MY first (and I suspect only) New Year card arrived this morning from a friend from way back (too way back…).

We’d lost track of each other but last year, when they were passing through Salisbury, they picked up a copy of the Journal, recognised me from my column, contacted the paper and we got back in touch.

We met in London and shared a few evenings and a few drinks.

I sent them a Christmas card. They returned the favour with a New Year card (the equivalent of a belated birthday card).

May all your New Year Wishes come true was the greeting inside.

2018 certainly had its highs and low.

So as the old kitchen calendar goes in the recycling box to be replaced by a new one, it’s a chance to similarly chuck out the old painful and uncomfortable memories; to reminisce and recall the lovely ones and to look forward to a metaphorical new start in 2019, hoping that the ‘highs’ will stretch even higher and the lows, not stoop quite so low. But for a while I struggled to know what to wish for this year…

In the end I came up with a wish list.

That my son will thrive at his new school. He was so happy at his old one and it was so formative in his life, I do hope that his new one will live up to it.

School days were once said the happiest days of your life (though I can’t trace the origin of the quote). Not any more.

The rapid rise in undiagnosed and largely untreated mental illness experienced by those at school means that for a growing number of children, life at school is far from happy, with its onerous testing regimes, peer pressure for the insecure to conform, and for unkind behaviour to go viral.

Whether my son is successful or not is largely immaterial. I just want him to be happy.

That I continue to enjoy good health. Health is something that we take for granted. I’m fortunate to have survived thus far without any major health upsets or scares. Not so others in my immediate circle of friends and family, so as I try to support them in their struggles, I continue to be grateful that I have been spared so far. Another year would be good…

For success at work. I’m privileged to work for a reasonably well-known national charity.

Success for my team, means that my colleagues will be happy at work, the year not too stressful and that the organisation will continue to thrive and be able to plan a secure and brighter future for its beneficiaries.

Finally – that the happy memories that stay with me from good times in 2018, will be replenished with even more ones in 2019.

May all your new year wishes come true.