We are entering the second full week of January and I am irritable. I appreciate that no alcohol since 31st December and a body on the point of starvation is not going to help my mood but January really is a miserable month in the Northern Hemisphere. It doesn't seem to be particularly good organisation on our part to have the most miserable, the darkest and the coldest month straight after a season of jollity and frivolity.
So rather than languish in a mire of irritability on my own, I have decided to share with you those things which are really getting my goat this January - after all, a problem shared is a problem halved...or so they say.
First up, Justin Bieber. Regular readers will have spotted that I am not a Belieber and I do not think he is "sick", 'bae" or "a ledge" or whatever other moniker my children would attach to him. Everywhere I turn, he is there. I am starting to find his omnipresence a little disconcerting. I am concerned in fact that Justin Bieber might actually be making a bid for world domination. There I've said it. He does have competition, however, as my daughter (age 6) pointed out so pertinently yesterday when passing a certain coffee shop, "Mummy, is Costa taking over the world?" So it's Justin or Costa - neither is a particularly palatable option for supremacy to my mind. Perhaps they should collaborate - your skinny latte in a cup bearing the legend "Love Yourself" could work I think.
Then there are those earworm ad songs. I have a particular one in mind - the ad for "Just Eat" with the inimitable lyric "I need a balti. I'm holding out for a balti lamb tikka tonight. It's got to be hot, and it's got to be fresh and it's got to have mushroom fried rice." All this sung to the great '80s rock classic "Holding out for a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler. I have to admit that the lyrics are actually genius. I have the utmost admiration for the advertising firm which gave this ad to the world. However, every morning when it comes on the radio and my three children belt it out at top volume, that's it for the rest of the day - the incongruous pairing of Bonnie and balti is forever looping around inside my head. Not content with "balti" burrowing in my brain, I now have to contend with "chicken madras" too - please stop, leave me alone.
January, of course, is also tax return month - well it is for those of us who haven't smugly submitted ours back in 2015 (I know who you are, I'm not impressed and you really should get out more). Whoever thought it was a good idea to have tax returns submitted straight after the festive season? Isn't January miserable enough? And why oh why can't I put aside all the relevant paperwork throughout the year so it's all waiting for me in a neat little pile? My husband takes tax returns to a whole new level - for him it is an adrenalin-filled extreme sport not to be started before 29th January when against the clock he embarks on a frantic paper chase and gruelling endurance test to prepare and submit on time. This is not an activity for the faint-hearted nor is it, I can assure you, from many years experience, a spectator sport.
Finally, there are the post-Christmas credit card bills to look forward to. Mine arrived this morning and before opening it I took a guess at what I thought it would be demanding - rather pleasingly I was within a few pounds. I had to remind myself then that I was not playing "The Price is Right" and that I was not going to win a whole new life with a car, a boat and garden furniture but instead this was money that I owe and being able to guess the figure was in no way going to help me pay it off (although it was rather satisfying to be so accurate - perhaps I am more financially aware than I thought - although then again the size of my credit card debt would suggest otherwise). My credit card stays in my wallet as much as possible in January - if I try to prise it out, I can almost hear it sighing and grumbling - bloated and uncomfortable (actually not unlike how I am and feel in January). To add to my irritation is the fact that everything which I bought on my credit card before Christmas is now paraded in front of me on TV and online at a hefty discount.
So there you have it and I have to say that I feel so much better after that whinge. How cathartic a little online rant can be. I think I could almost feel benign towards the Bieber right now and in fact if he were to say to me "Is it too late now to say sorry?", I think I could actually graciously accept his apology. Anyway, it's time for me now to go and have lunch - another competitive process of seeing how long I can eke out a lettuce leaf - followed by a round of "find the crucial piece of paper for your tax return" and cooking supper - balti lamb tikka anyone?