old London cleaner, who worked for me for 11 years, and she told me she has cancer, and is having to go through treatment. So I’m counting my blessings: three amazing border collies; the new one, Missy, is sleeping through the night without paddling on my head with her paws, and is now confident enough to sit next to Mini on the sofa. I submitted my novel on 2 January; writing novels is so liberating, as you just type at the beginning: ‘Any similarity to persons living or dead is entirely accidental.’ I’m doing a digital detox every Sunday. I am now hacking out my horse on my own. For the first time in my life, I’m ahead!
Ooh, an email, with the subject header: ‘You were missed.’ I open it, expecting little, hoping for much.