I'm already planning my new year resolutions. Number one is to enjoy life more. Number two is not to drink red wine, 'cos it makes me unpleasantly ill in even the smallest quantities. One small glass of mulled wine this lunchtime left me feeling like hell. My judgement, which is never good, was also affected, which leads me on to my third resolution: I resolve not to act like a dork, and to learn how to make small talk that extends beyond 'My, you're cute'. I'm old enough and daft enough not to be such an arse.

Now that I'm recovering from my funny turn, I'd like to wish you all a very happy Christmas. I had had a vague plan to put something of a religious nature in this writeup, but on balance, you get enough of that from me already. Instead, I hope you all enjoy whatever it is that you do, and survive it to enjoy a happy new year too.

My presence here is likely to be a little intermittent for the next three and a half weeks, as I shall be in North California. This will be my first trip to North America ever, and I'm a little apprehensive. Not just about the earthquakes and the BSE and the terror alert and the flight cancellations, either. I'm worried that I'll make a fool of myself, and say or do something hideously inappropriate because I don't know better.

It may be that all this neurosis is the product of my work being very stressful for comparatively little reward. Some of you will know that I haven't been sleeping much lately, and you may have realised that tiredness impairs my judgement. I have every intention of relaxing and not stressing for nearly a month, which should be good.

Happy Christmas