Alison Goulding: My dark secret

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TRYING to keep a really dark secret under wraps is exhausting.

So I’m outing myself.

I realised I had a problem when I turned on the radio the other day and started listening to Steve and Karen on Capital.

They were talking about the addictive nature of DVD boxsets. Karen had decided watching six episodes of the OC in one night was no longer acceptable and they were laughing about going cold turkey.

At this point I was sweating with relief that someone, out there, was going through the same thing.

You see, months ago, my friend leant me a boxset called Heartland which can best be summed up as the Waltons meets Gossip Girl but with more horses.

At first I just left it on one of the many piles cluttering up my flat. But then my friend came round for coffee and told me off for not watching it.

“Come on, Alison,” she scolded, “Make some time.”

So the next night I did. I sat down with a cup of tea and told myself I’d just watch one.

I’d like to state at this point that Heartland is incredibly lame in many ways - the plot line stays pretty much the same. Various love interests fail to get together and the barn always ends up on fire. There’s always a mad horse that the heroine is able to fix just by looking it in the eye and having a one-sided chat with it.

“Come on Spartan, stop chucking people off and be nice again.” At which point Spartan nods in a sensible manner and instantly becomes a reformed character.

But despite the incredible rubishness of the show, I got hooked straight away. I didn’t watch one episode, I watched three.

And the next night I watched four. I couldn’t wait to finish work so I could go home and stick my pyjamas on and watch the barn go up in flames again.

“I can’t stop watching it” I told my friend, feeling slightly desperate after one particularly bad Heartland binge.

“I know” she said, “It is genius.”

And then that fateful day came when I reached the last episode in the series. I managed not to cry (just) but inside I felt empty. What would I do without evil Ashley and irritating Mallory to brighten up my rather sad existence...?

Order Series Two of course! I was on Amazon like a shot and even though I hesitated, it was only half-hearted.

Now I am waiting by the letter box and making menacing comments to the postman in the vague hope that I can make it arrive faster.

I’m even planning to book some strategic holiday so I can devote my whole attention to it.

Yes, I do feel shame that I am nearly 30 and addicted to saccharine horse stories more fitting for a 12-year-old girl.

But not enough to cancel my order.