Goodbye and good riddance to 20-bloody-20!!


“Dear Life, I’m sorry we broke up. I want you back. Love Kathy.”

I had such high hopes for 2020, didn’t you? Then the Covid catastrophe pole-axed the planet. It was as though fate had thrown a bomb into the home stretch of the Melbourne Cup. Yep, Coronavirus’ germy grenade blew up everything.

When lockdown started I tried to be positive. I vowed to take up exercise, learn a language, fulfil the long-cherished dream to write a play; paint a portrait; build that garden gazebo…

Well, after many months of lockdown, do you know what I’ve achieved? Absolutely nothing. Zilch. A big fat zero. The only new skill I’ve acquired is the ability to open a wine bottle with a knife having misplaced the corkscrew while tipsy the night before.

Yes, I attempted exercise. Drifting off to sleep I’d make solemn promises to get up at sparrow’s fart to jog around the park… And next day, like clockwork, I’d be out the door by three pm. But only to go to the bottle shop.

I didn’t learn a language either. I tried, oh yes, I bought the online courses. I now speak Indonesian like a native – a native of Italy. As for Greek? Well, it’s still all Greek to me. And having attempted Russian I’m here to report that it’s not so much a language as an ailment of the throat.

My gardening ambitions also withered on the vine. Until lockdown, my idea of a ‘walk on the wild side’ was not strolling around my herbaceous borders, but swinging off a nightclub chandelier. The only ‘weeding’ I did was weeding out party poopers from guests lists. Flowers were simply those things I sent to friends whose birthdays I’ve forgotten. My local florist helped me select the price range of each bouquet by saying “okay, exactly how bad is it this time?”

But panic buying changed my mind. Having battled my way to the supermarket strapped into a crash helmet and shin pads and armed with a hockey stick, to stare at empty shelves, how I longed for my own vegetable patch.

My lack of gardening abilities was a growing concern. Literally. Usually the only dirty thing about me is my mind, but I’d soon soiled more than my reputation. Toiling, trowel in hand, I watered plants with perspiration till my back ached, my bum numbed and I was in fear of being arrested for GBH from slapping myself senseless swatting bugs. I was so grumpy, my family suggested I only plant snap dragons. Still, I would’ve persevered if I hadn’t then pulled up a worm. Yes, I’ve dated many in my time, but that wasn’t nearly as revolting as finding one squirming, slimily, through my recoiling fingers.

In truth, a garden is a thing of beauty and a job forever. It dies when you don’t water it and rots when you do. So, instead of growing potatoes, I then became one, on my couch, looking out the window at my weeds. Surely, much like me, a weed is just a flower that’s waiting for its beauty to be properly appreciated?

Still, despite my dire lack of accomplishments, there have been some small, unexpected upsides to this vile year. Mask wearing means we gals have saved a lot of money on lipsticks. Books are back in fashion. Influencers have been usurped by influenzers i.e;- Covid medical experts. With a pandemic on the prowl, who wants to listen to some insipid celebrity exhorting you to buy a candle that ‘smells like my vagina.’ (What next Gwyneth? A candel-labia?)

And speaking of ‘old flames’, social distancing has meant a return to courting. Candle lit dinners, conducted over Zoom, have encouraged couples to discover their emotional libidos and swap fast food for slow sex.

There’s even an upside to scuppered Christmas travel plans. At least you won’t have to endure a cavity search performed by someone wearing a Santa hat, right?

And the pressure’s off to come up with a New Year’s Resolution too; just use last year’s list. Although I do think Life should make a N.Y.’s resolution – a promise that 2021 will be a vast improvement on this year’s shit show. And so dear friends, have a safe and sanitised Christmas, elbow-bump your loved ones, and I’ll see you, fully vaccinated, on the Other Side.

Oh, and if you’re looking for last minute Chrissy gifts, PenguinRandomHouse are re-issuing three of my favourite books from my oeuvre. (Wait! Are authors allowed to say they have favourite books? Is it like saying you have a favourite child? Well, don’t tell my other books, but my favourites are “How To Kill Your Husband – and Other Handy Household Hints” , “To Love, Honour and Betray” and “The Boy Who Fell To Earth”. And they’re loitering with intent in a bookshop near you. Happy Holidays. xxxx

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