Not a lot of people know this....

IT'S New Year's Day and hopes are high. Dance one year in, kiss one goodbye. Have you made any resolutions for 2008? Mine are depressingly the same year in year out - stop smoking, win the lottery, grow back my hair, get on Camilla Cornwall's Christmas card list and discover my six pack - it's a positive annual merry-go-round of failure and disappointment.

IT'S New Year's Day and hopes are high. Dance one year in, kiss one goodbye.

Have you made any resolutions for 2008?

Mine are depressingly the same year in year out - stop smoking, win the lottery, grow back my hair, get on Camilla Cornwall's Christmas card list and discover my six pack - it's a positive annual merry-go-round of failure and disappointment.

But let's not be depressed, it's the first day of the New Year and we should celebrate, I suppose.


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As I sat down to a cosy Miss Marple and four glasses of rather fruity Rioja on a lonely winter night, I suddenly thought to myself there must be more things that have happened on New Year's Day than just hangovers and babies being born.

So, as an historian by training, I did some research and found some fascinating facts.

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Did you know that on January 1?

404 - The last known gladiator competition in Rome took place.

1660 - Samuel Pepys started his diary.

1788 - The Times was first published.

1877 - Queen Victoria of Britain was proclaimed Empress of India.

1879 - the novelist E. M. Forster was born.

The seventh day of Christmas is celebrated.

1948 - The Constitution of Italy came into force.

1962 - Western Samoa achieved independence from New Zealand and changed to the Independent State of Western Samoa.

2002 - Euro banknotes and coins became legal tender in 12 of the European Union's member states.

Interesting isn't it?

So dear readers, have fun in 2008 and let's hope that by this time next year, we won't be repeating our resolutions!

Well thankfully Christmas is over for another year - I'm not really a fan of the festive season to be honest.

With a gift selection that included the obligatory knitwear - a smoking jacket this year - and, rather strangely, two packets of Angel Delight from my sister Claire who much enjoys Christmas - I was delighted I'm sure.

My traditional family Christmas involves only one duty. I play the church organ for Midnight Mass and this year my Silent Night was exquisite even if I say so myself! It was only the rendition of Joy to the World that was a bit slow leaving the congregation somewhat struggling with the unorthodox tempo.

On the plus side I have been fortunate enough to avoid hitting the sales. The idea of shopping with everyone else at the same time is an activity I would put on a par with having my teeth pulled without anaesthetic.

So to share my bonhomie and goodwill to all men I have one last seasonal joke to share.

What's orange and fizzy and comes down the chimney on Christmas Eve?

Fanta Claus.

I knew you'd like it. Save it for next year!

DOES anyone know the film The Yellow Rolls Royce?

I received a DVD of the film as a Christmas present and have much enjoyed watching it.

No one seems to know much about it though. I rather like it and remember watching it as a child on a wet Saturday afternoon - they used to put films on didn't they?

Anyway if you know what model it was that was used, what happened to the car, or anything about the film do drop me a line. It will satisfy my curiosity.

Then I put away my cards and scourged my small Felixstowe flat with sea views (distant) of all remnants of Christmas with the exception of some chocolate coins which are in a bowl waiting to be eaten.

Anyway I'd like to thank my regular readers for their festive thoughts. Noreen, my oldest fan and a lady who has lived in Felixstowe since 1948 and enjoys sea views (huge and panoramic) from her elegant flat, even sent me some nice wines and Queenie, another lady of Felixstowe dropped me a very glittery card - so thank you.

A lady called Mrs E Pittock, who I have yet to meet, also sent a card with interesting note inside.

“Trying to stop smoking and at a loose end in Felixstowe? Perhaps it may be appropriate for you to volunteer at the Cancer Research UK charity shop in Hamilton Road where your assistance would be greatly appreciated especially on a Sunday.

“This shop is raising much needed funds for research and is, in fact, one of the most successful in the country.”

I'm not convinced I would be much use. The last time I worked in retail I was a young man and it was an off licence in south London where I developed a fondness for claret.

But thanks for thinking of me Mrs Pittock, and keep up the good work.

NOW it's not too late to download my downloadable calendar.

Just visit out website and click on my column and you'll see my wonderful colour calendar for free. You can print it off and put it on your kitchen wall.

It's already proving remarkably popular, according to me and the 31 people who downloaded it!

All donations go to my ever growing celebrity ego.

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