Well, New Year is with us. The air smells of cordite, my shirt smells of whiskey, and the house smells like…maybe just open a few windows?
The first thing, I guess, is to christen the decade – like we had the Roaring Twenties last century; how about the Scorching Twenties this time around? Then we should maybe give a title to the era – the nineteen-twenties absolutely owned prohibition, will the twenty-twenties be remembered for degradation?
I have no personal experience to offer: contrary to suggestions by certain people, I was not around in the Roaring Twenties; but history suggests that was a time of liberation, a carefree release from the strictures of the corseted Edwardians and their predilection for war and power. Will this new decade have the same signature of freedom and tolerance? I wonder.
But setting all that aside, New Year to most of us is a personal thing: even for cynical old duffers like myself, to whom it should be no more than a flip of a sheet on the calendar by now. I still sit up and wait dutifully for midnight, listen to an hour of painful contemporary music after the bell has gone, before creeping off to bed. In spite of my bold comments above, in truth, the memsahib and I rarely party through the night these days. At Christmas mayhap we will – at New Year, no. It’s such a fuss getting hold of the extra oxygen; I’m not sure which deserted us first – the stamina or the motivation.
The same is not true of everybody. Witness our neighbors, for whom the clock was clearly an invention too late. The fireworks start at eight o’clock, conspicuously ignore the witching hour, and splutter to a damp pulp at around two-thirty a.m. I don’t mind – I just wonder if they’re partying through the night, or…oh, they wouldn’t be, would they? Well, these days – so many things, darlings, you know? You can’t tell what they’re getting up to.
So here we all are, groggily awake, ready to embark upon our brave new adventure. I have my kitbag of ‘resolutions’ pruned to one. I am determined to lose sufficient weight so when I am cremated I can go through a standard-size furnace door. In which cause all Christmas food still remaining has been banished to the patio. It is the turn of the birds, now. Mince pies seem particularly popular – the memsahib informs me it has to do with the alcohol content in the mince: Rocky Robin has suddenly acquired a much more interesting meaning.
I have tried playing them some music to get a party going but their little hearts aren’t in it. They are just birds, after all. Winter is hard for them in our garden – what will they do when the stollen runs out? The RSPB wants us to do a survey of our garden birds later this month – I hope they will be sober by then.
Aye me! Another utterly commercial and brazenly damaging annual festival is over and we can all get back to being rude to each other for another year. I am about to put down this ingeniously sequestered piece of Christmas cake and go to weigh myself for the day.
Wish me luck!