Well every blogger worth his pepper is coming out from months of self imposed exile to wish all and sundry a Happy New Year/Decade and telling us about going to wonderful parties with flowing alcohol and in the case of those from the UK, trying to be anywhere apart from in front of the telle while Jools Holland is on.
That man is to New Years Eve what the iceberg was to the Titanic : causes otherwise sane people to want to jump ship - usually to the home bar or into bed or both.
Here in sunny Buttonwood Bay, the jewel in the Retirement Communities Florida Inc crown, we may all be old farts but we sure know how to enjoy ourselves at this time of year. Serious drinking has been going on since early doors although I think that may just be from the pair NEXT door, judging by the strangulated singing coming from them for the last few hours. Country music pains me at any time even when sung by professionals but give a drunken pair a karaoke machine for Christmas and just watch property values tumble.
This evening we have games at the Community Centre on our agenda. This is where loads of people bring card games, and maybe board games, to the hall along with enough food items to feed the entire population of Burkina Faso. Look it up, it exists. As I've mentioned before, everyone here has a lifetime of cooking experience behind them - even though several should've had a refund by now. So every time there is a pot luck 'do', we end up with everyone breaking out their aprons and cook books and I end up with another few inches around my waist.
I think the timing of this event may be open ended. It starts around 7pm which in Buttonwood Bay terms, is almost time for bed most evenings ! I think us 'young folk' may be able to pace ourselves but I'd not want to put my mortgage on lasting till 2010 myself. I think when the clock strikes midnight, there may well be a few oxygen tanks, walking sticks, walkers and even a couple of colostomy bags surrounding any glass slippers on the community centre floor. Any elderly Cinderellas will have been tucked up in bed with their Prince Charmings for several hours by then and in fact, just about ready to get up for another day of gentle activity in the park.
When I were a lad, I always wanted 2 things around this time of year. Well I wanted loads of things but as God never struck down the people I asked him to, I just gave up asking. Anyway I always wanted to catch Santa Claus coming down our chimney (ever since the time the pigeon got stuck halfway up, or down, it and so we knew it was blocked) and give him a good kicking for never bringing me a new bike, black with chopper handlebars and go faster stripes and I also wanted to be allowed to stay up to see in the New Year.
I was 26 before I was allowed !
Back then we had the tradition of 'first footing' which was supposed to be a way of ensuring health, wealth and happiness during the coming year. Now you just need a subscription to Sky Sports.
The idea was that you tried to get the classic tall dark stranger to be the first to cross the threshold after midnight and he should be carrying a lump of coal (heat and comfort during the year), a coin (wealth) and some food item (this one is obvious ok). If he just happened to be passing with a portable bbq, a few t-bone steaks and a keg of beer, he'd be more than welcome.
When I was old enough (not 26 btw), I became the family 'first footer' as there weren't many eligible tall dark strangers on our street and few passed by even if they were lost. Now the description had to be stretched a bit as I'm not tall, dark or handsome. Just available. (and I still am...email me anytime....please). To ensure a good year ahead and when using a home grown footer, he (always a he as after all, why on earth would anyone want a woman coming into their home at midnight ? Maybe I'm starting to see why I'm single !) has to be outside the house before midnight so that he can be a proper visitor after midnight. A first visitor so to speak.
It was several years before I understood the laughter from inside my house when I was told to get outside at 9pm every New Years Eve. As I stood around for 3 hours with icicles forming from my extremities, I never knew that I only needed to be out for a minute or so before midnight and my family were just having a laugh. Well the laugh was on them as the coin I always handed over was an Italian lira I'd found on the floor of the local pizza restaurant. Ha !
Although as my family was always poor, maybe that wasn't such a clever response after all.
So with the approach of 2010 when anything is possible, may I wish each and every one of you a very happy, peaceful, healthy and prosperous New Year.
As for me, well I'm wheeling out the gas bbq and getting the steaks out of the freezer. The odds of anyone in here coming round with those after midnight are on a par with SuBo getting hitched to Simon Cowell. But you never know with her. It's been a funny old year.