Expectations, I usually find, lead to disappointment. Sorry, that sounds a bit negative for the first post of a new year doesn’t it?

I don’t mean it to be so. It’s just that this last few weeks has taught me a lot about them.

For example, I had high expectations of Christmas, particularly the six course Christmas Eve meal which, as you know, I’d been planning for weeks.

No matter how much I told myself not to get too excited, that it could all go horribly wrong and that I mustn’t let that get to me if it did, I still found myself imagining just how great it would all be.

Then two things happened.

On Monday 22nd, it started to snow… and snow… and snow. My car died, and I couldn’t get to work. Worse, my mother was snowed in, and didn’t think she’d be able to make it to Bristol.

On Tuesday 23rd, I started to cough… and yes, cough… and cough. By Wednesday, the day before my meal, the day I had set aside for major food prep, I felt like death warmed up.

Both of which served to convince me, despite fervent prayer, that Christmas was at best going to be delayed by a few days, if not cancelled altogether.

In the end, as it happened, the snow cleared enough by the Thursday to allow my mum to travel safely to me, and there were no problems with my sister and her boyfriend’s train from London.

Miraculously, given how awful I felt on Wednesday, I managed to get through both Christmas Eve and Day not only in one piece, but actually with a great deal of enjoyment.

My much-planned meal was fantastic (if I do say so myself!), we ate our fill but didn’t overdo it, ditto with the wine, the presents were all well received and we even got to bed on time, ensuring full enjoyment of our turkey lunch the following day.

Which is why I’m grateful that we had that couple of days of expectation-lowering stress, as we anticipated the worst for the weather and my health.

Now, as I anticipate a new year and all the changes that it has in store for me, I am once again trying to keep my expectations at a reasonable level.

But to tell you the truth, it isn’t easy – I’m just so excited to begin!