I’m not given to new year’s resolutions. Why add more to the to-do list, when the to-do list never gets done? Even worse, why make a do-not-do list in the darkest days of the year when its hard to deny yourself the comforts that keep you going?

I have made just one promise, and that is to have photos taken with each of my friends. When I lost my friend Karen to cancer in 2010, I discovered that I didn’t have a photo of the two of us together. Fortunately, I tracked some down, taken by an ex-boyfriend. He kindly obliged with a picture to go at the front of my poetry collection, strange fruits, which I published to raise funds for MacMillan Cancer Support in her memory. To buy a copy of the book, with all profits going to Macmillan, go to strange fruits.

I would like to have photos taken with my friends in the settings where we normally meet, doing the things we do. So, my friend Sue and I will be having lunch together; Fiona and I will be hunting for bargains in charity shops; Anne-Marie and I will be editing, stuffing envelopes, talking – we do all of those together.

To set the scene for the forthcoming photo opportunities, here is a picture of Karen and me, taken at the Sweeps Festival in Rochester in 2005. 

Karen and Maria