Well Dear Reader I would like to wish you a Happy New Year! No I am not late as a couple of weekends ago was my New Year as the previous Saturday had been my Christmas Day.

I had wanted a different Christmas it being the first without my beloved Old Dears. A different Christmas was duly planned and planned to the last detail. I went away the weekend before Christmas, there were carols by candlelight in Molland church followed by din dins in the London Inn. Friends coming for supper. Friends coming for drinks. The Kellaways – best neighbours in the world – coming for Christmas Eve. A tradition started by the Old Dears which had to be continued. Christmas Day – a walk on the beach with Best Mate, Cousin and all the dogs followed by a late Christmas lunch with my fiancé joining us. Yes a fiancé, yes a long long story and yes a very very very long engagement and yes but no NO NO wedding!! Boxing Day back to the London Inn for the beagles and more drinkies.

What could go wrong I hear you say? What went bloody wrong was the bloody flu bug complete with a bloody vomiting bug. Boy were we ill and I mean ill. Cousin went first, she looked looked and sounded like shit. We spoke to her across her garden gate refusing to get closer in case we got it. Then Best Mate followed and what a cough she got. You could hear her half way across the farm nay you could hear her half way across the Bristol Channel. I hung out and hung out but by the Friday I was on the sofa dying and I don’t die quietly. I just don’t do ill. I don’t do sick and if I have to be sick EVERY one knows about it. Friday, Saturday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing day I died. The day after Boxing Day I moved from bed to sofa so I was getting better. I didn’t drink, I didn’t eat, I couldn’t move, I ached, my bones ached, my joints ached, my head ached I just bloody ACHED. The turkey went in the freezer, Cousin gave her mince pies to the chickens, Best Mate’s Christmas pudding is still in a cool dark place. My Christmas cake is in the freezer – cold and unloved, languishing next to the turkey.

January we just struggled, several relapses, no energy, no strength, just struggled and struggled. So we planned our Christmas dinner for Saturday 3rd February. Our Scottish mate from London was coming to stay,fiancé was around and the rest is a drunken history.

The following weekend I was in Surrey at the Old Dears house so I had my New Year’s celebrations there with my Surrey Mates and boy did we do it in style.

Then the Saturday was spent with my Big Brother dealing with probate. So after he finally left I sat by the wood burner, bottle opened, typing away, music blaring when I dropped a sausage on the floor. Panic hit and I fell off the chair while swooping down to pick up the sausage before the dogs got it! That’ll be my dogs that are 198 miles away in Devon………..still old habits die hard