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The life of a Yorkshire widow: New resolutions for a brand new year

31 Dec 2023 | Written by Jan Dunbar

In her latest installment of ‘The life of a Yorkshire widow’, Jan Dunbar’s protagonist reflects upon her resolutions for the New Year.

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’ve made it this far on my own. It’s been a tough time since Jack died and there isn’t a day, or an hour, goes by when I don’t think of him. I miss him terribly but life must go on. I may be past my prime but there’s a life to be lived and I don’t intend to waste it. After all, there’s many a good tune played on an old fiddle, as the saying goes. With that in mind, I’m thinking of making several New Year Resolutions, although I suspect most will come with a get-out clause.

First, I’m going to make more time for family. My side, the Camerons, are a very small tribe. Apart from my sister Margaret, I’ve two cousins living down south. I haven’t seen them since Jack’s funeral but we do keep in touch with birthday and Christmas cards so I hope they won’t mind if I invite myself for a visit. Jack’s side of the family is another thing altogether and I might well need the get-out clause. Whoever said that ‘in times of test, family is best’ has clearly never met Jack’s family. Talk about dysfunctional. Some of them are enough to try the patience of a saint.

I’ve also decided I need to get out more, as the saying goes. I’ve had this idea of setting up a little social circle, for want of something better to call it, and I’m determined to get it off the ground. It’s really for folks who might spend a lot of time on their own and could do with a bit of company now and again. George has agreed to help and in fact, we’ve been working on our first event – a buffet Dinner and Disco at the Bowls Club, with music and dress from the 1960s. Mind you, I’m not sure I’ll still manage the Twist with my dicky hip but I always knew those white patent high-leg boots would come in useful. I just hope nobody turns up in a teeny-weeny-itsy-bitsy-yellow polka dot bikini – not in the middle of February anyway!

Jack had a good selection of tools and my next Resolution is to make sure they don’t rust away from lack of use. They’re going to earn their keep from now on so I need to know what they are and what they do. I’ve been on to Amazon – I do love saying that – and I’ve ordered The Beginner’s Guide to DIY and Home Repair. It’s an enormous manual and it may take several months to get through it but if nothing else, it’ll be good for flattening spiders or propping doors open.

I’m going to take up rambling in the spring. Nothing too strenuous, you understand, just enough to get my walking boots bedded in. We’ve some lovely countryside near me and I’ve found a local group called The Flat Earth Ramblers which sounds right up my street. I’m sure I could find Jack’s old army knapsack in the loft although I might have to use another get-out clause if they start singing The Happy Wanderer … val-deri … val-deraah…

Finally, I’ve decided to take a foreign holiday and a cruise in the coming year. Yes, I know, that’s two holidays in one year but you only live once. All that sun, sea, sand and handsome waiters. I can’t wait. Talking of holidays, it’s about time I had a new wardrobe. Not the wooden sort you hang things in but some new clothes. Some of mine are so old, they’re coming back into fashion although I can’t see myself finding much use for a Mary Quant pop-art mini dress with my legs.

I’d intended to sort out what to do about Jack’s insurance money but money’s a boring subject so I’ve decided to defer that Resolution for the time being.

Goodness me is that the time? Now, do I stay up and see in the New Year or do I toddle off to bed with a good book? If Jack was here, we’d be cracking open a few bottles of Guinness by now, but he isn’t so I think I’ll go on up but as it’s New Year’s Eve, I’ll forego my usual Ovaltine and take a bottle of Guinness instead.

Happy New Year everyone.

If you have your own New Year’s resolutions you would like to pursue, join Dr Huang for a special New Year psychology talk.

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