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The joy of a good grumble

    Every time I visit a bookshop or have a quick browse on Amazon it seems to me ever clearer that the world has gone self-help mad.

    Indeed, should I be so inclined, there are several thousand routes I can, apparently, take to discover happiness, bliss and good cheer.

    But while contentment may indeed be laudable, nay desirable, what fun is life without a grouse or two to keep us going? Let us face facts: the art of complaint is in our genes. And while a good kvell may be one thing, there's surely nothing better than a decent kvetch?

    So with this in mind, I am delighted to launch the Grumpiness Project…an attempt to live agreeably for one year while still managing to find at least one thing to have a good old cathartic complain about on a daily basis.

    Herewith the results of week one:

    Let’s face it: the art of complaint is in our genes

    Sunday. Drive to outlying shopping centre in yet another attempt to try to find the one gift my daughter has been dreaming of for her fourth birthday (a cold compress, since you ask).

    While I would normally be delighted to accede to such a modest request in this age of materialism, I have now been to 37 shops without success. Three hours and 17 emporia later I have still not come up with anything closer than a plaster. I have also forgotten where I parked my car and it takes 90 minutes of car park combing to find it. I think this counts as a flying start.

    Monday. Late birthday treat of a pedicure. By way of conversation I mention that my feet feel very dry. "That's what happens during menopause," consoles the therapist. I don't stop crying until…

    Tuesday. When I am woken at one, three and half past four in the morning by a child who has, apparently, got a lobster, an ant hill and a wolf in her bed. I'm utterly exhausted. On the plus side this does give me a new high ranking in the office who-had-the-least-sleep rankings. But still decent gripe material.

    Wednesday: I discover that it is a grave error to wear an ancient tankini for aqua class. Broken underwiring almost causes a fatal stabbing 10 minutes in. Elastic gives way at the end. Now I'm in pain and a figure of fun to boot.

    Thursday. Have seat on packed tube. Obviously this is a good thing - though the fact that this places my nose level with the flatulent behind of the man standing in front of me is not. He has clearly been at the sprouts. Definitely worth double points.

    Friday. Three hours til Pesach begins and midway through cinnamon ball production brings the discovery that all the ground almonds I've just bought from a major kosher superstore are out of date. Nice work.

    Saturday. A day of rest in theory - although not so much rest when every bird in the northern hemisphere decides to unite in a dawn chorus outside your window at four o' clock in the morning.

    All in I'd say that's so far so good. Now just another 358 days to go…

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