Ten things I won't be giving up in 2014

Wouldn't Christmas be better if it came around once every four years?

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The Independent Online

It may be the time of year for self-denial but I’m not in the mood. Here are ten things I’m definitely resolved NOT to give up in 2014.

1. Firmly believing that Manston is the solution to London’s air traffic problems.  Thanet in Kent needs the development and Heathrow and Gatwick cannot possibly cope with any more and remain safe. Come on new Manston owner, Ann Gloag. Let’s see what you’re made of.

2. Eating dates straight from the packet. Lots of them.

3.  Arguing that Britain’s woefully dumbed-down state education system really is in a parlous state. The evidence is in every international study and comment from despairing employers. Gove is (mostly) right about this.

4. Seeing and reviewing theatre for young audiences – often several shows a week – and marvelling at the (usually) high standards typically achieved on low, reduced or non-existent budgets.

5. Nagging my hoarding husband about downsizing or working towards it.  After 37 years in the same house it is surely time we at least turned out the odd cupboard or two?

6. Avoiding the NHS. So frightened am I by the stories of neglect, poor care, delays, unnecessary deaths and even cruelty that, as far as I can, I shall simply go on minimising my contact with it.  I just eat huge quantities of fruit and vegetables, do lots of exercise, don’t consult my GP and hope for an instant death – but not just yet.

7. Wishing Christmas happened every four years – like the Olympics or US elections – rather than annually. Then I might be able to drum up the right level of enthusiasm. As it is we’ve no sooner got over it than it’s time to start planning the next, and I’m continuously felled by Christmas fatigue.

8. Criticising the ever growing absurd bureaucracy that bedevils this country. Why do I have to re-register my company with Companies House every year when nothing has changed? Why do we fiddle around with TV licences every year? And as for the paperwork involved in opening bank accounts or moving money … It’s all getting like Stalinist Russia and that was a doomed regime.

9 Despairing over Britain and its weather attitude problem. We get winds, rain, snow, fog – even occasionally a heat wave. Stuff happens every year so why do we pretend it doesn’t?  Couldn’t we just dig out our traditional stoicism and keep transport and life going without making such a fuss?

10. Fantasising about downsizing myself, literally. Just a bit. Trouble is that it takes giving things up.