Monday, 18 January 2016


Someone, I think it is Ganching, has her own "New Year" date in mid-January sometime, which always seems to me to be a very sensible idea. Given that last Friday, 15th January, I slept a grand total of two hours (I think due, rather shamefully, to eating too many choux buns, muffins and biscuits at book club and spending the night in a gross, feverish sugar sweat), then woke up to the house flooding with melted snow bullshit and had to retire to my bed for the whole afternoon to mournfully gum most of a coffee and walnut cake (once the cake hunger is awoken it cannot easily be quelled) whilst watching the second series of Transparent, I think today is the earliest I can possibly allow the new year to start in this household.

So: happy new year! Here are my resolutions, they are minimal:

1. Stop reading Times Online articles about how I am parenting wrong. The Times has a lot to say on this topic, barely a week goes by without them telling me something about the rich and varied ways in which I am fucking my children's future up. The things are often contradictory, but this does not stop me believing every word. However, this cannot happen if I do not read them, so it stops now. Actually, more generally The Times is very keen to tell me how to live my life (every week Shane Watson seems to be telling me something I am doing wrong or am too old to do), and I am far too receptive to this kind of thing. I don't want to cancel my subscription because The Times has so many good writers and some completely brilliant journalism, but I need to be more discriminating in what I allow myself to read.

2. Not allow more than one mug on my bedside table at a time as that is the top of the slippery slope to utter squalor.

3. Write more. I did not write enough last year. I would take on pretty much any job that stopped me from writing and I need to not do that any more. I'm old. If I want to write something decent before I die, I need to get on with it.

4. To continue to try and reign in my most arsehole-ish tendencies, as far as possible.

5. To keep going to Dutch classes because they allow me effortlessly to speak to people to whom I am not related twice a week, which would otherwise have to be a resolution.

These are a bit earnest, aren't they. I think I am in a bit of a sackcloth phase. If anyone has anything utterly stupid and frivolous to suggest, I am all ears (eyes).

The New Year has started well:

- Beautiful cold, so cold, sunny day.

- I passed my Dutch exam this afternoon (even though the oral exam covered literally NOTHING we had been told to revise and instead of purchasing ham or phoning people up to ask what their table looks like, we were supposed to talk about whether we followed fashion, what the hell, look at me, I am wearing a stained jumper and dusty pensioner jeans);

- Then I got love-bombed by a silky soft brown labrador puppy on the way home;

- Then when I arrived there was a letter saying the stubborn administrative knot I have been trying to untangle for about six months has been untangled (no thanks to anything I or anyone else did, it is an act of god, or an act of Belgium);

- Then I ate celebratory cold crumble from the dish in my quiet warm house;

- Also, the new Gwyneth Paltrow hen has started laying unfeasibly cute tiny eggs.

This is as good as January gets, I feel.


20% Poor posture

20% Legal procrastination

10% General time wasting

10% Continued tiresome book insecurity/angst

10% Annoyed with dog moaning at me to light the fire

10% Probably too much of that face powder from the last post

10% Fish oil

10% Thrilled at the cover of this Brussels noise abatement information brochure for obvious reasons:

Look at the saxophonist's face. Totally unrepentant. Terrible terrible people.



Margaret said...

You need a cat. It will spend all day long knocking things off tables thus forcing you to not leave any drinking vessels unattended.

My resolution is that I'm going to be fifty in a month but instead of being sad about getting old it will be MY SECOND ACT. Because Americans loves us a second act. I have not refined that idea beyond last night's third glass of wine feeling of triumph at making this resolution.

I'm so glad you're back!

frau antje said...

Me? Oh yes, terrible, terrible people, absolutely. People you do not want parenting tips from. Thank god for the contrast of beauty. One should always be harassed when trying to think, or contemplate lovely bits of nature. It just makes one feel more human, no? I mean, what are we alive for, if not the lowest common denominator?

My New Year's resolution, which I was never earnest enough to have, was always don't change so much. It was a joke, but now it's dead serious. This year's resolution is going okay--no more lucky paring knives, it's just not working. Same goes for lucky socks and underwear, none of it has ever worked.

Geluidshinder. I am going to take that and run with it, like a fucking hyena or something.

Unknown said...

Totally with you on The Times. I have been reading it for decades now, and subscribed to iPad edition as soon as it went live, and that's so much better, because it makes it easier to skip bits I never read. At least it does for me - as my son has special needs, I have deliberately ignored all parenting articles, because a) parenting a healthy child in an affluent country is not 'the most difficult job in the world', especially when they are small, b) all the advice does not really apply. But I don't want to give up on my subscription for the same reasons you have listed. I also share your resolution to write more - a lot more.

CJ said...

Oh yes, the writing resolution here as well. I do very much like the idea of New Year's resolutions starting now, it means I haven't missed the boat, and I can put tonight's salted nuts and cookie binge behind me and the slate is all clean and it will all be upwards from now on. My writing resolution is more along the lines of write loads and actually be paid for something. That would be wonderful. I shall start immediately, thanks for the inspiration. CJ xx

tigerbaps said...

How great is Transparent? Perfection. Although season 2 darker I feel. But the performances! The soundtrack! The casting! Brilliant.

Waffle said...

Tigerbaps - I love it, but it is VERY dark and sort of excruciating to watch. They are all magnificent, I can't even decide who I love the most. Also Anjelica Huston turning up!

Anonymous said...

I do hope you have pushed a copy of noise abatement leaflet through offending neighbours door with BIG RED CIRCLE around saxophone.

Anonymous said...

The last few months have been troubled times, someone very close is going through some sort of terrible breakdown and it's so hard to know what to do and how to help. It's so hard to trust the therapist; on the one hand I know they're very competent and very highly-regarded in the profession but on the other hand the whole discourse is very lofty and far removed from the real nitty-gritty of everyday life and I wonder if something more down-to-earth might be less scary and more helpful. It seems almost esoteric, as if it were just believe in a magic realignment or recovery. As for the shrink, I hyperventilate reading the information leaflets for the medication and the results are slow. I fret and worry constantly, am ready with hugs when needed and make favourite meals, try to be cheery and sound light-hearted but inside I'm wondering if things will ever go back to normal. After a few very scary episodes, I'm incredibly shaken at how delicate the balance is and how hard it is to restore it when it has been upset. Trying to keep on a brave face is very draining, I'm exhausted most of the time and can't seem to remember what things were like when life was normal or if it'll ever be like that again.
I have to stop myself from reading long obscure essays on psychoanalytical approaches to mental illnesses, which help me understand where the therapist is coming from but scare me to death because everything seems so set in stone and impossible to fix. Likewise with staving off domestic squalor without being too forceful about making everything look tidy when everything is evidently haywire so why should any of it matter. I'm finding it hard enough to stay up to date with work, never mind read anything else apart from that. Started the new (?) Ishiguro the other day and am not really into it yet, even the most innocuous of passages seem ominous. As for talking to people outside my immediate family, it seems ludicrous to engage in small talk with anyone without launching into a lament at how incredibly difficult life can be at times.
Sorry to put this out there but I suppose I just needed to feel a little less alone. I love your blog, it's one of the few things that can manage to make me smile still.

Anonymous said... if it were just a matter of believing in...

Keith (kcm) said...

If you want something less serious to do this year then borrow one of mine: Drink more Champagne. ☺

ganching said...

Ah yes, it is me who starts the new year on the 14th January due to having a birthday on the 13th January. My resolutions are very simple and I have already failed with them; make the bed and wash the dishes. I truly believe if I could do both of these things my life would be transformed.

Waffle said...

Anon - I am so sorry, this sounds impossibly difficult. Given I have no wisdom to impart, I am just going to keep writing stupid blog posts in the hope they give you occasional distraction. xxx

Keith - Champagne gives me a stomach ache, but those champagne cocktails with brandy and a sugarlump don't, so I might resolve to drink more of those? They are DELICIOUS.

Ganching - Happy belated birthday. I seem to be even more of an arsehole than usual since writing down my resolutions, so I am also failing.

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