It’s really, bitterly cold here on this Northumberland hilltop. That white stuff in the air outside can only be freezing fog. I’ve lit blazing log fires in all three reception rooms of my house (defined as the rooms that haven’t got a bed, a bath or a gas stove in them) and the only effect has been to raise the ambient temperature from ****ing cold to bloody freezing.
In a doomed attempt to cheer myself up, I open the Harvey Nichols Christmas box that one of my clients most generously sent me yesterday. I reflect on my excessive weight for a bit, then I sit down as close to the largest fire as is humanly possible without actually climbing onto it, and eat half a tin of biscuits and a packet of blueberries coated in white chocolate. Before I did this, I was cold and depressed. Now I’m cold, depressed, fat and guilty.
My lovely aunt pops in this afternoon, to deliver her annual gift of a delicious, home-made Christmas cake. Just in case I was running short of food, you understand. She asks why I am feeling so down, and I hand her my album of north Norfolk snaps from the mid-1980s, with special reference to the lost love interest. She helpfully says “What a pretty girl”, then draws my attention to the striking resemblance she bears to the other beautiful woman who agreed to marry me in 2005. I hadn’t thought about it, since if nothing else I’ve never been a slave to a “type”. But she’s right: same physique, same sort of face, same age (in the sense of being born in the same year), same good nature.
Bugger it. To lose one beautiful woman may be misfortune, but to do it twice, particularly after almost 20 years allegedly spent acquiring wisdom, smacks of … well, criminal folly to put it at its gentlest.
I eat the maple and walnut fudge and the marc de champagne truffles from my Christmas box, and drink a bottle of white wine. It doesn’t make me feel any better, but it least it will produce a hangover tomorrow morning that should ensure that the day improves steadily from a low base.
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