• Deborah Allen

No New Year's resolution for me...

Around this time of year people start asking you what your new year’s resolution will be; well I don’t ever make them. I won’t lie, or try to fool myself. I’m not going to tell people that my aim is to diet and become a size zero stick insect or go running and compete in the next marathon.

No way, the plain truth is that there will be no new year’s resolution from me. I am who I am and I don’t intend to change a thing.

Some people might consider me to be a grumpy old woman although I would beg to differ.

I’m not a grumpy person by nature I’m actually quite happy although there are some things that annoy me and I will make my objections known …normally loudly!

I know I am that crazy woman who toots her car horn when I see people using their mobile phone while driving. I am the woman who sits at the traffic light and gives a round of applause to the idiot one car ahead that has swerved and dodged in and out of traffic, speeding and causing other drivers to have to brake hard to just to get that one extra car length in front.

As for those who don’t indicate... grrr those flashing lights at the corners of the car aren’t just for Christmas you know…I am not psychic I can’t just guess where you’re going, oh, and the driving lights you have in the front are not a substitute for indicators either. I don’t have road rage, just a healthy dislike for those people who seem unable to obey even the simplest of road rules. My dash cam sound is turned off for two reasons A/ because the world really doesn’t need to hear me singing and B/ I swear at these idiots and make very rude suggestions about their parentage. It’s a healthy way of letting off steam.

I’m the woman who phones the council and complains so often that I know when I recite my postcode the operator gets that ‘oh god it’s her again’ look on her face.

The fact is the council ask the public to contact them about problems we have with their services and responsibilities within the town, then when you do they hum ahhh and make a report about it but basically do nothing.

Regardless of what you report they ignore it or flap their hands about it and when things go seriously wrong they run around like headless chickens having meetings and issuing press statements that are largely ineffective anyway. Lord knows we pay these people enough in rates is it too much to ask they do their job?

I don’t mind that things go wrong, shit happens and sometimes we just can’t help that but I don’t like sloppy service or worst still lies. My daughter and I recently took a bus journey, its one we’ve done before so we know how long it takes and where the bus parks… this time as we departed the bus driver made an announcement saying that because of a mess up in planning he had to pick up some extra passengers and that this would mean an extra hour on our journey time. Then to add insult to injury we had to park miles away from the centre of the town we were visiting so our day out became an afternoon out instead. I gave the company a review and said it was pity that their delays had caused such disruption to what should have been a nice day out. The company replied and said that I was mistaken, there was no delay and that this was the normal journey for this route… The mail they received in return left them in no uncertain terms that I was not amused at being lied to.

Service in shops in much the same, customer service is now a dying art. Assistants who shrug when asked if a product is in stock and say ‘I dunno’ as if being asked a question is beneath them annoy me. Bored and disinterested workers are much the same, whilst they may not like their job at least they have one and their non-work satisfaction is not the fault of the customer so why behave as if customers are the biggest inconvenience in their lives?

As for social media …Don’t get me started, I love it but I can’t stand the fake news and the thinly disguised phishing posts or the ones disguised as news that are really just far right propaganda designed to spread hate.. I’ve issued a warning that anyone who posts these things on my page will be banned and reported... A lot of these posts pop up each year around Christmas claiming we can’t say the C word for fear of upsetting someone or other. (Normally Muslims.) Then last week I read that more supermarkets than ever will be open on Christmas and Boxing day than ever before and I know that the same people who have been banging on about us losing our culture and traditions and moaning about how they have the right to say Merry Christmas and have a nativity scene will be the same people who deny their fellow human the right to a Christmas at home because they hope to bag a bargain at the shops… I don’t like hypocrisy.

Then there’s the new year...I love Christmas but hate new year, for me it’s a date change not an occasion but if other people love it then that’s their choice. I have no problem with that, what I do have a problem with is the mindless idiots who have to celebrate it by blowing things up with fireworks, it’s got worse year by year and the fireworks nowadays are more like small mortar shells going off. Around here the New Year’s celebrations start somewhere around mid-October and carry on way after everyone has got sick of saying Happy New Year. Kids barely out of nappies wander the streets throwing bangers and small rockets at passers-by, cats, dogs and any other form of life, scaring people witless and causing great distress to animals. I know where I want to stick their fireworks!

But if you say anything about the little

* darlings* (my choice of word here is X rated) you get told that they are just having fun! Of course when they do blow off their fingers or lose an eye we are all expected to show sympathy. Well don’t look at me, if the parents are stupid enough to let the kids run around like wannabe terrorists with bagful’s of mini explosives then don’t expect me to feel sorry for the little horrors when they injure themselves. This is called Karma.

Charities… My husband and I give to charity, we chose the causes we support and give to them regularly. I have a notice on my door that says no sales persons or charity collectors but still they ring my bell.

They ask if I can spare a minute, I point out the sign... ‘But madam don’t you care about X Y or Z’? I say no thank you and they pretend to be horrified at my response...It’s the same each time, the scene unfolds like a well-rehearsed play, they launch into a standard pre-learned script about whatever charity has employed them to come begging at the doors and then they ask me why I won’t give….

Big mistake… At that point I draw breath and say ‘young man/woman (its normally youngsters they send) I have been on this planet about twice as long as you and since I was knee high to nothing I have been knitting blankets, filling shoeboxes, collecting bottle tops, silver foil and lord knows what else to try to help XY or Z and what has changed?? Nothing, you are still here collecting for the same cause as 50 years ago. History has taught us that much of the donations get misappropriated by corrupt governments get used to buy arms or simply get swallowed up in administration so no I won’t give to these causes any more’… Most of them walk away looking slightly stunned.

As I say it’s not that we don’t give to charity we do, but who I donate to is my choice and my decision, I give to causes close to my heart and to those I trust. Not just big names with big appeals.

I don’t think that is grumpy at all I just don’t like people ringing my doorbell after I’ve clearly asked them not to. As for the ones who accost you in the street showing horrific pictures of mutilated animals or starving children I have perfected the silent stare that says ‘drop dead’ and if they take a step in my direction a firmly raised hand indicating a stop generally puts them off. As I said, I give to my chosen charity through choice and not because I’ve been bullied or guilt tripped into doing so.

I’m not being grumpy when I say I’m not making a new year’s resolution. Because what I will promise is to be myself. I will continue to hoot at the mindless drivers who use mobile phones, I will continue to moan at the council to do their jobs and I will still refuse to be blackmailed into giving money to causes I don’t know or don’t believe in just because some wide eyed young thing is begging at my door.

If grumpy is standing up to bad service and lazy officials, if it’s grumpy to object at being blown up by children with decorative bombs them I’m grumpy but at least I’m true to myself, steadfast in my values and beliefs and not swayed by popular media pressure or propaganda.

I still don’t consider myself grumpy because the things that make me happy far outnumber those that make me grumpy and most of them are free too…

Every morning I wake up say good morning to my husband and I kiss my dog, which makes me happy.

I say good morning to the parrot and he greets me with a chirp, that makes me happy. A clear sky at night so that I can walk along and wonder at the thousands of stars I see and the changing face of the moon, the misty mornings when things look so soft and all the noise of the world around me is muffled.

A crisp frost that lets me walk on crunchy grass and piles of dry autumn leaves that I kick like a small child. These things make me happy. Seeing mushrooms peeping through the grass or dew drops hanging in a spider’s web these things make me happy.

I love how the light dances on the water of the canals. I love the sight of dragonflies skimming across the water on the pond, I love catching sight of animals and birds in their natural surroundings.

A clear sunrise with flaming orange and red across a pale blue sky makes me smile. Sunsets do much the same.

Each year the house martins come back and nest in our roof makes me feel happy and I spend hours just watching them fly above the rooftops. The first blooms of spring, the warmth of the summer sun, a good meal with family or friends, a quiet evening in with a mug of hot chocolate All of these things make me happy. Music, books, flowers and so many other things make me happy.

I love taking photos and cooking and writing although I don’t profess to being an expert at any of them I just enjoy being busy. These simple things make me happy.

Its true I can be opinionated, I can be blunt, but the fact is that most of the time I’m looking around me at the little things that just make me happy….. and I don’t intend to change that for anyone.

So, no new year’s resolution, just the determination to be me, and to be happy with the simple things in life.

I suppose my point is.

I’m me, take it or leave it…

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