DAWN OF a new year means a quiet night in with family – and paying guests. The alternative is too ghastly to contemplate.
‘Would you like to go to The Crown? Jim’s doing a steak night – 25 quid a head including a bottle of wine,” Ian reports on New Year’s Eve. At first I think he says five quid and consider it’s too good to miss, but still find myself asking: “Will we have to stay after midnight?” “Of course,” says he. “That’s the whole point.”
“No thanks,” I say. “It’ll mean I’ve got to kiss a load of strangers and sing Auld Lang Syne.” Too high a price to pay – never mind the fiver a head. Still, I feel a bit mean: Ian’s a lot more sociable than I am and likes to enter into the spirit of things. I meanwhile have had nearly half a century of new year’s eve parties not one of which I can recall with the slightest degree of pleasure.
It’s bitterly cold, there’s a full moon over Addelbrough and a new sprinkling of snow so we stand at the back door and contemplate a spectacular moonlit landscape and our general good fortune. We then see in the new year on the box with the assembled thousands on the Embankment and drink a small toast.
“Well, that’s saved us 50 quid,” says Ian. Fifty quid?! Now I know it was the right decision.
In the morning we greet our overnight guests: four paying and four famiiy, so all in all bit of a squeeze. Family is Mo with partner Sylvia and friend Jilly who drove all the way from Oxford on Monday. And Charlie who was still here but who I take back to Newcastle on New Year’s Eve. Mo and the girls did the journey the day before so Jilly could see the teaming metropolis and got stuck in a snowdrift on the way back as they tried to negotiate Buttertubs – thanks to the satnav. Even the AA couldn’t get to them. They were – eventually – rescued by a passing (or not passing as it happens -they were blocking the road) local in a 4 x 4. Still, it meant they stayed another day which was a bonus. I don’t see Morag often and she’s fun: especially post-Christmas with lots of lovely presents.