With 2013 finally tied in a sack and left out for the bin men, I now have only one more episode of The One Show to endure before I can escape to Basra on Wednesday. I can reflect on a reasonably nice festive period, which included watching Cambridge lose to Oxford at rugby (and getting very drunk), spending a weekend in Norfolk visited English Heritage castles (and getting very drunk), smoking a pipe (and getting very drunk), organising a pub crawl through all the village pubs between Banbury and Oxford (…) and being very drunk in Chester Cathedral. In between the other usual Christmas pass times of eating, missing trains, and annoying people at parties I also managed to do a large amount of work for a small amount of money, most of which I lost on a series of poorly-motivated horses at the New Year’s day races at Cheltenham. For Christmas I got DVDs and a lecture about life trajectory and alcohol consumption (thanks mum and dad).
The DVDs are aimed at keeping me reasonably sane over the next three months, which I’ll be spending in Iraq, down in Nasiriyah, excavating an Old Babylonian city while drinking very little and not getting out much except when accompanied by an unwieldy quantity of policemen. I feel a healthy supply of box sets may be the difference between a happy workplace environment and ugly social disintegration. So far I’ve selected Elementary series 1, Being Human 1-3 and Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa. This will definitely be the most dangerous place I’ve ever gone to dig; an issue which I’ve been furiously ignoring up til now. Today in Sainsburys mum asked me where Fallujah is, which constitutes her first expression of near-concern. Ignorance, as they say, is bliss, so I’m attempting to keep my parents as blissful as possible. My New Year’s resolution for 2014 is not to get dead.
In general, I’m not at all unhappy to see the back of 2013. Although I’ve dug a great many holes in a great many places, most of my longer term goals, such as getting a permanent job, moving out of my parents’, learning to drive, forming a romantic relationship with a (tall, mysterious, bearded) man, and paying tax, continue to elude me. On the positive, 2013 was the first year since 1996 in which I did not sustain a black eye. We’ll see if 2014 can see me escape the homeless, itinerant, poverty which only dedication and ten years at university can properly equip you for.