Monday 4 January 1865

A slipshod slide back to work after holidays branded by the extreme temperatures therein – from the warm welcome extended by our families in the Lakes and Hull to the frozen groans of my apartment back in Manchester; an icebreaker on so many occasions it now sits trapped in sub-dinner party temperatures. With Voluntary Early Death and its accompanying payout pending in April will this be the year that I finally get to write professionally, or will I career off the tracks like that milk float sliding towards the Exchange on a dirty great sheet of polar paving? I rescue a Health Shake from the burning wreckage and thank the stars that such a confusing ’65 is starting soberly – Licky and I having been worn down by such saucy seasonal merriment as cigars (inhale) and bagpipes (exhale) at Dr and Mrs Shazhorns’, intoxicating puddings at the Bargreaves’ residence, and a party dans l’apartment that saw Bateman first go Dutch with Spike upon the love seat (actually a second chaise longue, a wonderful present from Licky), then Greek in a generous attempt to purge me of all unnecessary glassware. Such hangovers I will not miss this month, yet I sense your need for insight more intoxicating than how to mix a perfect lime and soda. Very well – the Gentleman’s Annual Tupperware party, 23rd December, The Peaky Peveril. High marks all round (a 9 from me, for the soulful journeys made in ’64); the pool won by Sir Dempson (who took out an innocent maid in the half-time snowball fight) and Charlton of Chorlton; Swarthy Erick talks of his moving plans (opening an orphanage?) while the rest of us talk children like naughty ones in the corner. Just as last year I’d struggle to eat a whole one but there’s no doubt they continue to fascinate such whisky-seared hearts as ours; Ted and Arnold explaining how closely they follow a healthy man’s bathroom habits enough to put most of us off for now.

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