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New Year Resolutions

Posted on: Sunday, 6 January 2013

Well, I’m a little late with these but, as everyone knows, New Year’s Resolutions don’t count until you’re back at work  - which, in my case, isn’t until tomorrow. So as you read these, please discount the fact that I had half a can of Leffe (6.6%! Jesus!) with my bread-based lunch. Oh, and the fact that there’s a wheel of Camembert in the fridge for a pre-dinner treat (yay, verily) and a choux pastry beauty also hiding somewhere in there to accompany The Thick of It (JURASSIC PARK THEME MUSIC) later on. Wah. 

And before you get all sniffy, let me tell you I deserve it. I really do. I’ve been slaving over Greek tragedy for my lovely-but-occasionally-a-bit-lazy IB group all day. By God, I wish I’d paid more attention during those 9am Classical and Biblical Lit lectures now. Still, getting there. Free will vs. fate. Hamartia. Oedipus the Athenian Ideal Bloke. Buuuuh. Bleeding eye sockets (mine, not Oedipus’). I’ve written BLIND! and DRAMATIC IRONY! and ARGH! in the margins more times than I care to recount. 

So, Im back to work tomorrow and all of the below will come into force with UNIMAGINABLE GUSTO. Oh yes they will. Ahem. 

NYR 1: Do something brave with my hair. 

This has been the year - OK, who am I kidding? The decade - of ‘Oo, looking a bit grey - shall I go for this slightly gingery-browny shade, or this slightly less-gingery shade? An inch off? Let’s push the boat out - make it an inch and a half!’

So do something brave. Which, for me, means short* or blonde. Ooo. 

*Not so short that my round childish face takes on the appearance of a Moomin, mind. That would be undesirable. 

NYR 2: Keep on reading.

Let me tell you a little secret: I used to have a pretty terrible job. I don’t need to discuss the ins and outs of it here; but let me assure you that it was pretty terrible, for a whole host of reasons (and, here’s the disclaimer, many of which were outside of anyone’s control). Tackling a new text in class, something different  - something other than Of Mice and Men - was unthinkable. To do so would have required super-human effort - and a brand new, fully resourced scheme of work. Oh, and a set of new books, which we didn’t have any money for in the budget for anyway. 

Fast-forward seven or eight months and here I am, in Brussels, at a marvellous school with tonnes of resources teaching A level and IB amongst as well as my Key Stage 3 and 4 classes. And I’ve had to read and re-read about a gajillion books to get up to speed with the new courses and specs. So I picked up In Cold Blood by Truman Capote in the summer as a starting point and, well, something was reignited in me. Instead of browsing a lazy three pages in bed out of a sense of duty before I pass out I’m reading like a demon - and a 25 minute tram journey to and from work every day is helping matters. This has been the year of fabulous books - re-reading everything from Oedipus Rex to Brighton Rock to Madame Bovary and picking up new gems like The Beauty Myth and Jeanette Winterson’s entire back-catalogue (um, might have gone a bit mad on Amazon. PS - this is essential viewing). Long may it continue. 

NYR 3: Produce some writing.

I realise the irony of writing this when I’ve not posted anything on here for, like, nearly two months, but I have been a) busy and b) scribbling the odd thing elsewhere and squirreling it away to keep me stimulated creatively daaaahling. 

So write. Here. Elsewhere. Keep it up.

I was always crap at keeping a diary when I was younger, and this is the longest I’ve stuck with writing anything. And what started as a frothy wedding blog has actually turned into a nice record of stuff, you know - particularly of things I’ve read. I like getting all my scribbled quotes and underlined bits in one place. So I should keep on doing it.  

NYR 4: Don’t be a dick.

Self-explanatory. Whaddya mean, no? Well, let me expand. Count to ten before turning into my alter-ego (Bitchface O’Reilly). Think the very best of people wherever possible. Be fair. Look at air sterwards when they do the safety talk. Work hard. Forgive and move the feck on. Try to remember what it was like to be 17 when kids don’t hand their homework in. Don’t drop litter. Yadder yadder. 

Don't be a (Moby) Dick

NYR 5: Get better at French (and at doing mes devoirs). 

Stop whinging about it. Just do it. This is far too good an opportunity to waste. 

And with that, I just heard my future nagging mum voice. Gah. 

NYR 6: Walk the Hadrian’s Wall Walk

I had an epiphany the other day that I hate coming home from holiday feeling like a bloated, over-indulged slug. Just me? ‘Why not do really exciting active holidays?!’ I 
cried. Then started googling health and detox trips. Some of them, admittedly, sounded horrific. But some of them sounded awesome. And then we devised our own 'active holiday' which'll involve walking this beast (possibly in April, although more likely in July). It will probably be cold, and almost certainly be wet, but I bet it’ll be stunning, too. 

PS - Holidays for 2013 other than Hadrian’s Wall Walk TBC. Watch this space. I haven't totally given up on the idea of detoxing and ohm-ing at a hardcore health farm on rations of stale bread. 

NYR 7: Value my time more

What this actually means: don’t spend time going up and down the bums’n’bikinis sidebar of the Daily Mail website and don’t go on Facebook (or at least hide the people who you know for a fact you get sucked into looking at).

Instead, do what you know from experience makes you feel better. Go for a run. Read or write - we’ve covered those already. Learn something. Make more effective use of twitter (it’s where all the cool cats seem to be these days - yes, I know, always late to the party, me). 

So that’s me. And if you’re really lucky - and I remember - I might drag this up next year and see was a resounding success/spectacular failure I’ve been in 2013. 

made to be broken, made to last."

Jackie Kay


  1. Jeanette Winterson once wrote the phrase, 'gargoyled by grief' which I was so blown away by I have remained swoony in admiration ever since. Her new book Why be Happy When You Can Be Normal is full of gems too. Happy 2013 - enjoy your resolutions, (and rock being a brainy blonde!) Bxx

    1. Happy New Year to you, too :) Oo, I agree - Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal is amazing - watch the TV show! I urge you! Do it now!x

  2. Bonne New Year

    Je had just parcelled up la boxed set of "The Thick of It" to send out to vous. I will think of something else to send.

    Can't wait to see le hairstyle nouveau.

    A bientot x

    1. Maffew! Never! You will have to watch them ALL yourself (we all have our cross to bear).

      PS Please can you remind me which weekend your birthday is? I am Sorting Out My Diary For The Year and presuming we have an invite. Thanksbye.xx

  3. Welcome back Laura - I missed reading your thoughts. Hope you enjoy teaching Oedipus - I love/d the Greek tragedies when studying them for 'A' Level Classics. Happy New Year and hurrah for liking your new job.

    1. Thank you, and the same to you. I shall try to be a more consistent presence :) I'm loving Ancient texts - considering sacking off Waiting for Godot next year (also on the Lit in Translation list) and replacing it with Book II of the Aeneid. Whaddya reckon?! Hope the new term treats you well.

  4. Correctum, you are guests OF HONOUR.

    29th of the June est le date (plus associated festivities on either side).

    Party-wise, I am planning an indie disco after the last band finishes (I guess we will be fed up being cowboys by midnight). Would you and Bedders like to curate the music for 20 mins?

    How pretentious are we, communicating via our blogs?

  5. Great set of New Years Resolutions. But how long is Hadrian's wall? It's bloody miles is it not?! Good on ya though, and I bet there'll be lots of nice pubs to stop at along the way.

    I've not made any Resolutions this year, other than the age old "must get fit", which so far has involved purchasing and starting the "30 day shred". I'm on day 5 and my legs hurt and I'm bored already. But I will persevere and get back to slim Wedding Day Weight. Maybe. x

  6. Michael started this year by deleting the Daily Mail app from his phone. I was VERY impressed. It provides so much fury, but I think I LOVE the fury. I'm not brave enough to go cold turkey. My favourite (paraphrased) comment from an article last year, "so and so, who is gay, did something or other". Dear me.


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