Is it me, or has 2019 arrived sounding a reconciliatory tone? 

I don’t think it’s unfair to say that 2018 was ‘a bit fighty’, but the new year’s newspaper opinion columns, at least, seem to me to have a more sympathetic, understanding lilt to them; as if we are all, whether we like it or not, bloodied pugilists who, tired and broken, look across from our prone positions on the mat and think: ‘Didn’t we used to like each other? Didn’t we used to have more dignity in our discussions? Honestly, what’s the point of all this?’ 

Or perhaps it’s that, when I write, it’s still, technically, Christmas (diary, day 11: sherry stocks are running dangerously low and the cat and I are eyeing each other suspiciously over the last few scraps of ham; please send help). This is a time that traditionally teaches us it’s possible not just to get on with but also to love those who we have minor disagreements with because, frankly, there’s more to life, and getting on with each other is more important.

This year already feels more understanding, more nuanced, like things haven’t since, well, I don’t know exactly, but let’s call it 2016. 

If only, though, there were a more reliable metric than just catching a whiff of a positive mood in the air, to affirm my new-found sense of optimism.