« Ashes | Main | A Bird In The Hand »

Walking the Tightrope: Grumpy

Sally Codman rallies brilliantly from after-Christmas blues and grumpiness by writing a Reasons to be Cheerful list.

When the Codman kids first suggested they'd found the perfect TV programme for me to appear on I was flattered. I assumed they wanted me to join their Dad and try out for 'Who Wants To Be a Millionaire - I really should have known better.

After a few minutes guessing alternatives, such as The Weakest Link (including a few entertaining moments composing put-downs for acid-tongued-Anne Robinson) all was finally revealed. The little darlings had me down as a dead cert for Grumpy Old Women.

I nursed my hurt feelings for a while, before I told myself it could have been worse. For a heartbeat I considered the horrors of being thrown into the Big Brother house or into the jungle with a load of z-list celebs. Even the thought of a stint on Eastenders or Neighbours made me break into a cold sweat.

I rallied quickly and pointed out that I wasn't eligible for GOW as I wasn't nearly old enough but on reflection I had to concede that if they ever screened Grumpy Middle-Aged Women, I'd be first to be interviewed.

Yep, on reflection, I had to admit that the run-up to Christmas and its aftermath had definitely left me rather grumpy. In fact, should they ever make a feminist version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, I'd win any audition for the role of Grumpy hands down.

Once I'd admitted I was guilty I was forced to confront my crime and ask myself 'Why?' and whether I had any plausible excuses, I mean mitigating circumstances.

A bit of soul searching followed and the best I could come up with was 'exhaustion', 'a nasty cold' and 'too many cakes and ale' - pathetic or what?

I suspect I'm not the only woman left exhausted by my Christmas 'holidays.' Lets face it, by the time we've done the shopping, written and sent the cards, cleaned the house from top to bottom (before and after the parties) wrapped everything including the cat and cooked for Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all, we need a proper holiday.

As for the 'nasty cold' - we know that it's really 'flu - but we dose ourselves up and battle bravely on as all around our families retire to bed, only to recover in time for the celebrations.

The cakes and ale? well, they're a common problem at this time of year, so I decided that what's really tipped the balance between normal tiredness and total exhaustion, was having a few windows fitted and helping Eldest Daughter prepare for her trip to South Africa. Not to mention the self-catered farewell party for sixty-plus.

Whatever the mitigating circumstances, I'm still guilty. If I was up before judge and jury charged with 'third degree grumpiness' I could just imagine the courtroom scene. His Honour, Judge Cheerfulness, would find me 'Guilty as charged' and announce that ordinarily the sentence for such a crime would be imprisonment.

Here his Honour would pause for dramatic effect, and I'd seize the opportunity to daydream of a holiday in one of those nice 'open prisons' where Jeffrey Archer ended up. I'd have my own room and TV and the opportunity to take some nice mind-improving courses, such as Latin for beginners, or something relaxing like creative writing or watercolour painting.

My daydreaming would be rudely interrupted by His Honour continuing with a pleasant laugh, followed by the information that due to my previous 'good character' and the fact that all our prisons are full, a different sentence would be passed.

I would be sent to a new mood-improvement pilot scheme - The Pollyanna Programme - followed by 50 hours of community service, to include jobs like cleaning, shopping, cooking, washing.

That being too awful to contemplate, I resolved to cheer myself up immediately and began to write a 'Reasons to be Cheerful' list.'

It included the obvious, such as health, family and friends, jobs, etc and went on to include the strangers who helped restore my faith in Humanity before Christmas. There was the woman who returned Eldest Daughter's handbag, complete with cash, which she'd left in a changing room. And the man who bumped my car in a car park - when I wasn't there - who left his real phone number and admitted liability.

All in all that list wasn't too hard to write. I've filed it away for future reference whenever I feel an attack of grumpiness coming on.


Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.