Starting The Year

img_2315Whilst most people started the year by looking forwards and making resolutions, for Denis, New Year’s Day had become a time for sad reflection, looking back on an ever-extending catalogue of disasters.

It had all begun one New Year’s Eve when a squad of Denis’ favourite Airfix Commandos, in undertaking a daring operation from one side of the hearth to the other, had suddenly melted owing to the heat of the fire. Even the guy with the cool mine detector gadget had not been spared the transformation into a grey plastic puddle – and he had been Denis’ favourite. If that had been the only incident, then he might have been able to treat it as a one-off. But soon – and with clinical regularity – the catastrophes continued. Like the year when Denis had tripped whilst carrying his new Subbuteo set and, in one fell swoop, broken the legs of all Manchester United’s outfield players. Only the goalkeeper had been spared; he had been lying down as a result of nausea from having had too many portions of left-over Christmas Pudding. Or the year when – tragically – he had managed to disprove a popular lie when he discovered that a Puppy was just for Christmas…

If this end-of-year trend had been one simply attached to an accident-ridden childhood, then perhaps Denis could have lived with it. However, it was something that continued to dog him into adulthood like an unfortunate body odour. One year – bizarrely – whilst getting some last-minute shopping before the stores closed on the 31st December, his trousers had spontaneously disintegrated when all their seams suddenly burst in the chiller section of M&S Food. And even less romantically, during one New Year’s Eve party, Denis managed to get both engaged and un-engaged within the space of twenty minutes – which was only slightly better than the year when his inherent inability to read body language subsequently lead to a messy and well-publicised court case a few weeks later.

This year, however, Denis found himself determined to break to mould; to start the New Year in a new way. His recipe for doing so was to explicitly court disaster on New Year’s Eve. To invite catastrophe. He would stare mishap and calamity in the face and laugh. He would go out of his way to find the banana skin, to eat the out-of-date yoghurt, to stroke next door’s Doberman. He convinced himself that only by being brave and fearless would he succeed in ending the curse.

Indeed, he became so sure in the restorative potential of his theory that he found himself stepping from his house this New Year’s Eve with a carefree step and a light heart.

If only he’d seen that tractor and it’s cargo of silage coming…