Hello 2017, hello stinking cold, hello new year paranoia and feelings of hopelessness and defeat.
God knows why I cant just ride this tide of familiar doubt – but every year it knocks me sideways, basically I should never stop working, because whenever I do, getting back in the saddle feels incredibly hard.
I finished my Autumn tour of How To be a Middle Aged Woman (Without Going Insane) on December 5th and to be honest I had a complete ball on that last leg, culminating in a wonderful night at the Royal Festival Hall at the end of November. God what a glorious space to play and how gratifying and what a relief it was to see so many people turn out on what was such a filthy night- so thanks to everyone who came, including lots of friends and family (plus the old man who sat in the bar for the duration, nervously drinking gin).
Royal Festival Hall
Anyway, I shall be back out on the road with the show from the end of January and will be taking a shortened version of it over to the Melbourne comedy festival for three weeks in March/April- so that’s exciting- I love Melbourne and even though I will be gigging every night, I’ve got a nice early evening time slot so I should be able to catch some other shows and have dinner out and be a bit la di da – the old man shall be escorting me and he is already looking forward to the breakfasts (they serve ‘em big in Oz).
I should also be writing another novel this year, I say ‘should’ because so far, I’m finding it tough and even thinking about it makes me feel weepy, I’ve had four novels published so far, so you’d think it would get easier, but genuinely I have no idea how they happen, its like accidentally pulling off a magic trick and desperately trying to remember how you might have done it.
I’ve also got four more Little Lifetimes to record for radio 4 in addition to the book version, ‘Listening In’ which comes out in the summer. This is a collection of all the Little Lifetimes pieces broadcast so far (17 of them) plus seven brand spanking new monologues – so 24 short stories in all, all of which I’ve been allowed to illustrate- so look out for some very wonky drawings and an even wonkier hand painted front cover!
Painting and tapestry were a big part of getting me through 2016, I’m a great front seat passenger needle woman and I intend to do a lot more this year, much to the disgust of my brother – God you should have seen his face when he got my hand woven sea shells cushion cover for Xmas.
The woven sea shell tapestry I gave my brother for Xmas
I’m also going to tackle the oil paints which I got for Xmas, but at the moment I’m a bit scared of them, basically I daren’t have a go in case I’m completely rubbish, I think there’s a lot of technique to oils and I’ve been confused by various YouTube tutorials – maybe I’d be better off just diving in.
And that’s another thing I need to do more of – once upon a time when I was pretty and pert I did a lot of yoga and a lot of swimming, well me and the girl did a yoga class between Xmas and new year and it was so hard core that the next day I couldn’t lift my arms above my head, this felt weirdly good and once I’ve got rid of this cold I’m going to try and get back into going a lot more regularly – SO I SAY… God it’s hard isn’t it, to do the right thing, even when you know what the right thing is.
Anyway, just to bring us up to date, I had a lovely family Xmas – and I actually mean this – my mother came to stay for five nights which turned out to be really lovely, my mother is 87, great company and one of the least daft women I know – if that makes sense and she was incredibly game and up for stuff, including cards against humanity! ( look it up) She also makes the best German red cabbage in the land.
Unfortunately my mother has mobility issues, so thanks to Tate Britain for lending us a wheelchair so that she could see the Nash and the Turner prize in comfort, let’s face it, my Mum’s brain is in great nick – she pronounced the Turner prize contenders as ‘dreary’ (have to agree) but sadly her legs are too weak to schlepp from floor to floor, the wheelchair made the trip so much easier and was done with absolutely no fuss or bother.
My mother learns to photobomb
So Xmas came and went in a whirls of cheese and presents and as per usual new year feels like a crashing come down so cheers to the Horniman in South London for chasing away the 2nd of January blues, with its hilarious collection of taxidermy and lovely little £4 entrance fee aquarium – also enjoyed the Rauschenberg at Tate Modern, just the Gavin Turk and the Anselm Kiefer to tick off in the next couple of weeks. Ooh yes and me and the old man had a lovely pre Xmas ballet treat when we went to a Sunday afternoon matinee of Mathew Bournes’ The Red Shoes’- god I love a Sunday afternoon matinee.
I love living in London, I love the fact that all this stuff is on my doorstep and yes the place stinks and I’m increasingly scared of terrorism and how much everything costs but I love it and I’m lucky to live here.
That said I do want to visit japan this year – the aim is the spend a couple of weeks in Autumn having an adventure, let’s see if this actually happens, I’m a bit cowardly when it comes to travel and at the moment just getting out of my pyjamas is a bit of an ordeal, so while I go and dose myself up, here’s to a happy and safe 2017, fingers crossed it’ll be ok.
Oh btw – I learnt to cook some new things in 2016, not only have my soup skills improved but I can now do a beef bourgingnon and a chicken curry and I’m only 56.