2012 is already around six hours old and the crystal ball dropped on Times Square approx. 13 minutes ago. So here’s a happy new year to all my readers!
I’m not a party person and so this was supposed to be a quiet New Year’s Eve. First we watched Dinner for One on TV, then my parents and I had dinner at a local Italian restaurant. As a starter, we shared a big antipasti platter. Then I had Spaghetti Frutti di Mare and panne cotta for dessert and finally a cup of excellent hot chocolate.
We drove home (to my parents) just as the eleven o’clock news were on the radio. I changed my nice top against a comfortable sweater, flipped through some of my Mom’s gossip mags and waited for midnight. So far, so good. At midnight, we drank a few sips of champagne and went out to light and watch fireworks. The weather was truly nasty, foggy, rainy and warm (10° Celsius). It also led to enormous smoke plumes from the fireworks just wafting about to the point that the neighbours were reduced to shadowy figures in the multi-coloured smoke. I don’t know why the smoke was so bad this year. Either it was because the weather was weird and kept the smoke from rising up or it was because the German regulations for fireworks have been changed to allow for a higher concentration of black powder in firecrackers.
The fireworks assortment I bought at the supermarket was very good this year. I particularly loved the spinning firewheel that was included to all our surprise. I got out my video camera and filmed a bit, though I’m not sure how it came out. If it’s good, I’ll post the video once I have had time to edit it.
One of the shadowy figures wandering through the wafting smoke was wearing a top hat and suddenly advanced towards us. After a split second of “What the hell?”, the figure turned out to be my parents’ neighbour. There was some mutual happy new year wishing, then the neighbour asked us if we wanted to come over. My Dad said yes, my Mom had gone inside, because the phone was ringing. I hesitated, because I wanted to get back to the computer to do some writing and afterwards maybe watch some late night video, but in the end I said “yes”, because I hadn’t been in the house since my parents’ new neighbours had moved in and I was curious how it had changed from the stuffy 1970s time capsule that had been inhabited by the same old lady for as long as I can remember. So I thought, “Okay, I’ll just go over for fifteen minutes or so.”
The neighbours were having a party in the basement (which had been a dump full of rotting carpets and 1970s furniture, when I last saw it) and immediately offered us something to drink. I didn’t really want another drink, I’d had appproximately two glasses of red wine plus a glass of Masala plus an almost full glass of champagne waiting at home. Finally, I agreed to drink a glass of champagne. My Mom also came over, the neighbours kept refilling the champagne (at least I dodged a glass of homemade black current liquor, which would probably have finished me). It was nice and we had fun and everything. But when we went home it was approx. a quarter to two. Still some time to write, but a lot less then I’d hoped for.
But it didn’t end there. Because while my Mom went to bed, my Dad announced that he was going to say “Hello” to another neighbour. “They’re probably sleeping already”, I said. “We’ll just check if there’s still light”, Dad said. Since I know the neighbours in question, a single mom with a teenaged son, quite well (I sometimes help the son with his homework) and wanted to thank them for a Christmas present anyway, I said I’d come along.
Turns out that the other neighbours were still awake and were having a two single moms plus teenaged kids evening. We delivered new year’s greetings, were asked in and were given – no, not champagne, thank goodness, but fruit punch. The fruit punch was nice, actually, and had more fruit than alcohol, thank heavens. Plus, I haven’t had fruit punch in a while, since it’s something of a bother to make and requires at least three or four people to drink it. The neighbour son chatted about his upcoming classtrip to London in September (the kid’s a big anglophile or rather Londonphile), while I amused the party with tales of my time as a student in London living in a majorly Caribbean neighbourhood in North West London in an Church of England vicarage house.
When we went home, it was quarter to three. I still got my minimum writing for the day done – and since I actually exceeded my monthly wordcount for December by more than a thousand words, I figured I could slack off on the final December day. No late night video/DVD for me though, but then I finished my annual between-the-years rewatch of Coasting, one of my favourite TV shows of all time, yesterday night.
Talking of Coasting, I think an appreciation post is in order. Sometime in the next few days.
But for now: Happy New Year!