FOR me, this month is supposed to begin with a bang.

So, for the past week, I’ve been extra careful driving my car, because in my life that’s the only definition that’s likely to apply.

I’m not a fan of fireworks, going to bed well before the usual New Year’s Eve crescendo, and the other popular meaning, of the sexual kind, doesn’t apply either - at least it’s not marked down on the calendar for this month.

I don’t often look at horoscopes, but being the beginning of the year I glanced at it and was slightly perturbed to discover that, as well as beginning with a bang, January brings ‘more action than you can shake a stick at’.

Anyone under 40 would probably be thrilled to hear this, and be itching to get out there and embrace it, but when you get to my age it is the last thing you want to hear.

For me, action is a quick scoot round Tesco not a round of Tough Mudder.

Many people swear by their star sign and the predictions that supposedly map out their future.

I wouldn’t mind experiencing the positive changes to my life that horoscopes seem to always refer to - exciting events, love interest, unexpected, welcome surprises. When I was younger and more gullible, time and again I would get my hopes up, expecting to be swept off my feet by a Mr Darcy type. Yet it never happened.

I can’t see how, if the planets are aligned in a certain way, it would benefit me or any one of us. I’d like to believe that if Uranus and Saturn are lying 40 degrees east of Jupiter I am going to win the lottery, but I know it's bunkum.

My cynicism with astrology, fortune telling and the like dates back many years, since having my palm read in Scarborough. Behind a grubby curtain, a hostile old woman in a headscarf examined my hand as though it were smeared with sarin.

She said it was not going to be a good year and that I should take extra care, which is just what an 18-year-old, about to go on holiday with her friends for the first time, wants to hear. She didn’t elaborate and I spent weeks looking over my shoulder.

The woman referred to a future love interest as an older man with the initials EB. At the time I did know an EB, our travelling butcher Eric. As an older man - by about 30 years - he fitted the bill, and for weeks I was terrified to step inside his van in case he passed me a ring with the Sunday joint.

I also had a tarot card reading in a caravan at the fair in a town near my home. This time the woman spouted out drivel along the lines of “do you know a man with the letter A in his name?” and “You are about to make a journey,” which could have meant the two mile drive home. It wasn’t cheap and was a complete waste of money.

There’s never anything concrete about this pseudoscience, most of the guff it delivers could apply to most people.

Yet many continue to look to astrologers for guidance in areas such as career, relationships and finances. A study by the University of Manchester examined the strong influence of astrology on women’s lives. It found that 72 per cent do not think that astrology is just superstition and almost 90 per cent said that they find out the star signs of people they have relationships with.

One horoscope for this month draws attention to the first eclipse of 2018, on January 31 - my birthday. It states that this will prompt a release of stale energy and serve to reinvigorate.

Maybe my future is written in the stars, and I really am destined to leave the comfort of the sofa and sign up for the Marathon des Sables.

Watch this space.