The memories that made 2012 a vintage year
Christmas - a time of taking stock, reflecting, remembering, smiling beatifically through an entire school carol service , gathering loved ones, kissing under mistletoe, pulling a calf muscle after refusing to let black ice stop you wearing four-inch heels, watching your children's faces light up in the glow of a real fire, explaining why Santa has to pay elves double time for making Nintendo DSs (thus making him grumpy if you put other stuff on your Christmas list too) ... aah, isn't the festive season a joy?
Actually, I'm a sucker for Christmas, which I regard as an oasis of optimism and tranquillity, often getting very aggressive and sweary at those who don't. I love the fairy lights, the music, the Christmas movies and TV specials. But most of all I savour the opportunity to write a newspaper column about the year that's passed and all the new knowledge the previous 12 months have brought me. And I know there are few things you, dear reader, enjoy more than seeing it. So, keen never to disappoint, I offer you my list of the most crucial facts we know now that we didn't know this time last year.
Women will unashamedly read gutteral filth on the bus, if women's magazines tell them it's empowering to do so. Rod Stewart's memoirs sold in shedloads, and only a few, demure ladies hid their copies behind EL James's 50 Shades of Grey.
The Queen can paraglide. And she's willing to show off her skills to the world for a little smile from Daniel Craig.
Egomaniacal children's TV entertainers with peroxide bowl haircuts, leering bug eyes and cigar-stained teeth who have shrines to their dead mothers at home, and a reputation for being eccentric recluses, may not be the best people to leave your underage daughter with.
Even a proud patriot like Donald Trump will be forced to call for a revolution in America if taunted by the victory of a guy he really hates in a democratic election.
With just a few choice words - 'Chanel number 5; inevitable' - Brad Pitt can be transformed into a stupid-faced goon.
Health Minister Jeremy Hunt has career-destroying information about the entire cabinet locked in his bedroom safe (well how the hell else is he still in a job?).
Black and white foreign films which don't feature terminally ill people or people with learning difficulties can still win Best Film Oscars.
As long as she wears green, Martin McGuinness will happily shake the Queen's hand, though he draws a line at throwing an arm round her like Michelle Obama.
The sight of a red-headed gentleman with sideburns shaped like Italy, in a sweat-glued zipped-down-to- his-pubic-hair cycling top, can unite British sports and fashion fans like nothing since David Beckham's sarong.
The sight of a red-headed gentleman dancing like an old man pretending to ride a horse can be the sexiest thing in the world (anyone miss Damian Lewis on Jonathan Ross?).
All third-placed Sports Personality of the Year Andy Murray had to do to thaw English hearts was weep on the Centre Court at Wimbledon.
Some bad apples among the police may occasionally tell lies or fabricate evidence, if forced to do so by making mistakes at a football stadium disaster or annoyed by a rude Tory MP.
Dominic West still looks delicious, even when sporting a rotund 'Pickwick' belly after too many luxurious BBC lunches (or is that one just me?).