Just the three resolutions for me. I am keeping it simple. Number one: no more boyfriends. The definition of insanity is repeating the same mistake while expecting a different result and I have been repeating this particular mistake for 42 years.
The truth is, I cannot do romance. I am elated to finally discover this and move on. The evening after it all finished with the builder, a friend rang me to see if I was alright. His tone intimated he thought I might have my head in the oven. In fact, I had my meal-for-one in the oven and I was in the best mood I had been in for several years.
‘How are you coping?’ asked the friend, his voice grave with compassion.
‘Fantastic!’ I whooped. ‘Did you know you can get little fish pies for £3.99 from Waitrose? I bought a bag of salad and some garlic bread on special offer and so my whole meal has come to less than a fiver!’
‘Are you sure you’re alright?’ he said. I think he thought I had gone manic. I have a friend who goes manic. In between depressions, she comes up so high she does things like wing-walking on planes as they loop the loop.
But I was deadly serious. ‘It’s amazing! I just bought this meal and put it in the oven and now I’m reading my book and listening to Handel’s Messiah on the old Dynatron I dug out of the attic, and I have nothing and nobody to worry about!’
‘Hmm,’ he said. ‘I think I’ll check on you tomorrow morning.’
But the next morning I was even happier: ‘It’s incredible! I’ve just had my breakfast and the entire cafetière full of coffee was mine, all mine, and now I’m going to spend the day doing exactly what I need to do. It’s amaaaaazing…’
That was a week ago, and to date I still feel like a woman reborn. So resolution number one should be easy.
Unlike resolution number two: get a new phone. I’m finally going to have to give up on the old BlackBerry. This fills me with more fear than any person ought to have to cope with. I don’t know why I can’t get excited about new technology but I really can’t. I reached saturation point in 1998 when they brought out a Nokia ‘as small as’ a house brick with a pull-out antenna and rubber buttons. I held that to my head for so long I’m sure my brains are radioactive. I would have been happy never to hold another phone anywhere near my face for the rest of my life, but the modern world wants what it wants and so I’ve been frying my right ear with a BlackBerry Bold for the past three years, mainly because it has buttons — remember them? But the BlackBerry Bold is now coughing and spluttering and it simply won’t go on any longer.
I am going to have to get an iPhone. The fear is terrible and all-consuming. What if my contacts don’t port across? What if I can’t get the hang of stabbing at the screen with my index finger?
My chest is getting tight just thinking about what the nice man in the Carphone Warehouse is going to say when I tell him I want to download over a thousand phone pictures to my laptop. The last time I went in there and tried to choose a new phone, I got into such a terrible funk people started rioting in the queue behind me. I became involved in a horrific dispute with a lady who kept saying, ‘We are all waiting, you know.’
Which leads me to resolution number three: limit the number of battles I am waging at any one time. Logic would seem to suggest that even the most level-headed person cannot possibly fight HS2 where my parents live, and the building of a new town at Wisley in Surrey, where I ride my horses, and The Slobs, who remain wedded to their phantom personal injury compensation suit.
The problem is, I can’t give up on any of these battles. Above all, I must fight to the bitter end to get my parents compensated for the collapse in value of their home. The bitter end, by the way, involves me lying down in front of the diggers. I’ve got it all worked out. I’m going to handcuff myself to the railings of the bridge over the brook at the bottom of our road, where I fished as a child. If they want to fill in the brook and bulldoze the fields and build their railway without compensating the people living in the middle of it all, they will have to dig me up with a JCB too. Happy new year, by the way.
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated 4 January 2014Tags: BlackBerry, boyfriends, Horses, iPhone, New Year resolutions, The Slobs