I had a week off. My first holiday for 8 months. I say ‘holiday’ but as any mum will tell you, at Christmas time you merely swap one sort of work for another and it is sometimes even more stressful when family are thrown together for an intense few hours once a year. It isn’t helped when one of your children ends up being unwell for the duration.

With both sons tapping away on their miscellaneous devices, I ended up watching Mary Poppins on my own with the tub of Christmas chocolates as company and even they weren’t much fun given I have had to severely restrict my chocolate intake due to diet change.

I would have settled down to read the book my eldest son bought me – The Girls. Not sure what list he was looking at on Amazon but my school-girl French is not quite up to reading an entire novel in this wonderful language. He did get the English version in the new year.

I decided that this year we were not going to sit inside and fall asleep before Big Ben struck the hour (not even sure he did anyway given the refurbishment that started a few months ago); so we went to the cinema. I had heard The Greatest Showman was worth seeing and it was only when Hugh Jackman broke into song that I twigged it was a musical. Great for me and my sister, the rest of the party were less impressed.

However, I did completely forget to make any N Y resolutions. Not intentionally, I remember when it first became so unfashionable to make them, but even that phase has passed and now I simply forget about the whole thing. Mind you, I’ve promised myself and my good friend, I shall do the Lyme Lunge next year.

Because of the Bank Holiday, Tuesday was the new Monday and to mark the occasion I celebrated with my usual Friday treat (a decaff – along with the chocolate, I can no longer have caffeine in my diet – cappuccino from Aroma)…you following me? This regular slot of mine is now remembered by the lovely people who work in there and they rarely have to ask what I’m having.

By Wednesday the builders had moved in. Well, that’s perhaps a slight exaggeration; one of the theatre technicians who is also a carpenter started in earnest changing our corner cafe into a downstairs bar and prepping the area for our new loo. He’s one of the those people who just get on with the task in hand, no fuss, no shouting for attention or being the big I am, but by gum, he does a good job!

I was saddened to see the local newspaper The View From had closed down with immediate effect on Thursday. It is a sign of the times of course, but the fact they have lasted as long as they have when many nationals have gone to the wall is testament to their success. Everything is online now and even that previously scorned citizen journalism has taken a leading role on every social media platform.

Talking of leading role, I decided to finalise a story I’ve been working on for a while. It’s written, it just needs some improvement here and there. When I went to Chideock Manor to celebrate the success of the Bridport Literary Festival, one of the other guests talked about the thousands, if not millions of wanna-be writers who don’t even get as far as the cutting room floor.

Maybe I need to rethink my New Year strategy and be less fashionable, then I could finish editing my story, find myself an agent or publisher and who knows, I may start reading the French version of The Girls after all.

A busman’s holiday, a French novel and a New Year musical

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