The Cotswolds will be declared full and we will run out of gin – here are my predictions for 2022

I chuckle to myself at the prophesied trends one reads about at this time of year. You know the sort of thing: in 2022, we should all paint our bathrooms magenta and the hottest holiday destination will be a small island off the Libyan coast. Bit dangerous, but the new five-star hotel there does a lovely breakfast.

There are actual companies that predict these, a fact I learnt when a young hack on the Evening Standard and we ran an article with input from a firm which suggested that “skyscrapers” were going to be huge in London the following year. Sorry, Nostradamus, collect your P45 on the way out.

I’ve flicked through some of the genuine predictions for 2022 so you don’t have to, and apparently next year we should drink cocktails flavoured with hot mustard, run backwards in the park since “reverse running” is heading this way from America, and get a “bixie” haircut (a hybrid of the bob and pixie haircuts). If you do all three at the same time, you’ll likely be pictured in Vogue.

Since all this forecasting seems to require is someone with access to a printer and an inflated sense of self-­confidence, I thought I’d have a stab. Here are my predictions for 2022 and I think you’ll agree they’re all jolly likely:

  1. Cars are replaced by horses. Nasty, polluting vehicles become even more unfashionable, but the trouble is electric cars remain expensive. Much grander to get a horse and take that on the school run every day. Feed it on the fruit you order from an expensive organic delivery box business that mysteriously ends up in the compost bin.
  2. Roughly halfway through July, the number of cockapoos on the planet will outstrip the number of humans.
  3. Mazes will be everywhere. I recently read a piece in The New Yorker about the world’s foremost maze designer, a British, chino-wearing seventy-something called Adrian Fisher, who, in the past four decades, has created more than 700 mazes in 42 countries. Admittedly, a large maze by Adrian will set you back up to half a million quid, but growing a maze is a very eco-friendly hobby and they’re a terrific way to get the children away from the television. Bonus points if you run through it backwards.
  4. The return of the ruff. Given soaring utility bills, we have to stop running washing machines, so the garment originally designed to protect the wearer’s doublet from getting a dirty neckline will make a comeback. The bigger the better, since they’ll also protect us from getting too close to one another and inhaling germs.
  5. An Old Etonian will become prime minister.
  6. Celeriac and Salsify displace Oliver and Olivia at the top of the baby name charts as people start naming their children after unusual root vegetables for environmental kudos.
  7. The Cotswolds will be declared full and residents will clamour for a wall around them to prevent any more Londoners arriving. They insist that London should pay for this wall.
  8. Everyone tires of gin. Not just the drink, but the paraphernalia that comes with it – gin greetings cards, gin fridge magnets, gin cushions and so on. Port surges in popularity instead after Adele and Taylor Swift are photographed sharing a bottle on a girls’ night out.
  9. Gout levels soar.

Let’s have a time limit on this annual goodwill sentiment

A very happy new year to all readers. How long do we say this for? I’m allowed to wish it now because it’s only January 2, but in recent years I have noticed that the phrase seems to carry on in some emails well into February, by which point we’ve long since returned to the bottle, forgotten the sweet naivety of our resolutions, and are simply trying to soldier on through the most miserable month of the year. (It gives me no joy to say this about February, but it is by far the most wretched month in the calendar, even though it includes my birthday.) 

My solution is simple: why don’t we all agree that we wish one another a happy new year, whether in person or emails, until the middle of January, and then we all have to move on and take it as implied?

My remote phone check obsession is completely exhausting

I don’t mean to sound (that) smug, but I’m currently 5,400 miles away, staying just outside Galle in Sri Lanka. And yet I’m checking in on my flat several times a day. I can check the temperature remotely, the burglar alarm remotely, my doorbell camera remotely, and I can turn my smart bulbs on and off, all via apps on my phone. It’s exhausting, I’m telling you.

 Here I am, surveying the sunset with an arrack cocktail nearby and the chirrup of exotic birds and monkeys around me, but suddenly I’m sent an alert about activity at my front door. Not to panic, it’s only the postwoman. Another alert pings through the next morning because my flat is too cold. I check almost continually that the burglar alarm is still on. Is this progress? I’ve a good mind to lob my phone in the pool.

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