Ah 2011, ’tis but a memory. Certainly what I remember about last year is the stream of emails and messages from people all over the world. You’re an inspiration! You are living my dream! I’m ditching my husband and 5 kids and moving to France! I’m walking up to my boss today and telling her to stuff her shit job up her arse!

Thanks be to jaysus very few people know about this little project of mine. I imagine a wave of abandoned spouses and children around the world coupled with a new wave of unemployment and welfare dependance. Presidents and prime ministers on my doorstep ordering me to cease and desist regaling people with how wonderful it is to drop out of society.

I suppose it’s an enviable life but I can honestly say it’s often as dull as dishwater. Take New Year’s Eve. I want to tell you that I donned a sparkly second skin gown and spiky heels à la Renée Zellweger. That I was twirled about the Eiffel Tower by a dashing man in an Armani tux. That at the stroke of midnight, under a shower of fireworks, I whipped off said gown to frolic in a champagne fountain like the wild Bohemian that I am. That I dined on pheasant under glass and sipped a 1945 Rothschild from my shoe. That I was whisked off to a suite at the Plaza Athénée where the beds are covered in rose petals. The earth moves and the orchestra swells for all who are blessed enough to blow a couple of thousand euros on a shag they’ll likely never remember.

See, this is where age and experience come in handy and I’m here to tell you that I’ve learned a thing or two over the last 4 and a half decades. For starters, to pull off that dress I’d need to be encased in a neck to ankle Spanx suit of armour. My god the itching, the sweating. Heels? The blisters, the cramping calves, not to mention the backache. Bobbimodo, the new hunchback of Notre Dame.

And I can just see me splashing about in a fountain of bubbly. What fountain could possibly fit me? Picture a tangle of flailing limbs, a flesh coloured, sticky catsuit, hair plastered to my head like a silver speedo swim cap, champagne and mascara streaming from my eyes as I shriek, “Neil, it burns, it burns!” As for a man in a tux, my man doesn’t even own a tie and we can never figure out who’s leading when we dance.

Finally, there’s no way either one of us would throw away good money on a hotel room for a night of passion after that mess. We’d spend hours in the bathroom trying to peel the crusty lycra off me and then collapse from exhaustion and heartburn by the light of the top 10 goals in European football broadcast. Sure we can do that any night of the week for free.

So instead this ‘inspirational’ woman found herself enjoying a lovely dinner prepared by a sweet man in bare feet and faded blue sweatpants (mine were black, formalwear to honour the occasion). We toasted each other with a local wine, 4 euros a bottle, and forked into a fancy cake from the town bakery without even taking it out of the box. We reminisced over the year and made plans to travel in the next. We made a list of all the places we’d like to go and committed ourselves to find a way to make it happen.

Then we plopped ourselves on the couch for a movie. We were so engrossed in plot and wavy Lay’s chips that 2012 showed up without us even noticing. Finally we limped off to bed where I poked the bear every 2 hours to avoid being sucked on to his pillow by the snore vacuum. Talk about the earth moving.

Now if that doesn’t motivate a few souls to pack it all in and run away from the circus I don’t know what will. Ring a ding ding.

Notre Dame April 2011