How to spend the Merryneum


[Merr uh nee uh m]


  1. The awkward middle bit between Christmas and New Years for people who’ve read one too many issues of Cosmo and don’t want to quote Nationwide adverts in their day-to-day lives.

It’s a head-scratcher. You’ve just had arguably the best day of the year (if you’re a fan of tinsel and 10am Costco own-brand prosecco which I, famously, am) and you’re only about a week out from the most over-hyped day of the year (don’t go to the fireworks, guys. It’s never worth going to the fireworks). But how do you spend that in-between bit?

In years past I’ve made grand plans for that nice little stretch of low stress, expectation-free days. I was going to write scripts, finish drafts, do essays, and basically just accomplish all of the things I’d planned on doing through the rest of the year but hadn’t quite gotten a handle on because there was always TV to catch up on and people to see. Except it turns out the Merryneum also contains quite a lot of TV to catch up on and people to see, and things just don’t happen like you promised yourself they would when you get up at 11am everyday and have a nap at midday. So this year I’ve leaned into it. It’s physically impossible to achieve anything much in a house with a still-open Quality Street tin, so why put too much pressure on yourself? Here is a list of some of the things I have accomplished during the Merryneum 2017, in order that you may set your personal bar to an appropriate level during Merryneums yet to come:

Merryneum Accomplishment #1: Eaten at least one chocolate biscuit during every visit to the kitchen for an entire week

It takes a surprising amount of stamina and mental capacity to remember to do it every single time without fail. If I ever leave the kitchen without trying to pretend I’m not munching something my family will know that something is wrong.

Merryneum Accomplishment #2: Perfected the Christmas leftover sandwich

I am not open to discussion on this. Slightly anaemic-looking bake-at-home baguette. LOADS of mayo. Ground black pepper. Cranberry sauce. All of the shitty little bits of turkey at the bottom of the bowl rather than full slices. One sliced stuffing ball. Two cold pigs in blankets as a side order.

Merryneum Accomplishment #3: Stayed indoors for 4 days

Never mind ten thousand steps a day. I highly doubt I achieved one thousand over four. It’s basically been a voluntary hostage situation involving lots of HD period dramas and all of the Christmas tree chocolates.

Merryneum Accomplishment #4: Unashamedly wore a cardigan that makes me look like a Sesame Street character every damn day

I bought it from the charity shop just before I left Cornwall and we’re in love and it’s fine.

Merryneum Accomplishment #5: Reignited my love for Mateus Rosé

Sweet, fizzy, ribena-y goodness. I imagine it’s all they ever drink in Portugal.

Merryneum Accomplishment #6: Eaten particles of matter I found stuck to my clothes because at this point it’s almost 100% safe to assume they’re crumbs

I haven’t been anywhere or done anything except recline in the same seat and eat things, so there’s no reason to think anything about my person would be anything other than food. Even so, there’s a little frisson of danger every time. And then the rich rewards of finding that it’s a small piece of crinkle cut crisp or a smudge of strawberry cream (the best Quality Streets are long gone, but we’ve not yet been reduced to the toffees). I imagine it’s the same reason people take up gambling, and it also tides me over nicely until it’s time for my next kitchen trip.

Happy New Year!

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