January is not my favourite month. Looking at it from a number of different standpoints and trying to give it the benefit of the doubt doesn't help: it basically has very little going for it.
The first few days are the hangover from the festive period; Christmas trees are drooping, lights and glitter that twinkled in an otherworldly, expectant way last year have now lost their magic; similarly, shiny things in shop windows no longer sparkle or tempt, but appear tired and tawdry. The start of January is the deflated party balloon in the corner of the room.
I don't like the Puritanical mood of the month either. I have known a number of people who detox or give up chocolate or alcohol for the whole of the month. By 31 December I am sick of festive food and longing for fruit and salad, but I don't deny myself the right to reach for a drink or comforting stodge for the next four weeks.
I don't make New Year's resolutions either - I'm glad I don't have to think about stopping smoking anymore, and there's no other major changes I want to make. Perhaps I'm becoming more comfortable in my own skin as I get older. The infamous Jerry Springer apparently resolves to do more of things he enjoys each January; that's the sort of resolution I like.
The January landscape tends to send my spirits sinking down into my shoes. The overbearing hue is mud brown, the trees are naked and damp, the grass is colourless and the rain is relentless. The earth seems to have given up completely and at this point the transformation that will take place in the next few months seems utterly impossible.
Sometimes, the mud is disguised by an enchanting blanket of snow; the magic and twinkle of late December returns briefly. Then you receive text messages from three well-meaning friends and family members to inform you the A1 is closed north of Gosforth and they're worried you won't make it home from work. I hate driving in snow: another reason not to do January.