IT is the month for New Year resolutions and I’ve decided on three: drink less red wine, stop biting my nails, and be a lot braver.

When I’m asked questions like “Does my bum look big in this?” or “Do you like my new outfit”? I’m just going to say what I really think.

As far as 2018 is concerned, I’m determined that honesty is going to be the best policy. Oh yes, the years of saying what my wife wants to hear are well and truly behind me.

The first test of my new-found courage came when my sister-in-law asked if I liked my wife’s new, longer hair style. I thought about it, took a deep breath, and said: “No, not really.”

You know that scene in An American Werewolf in London, where the two hikers venture into a country pub and it goes all quiet as the locals stare at them? Well, it was a bit like that in our house.

Let’s just say I reached for the bottle of red wine, nibbled at my nails, and it remains to be seen whether I’m still around to make a New Year’s resolution for 2019.

Nevertheless, I have been somewhat reassured by the unfortunate experience of my mate Alan… Now, Alan’s a lovely fella, a committed family man, but he’s not always been the most attentive when it comes to his wife. His New Year resolution is to be more romantic.

The “new Alan” came out in the first week of January when he saw the word “HAIR” written in his wife’s hand on the kitchen calendar for last Friday. With expert analysis the kind of which Hercule Poirot would have been proud, he deduced that his wife would be getting her hair done on that day.

It was the perfect opportunity to show his new romantic side. When she came home just after 5pm on Friday, he was ready: “Oh, your hair looks lovely,” he declared.

His wife gave him the kind of quizzical look that comes with the unspoken question: “Are you having an affair?” There was an unnerving pause before she asked: “What do you mean, my hair looks lovely?”

“Well, it’s the nicest I’ve seen it in a long time,” said Alan.

“Why do you say that?” his wife inquired. “Well, because you’ve just had it done,” he replied, glancing at the calendar with a knowing smile.

There was a deep sigh before his wife frostily revealed that she’d changed her hair appointment to the Saturday.

I think Alan’s going to struggle with his New Year resolution.

The things mums say

MY 86-year-old Mum pointed to the word “Pterodactyl” in a new children’s book I’ve just published and asked: “That’s a long word, what does it mean?”

“It’s a flying dinosaur – everyone knows that,” I replied.

“Well, how am I supposed to know? Dinosaurs weren’t around when I was at school,” she said.

The things kids say

IT was a pleasure to talk to members of the Books and Banter group which meets at Stockton Central Library, and thank you to two mums for passing on these memories… Mark, aged four, had hurt his thumb and was being consoled by his Mum on the bed. “I’ve got a question to ask,” he said.

“What is it?” asked his Mum.

“Where do babies come from?” the little lad inquired. “Well, the Daddy plants a seed in the Mummy’s tummy and the baby grows from there,” explained his Mum.

There was a worrying pause before Mark demanded to know: “Well how does he get his hand down her throat?”

ANOTHER Mum had gone to pick up her little boy from Sunday school and was eavesdropping on the lesson given by an elderly lady preacher. It was about the definition of the word “glad”.

“I lost my glasses today and searched high and low before I eventually found them down the side of the settee. I was so glad,” explained the preacher before asking if any of the children could give another example of being glad.

A little boy put up his hand and declared loudly: “I’m glad there’s no Sunday school next week!”