An Inadequate Hiding Place For The Plumper Ocelot

And a joyful New Year to everybody. I hope that all your Christmases were a delight.

I have been very industrious over the holiday period. I have not only succeeded in eating my weight in puddings but have also been defeated in many games of both skill and chance. Including a shamefully low score at Scrabble, a major pool table debacle, a humiliating retreat in Conquist (an iPad based Risk derivative) and a shambolically ill organised Monopoly property empire. Although I am still a bit of a demon at Trivial Pursuit.

One of the great things about Christmas are the periods of general idleness. I have spent some of these moments thinking about stuff. Most of it fleeting and irrelevant but that is, I suppose, the jellied backbone of this blog. Many of these things were just fleeting thoughts that burrowed rapidly through my brain like weevils through mouldy hard tack while I was trying to eat cheese or cut wood or something like that.

This is the abbreviated list

1. Peppa Pig and, by extension, Dora the Explorer. My children are beyond such things and my grandchildren as yet unconceived (unless someone is keeping a big secret) so I have no connection whatsoever with such things. This is a pity and only goes to show that there should be more babies in my life. Please could those readers of this blog who are of child bearing age please get on with it. I am also aware that I may be much better off without our Peppa: my dreams are still occasionally haunted by the theme tune to Thomas The Tank Engine.

2. Twitter: I love Twitter but how on earth does a furniture manufacturer in Singapore end up following me? On investigation (Christmas allows guilt free investigation of such things) it turns out that I am not only the only gardeny person but the only British person he has chosen to follow? Why?

Likewise Rick Wedding aka The Supply Guy from Cincinnati, Ohio. Why does he want to follow me? I certainly have no particular wish to follow him – delightful company though he may be. No matter what I might need supplied I am unlikely to want it delivered from Cincinnati. The venn diagram that joins us has a very slim central overlap.

3. I never have to play Rugger ever again: this is an almost constant source of cheeriness. I have played the game but not since I was about twelve. All I remember is that it was extremely cold, we were not allowed to wear extra jumpers and it was considered un-British to wear anything under your shorts. This misery was combined with freezing mud and many unattractive people trying to harm me. I was a small child and unsuited to violence. I have also noticed that a side effect of playing Rugby is the development of massive thighs. Another reason to be grateful.

4. Ferrero Rocher and Other chocolates. A Ferrero Rocher is not a terribly good chocolate. Even the nut is a disappointment. I think the rot set in when they dumped the Ambassador. Conversely the Lindt Santa/Snowman (and its Easter Equivalent, the Lindt Bunny) is pretty perfect if you want slightly sicky milk chocolate. Which all right minded people occasionally do: it is not always about the Cocoa count.

5. The word Lottie and my unstoppable march towards a pedantic and slightly grumpy middle age. I know it is convenient shorthand and is used by many people but I just don’t like the word. It makes me think of floral aprons,saveloys,happy clappy bishops, Janice from Friends and stringy beards. This in spite of the fact that I like the word Allotment very much even though it is one of those words that I am liable to misspell if rushed  (like amount and , indeed, misspell). I also like the words Turgid, Encephalitis and Dromedary.

6. The Financial Times: I think I have resigned myself to the fact that I will never understand high finance. The world of equities, gearing, asset turnover, liquidity ratios and p/e ratios are a foreign language to me. And not just a common or garden foreign language like French or Ancient Norse. A really obscure foreign language like Navajo or Quechua.

7. Figs.They lose their eroticism when dried and look more like pillow stuffing made from dried mushrooms. A fig roll, on theother hand, is extremely sexy. In a Mrs Robinson sort of way.

I will endeavour to write more about gardening next time. Or not. I have a fair bit of catching up to do as the snow was most discommoding. Especially as it has left my garden looking absolutely foul and devastated. I made a start at tidying things up a couple of days ago but did my back a terrible injury so have spent the last few days lying around being irritable and moaning. It is one of the less pleasant parts of getting older: the fact that even the simplest and seemingly innocent things can cause injury. In this case I did it by throwing a bit of old carpet onto the compost heap.

This is not a glamorous injury.

I am listening to Leonard Cohen singing First We Take Manhattan.

Two years ago I had a different post-Christmas list. Different but equally frivolous.

The picture is of  a pleasingly frosted birch.