We begin again. The long, dark mornings, followed by a brief spell of grey clouds which promise much and deliver nothing, and then the long, dark nights. For the next two days, I won’t see natural light, waking at 5.30am and coming home around 9 in the evening. I never enjoyed this, but could tolerate it when I thought it was my calling – now I just hate what I’m doing and want to sleep.

In the next few days I will make my decision – should I go on leave, or should I just finish outright? The later option offers a comforting finality that work never can, an ending of sorts, which makes me feel infinitely better. Of course, the former is far more sensible but my heart just isn’t in it any more.

This all sounds very ’emo’, reading it back, but then, I’ve never been much of a one for mornings.

Christmas this year was very interesting. Spent in the Scandinavian way – eating duck by candlelight and opening gifts on Christmas Eve – the whole affair felt rather cosy, if a little rushed. Packing all the activities of our two-day Yule into a single evening seems hurried to me, but then, what do i know? There’s also a rather child-unfriendly aspect, where small nieces are allowed to open their gifts after dinner, but have to go to bed before they get a chance to play with them. Not that I mind small nieces being in bed. If they’d have stayed there for the remainder, I might have managed to shift this headache which has been bothering me since August. And what’s scariest of all is that Granddad was right – children’s’ toys are just ‘Plastic Rubbish’.

You know, there’s a great deal to be said here in favour of the games console. Taking up less space than an old-school VCR and offering all kinds of old-fashioned games in cases the same size as that of a DVD – take Toy Soldiers for the 360 for example, or even the building blocks of the classic Tetris – these much maligned play-things keep kids quiet, without the need to fill a saloon car with crap. Sure, they involve a TV, but when your two-year-old can say ‘Shreck’ before ‘Please’, I don’t think a little more television is much of an issue.

New year, by contrast, was uneventful. I started as I meant to go on, toasting in midnight with a steaming hot cuppa and a swift trip to duvet town. The run-up to the bells was occupied watching terrible films spanning the late 80s to the early 00s. Cruel Intentions, as it would happen, was sold under the title Sex Games in Denmark. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Flatliners retained their original names. I wasn’t supposed to spend New Year in Denmark, incidentally. I was meant to be home by that point, but the terrible snow which is still covering much of Northern Europe rendered me trapped. Such is life though. I don’t feel especially guilty about missing the two days of work which I did as the cosmos saw fit to punish me with a stinking cold and the company of four little girls who couldn’t understand a word I said, and who kept trying to trick me into giving them foods I knew their parents wouldn’t allow. As I kept trying to explain to them – I understood what was happening, they just didn’t get my accent.

And so I’ll sign off now, finish the bowl of porridge and cup of tea that I started half an hour ago, and drive in to work. Wish me luck – the kind which means I won’t have to contend with freezing fog and a blown headlamp.

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