I always think the whole New Year's Eve malarky is a bit overrated and artificial. Whilst Christmas is, when it arrives, usually a family occasion and doesn't have to be an orgy of overindulgence, the whole point of NYE seems to be wild celebration of ... what? The stroke of midnight? It doesn't actually feel like a fresh new year, burgeoning with possibilities, with any disappointments or mishaps swept away. It's just another day, and usually a cold one.
I've had some splendid NYEs of course, usually at friends' houses - though one occasion I remember was considerably marred by the unfortunate bout of flu that our hostess suffered from. We went for dinner and she had grimly cooked a delicious meal, which we ate at about 9.30 and finished around 11 and then we all sat trying to pretend that she actually wanted us to be there - one can hardly break up the party early on that particular night. A particularly delicious single malt was produced at midnight, we all slurped it down appreciatively and then sloped off at about 20 past - leaving her husband to do the clearing away before his early morning start ... as a livestock farmer, a morning in bed was out of the question.
We had a party ourselves on New Year's Eve 1999, which did work well. There was an hiatus around 2 am for a while, for a brief rest, before we set off in a body for the East coast, to see the dawn of 2000. We took a camp stove, bacon and eggs and thermoses of hot water and we all breakfasted on Dunwich cliff. This is a few miles south of Ness Point in Lowestoft, the most easterly point of the British Isles, but there is nothing interesting or decorative about Ness Point. There were lots of other people at Dunwich too, on a similar mission. The bacon was not very crispy - we hadn't quite allowed for the chilling effect of the wind in trying to heat a frying pan, but no matter.
Tonight is another family doo. We are invited to fireworks and chilli at 6 pm, so as to include the children, and then a convivial evening is promised, to include the delightful company of Dilly's family.
Tomorrow, we will go to another party, which starts with mulled cider (the local Cyder Club's best efforts), continues with a walk - I'll tell you how many miles when I get back: up until now I've always done the long walk ... we'll see - and then goes on to gallons of home-made soups, cheese and rather a lot more to drink.
Happy New Year, everyone.