A Very Happy and Prosperous New Year to you all.
This January it will mean that we are into our fifth year of blogs, and I’ve held back sending this until now to ensure you’ll be back at work and bored…. So this will be a long one.
Those of you who never thought it would last, thank you for your patience and interest, well at least the two of you who are still reading it. The rest of you have toddled off into the distance, dazed and confused by its content rather than tired and emotional, drunk on its beautifully written prose. I shall persevere until I am a household name, at least in my own household anyway.
I spent the New Year with my mother and my aunt, at Hotel Casa Mama as it is known, in Somerset. The kind of place where I can go, lie down and be fed and watered without moving a muscle, much like my regular Friday night, without the dancing, peel me a grape please!
My mum is now 85 and Aunt Kathleen is 95. Kathleen lives in a caravan in a field in Gloucestershire and still hitchhikes everywhere as she has done all over the world her whole life, and she’s never happier than when wandering to Cheltenham Racecourse to paint or put a bet on. Age has never been a barrier to them enjoying a party, but more of my thoughts on that later. I have posted some photos of the Jekyll and Hyde days of weather I had there.
During the day on New Year’s Eve, I went for a long run. Mum’s place backs onto Exmoor, so I go out the back gate and immediately I am in the woods. The weather was stunning, and I ran along a coast path through the woods until I reached a farm and could run no further on the road. The bridle path then took me across a steep green field down towards the beach.
As I ran downhill across the field, I picked up speed and on the damp grass (it had been raining if you hadn’t noticed). I started to see what appeared to what seemed to me initially as broken, discarded Starbucks lids. Then I realised that I had stumbled across a shooting range and these were shattered clays. Spooked by this I slipped on the wet grass and slid the final 10 yards to safety and onto the rocky beach, the sound of shotguns in the distance. I suppose as a land owner it is one way to keep the ramblers off your land, and I went nowhere near his daughter.
Me the 3rd Duke of Greenlagh in a haystack with his daughter; with my reputation!
The run back along the beach was quite beautiful, the sky was blue and I could run along the tide line like a wild stallion playing in the advancing surf. Oh Adrian, get over yourself….
Later that afternoon I caught up with Fred and Judith, two school friends that I hadn’t seen for a couple of years. OK, more than a couple of years, but if I told you how long, the few among you with even the merest skills in maths will be able to work out that I am no longer a teenager, despite my behaviour. It was great fun, until we were thrown out for seemingly being too old for the pub’s New Year’s Eve party. I’m beginning to make a habit of this.
New Year’s Day was an entirely different proposition. The wind was blowing a gale and the rain was horizontal; all day. Despite this I decided that the best place to be was out in the wild.
I’d said to Fred the previous evening that I would run along the beach to Dunster and back; I never made it. The wind was so strong it would have been like running with a parachute strapped to my back while someone chucks buckets of freezing cold water over me. How do I know? I’ve tried that. So in the end I hiked (walked) to the top of Grabbist to enjoy the views through the mist and rain.
I returned after several hours, not quite soaked to the skin as I have the clothes for this; as I should, but minus the cobwebs and lungs full of city air. The party could begin again. Mother, peel me another grape and feed me!
I left Minehead the following morning at 5.30am. Walking down the front steps I disturbed a fox in the garden, and as I got to the car there were two baby deer playing in the road, they danced off into the nearby woods, as soon as they saw me. According to mother, the young even stray down into the town centre during the darker winter months. No, I wasn’t thinking venison, or rug. I have seen Bambi!
Neil in Ibiza has a new muse, and she is a beautiful tattooed lady. As he said to me we all send flowers and little love tokens. Currently he and his muse have been sending each other the life cycle of a frog, a chicken and his and hers fish eyes, all preserved in formaldehyde. Slightly worrying was the photograph he sent me of this lovely lady holding the fish eyes in front of her own.
Love at first sight I suppose. Collective groan, please!
In 2014 I shall be trailing a “Dark Store”. You’ll be able to come into the poorly lit shop hand me your credit card and let me choose your wardrobe for you, charging what I like, adding a couple of zeros to the final tally and pushing you out blinking into the daylight clutching a dayglo’ yellow neoprene “Onesie”, they are so this Christmas. So nothing changes.
Before you read further:
You may be mortally offended by what I am about to write, and I will apologise now. Like nearly everybody I have lost friends and family to cancer, and I will do my bit to help by raising a laugh alongside those of you who will not be raising a glass.
I happily give to charity in its many forms, do my runs, my rides, hold Adam’s hand and generally try to do my bit. Apart from donating to the three not so wise young men who entered the shop on Christmas Eve asking me to sponsor them on their “Thievathon”, any ID or accreditation? No IDea!
For some the Dryathlon begins.
I understand the sympathy behind Cancer Research and Dryathlon….. However I shall be raising a glass to you all. The bars will be emptier, there will be taxis for all and I will continue my birthday celebrations once more. I will therefore donate £5 (Not Monopoly money) for every bottle of wine I consume instead. (This currently stands at 4 bottles).
Cancer Research is promoting a “Tipple Tax” if someone falls off the wagon, and they suggest if we do we should hold our head in shame, this really offends me. So they want it either way, whether you don’t or even if you do, but we should be ashamed if we do! The only hanging of my head will be if I am drunkenly slumped with my head in hands on the bar. At least I will aim to get some enjoyment from donating on my terms, rather than being dictated to.
I am worried if this trend continues, there will not be a month of the year when we are not giving something up, like a perpetual Lent, without the pancakes. Emi will not survive without pancakes with Nutella and banana. So I went to Wikipedia to see what I could add to their list of Awareness and Appreciation Months.
These are just suggestions and my suggestions, before any of you give me a hard time, and I will do my best not to offend anyone, but if I do, please accept my heart felt apologies. You can laugh at me and not with me.
January: Giving up everything, it’s what the resolutions are for.
February: Tattoo removal month – Remove or cover the name of those that may have fallen out of favour. It’ll hurt, but then it hurts anyway.
March: We will now have eaten the last of the Kurtos Kalacs in the freezer. Seemingly only available at Winter Wonderland, this won’t be something we will be giving up just for a month, it will be until November.
April: Give up Winter, it’s so over!
May: Give up Summer, it’s so over.
June: Stop watching reality TV, do something real.
July: Give up calling the months by girl’s names.
August: National Ibiza Appreciation Month – Try and go without enjoying yourself.
September: Stop sleeping, it will work a treat after not sleeping in Ibiza for August.
October: Don’t dry between your toes – appreciate athlete’s foot
November: Give up fireworks – They’re only a celebration of anti-government sentiments. On second thoughts!
December: Wear a “Onesie” month, all month, and the more Christmasy the better.
And then of course New Year would not be complete without my list of ten things to give up for January:
1: Alcohol – Not a chance, I’ll drink to that.
2: Sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll – As the only drug I do is alcohol and you know my stance on that, I’ve probably got room for one of the other two, or three; it’s a crowd, or is it?
3: Partying – Same answer as above.
4: The Gym – Same ans……. Not a chance. If I need to rip my shirt off running for a bus, I want to look good. Those of you I train with, let’s step it up a gear. Those of you who start new memberships, don’t fall by the wayside. So for those of you who need a suggestion, there is Neil Baker and Otaniyien Ekiomado. Those of you lucky enough to live in New Zealand you have Doug Hutchings. I have used and worked out with them all.
5: Talking to Strangers – Well they haven’t got a clue what I am going on about anyway, but as has been explained to me on numerous occasions neither do any of you!
6: Breakfast at The Wolseley – It’s closed for a kitchen refit, so I have no choice. Off to Colbert to bully a few celebs who think they might be better than me. You know who you are, be afraid…
7: Give up bullying celebs. Some of them don’t appreciate it.
8: Don’t listen to music by Sting, The Police, Robbie Williams, eighties music and Lady Gaga. I have my reasons.
9: The Arts Theatre Bar followed by Balans – Early morning walks across the parks and hangovers be gone. And don’t substitute them with Freedom, just because it has a couple of poles you can dance around in the basement. The silver, lycra thong will not come in handy, and swinging it round your head and throwing it to the stunned audience is not the idea.
10: Stop painting my toenails.
11: Shots – I can never remember how many I’ve had.
11: Shots – I can never remember how many I’ve had…..
11: Making lists – Use my memory more, now where was I? Oh, I remember, shot of tequila, Joe.
12: The Phd. In Mathematics, let’s start the year with an old joke.