It must be an American election year, because NPR, the radio station we listen to as we wake up each morning now seems to be firmly given over to politics. We are hearing about the ins and outs of the Republican candidates as they fight it out in the primaries, which might be interesting if any of them were at all dynamic or charismatic, but they seem distinctly lacklustre (and they're Republican too, which doesn't help them in my estimation).
This morning we heard about a tiny hamlet in New Hampshire where there were only 9 voters. Newt Gingrich and someone else got one vote each, Romney and Huntsman got 2 each. Wow, hold the front page! If this is a taste of things to come, I might have to start listening to Radio 4 on 'Listen Again' every day, not just at the weekend.
Meanwhile we are dealing with the US government in our own little way. We need to renew our visas this summer, which means a trip back to the UK as you can't do it from within the US. Trying to be organised, we booked the flights ages ago, and The Doctor has assembled all the many pieces of paperwork ready to make our appointment. The other day, he rang up the US embassy in London (at vast cost as they have a premium rate line), paid $16 to even give his name, then gave them all our passport numbers and visa numbers, names, ages, dates of birth, star signs.....only to be told that the only available appointments were in February. Seeing as we are there in April, this is not particularly helpful. They could not tell him when the April dates would come through, so we now have to have the embassy on speed-dial and just have to keep ringing and checking - and eventually paying another $16 to re-register. The last thing we want is to miss the date we want, as the visas take up to two weeks to come through, and of course we need our passports back to return on our booked flight back to America. Sigh.
All in all, January 2012 is shaping up to be a pretty dreary month. For the last two years here, January has been cold and snowy, which although difficult to deal with has been quite pretty, and exciting for the kids. But this year we've had no snow as yet, and the grey, intermittently chilly weather is reminding me distinctly of England. The Doctor and I are also on a health kick, so cutting back drastically on the booze and fatty foods - although I'm still enjoying running, which I guess is something.
The only comfort is a new season of Downton Abbey on PBS, plus a box set of The InBetweeners that my brother-in-law sent us for Christmas (labelled by him as 'The anti Downton Abbey). I'm also excited about seeing The Book of Mormon on Broadway in February thanks to a Christmas present from The Doctor (for UK readers who haven't heard, it's a smash hit musical written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame).
Plus there's the thought of seeing family and friends in April, and spending some time in the UK after a break of nearly two years. At the moment, sitting soberly in my study on Long Island, the idea of a night out with the girls in a Soho cocktail bar seems like a distant fantasy in a far off land. I can't wait until it becomes a reality.