It’s a very long time from New Year to Easter, isn’t it? You limp your way through January, trying not to look in the mirror, because then you will be reminded of the havoc that the Christmas season has played on your body. In the shower you try not to look down at the pasty greyness of midwinter flesh. For the first few days you might even try to diet, although Lord knows how anyone is supposed to get through the darkest days of the year without fat and sugar to help them. If your festive season has been spent at the dark end of Quality Street, then you might even be tempted to detox, although you know it makes you grumpy enough to give Jeremy Clarkson a run for his money (but without his renowned ‘charm’ and ‘wit’). This never lasts long though, before you start googling ‘why detoxing is a ridiculous waste of time’, with your hand hovering over that last box of Elizabeth Shaw mints even as your other hand is about to press return.
And then you finally make it through January, panting and feeling just a little bit weary of the dark nights and gloomy mornings and then what happens? It turns out to be February for a whole entire month. If anything, February is worse than January, and not only because by February you have for sure finished all the Elizabeth Shaw mints by then. And February also has Valentine’s Day in the middle of it. Now I thought that my days of Valentine’s horror were well and truly over when I got married. No more lurking hopefully by the letterbox, waiting for the red envelope. One guaranteed signed not at all anonymous Valentine’s card, steak and chips for two and all would be well. But this year February 14th heralded a new era of unmatched and unanticipated horror – watching your child contemplate sending a Valentine, without knowing if the hand-crayoned sentiment will be returned. Well, only another twenty years of that vicarious misery to witness. Thanks cupid. Thanks a lot.
And then in the middle of February we start the season of Lent. For many years I have given up chocolate for Lent – no longer for religious reasons but rather, these day, for reasons of habit. In terms of good habits, this falls somewhere between biting your toenails and eating soil. At the time of writing we are approximately half way through Lent and my Galaxy longings are reaching something of a peak, not helped by walking past approximately thirty stalls of a Chocolate Festival this afternoon. It is about this time in Lent that I begin a somewhat unbiblical dialogue with myself about the precise nature of the ‘chocolate’ that I have given up. Caramac? Milky Bar? Maryland Cookies – those are TINY TINY bits of chocolate! CHIPS! That hardly counts. What about that fake chocolate that they coat Wagon Wheels with? It was this sort of dodgily questioning nature that led me to a career in the law in the first place, but I’m pretty sure that, on balance, Jesus could have resisted any number of Wagon Wheels in the wilderness. So I shall carry on sniffing chocolate candles and fantasising about Crème Eggs until Easter.
Easter! What a glorious word that is. I can hardly wait, and not just because of the Green and Blacks Egg with my name on it. (Literally, with a bold subheading of CHILDREN KEEP OFF.) I love Easter, much better than Christmas. No frantic build up, no overdraft busting conspicuous consumption, no icy journeys in freezing fog and lunatic tailbacks. Just some much needed time off, with the loved ones, daffodils on the verges and the heady promise of spring in the air. And time to anticipate the summer, and thoughts of long sunny days, before the reality of rainy windy August bursts your bubble. Again.
A very Happy Easter to you all, and may the bunny be kind.