And there went the Noughties"
We decided to have a full on New Years Eve party at our house this year; something a little bit different. Ok, not so much a full on party, more a soirée with finger foods. Oh yeah, and no-one else was invited except for me, M and the kids!!
That's right, an exclusive little gathering at home, just the four of us, with nice foods and nice drinks. While we were waiting patiently for our delicious looking 'cook-at-home' crispy duck to ... erm ... cook, I laid out the other nibbles. We have an old victorian travelling trunk that sits in front of the TV which occasionally serves as a low table and the children eat their snacks off it. Tonight, every time I put something on the trunk and turned to leave, I saw Joseph literally lick his lips and reach across, making sure he didn't miss out on anything.
To give him credit, he didn't actually start eating until we were all sat down which, after I had shredded the (very large) duck, we did. Joseph's plate by now resembled a comedy pyramid of food, piled more than generously and he got stuck in with gusto. Annabel, as always, started on her food in her calm, 'nibble-a-bit-here, nibble-a-bit-there' approach.
Is there anybody out there who doesn't like crispy duck in pancakes with spring onion and plum sauce?
' thought not.
Anyways, barely 10 minutes of hard core scoffing had passed when Joseph meekly announced that he would be stopping eating as he 'felt a bit sick'. Hmmm.... no surprise there then.
We finished watching our film and, barely had Bill Sykes stopped swirling around at the end of the rope, high above the streets of a very grimy east end of London, did we take the children up to bed for the last time this year. As I was tucking Joseph into bed, I thought I'd give it one more go at "bigging up" the occasion.
"You know Joseph, you go to sleep tonight and it's one year ..... "
(He interrupted and continued with a distinctly unimpressed face)
"Yeah, I know, I wake up and it's a different year!"
"You clever thing", I replied, slightly crestfallen. "How d'you know that?"
"Mum told me the same thing just now!!"
Bearing this in mind and, knowing that M had gone downstairs to get Annabel some drinking water, I ran along to her bedroom to tuck her in and try to big up the situation with her, before M came back to, ahem, sprinkle on my fire, as it were.
"You know Annabel, tonight when you go to sleep, it'll be one year. When you wake up in the morning, it'll be another year. A new year!"
I adopted my best excited expression that I could muster and, as I waited for my daughter to respond, she pushed one forefinger up her right nostril in search of an irritating booger and asked me, "and then what happens??" all the while, still fishing.
Cue second deflation of the evening within the space of approximately 3 minutes.
I gave up. Hey, I know when I'm beat, I'll give myself that much.
I s'pose they're right though. As one of my university professors used to say, "Old Years Day? New Years Eve? Pah, it's just clock worship, that's all".
I've always enjoyed seeing in a new year however, and of course, this one has the added hook of being the start of a new decade. What bothers me slightly about this decade is looking at how much as changed for me as a person. Or indeed, us as a couple.
10 years ago tonight, we were standing on London's Embankment with hundred's of thousand's of other revellers to see in the start of the new millenium. We'd spent the day seeing television pictures of Tonga being the first to see in the new year. Sydney's amazing fireworks over the harbour. Beijing. Moscow. Cairo and now, experiencing it for ourselves, London.
Of course, it never quite works here, whatever it is. Some of the fireworks planned to go off in unison on barges up and down the river failed to ignite. Concorde's fly-by happened to coincide with some rather unfortunate and extremely low cloud (most people saw nothing). But hey-ho, the sense of unity was there, the togetherness, the camaraderie. (London Olympics people, take heed!).
And that, unbelievably, was a decade ago. Since then, M and I got married. We moved from our lovely little flat by Battersea park to our present house. We got different jobs. We had a son. Then a daughter. Got more jobs.
It's been a very busy 10 years.
Unfortunately, as we were discussing the other day, we certainly feel like it's been 10 years. We're not old by any stretch of the imagination but we were just a teensy bit concerned at how we might feel in another 10 years. Crikey, Joseph will be 17 and Annabel will be 14. I mean, she already has the attitude of a 14 year old, I'm not sure I'll be able to cope with her as a real teenager!!
Calm down, deep breaths, it's just the end of the year. take it nice and easy.
I-i-i-in through the nose and ou-u-u-ut through the mouth.
You're right. I'm all better now. It's just the end of another year.
I certainly hope your year was good to you? I hope more than anything you have your health which, as I seem to chant whenever I get the opportunity, is the most important thing. Even as you crumple another useless lottery ticket into the recycling bag, wondering what you could've done with the 5 pounds you spent on it, you know deep down I'm right, as annoying as it is when I am right!!