I know I am right so there will be no middle ground on keeping left
WE'RE only three days into 2013 and I bet some of those new year resolutions are crumbling already.
Dieting is fine until you're feeling mid-morning peckish at work and the sandwich man appears and you think one bag of Quavers and a KitKat won't hurt and suddenly that healthy salad you prepared last night gets left until mid-afternoon, when you eat it out of duty, and then you don't fancy an evening meal and the snacking starts again..
When it comes to new year resolutions (and I know that faithful readers expect this topic at this time of year as much as they relish Jools Holland's Hootenanny) the trick is to be realistic: set goals you have a chance of achieving.
I've picked just one and it's about standing up for tradition: the good old English practice of walking up – and down – a double flight of stairs on the left-hand side.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Don't ask me where this originated. It was drilled into me as a child and I've observed it ever since. I seem to recall being told it was so that you held the handrail with your weaker (left) hand so that the stronger (right) was free to carry something or steady yourself if you fell.
It is written in the Chronicles of Google that soldiers in days of yore walked on the left side of castle steps so that their right hand was free to wield their sword in battle.
This must have been hell for cackhanders, though even the risk of having their bad hand sliced off while they clung to the balustrade with their good evidently did little to get rid of them because when I was at school, they'd be rapped over the knuckles by teachers urging them to write with their right.
Anyway, the point is that a piece of social etiquette that served this country well through world wars and recession has gone to pot in recent years and I find myself cast as a pariah when I try to follow my upbringing, only to meet a stream of obstinate rule-breakers walking on the right and forcing me to either stand my ground and appear rude (as if!) or give way to the philistines.
Perhaps immigration is to blame, since there's evidence in the many internet postings on this subject that different nationalities are guided by which side of the road they drive on back home, so many Yanks always walk on the right… but others don't.
To be honest I don't care if we settle on the left or the right as long as we settle on something.
We can't go on as we are. Just think what would happen if we took the same do-as-you-please attitude on the roads.
So, 2013 is the year in which I stand my ground. And if ignoramuses try staring me out or walking through me, they'll get a finger-wagging lecture on the value of tradition.
If you think I'm alone in my sense of outrage, consider this: a 46-year-old man walking up the wrong side of the stairs in a London Tube station last year was punched repeatedly in the face by another man who'd pointed to a "keep left" sign.
Come to think of it, giving up KitKats might be a safer option...