As I write this, it is Monday 2nd of January, and a beautifully sunny day in the Mecca of the North. I have spent the morning wrestling with a sad, desiccated Christmas tree that proved most unwilling to give up its cosy spot by the radiator and be put outside, and am now looking admiringly at my newly cavernous, uncluttered living room (although the way the cat is walking does suggest that all those pine needles did indeed have to go somewhere). If ever there was a bright, shiny day purpose-built for the coining of New Year's resolutions, this is it, so here they are. I realise they are highly aspirational, but I believe in aiming high, and as I'm clearly never going to be a size eight again I may as well start with these:
1. Strive to overcome new and dangerous addiction to Sexy Drama. Over the years, I have a found it a useful, time-gaining advantage that I don't really like watching television: there's no end to the fabulous places you can go, amazing people you can talk to and interesting books you can read when you're not tethered to the sofa fretting about some mindless nonsense. And yet. Over the last year or so, it has come to my attention that there's a LOT of irresistibly Sexy Drama around - witty, stylish, full of very beautiful people who would probably really like to be my friend/lover/admirer if this were real life (oh, would that it were), and just too seductive by half.
To wit: Dominic West, Romola Garai, Romola Garai's bottom and a selection of martinis in The Hour, arch Lady Mary and suddenly-hot Cousin Matthew (no-one knows how or when this happened) in Downton, David Morrissey and Aidan Gillen undergoing serious bouts of man angst and still finding time to cleanse the streets of crime in Thorne, psycho Suranne Jones stalking Rupert Graves across Manchester to the open disapproval and inner understanding of female viewers nationwide in Scott & Bailey, to give just a few examples. I realised my obsession with Sexy Drama had gone too far when I spent almost all of yesterday anxiously awaiting Sherlock, purely for the pleasure of seeing a tall man with luxuriant hair running around in a hot coat exchanging banter with a small man who would probably make an excellent Hobbit.
2. Go into Manchester between the hours of 11am and 7pm without visiting Grinch. Tricky one this, and one that I have actually already broken, having popped into Manchester today and accidentally found myself perched at a table with a glass of Prosecco - a bit like Cousin Matthew's sexy new look, no-one quite knows how this might have come about. Put simply, Grinch is irresistible - snug, welcoming, unchanging (in a good way) and with a superlative Happy Hour between 5 and 7pm, there is just no way of walking past without popping in. While I was there, I thought I may as well toy with one of their giant cheeseburgers (the best in Manchester) on the basis that I'd been carrying some heavy shopping and only had the one Toblerone yesterday; Mr Liz meanwhile polished off a modest Calzone the approximate size and weight of his own head. I fear this will be a difficult resolution to keep, so may abandon it on the grounds of sheer unrealistic-ness.
3. Shop local all the time, not just when easily done with no extra effort. I am a big believer in supporting local independent businesses, and am fortunate enough to live in an area positively thronging with interesting shops; sometimes you can hardly move round here for the proliferation of locally-branded jute bags with sprout trees coming out the top of them. I too can often be seen toting such a bag around various markets and worthy premises, each staffed by lovely, knowledgeable souls who really care about what they sell...as long as it's a weekend, or a holiday. At all other times, I fear I can be more often spotted wearily pushing a trolley round Sainsbury's and randomly throwing in pre-packaged meat of unknown origin and uniformly-sized, pre-scrubbed perfect vegetables while Mr Liz follows behind looking longingly at the sweet counter. I feel bad about this, and am fully aware that the actions of people like me are partly responsible for the fact that a Tesco Express is about to appear in Didsbury Village; I hereby promise to do better locally on ALL days of the week, and stop feeding the evil behemoth with my hard-earned coin.
4. Write interesting, intellectual blog posts that are not all about me. Oh...well, let's not be silly about this - I might leave this one for another year or so while I work on the others...
Happy New Year all, and here's to another twelve months of great things in Manchester :)