Dot writes: well, we started the year as we mean to go on – soundly asleep, boys in one bedroom, Ken and me in the other. An excellent omen, I hope. Hugh came to join us at about 6am but it occurred to no-one to offer new year’s greetings until a couple of hours later (after all, what are dates to a three-year-old?).
And yet, this year could be an exciting one for us. Most obviously, we are trembling on the brink of being about to be on the point of buying a house. I’ve even emailed and asked to view four places, but evidently estate agents aren’t in the office any more than university lecturers are in the days between Christmas and New Year. Something may get set up next week. Meanwhile our trusty (we hope) mortgage broker has found us several different potential lenders, and now we just have to work out whether we should go with the biggest mortgage – and thus the nicest house and/or area – or the mortgage with the best terms – meaning a rather more modest house which might be just fine but on the other hand might mean twenty years in a shoebox. Ken’s parents are being very kind with offers of help and I feel optimistic that we will find a little (or not so little) place that we can be happy in. I have the itch; I’ve been renting too long and I’m sick of other people’s furniture and landlords who can’t be bothered to fix things. Ken is more cautious, which is a good thing when such horrifying sums of money are involved.
Other plans: for me, the big goal is to get some more publications out. I have lots of ideas: it’s just a matter of time and application. One thing that will help, I hope, is that Ken and I are having a bit of a health drive and plan to work much harder on good diet and exercise, which should result in higher energy levels. We have started by giving up caffeine, alcohol and chocolate. The caffeine withdrawal has been pretty awful, especially for Ken who normally drinks quite a lot of coffee; it was surprising how much worse that was than giving up chocolate (my main vice) and booze (Ken’s). We have been rather droopy. But in theory we should soon perk up and become immensely productive and ebullient. And thinner.
Hugh’s goals for the year: judging by today, his New Year’s resolutions were not to wear a coat, and to say “why?” to absolutely everything his parents say. (“Hugh, you have to put your coat on.” “Why?” “Because it’s cold.” “Why?” “Because it’s winter.” “Why?” “Because the northern hemisphere is currently tipped away from the sun…just put your coat on.” “Why?” etc etc)
Frank’s goals for the year: to learn to talk. To get to all that interesting stuff we insist on keeping out of his reach.
It’s astonishing to consider how much they have both changed since this time last year. On 1st January 2010, Frank hadn’t yet rolled over or tasted solid food, so the fact he can now climb on chairs, say “no”, “don’t”, “Daddy”, “Mum”, “out”, “baa”, “uh-oh” and (possibly) “milk”, and get a cap off a shampoo bottle is really quite something. Hugh was wearing nappies and talking in two or three word sentences; now he constantly tells himself stories, can use the past tense, is potty-trained, and tells me he loves me. By this time next year we may even have worked out how to get him dressed in the morning without chasing five times round the house. And Frank may have stopped trying to unpack the kitchen drawers all the time. Who knows? One thing we can be sure of: they will be totally different again, and even more adorable.
Happy New Year; may it be blessed and prosperous.