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JENNY ECLAIR: CAN WE SKIP THE NEW YEAR FANFARE?

I hope you had a good one (Xmas), all the best for the you-know-what (New Year) and now, please, can we all just move on? I always feel twitchy in January when the year stretches ahead of me like a massive blank canvas and I’m not sure where to start. I prefer my new year slightly worn in. Like a new coat, it usually takes me until March to feel like I know how to do the buttons up and where the pockets are.

The one thing I am determined to do this year though, is to keep going with the hobbies. Fittingly, 2015 is the Chinese year of the sheep, which I am taking as a sign to persevere with my needles (I’m sure this is the year when I actually achieve a knitted garment). For the past 18 months I have been stuck on the needlework nursery slopes of squares for blankets and a tricky toy dog pattern. I would really like to achieve mitten status this year and I’d also like to add crochet to my woolly credentials – apparently workshops are available at Sharp Works in Herne Hill.

I always feel twitchy in January when the year stretches ahead of me like a massive blank canvas

But enough of the strenuous resolutions, there is exciting news afoot – the imminent arrival of a sushi and cocktail bar on Lordship Lane! Raw fish, sake and a cinema… all we need now is a little theatre and we’ll be unbeatable, especially considering that, after all these years of rumour, it looks like a local tube station is finally set to become a reality! Typical, isn’t it? For years this little backwater of south east London was a place to escape from, but as soon as a tube station is on the horizon, there doesn’t seem to be any real reason to leave.

In fact, yet another top local attraction is the Emily Carr exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery, even prince Charles has poked his nose in. Carr is massively famous in her native Canada but relatively unknown over here. Forget the totem pole stuff, which is her most publicised but least pleasing work, go for the trees – her massive, scary, bigger-than-you-can-imagine trees. Oh yes, and her story! Carr was a Victorian eccentric, complete with amputated toe, who kept monkeys and painted from a mobile home deep in the Canadian forests. Emily Carr was a true pioneer and it’s lovely to start the New Year with a new heroine to add to the list.

Catch Emily Carr at Dulwich Picture Gallery (Indian War Canoe, Alert Bay, 1912, Oil on cardboard)

Catch Emily Carr at Dulwich Picture Gallery (Indian War Canoe, Alert Bay, 1912, Oil on cardboard)

READ: THE PRINCE OF WALES VISITS DULWICH PICTURE GALLERY

You know what they say, ‘tired of south London, tired of life’, but if you do decide to venture into town for a New Year’s treat, may I suggest the musical Made In Dagenham at the Adelphi Theatre? It’s a lovely, lavish, big-hearted extravaganza and what’s more, there’s a 176 bus stop bang-slap outside to bring you safely home afterwards. Happy 2015!

See jennyeclair.com

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