It's not often that I'm proud of myself but today I hold my head high. I haven't seen an episode of Neighbours for four months. I deserve a chip to carry around with me like in AA! Although to be fair I do have an inkling that it's probably a wee bit easier to stay clean of an Australian soap opera than the demon drink.
I can't remember when I first started watching Neighbours. My mum watched it so I probably first got hooked on a sick day off school. I've never watched any other soap and yet Neighbours sucked me in. Maybe it was the sunshine (although Home & Away had that too) or maybe the fact that it was more light-hearted than most other TV dramas? I don't know, but somehow it got its claws into me and hung on there for 10-15 years.
When I became ill with M.E. the addiction grew, worryingly but understandably fast. I was able to do so little that the TV took on a rather sad significance in my life. This is excusable. What is not, is the fact that even once I started to feel better and get out more, my day continued to revolve around Ramsey Street's residents. Of course it's only a 25 minute programme, that shouldn't cause too many problems. But the BBC are a canny bunch of schedulers when they want to be. Neighbours led to Doctors, Doctors to Murder She Wrote, then it was off to Channel 4 for Countdown and before I knew it two and a half hours had disappeared into the ether.
But I shall not dwell on these dark days for now I am cured! And it's all thanks to Wimbledon. They take Neighbours off the air for those two glorious weeks of tennis in the summer. This year, once I got to the end of the fortnight I realised that I didn't miss those Aussies one jot. I decided to see how I got on without dipping into the lives of Susan, Karl and co every day. That they had just killed off Stingray also helped in my decision making process - a clanger of an error in my mind! Well what do you know? I survived. In fact I felt far better. I read or wrote or rested or just watched the world go by out of my window - all of it more productive than those hours in front of the gogglebox. Because by doing away with Neighbours, I also got rid of Doctors and in turn Murder, She Wrote. I have had the odd foray into the world of Jessica Fletcher since then I'll admit, but you can't beat a bit of Angela Lansbury detective work!
So dear readers, I am free. Those strangely bronzed Aussies hold no sway over me now. So they can move it to Channel 5 for all I care. I just hope that the rest of the soaps follow shortly.