MEET my latest live-in companion. Young, slim and virginal, Di is sitting quietly beside me right now, modestly dressed in dark blue and sporting only one adornment ... no, not a tattoo, just the number 2013 in gold lettering on her jacket.
Di may appear to be submissive, but if she is anything like her predecessor, she will probably prove to be an unforgiving mistress, so how is it that I want her in my life right now?
The answer has to do with that most ancient of clichés: Tempus fugit. The Melbourne Cup has come and gone, the poincianas are about to splash out in their crimson glory, and the shopping centres are readying their decorations and drumming up their canned carols to welcome Santa as a sorely needed retail saviour.
All this points inexorably to the fact that tired old 2012 has almost breathed its last, and that the time has come for me to enter commitments for next year into my brand new diary.
This is not as simple as it sounds. There is already a mish-mash of dates and reminders scrawled on the back pages of Diary 2012, most of them jotted down hurriedly during phone calls.
Now I must try to (a) decipher my own handwriting; (b) decide which rashly made undertakings still hold water; and (c) try once more to make neat entries on the right day of the right month.
All of these good intentions have been part of my new yea resolutions for longer than I care to remember, but thanks to a natural slackness in matters clerical, dodgy eyesight and the not-so-gradual loss of what I call my memory cells, I have always failed to deliver. Result, a dog's breakfast of a diary by the end of the year.
Among the entries to be transferred from 2012 to 2013, medical appointments outnumber all the others put together. Mulling this over, I see myself as the human version of an old car, increasingly requiring expert maintenance and sometimes, replacement of parts, so I remind myself to be grateful to the health professionals who keep my motor ticking over.
All this requires appointments well into the future, not to mention many an hour spent in waiting rooms, which are not so named for nothing.
I read the other day, though, that some would-be patients are now waiting as long as eight years to see a specialist ... and that's just to get on the waiting list for elective procedures. A shortening of that wait would surely be their most wished-for Christmas present, so why should I complain about a few weeks or months?
Well, Di, I'd better make a start, and turn over a new leaf, as it were. I plan to treat you with respect, to make readable entries and to check them every day. A core promise? In view of my past shortcomings, perhaps that would be unwise, but if I fail, I know you will make me pay.