This already upsetting time – of immediately failing to do all those new resolutions - has hit me harder than usual.
On my first day back I found out the work cat was struck down by a car over the holidays. I will miss him massively (not least because he was my one source of warmth in our freezing office). He was immensely superior to our cats as he never woke me up by banging on the cupboard for no reason, and I didn’t have to deal with his poop!
His absence has already been felt hard, after a pigeon managed to find its way into our office. At this rate it'll soon feel like I’m working in Trafalgar Square.
“The One With An Unexplained Abundance of Cream”
This week’s episode the Friends™ plan their New Year and Ross judges people for having flatmates. (It also introduces the extremely cute monkey: Marcel).
I found this doubly amusing as my partner feeling too “grown-up” for a shared house is the reason for our current abysmal living standards. (Along with a succession of governments failing to build affordable housing).
We got to see how fantastic living in a shared house could be over New Years as we booked a holiday home with several Real Live Friends. These included my Rachel No. 1 and Ross No. 2/Chandler No. 1, as well as my very own David the Science Guy (handily introduced this week and played brilliantly by Simpsons™ stalwart Hank Azaria).
My David the Science Guy is a Real Live Friend I had a very particular “Bromance” with at university.
You know... the type of close male friendship where you jokingly flirt with each because there is no one else. We’ve both got girlfriends now so we’ve drifted apart slightly. This has not been helped by him working abroad in recent years (much like David having to leave for Minsk). He’s back now however, and firmly re-entrenched in our friend group after our fantastic New Years. I hope I'll be seeing him a lot more again!
Much like Chandler’s struggle to find someone to kiss at New Years (with all the other Friends™ bringing dates) only one of our remaining single Real Live Friends came along to New Years. So she gains the "honour" of being Chandler Number 2.
Her continued singlehood remains a mystery as she's both an excellent human and fabulous person to get drunk with. I was delighted when my partner experienced the latter for the first time. They both stayed up late one night “putting the world to rights”. I was less delighted when my severely confused and inebriated partner woke me up attempting to find our bed in the darkness.
Along with the second appearance of Janice (still no “Oh My God!”) this episode includes a joke about naming breasts.
We had an experience of a different sort of breast during our holiday. Upon arrival our landlady told us she would bring over some recently shot pheasants at some point. Being city folk, we laughed off her statement and were shocked the following evening when she showed up brandishing seven dead pheasants at our window - with an expression of manic glee.
After much deliberation, soul-searching, and YouTube™ surfing, we decided the best course of action was to attempt to butcher them ourselves. I’m a devoted meat eater but I struggled with the concept slightly. Seeing the un-plucked birds I realised how difficult I would find it to kill a living creature myself. Questions swarmed round my head over whether I had the right to eat meat, if I couldn’t do the deed myself, as I squeamishly watched my friends butchering the pheasants before me.
Ultimately though (with apologies to my vegetarian partner) I decided my only option was to have a go at breasting one of the birds myself. It was a very strange experience. The instant I touched the (still-warm) pheasant I felt my relationship to it change as it ceased to be a poor dead animal in front of me and became just another piece of meat that I was going to eat.
This change carried over into my next sighting of a pheasant (this time alive) when we walked down the road. Where previously thoughts of “what a beautiful bird” would have existed, now they were “I bet that tastes great, I want to eat it.”
If I'm honest, I enjoyed butchering the pheasant (but not as much as I enjoyed eating it). But I found the ease with which I slipped into the role slightly unnerving. Ultimately I'm left with the question of whether it's possible to both see an animal as a piece of meat and respect it as a beautiful living creature at the same time. I expect I'll be wrestling with this notion for some time.
Though my experience with the pheasants was not quite enough to spur me into giving up meat,I’ve decided the time is ripe for another of my month long breaks from alcohol.
It’s not quite a resolution per se (more like guidelines…). I’ve reached a nice balance now where I don’t drink as heavily as I used to, but it’s still more regularly than I would like and I’m sick of being confused all the time. I found it difficult to remember embarrassingly small figures back at work this week, largely, I suspect, as a result of drinking everyday on our holiday. If I needed any extra convincing it came on the way to work yesterday. I went to buy some milk and found myself looking at the alcohol aisle with a sense of longing.
I think it’s definitely time for a detox.
One drink in particular sticks in my mind from our holiday. The “official” ale of the Cerne Abbas giant. For those who don’t know, the Cerne Abbas giant is a spectacular giant (with an even more spectacular “member”) carved out of chalk on the side of a hill. I was disappointed to learn it may not be as ancient as people commonly think but it was still great to see such a famous and enigmatic part of our history.
Less great was our very muddy attempt to circumnavigate the hill as I managed to make it all the way round without losing my footing only to fall on my arse fifty metres from the car park.
Real Live Sitcom Moment:
I will name the organiser of our trip Monica Number 2 for his meticulous eye for detail. This ensured a trip, which could have fallen at many hurdles, went ahead without a hitch.
He also unwittingly provided a strong sitcom style joke. As I was attempting to coral him into singing Karaoke on New Years Eve he tried to get out of it with the statement “I only do Karaoke once a year and I’ve already done it this year”.
So as the clock struck 12 and ushered in the new year, I asked again "Monica, care to get in this years Karaoke early?"