Clare Teal: Stuffed on turkey and beating the New Year blues

Some things never turn out the way you plan them. Take Christmas for example, mum and dad didn't make it down from Yorkshire due to the rubbish weather, leaving just four of us to consume Cyril the turkey who weighed one stone on the nose (I didn't weigh him using my own nose). That's 3.5lb of turkey per person.

We hardly scratched the surface on Christmas Day, so had another go on Boxing Day and Bank Holiday Monday.

By Tuesday he was nicely settled in his foil overcoat in the freezer to be revisited sometime in March. I got a woolly jumper and a cold for Christmas so was rather subdued but warm. In the midst of all the festivities we learned the joyous tidings that our US work visa had been held up due to a computer failure and that we might not actually be able to get to America later this month as planned, this made for a very stressy New Year's Eve. The Grinch had nothing on us – all set to see in the New Year scowling on the settee with a bottle of absinthe and a bag of quavers. It was only when some lovely friends offered to drive many miles to come and cheer us up that I realised how flippin' miserable we sounded.

We couldn't risk ruining their whole year with our incessant rantings, but did think we should try to do at least one positive thing, so we went into town and bought a new suitcase. Throwing caution to the wind we opted for the four-wheel drive. My friends – it's a revelation. I had never fully appreciated how much flexibility a multi- directional wheel system can offer! Marvellous stuff although I won't be hanging out the bunting till Samsonite design a case that can carry itself up three flights of stairs. On our return, and at the bottom of said stairs, we bumped into the poor souls who live in the flat below, who graciously put up with our leaking bathroom, impromptu parties and general hullabaloo, who presented us with two tins of duck confit – cassoulet city!

It was with these lovely people we totally unexpectedly welcomed in 2011 with a glass of champagne, some homemade brownies and a bag of quavers making as much noise as we jolly well liked.