What a fraught, divisive, infuriating sort of year it’s been. It started with me attempting to go on a blind date and being clocked by a speed camera doing 35 in a 30 in the dark on the way home. And on the way to the speed course, obviously, I pranged my car trying to park. I took this to be an omen. The ex-builder boyfriend was duly dusted off and put back into active service.
In February, while having two new tyres fitted at a tyre shop in Wandsworth, I found myself being hit on by a jihadist tyre-fitter.
We got chatting as I sat in his waiting room. He sat at his desk, beneath a golden passage from the Koran, and I somehow ended up telling him I had been to Iraq.
The next thing I knew he was confessing to the fact that he was just back from there, for top secret reasons. Then he lowered his voice and told me that if only I knew an Isis fighter personally I would realise how wonderful they were and I’d be happy to be a jihadi bride.
‘I’m in a relationship right now,’ I said, never so grateful for the builder boyfriend. ‘But thanks all the same. Is the car ready yet?’ For the love of God, is it ready? I thought I wasn’t going to get out of there alive. But in the end, the jihadi tyre-fitter gave me back my car with two of the best Continentals I’ve ever had fitted and a damn good discount to boot. As my mum always says, you have to take people as you find them.
In March, Darcy the racehorse trod on a fly-tipped screw, then blew a tendon. Bang went my dreams of riding my own horse to victory in the Grand National, smashing all known world records. Instead, I broke world records for the amount of time spent bandaging a horse’s legs twice a day while she recovered.
Brexit — and my Leave poster in the window — confirmed my place in the neighbourhood as the most unpopular right-winger to live in Balham in modern history. Several people accosted me in the park and informed me in the strongest possible terms that subversives like me were not welcome. We fled London after the result, fearing we might be battered to death by Corbynistas wielding giant packets of tofu.
August brought the usual dangers of horses overeating and sure enough there was an outbreak of colic in the family. It was all the more tricky to deal with as it was the builder boyfriend who colicked, not the horses.
He still blames Ali the kebab man for serving him a takeaway falafel wrap by mistake, instead of a lamb shawarma. I pointed out then, as I do now, that he didn’t have to eat the falafel wrap, much less stuff it into his pie-hole in one go, as we drove home, spitting bits of falafel all over the dashboard as he shouted about how disgusting it was.
He still claims he has falafel stuck in his colon and has refused to frequent poor Ali since, insisting that we go to the other place, where I am always the only woman because the main clientele is men in long robes queueing for a kebab after mosque.
Whenever I complain I don’t feel welcome, the BB says that soon I won’t have to worry about anything. I will just have to walk behind him and keep quiet. And then he laughs a lot. He thinks he’s funny.
Airbnb guests came and went all summer. The BB did Basil Fawlty impressions for the Germans.
And now we are through with 2016 and the highlight of the year’s end has to be a small but wondrous incident he has just witnessed near his builders’ yard in Raynes Park, which demonstrates better than anything how far out of its box the loony left now is.
A police car pulled up outside the café where he was having his morning fry-up and armed officers in flak jackets sat inside having their break. Whereupon a bearded leftie knocked on their window and said to the only thing between the law-abiding citizens of this country and total oblivion at the hands of religious maniacs: ‘Excuse me, officer, I think you’ll find you’ve got your engine running and you’re polluting the environment.’
Without flinching, the copper looked him up and down and said: ‘How about I give you a night in a cell, to take your mind off worrying about the environment?’
The builder b congratulated him afterwards. ‘Yeah well,’ said the officer, ‘he was a Liberal Democrat, that one.’
Which just goes to show, no matter how bad it seems, there are still a few good men.