Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope your turkeys were plump, your sprouts as inoffensive as seasonally possible, and your proverbial sherry glasses brimful with good cheer and, er, sherry… (And that there was a ready supply of Rennies/similar, preferably chewable, digestive facilitators at hand to assuage the traditional festive discomforts.)

Condemned to interminable episodes of Friends betwixt the sparse, watchable elements of the Boxing Day – New Year’s Eve TV scheduling hinterland, a return to work (*ahem*) on 4th (OK, 5th…) January 2011, came as something of a blessed relief. While I find the aforementioned US sitcom tolerable, even mildly diverting on occasion, it has attained the curious status of elevator music by its ubiquity betwixt (all) other Channel 4/E4 broadcasts: you wouldn’t choose to experience it, but you find yourself overwhelming grateful for its inane, brain-function-stultifying qualities when trapped between floors (or rather ‘floors’, if the analogy is to withstand even the most desultory of scrutinizing glances), i.e. other notable – but necessarily televisual – events.* Actually, I’m not being entirely honest. While there a not inconsiderable dollop of the above sitcom was endured, punctuated by the occasional weak titter when one of drifted to the brink of consciousness/sobriety and forgot we should be exhibiting mild disdain, even pity, for the Messrs Schwimmer, Le Blanc, Perry, Aniston, Cox(-Arquette – depending on the episode) and Kudrow, this year brought a blissful reprieve: fortunately, I had been be-twinkled – or whatever term might best describe the action of Christmas Fairy wand deployment upon a person’s head – with the uncanny (and largely uncharacteristic) foresight to invest in the Season 6 DVD box-set of House (craftily doubling as one of my beloved’s Christmas presents…), thus obviating the need for recourse to Friends between every activity just to alleviate the gloom of dark, chilly evening portending Return To Work. Unfortunately, so addictive is this series (principally about a character with a cripplingly addictive personality, as it happens) that we’d entirely exhausted this well in advance of the critical BankHoliday Monday evening, were left marooned, with only the Great Big Fat Quiz of the Year (possibly just ‘Big Fat Quiz of the Year’, but I know how inclined the BBC is towards self-aggrandizement on such occasions, and when showcasing ‘edgy’ presenters, so not an unreasonable assumption) as defence against the Manhattan 6.

And so, after a little fumbling (not the fun kind) and dead/dying festive foliage removal (even when quite clearly horribly decaying, holly is still a savagely prickly opponent), I commenced my onslaught on 2011. Only, not in a particularly convincing or effectual fashion…

Dogged by the mellifluous Moira Stewart’s Tax Self-Assessment radio announcements, I retreated to the drawing desk and Self-Assessed Tax Denial to play with newspaper and a Pritt Stick in honour of my brother-in-law’s (and, by virtue of their January 2010 nuptials, sister-in-law’s) 1st Wedding Anniversary:

I used the same, brilliant, sticky-foam tabs as for my own wedding invitations to add a little 3D relief to the amorous pair featured – but not so much that it would cease to qualify as a Standard Letter in Royal Mail’s estimation (FYI, standard letters must not exceed 240 mm x 165 mm  or a thickness of 5 mm – such corpulence would elevate them to Large Letter, even Packet, status…).

There’ll be a number of other such anniversarial confections to construct this year, and plans are afoot for an initial foray into the realm of greetings cards (and their production) and ‘associated materials’, but – alas – there is still the tortuous, and torturous, issue of that wretched tax return to contend with before I can indulge in any more of the fun, pencil-wielding, paper-crafting stuff. It is quite incredible that those two, separately innocuous, words are capable of conjuring such a sickening anxiety –  every time I hear them I recall Dylan Moran in the superlative Black Books having paired all his socks, wrestled repeatedly with some entirely inpenetrable clause of the form, and standing, despairing and defeated, before Fran wearing a jacket fashioned entirely from his business receipts…

Until next week, here’s hoping this is your best ever start to a year!

A x.

*Aware that Marvellous Dave (alas, the moniker was cemented further over the festive break by subjection to my exuberant niece) occasional rifles through this particular drawer of the blogosphere, I should probably credit him with having devised this analogy, or at least the kernel of its physiognomy.

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About illustratedbyamanda

Illustrator and time-fritterer extraordinaire
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