James Marston: A new year, and I’m already angsty

James Marston

James Marston - Credit: Lucy taylor

Good news, dear readers. Yesterday afternoon I found a little bud on a sapling I am trying to grow. I’m not quite sure what sort of tree it is ? possibly a beech ? but I definitely have got a bud. And I might be a bit previous but I think spring must be on its way. Rather like Narnia, January always seems to be never-ending winter, but now there is hope in sight.

The Edwardian spa town of Felixstowe ? where, as regular readers will know, I have a small flat with sea views (distant) ? is where I managed to retreat after Christmas.

I’m not saying the festive season wasn’t fun. Indeed, there were some memorable moments ? my sister’s enthusiastic and somewhat graphic charade of Octopussy springs to mind. But now New Year’s Eve is out of the way – I found some Chinese lanterns, so I am hoping for a “UFO spotted over almost-celebrity Suffolk home” story to emerge in the next few days ? I do feel I can begin to get back to some level of normality and look forward to the months to come.

The Christmas tree has come down – I was keen to get my sitting room sorted – and I’ve packed away my resin Holy Family statue bought some years ago from Chester cathedral while on a coach trip to the city’s medieval delights. And so, bit by bit, life is slipping back into its usual routine; and, if we’re honest, we’re all grateful that it does, aren’t we? Anyway, no more turkey for another year is always something to be thankful for.

In the meantime I have been thinking about what 2015 might have in store.

So far, all that’s in my diary is a church coffee morning. But among my cornucopia of festive gifts was, I kid you not, four multi-purpose cloths (smear- and lint-free) and membership of the National Trust – gifts that confirmed my suspicions I am getting on a bit and ought to be careful about the dangers of dust. In fact, I fear I only narrowly escaped a set of antimacassars and one of those trays with a soft bit underneath for dining in front of the Antiques Roadshow.

September, 2015, will mark my 40th birthday, an event I am somewhat amazed by – I’m sure last year I was only 26. I am seriously considering a gift list at a suitable departmental store in order to “guilt” into generous giving everyone whose weddings I have attended over the past 20 years.

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This milestone, I am assured despite my concerns, is something to celebrate, so I’m already thinking of a sophisticated evening of sparkling conversation with selected intimates. If that doesn’t appeal I shall get on a plane and wake up 40 where no-one knows my name and I can pretend to be 38 a bit longer.

Until then I shall celebrate the bud I found in my garden and wish you all a Happy New Year.