Of course, one of the best things about Christmas is the appearance of unexpected gifts.

In that respect, tussling with the small army of nephews and nieces that one always does at this Yule-ish time of year should have rendered the element of surprise moot in the case of this particular gift – but I was none-the-less wrong-footed by the joyous outbreak of colds chez Paradiso, just a day or so after returning from the bosom of the rellies.

I am now a bit fed up with sitting about on the sofa, ashamed as I am to say such a reckless thing.

But a raspy-arse throat and sniveling, sniffing, dripping, pounding head do rather combine to lay out a chap uncomfortably. And even a chap has his things to do. Like shopping for shoes; I had not the fortification for this important task in the front-line affrontery of sales crowds yesterday. Too much. I feared the need for smelling salts as I giddied through the throngs of John Lewis.

And this nasty nasal adversary even floored the lovely first lady of Momo too – which is unfortunate, since our remarkably compatible constitutions helpfully tend to pick up different sicknesses, on the perhaps unfortunately-rare occasions we have legitimate medical excuses to bunk off a decent day’s work.

Last time we were sick together was food poisoning – I remember one of us lying on the floor of the lounge and one of us on the sofa, but I can’t remember which was which as we limply held pale hands and periodically made little sorrowful noises to eachother. I do remember thinking that that would be the last time I had fish pasta at Casablanca airport.

But today, manfully, I’m back at work. And womanfully, the lovely first lady of Momo is actually back at work, while I do this.

Can it really be a year since the spectacular Paradiso new year party, which rocked the neighbourhood with my 12-hour iTunes playlist and to which about five people came, including my mum? Can’t believe it.

And what kind of year has happened in between?

Well, I’m not about to try to review it in any detail. I’d say that I’m left with a bizarrely positive feeling in the ol’ gut regions about it, and about the impending new year, even though much of 2009 on paper was not an easy one.

Simply surviving the recession for another 12 months makes one feel profoundly thankful – we both kept earning this year, while others have lost work or been unable to find it in the first place. But it should be said that Momo:typo did see more than its fair share of inefficient or awkward jobs and working just as hard as normal seemed to yield less impressive full-time scores on the books. And all that went hand in hand with a surreal year for us personally.

Still, it feels as if a new road lies ahead of us beyond Thursday night, wherever we can find to spend it. And that’s at least partly a simple relief. And beyond that, I can’t help but feel a growing nodule of something that feels remarkably like excitement about what Momo:tempo might get up to in 2010. I should be working on skits for Sophie in the Orient instead of doing this, for example. And the preview edition covers to The Golden Age of Exploration are waiting for me at the printers.

It will be a year of change, 2010. For us. I expect to be saying goodbye to the blessed Momo Arnewood studio and trying to find another one, for one thing. And that could be the experience that breaks the Momo stiff upper lip, I imagine.

I hope, as much as anything, that it’s not a year where friends drift apart. Rather, I hope we as a family will find new ways to grow together – I certainly know how much we going to need them, if not the other way around. Celebrating birthdays with conspicuously round numbers is on the cards again in the coming weeks and I know how easily life can take us away from eachother. Though I’m very aware this Christmas of how often it also gives us reasons to really need eachother.

So I’m thinking warm thoughts, not chilly, about the next 12 months. Even if I don’t know quite what to do first. Apart from wipe my chuffing nose again.

Wish the kids had given me a bumper box of tissues for Christmas. That might have been a useful gift.

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