Dry heaves and headaches mean that January 2nd is normally the effective first day of the year for me, and 2007’s was no exception. This was reinforced by spending yesterday travelling back from a party in furthest SE, practically Surrey, serviced only by the fabled Docklands Light Railway. Ten minutes to the tube, forty-five on it, another forty-five waiting for the coach to Oxford, a two-hour journey, the wait for the bus to Witney… the parts of yesterdaylight not spent groaning, hugging the toilet or padding my stomach with egg were taken up by travel and waiting in the cold.
So it was a bit disappointing to wake up this bright morning, full of possibilities, theâ€”as previously discussedâ€”first day of the year, to broken central heating and a frantic rush to put the rubbish out at the first clangy note sounded by West Oxfordshire District Council’s unannounced waste-collection guerrilla-raid. They’re sharp buggers, those gender-nonspecific refuse reinforcement officers. I think they were hoping to find the chavs a few doors down buried under their own Fisher-Price knockoffs.
The house is freezing. K, who has spent the past two weeks admirably keeping me company and deflecting all my complaints and grumbles with frequent cups of tea, could not get today off work and so shivered and whined her way out of the house before sunrise. Worst of all, the overapplication of sinus-reaming Sudafed that always has to accompany drunken bendersâ€”my nose’s insides become a solid fist of gristle when I drink anything over 20 degrees proofâ€”has left me with a cold virus attached tenuously in the rebound inflammation that is my left nostril. In summary, God is most definitely not in his heaven.
My only route out of utter despair is to accomplish as many menial day-off-work tasks as possible. I need to find paints to match the charmingly dayglo colours our landlord has chosen for the kitchen (hot oil removing the topcoat) and bedroom (damp raising the paint, which then floated off when I accidentally coughed near the bedside table). I need a replacement for the Poundstretcher lampshade K. set fire to last night. I also have to hunt for a yuletide Private Eye that I’m starting to think never existed. And along with all this I have stories to write and a publishing system to finish to the point of useability. But first of all I have to put on the ersatz fan heater, before my hands drop off. Happy new bloody year.