Barely into January, I breathe a sigh of relief as I drag the moulting Christmas tree away. A tumultuous year has finally staggered to an end...
Perhaps the most memorable thing that happened was letting our beloved car roll down our sloped driveway and down a 20ft drop at the bottom. Needless to say it was a write-off, and I couldn't look Henry (the vacuum cleaner) in the eye again - I held him solely responsible.
The car wasn't the only thing to be written off. After many hysterical phone calls to the manufacturer, our brand new fridge freezer was finally carted away and replaced with another one; it had become infested with an unidentifiable substance, which no amount of bleach could destroy.
I then broke my wrist and seriously damaged my coccyx. It was at this time that my children decided to go and get themselves a very bad bout of chickenpox each, on Betty's much anticipated 5th birthday too.
My broken wrist meant that I was unable to do quite a lot of things, including changing nappies. This meant that two year old Dolly had to start using the potty pronto, and she did it admirably. Within two days she was a pro.
Speaking of chickens: we also acquired four ex-battery hens this year. Tom finally finished building the shed and coop, less than three years after construction began. Two hens have subsequently died of unknown causes, and been slung over the hedge. I can't say I'm too sad about it. They were vicious chickens with an evil glint in their eyes, and they scared me a lot. Having said that they did manage to produce a lot of delicious eggs, though most of them got broken in transit from coop to house (thanks to Dolly).
To go with all these eggs, we had many fry-ups, and as a family we probably consumed around 624 sausages over the course of the year.
Betty starting school was by far the most emotional thing to happen in 2011. Where she has embraced it wholeheartedly, I still haven't quite come to terms with the fact my first-born isn't at home with me and making glittery play dough, day in and day out. And her new way of talking doesn't sit pretty with me either, you know, where every sentence goes up at the end. I don't like the whole having to wear black shoes thing either.
To get me through the trauma of starting school, I treated myself to a smartphone. And it indeed became my new baby; I protected it, held it close to my bosom, and wouldn't let anyone else touch it. As an added bonus my new phone had a sat nav (I had been wanting one for ages but Tom refused point blank to get one, banging on and on about the lost art of map reading). During 2011 Tom had at least 23 animated arguments with my phone while on long car journeys.
This was also the year that we went digital. We were the last place on the planet, but when it did finally happen it caused much excitement (even for telly-phobic Tom who now gets to watch endless episodes of Family Guy). This did however mean that we had to cart three perfectly good TVs (one of which I'd had since I was little and was still going strong in analogue) off to the recycling centre. This wanton dumping caused Tom a lot of anguish for carbon-related reasons, but he consoled himself with the fact that he had just put 18 solar panels on our roof, was never going to get on an aeroplane ever again, and once even ordered a vegetarian main course in a restaurant.
Betty also did her bit for the planet by recycling about seven large cardboard boxes into a mini shanty town which occupied most of the living room. On the downside, environmentally speaking, she used about 32 rolls of sellotape. Still, it was quite a feat of construction.
On New Years Day 2012, I opened up my new Vax vacuum cleaner for a spot of spring cleaning, and wow, what a little beauty SHE is. I can even hoover with a broken wrist. She effortlessly glides across the carpet sucking up every tiny little speck - including the ones that have been there for many years. I was so excited about her capabilities I spent much of the day vacuuming. The whooshing sound it makes going across the carpet was enough to make my head spin. Tom wasn't happy about me using it on the car though.