Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Friday 3 January 2014

The Cruellest Month

Eliot declared April to be the cruellest month, but I’m tempted to nominate January.

April at least gives us a hint of spring, and while November has its miseries, at least we all have Christmas and New Year’s to look forward to.

What does January have to offer, except for the promise of February? And, for heaven’s sake, February is seldom any better with its equally long dark nights and its equally cold wet days.

I’m taking the Christmas gubbins down today, and the dort is off back to college at the weekend, so it would be all too easy to feel as blue as it’s possible to feel, but I’ve decided against it. I’ve decided to make a concerted effort not to allow misery back into my life, not if I can help it.

So, here’s the plan, and feel free to join in... It’s a jolly plan, and I can’t help feeling it might just help these thirty-one days pass a little more easily than they otherwise might.

It crossed my mind that, in this household at least, the Christmas tree usually goes up on Christmas Eve and comes down on Twelfth Night, and since it’s my birthday on Christmas Eve, why not celebrate Twelfth Night too.

So, that’s part one of my plan: Let’s find a way to celebrate Twelfth Night. We might only finish off the  mince pies and pop to the pub for a whisky mac, but we certainly intend to mark the occasion in some way or another.

Then there’s that lovely invitation we received from Scottish acquaintances of ours to a Burn’s Night party on the 25th. Brilliant! I’m half-Scottish on my mother’s side, so that’s all the excuse I need. We hardly know the party givers at all, but an invitation is an invitation and why would they have invited us if they didn’t intend for us to go? So, I’ve RSVP-ed.  That’s two dates for the diary and I’ve hardly begun.

The first full moon of the year on January 16th might bring out the lycanthrope in some of you, and any full moon certainly does something to the husband, but it also happens to be when some Buddhists celebrate the New Year, and Thursdays are always good for me. A good meal with family sounds like a nice way to celebrate, so I’ve booked that in, too.

While we’re on the subject of New Year’s. The Chinese will celebrate New Year on January 31st, so this month will begin and end with a bang. I’m dragging the husband off to town for a walk around and a good lunch. Job done.

January will probably be as long and dull and cold as it always is, and it generally feels interminable. The difference is that this year I plan for it to have several highlights along the way, because if I don’t plan them the winter blues will take over, and I’m just not having it! Do you hear me? I’m not falling into that trap... not this year!

Apropos of jollying us all along, here’s some fab dancing. The dort starts the show; she's the blonde in the middle wearing the groovy bib overalls. Enjoy!


  1. I believe that the Spanish already celebrate Twelfth Night more than Christmas Day. As they, in my experience, party fairly hard with no real excuse they probably already have a real humdinger for Twelfth Night, so I suggest we half-inch it in the name of European Union.

  2. It is known there in Ireland as Nollaigh Bheag (little christmas) or Nollaig na mBan (Women's christmas). Celebrations can be the last festive huzzah or in the traditions of Nollaig na mBan, the women put their feet up for the day and are waited upon, as a thank you for all the extra work which Christmas can bring.

    There are even Nollaig na mBan ladies only dinner or nights out in some parts of the country, it's a chance often for an inter generational evening out away from the rest of the family for sharing stories which is fun.