HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!!
Against my better judgement I have agreed that Primrose and Camilla can have a spot on today's blog in order that they may impart their chicken wisdom for 2016. I shall leave them to it, then, but shall return in half an hour or so just to make sure they haven't said anything controversial, rude or plain barking mad...as if...
'Welcome all, to the More Old Hens' Almond Yak of 2016!' says Primrose.
'Do you think we ought to explain the whole Almond Yak thing?' says Camilla. 'I mean, they're human. I can already see the confusion on their faces.'
Primrose sighs. 'If you must,' she says. 'Although, in my opinion, if they managed to keep up with the Phantomime, then they can keep up with the Almond Yak.'
'Actually, I'm not sure some of them did,' says Camilla. 'The 'If you have been affected by the contents of this pantomime' helpline has been pretty busy over the last week or so.'
'Go ahead, then,' says Primrose. 'Only be quick. I don't want my almonds going cold.'
'Ahem...' says Camilla, clearing her throat because there has been a bit of coughy phlegm circulating at the Manor since mid-week. 'For generations, hens have been divining the events of each New Year using the sacred Almonds of the Yakkity Yak (He Who Talked Back). The Almonds were passed to the Hen Who Was More Old Than Any many centuries ago, and, through a series of clever manufacturing and marketing devices, there's now not a hen household in the country which does not possess their own Almond Yak. It comes in a box in the form of the Yakkity Yak and it is important to store the almonds in their Yak form in order for them to maintain their magical powers.'
'And to make sure no-one eats any,' says Primrose.
'That as well,' says Camilla. 'Our Yak was missing an ear and a bit of its back left leg, wasn't it, after SOMEONE got a bit peckish in the middle of the night...'
'Hmmmm,' says Primrose. 'Can I get on now?'
'Indeed,' says Camilla. 'Continue, oh Hen Reader of the Almonds.'
Primrose, who has been sitting on the Almond Yak to warm it up, removes it from her under-featherage and flings it into the air. It spirals upwards, then down again (there's gravity for you) and lands in many almondy pieces on the piece of black velvet especially spread on the floor for the divination.
'Aaaahh...' she says, examining closely the pattern the almonds have made on the cloth.
'What?' says Camilla, who becomes unnecessarily excitable about these things. 'What is it? What is going to happen in 2016?'
'Well,' says Primrose, sitting back and adjusting her puce silk turban. 'There's definitely going to be weather. Some hot, some cold, quite a bit wet. And another Royal Baby. And Donald Trump is going to suffer negatively with a poll.'
'How odd,' says Camilla.
Primrose frowns. 'I might be reading that last one wrong. It might be someone called Donald Poll having a negative trump.'
'Either way,' says Camilla, 't'aint natural. What else can you see?'
'I can see an almost empty coffee mug,' says Primrose. 'Do me a top up, will you? From Lord Malarkey's new posh coffee machine.'
'He's a barista, you know,' says Camilla.
'No need for that kind of language, thank you,' says Primrose.
Coffee refilled, Primrose turns her attention back to the Almonds. 'Kent is going to sink a further 4 inches below sea level because of the insanely aggressive house building programme,' she says. 'This may or may not cause flooding but it will DEFINITELY cause another urge to move house. Knitting will be big this year. Fences will be as rotten as a carrot.'
(N.B This is off the back of a conversation I had with my mother yesterday when she was telling me about a fence panel that had come down in her garden in the recent high winds. 'It was rotten as a carrot,' she said. Twice. I didn't like to question her on the validity of her simile, because at her age and the wisdom that comes with it she ought to know, but really?? Rotten as a carrot??? It's a new one on me. Back to the hens...)
'Petrol prices will come down, chocolate prices will go up,' says Primrose. 'This will even out the obesity crises and the nation's weight will stabilise. Pogocise on ice will be the new exercise sensation but may lead to a strain on National Health resources.'
'This all sounds a bit grim,' says Camilla. 'Isn't there anything fun or cheerful on the horizon?'
Primrose glares at the Almonds. 'Well, unless you count the growth in comedy moustaches and the announcement of Miranda Hart to be the new Doctor Who, then no.'
'P'raps we could try again tomorrow, then,' says Camilla, 'when the Ice Goose is in the Seventh House of the Retrograde Narwal.'
'Well, we could,' says Primrose. 'But I don't think it works like that. Almond?'
'Don't mind if I do,' says Camilla.
And there you have it. Or don't, as the case may be. Our New Year came and went very peacefully, with no maniac neighbours setting off fireworks on their driveway as per the previous two years. I was in bed by eleven. I tried to sit up but sheer tiredness, along with utter disgust at the peurile nature of the Alan Carr New Year's Show meant I missed the actual midnight 'BONG!' as it were. Oddly, nothing of any great misfortune occurred because of this.
There was a massive frost overnight which made the New Year's Day walk around the park (you know, the magic one that makes you lose all the weight you piled on over Christmas...HA!) a slippy-slidey adventure. And then it started raining and pretty much hasn't stopped since.
I have been knitting like a crazy person as I have banned myself from any new wool purchases until I have significantly diminished my wool stash. Andy has used a voucher he got for Christmas to buy an Amazon Fire Stick which just sounds silly in the extreme. It arrived this morning in what I thought to be an overly big box for a stick. But it works. Doing whatever a Fire Stick is supposed to do. It's technology. I shan't be touching it.
I have a bit of a cough, donated to me on Christmas Eve by Granddaughter Number 2, Elizabeth. Here we are...
She'll be 2 at the end of April. Can you believe it?
And Granddaughter Number 1, Kayleigh, left me this note, which now has pride of place on the fridge...
There were some unnecessary comments from others in the house along the lines of 'How much did you pay her to write that?' which I chose to ignore because the child is extremely wise and independent and wrote it without any prompting at all. And if she regards me as the Best Gran Ever then who am I to argue??!
May your 2016, then, be a good one! May you move onwards and upwards if that is your desire, or stay where you are in your cosy chair of stability if that is your wish. May every day give you a little smile, even if it takes some searching for on those days when s**t happens. May you experience a personal miracle. May you find a bargain buy. May you light up someone's eyes with your presence and may the Kitten of Joy bounce on your sofa and snuffle your ear.