Guilt-edged hoards

You can feel it in the air. The kind of guilt-fuelled manic activity that only this time of year can bring. Lots of people doing lots of stuff, although not necessarily with much focus or staying power. By the middle of February most of us will have settled back into our steady routines, puffing on fags, quaffing gallons of ale (but that's enough about me) and leaving gym treadmills silent and alone where they belong.

It's all good though because we need this little window of frenetic behaviour to psychologically purge ourselves of the excesses of the festive season - all those brussel sprout sandwiches and chocolate oranges with the pieces irreversibly stuck together don't make for an easy conscience. So, we swing uncontrollably from one extreme to another, secretly hoping for February to come along and place a soothing hand on our collective fevered brow and whisper some words of reassurance.

“It's ok, your sins have all been forgiven. Now, put those jogging pants away and crack open a bottle of Glenfiddich.”

The month of January and last year's unfinished projects is another moot point. Hipster coffee shops are currently crammed with people tapping at Mac Pro Book thingies while other bearded ones loaf around sketching pictures still just as poor as last year's. Meanwhile, in the throes of unbridled - if only temporary - enthusiasm, some will even insist on spending all of their savings on recording an Ed Sheeran cover version that only their mothers will ever hear.

Already this year I've witnessed various red-faced blokes yelling into mobile phones, overcome with an urgent need to get finished what, on 19 December, seemed like something which could easily be put off for a few weeks. Not now though.

“No,no,no, no, no, - it simply has to be tomorrow! It's the middle of January already, man, and the foundations haven't even been laid. Good God, it's nearly 2019! We're all doomed, I tell you - doomed!”

A week before Christmas, in a fug of pre-holiday bonhomie and good will, he will have told the very same chap not to worry, they could look at it “after Christmas” which, of course, is well into January round these parts.

While there's something mildly entertaining about all of this, one can't help but feel a visceral urge to tap everybody on the shoulder and whisper softly in their ears.

“Sshhh, there, there - it'll all be fine. February's just around the corner and by the time it arrives all of this madness will be nothing but a distant memory. Do you fancy a wee nip of Glenfiddich in the meantime?”