We went down to the heel of Italy - Puglia - for the first week of the year. Small cities with beautiful cathedrals, savage countryside, great fish; it's certainly worth a visit. It's bit run down, and I must admit we arrived in a car park to find so many helpful youths standing round that we reckoned if we left the car it wouldn't be there when we got back. But by and large it is peaceful and charming. The Puglians produce excellent wine and are superb bakers so it's not great for the waistline.
So 2013 for me starts today. I am in detox and a little grumpy.
We had a lousy 2012 and my only prediction is that the world will have a lousy 2013. America seems to have saved itself (just), Europe is plunging into recession, Japan looks as if it will never get out of recession.
The war in Syria will continue, with 60,000 deaths so far. There is and will be unrest in Egypt and the Arab Spring seems to have taken power from one set of tyrants and given it to another. More soldiers will die needlessly in Afghanistan. Argentina is in such economic difficulty that it may have to mount a doomed invasion of the Falklands to preserve public confidence in the failed presidency of Christina Kirchner-Fernandez. In Venezuela Hugo Chavez will die but the nonsense will continue.
I shall be monitoring the Italian elections, in which almost any result is currently possible, and the possible departure from France of Brigitte Bardot, if the government doesn't cure elephants from TB; and I shall be trying to decide which of the two stories is the more absurd.
My advice to readers is the same as last year: keep low and keep moving.