Lind­say Woods

Irish Examiner - Weekend - - Inside - @the­girlinthep­a­per

‘Jan­uary is bleak enough with­out lob­bing un­re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions upon my­self

As we hur­tle to­wards 2019, I have al­ready dodged sev­eral recipes for smooth­ies on so­cial me­dia. It is a ver­i­ta­ble ‘Ground­hog Day’ ver­sion of my 2017 New Year’s. I will also have been privy to sev­eral ads for fit­ness garb and equip­ment. Know your au­di­ence In­sta­gram… I’m not it.

There was a time when a New Year’s spent at home would have felt like a form of cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment. When the lure of a strap­less num­ber which I slipped into and bot­tom­less bev­er­ages quaffed pressed be­tween pa­trons in a crowded es­tab­lish­ment was my idea of a good time. Nowa­days, pretty much ev­ery­thing I wear has straps. Pipe down Janet, it’s not some bud­get ‘Fifty Shades’ sce­nario. More, it’s just, well… grav­ity.

Work­ing from home also means slim pick­ings when it comes to fes­tive party in­vites. Which, has its pros and cons. My en­sem­ble is more of the flan­nel va­ri­ety: so far so win­ning. But I do pang for a rous­ing cho­rus of ‘So, here it is, Merry Christ­mas…’ with work Janet af­ter a few Cin­zanos and a rub­bery turkey din­ner.

I do how­ever get to avoid the afore­men­tioned rub­bery fare in lieu of a main course of an en­tire baked Camem­bert. I take mine stud­ded with gar­lic and sprigs of rose­mary and an en­tire French stick for dip­ping pur­poses, in case you won­dered? (You didn’t, but, I as­sure you the com­bi­na­tion would make an­gels weep! As does my breath the morn­ing af­ter from my overly lib­eral hand with the gar­lic.)

Res­o­lu­tions are te­dious. So much so, I have de­cided to stick to my tried and tested for­mula of not en­ter­tain­ing them in the slight­est. Jan­uary is bleak enough with­out lob­bing un­re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions upon my­self. I get enough of that on a reg­u­lar Mon­day. It also seems slightly lu­di­crous to im­pose such de­mands dur­ing the post-Christ­mas come­down. Not to men­tion the sugar one. The be­gin­ning of the year should be viewed as a tran­si­tion as op­posed to a re­stric­tion; a chance to softly cod­dle our­selves into the first few weeks; like new-born foals, stum­bling blindly into the un­known…trail­ing the re­mains of a se­lec­tion box in their wake.

No, this is the time to tread softly. Very softly. Maybe, even an ex­tra layer of flan­nel softly. Af­ter all, 2018 was a doozy. Twelve months of an en­tirely mixed bag of highs and lows; both here and across the globe. It stands to rea­son that I am there­fore ap­proach­ing 2019 with a hefty dose of side-eye. I am un­sure as to how it will un­fold and re­veal it­self. Pri­mar­ily, be­cause its sis­ter proved to be a pretty messy can­di­date over­all.

There­fore, the only way I feel I can truly close the door on this year, while leav­ing it slightly ajar for the com­ing one (al­beit with the door chain left on) is, to party like a par­ent.

There are a cou­ple of def­i­nite pre-req­ui­sites to max­imise the Par­ent Party. Firstly, all food must be in minia­ture form. Vol au vents, quiches, sticky cock­tail sausages… you get the gist. Cut­lery is in the form of fin­gers and all mini culi­nary de­lights (trans­la­tion: two for €6 in Su­perValu) must be con­sumed, parked in front of the TV dur­ing a marathon view­ing of some of the great fran­chises of yore; Back to the Fu­ture,

In­di­ana Jones etc.

At­tire is strictly stretchy and con­tains var­i­ous pat­terns of plaid. The gaunt­let will be thrown in­re­la­tion to the dregs left at the bot­tom of the tin of Roses. A ‘Chal­lenge An­neka’ gaunt­let if you will. Where I will see it as a pub­lic ser­vice to drain the unloved (cof­fee and the ones with the tex­ture of tree bark) re­mains so as to prop­erly dis­pose of said tin.

At some stage, my hus­band will pro­duce a ques­tion­able ar­ray of sand­wiches in his bid to clear the fridge of any rem­nants of the fes­tive sea­son. Which will cause us all to pull apart such of­fer­ings to ex­am­ine the con­tents. No one needs a rogue sprout knock­ing about be­tween lay­ers of Ker­ry­gold.

No one.

We will at­tempt a boardgame. Be­cause my chil­dren are ev­i­dently masochists, they will reach for Mo­nop­oly. It will not end well and we will re­mem­ber why it was that Game Night Fri­days were banned. We will whee­dle and ca­jole our kids into stay­ing awake to see the clock turn twelve. They never make it past 11. Which, sees us all in bed for ap­prox­i­mately 11.05pm. The first knowl­edge I have of the ush­er­ing in of the New Year is when I am awak­ened by the party across from us cheer­ing and wish­ing each other the cus­tom­ary ex­cla­ma­tion. Swiftly fol­lowed by the cat tor­pe­do­ing up the stairs and onto our bed as a re­sult of the fizzing and crack­ing fire­works.

Happy New Year! May 2019 be kind to us all!

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