Alison Goulding: ‘My shame is tinged with admiration’

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TO celebrate the arrival of 2012 I’ve picked through the rubble of 2011 to see if I actually learned anything. Turns out I did.

1. A quality flatmate is priceless.

 I liked living alone at Goulding Towers and fretted about one more, but when that day came it turned out to be ... rather good. My flat these days is full of people, laundry, cooking smells and scurrilous gossip. I like it.

2. You will never be bored if you have a horse.

 Cady has been on fine form this year. 

 Still a merciless flirt with the other horses, still terrorising people and still being pathologically awkward.

 Her terror of rocks, leaves and slightly different coloured grass continues undiluted, but I wouldn’t change a hair on her head.

3. You’ll be even less bored if you end up rescuing a second. I realise I am going to sound like a real spoilt brat here but can I just point out that all this horsiness is totally self-funded and I am living entirely off economy beans on toast?

 Anyway, it is true. Cady has now been joined by Harvey, a lovely chap who had fallen on hard times and seemed destined to end up on the scrap heap. Instead, ta-da, he has come to live with me.

 He is completely unrideable, so he is the most extravagant pet possible, but if you had seen his furry ears and sad chocolaty eyes then I promise you, you would have taken him home too.

 Harvey is adorable and just shuffles about happy as a sausage, waiting for people to feed him.

4. Good friends will pick you out of the mud.

 There have been some sad storms to weather this year, but I have been exceptionally fortunate in my choice of friends. New and old they never disappoint and have offered moral support, laughs, cups of tea and time in abundance.

 When Harvey arrived they all trooped over to see him and came bearing gifts. Who could ask for more? Not me, I am very grateful.

5. Being an aunty is marvellous.

 He lives half-way down the country but the time I’ve spent with my nephew this year has been memorable for all the right reasons.

6. Posh people are not the same as us.

 I grew up in a house where we were gently encouraged to believe that all people are equal. Then I watched Made In Chelsea and realised this is absolutely not the case. I have more in common with Aborigines than with that lot.

7. Being a bridesmaid is really nice.

My doubts and fears came to nothing when I did the honours for London Lucie. Still slightly weird having a married friend but a fantastic day I’ll never forget.

8. My mother is cooler than me.

She goes out more, has more friends and owns more skinny jeans than I do. My shame is tinged with admiration.

9. There is no situation that cannot be improved by a cup of tea or a nap.