Apparently 78% of people opt to stay indoors to see in the New Year, and those that go out are predominantly in their twenties.
For us, with kids, its not so much a matter of opting, however we did reach a sort of watershed. This year, instead of rushing off to bed early to be able to wake again at 11pm, the kids elected to stay awake all night. They managed; admirably.
Our pre-midnight entertainment, then, was Herbie Goes Bananas on one of the children's channels. The film ended in time for us to turn over to BBC1 just three minutes before Big Ben chimed, by which time a clock was already running down on screen, so we had three choruses of 59,58,57 etc.
We saw in the chimes with a bottle of fizzy Liebfraumilch, (yuck), horrible stuff, but mild enough to let the sprogs have a glass each and feel very grown up, what with the (plastic) cork making a very impressive pop and bouncing off the walls. No breakages this time.
Like Zilla I shy away from wines with screw tops or plastic corks, but am told that the world's supply of bottling quality cork, thick and unflawed, is dwindling at an alarming rate, so more and more decent makes are turning to other ways of stopping the bottle for ecological reasons.
In this case, however, that little tidbit of info is entirely academic although the kids thought they had been given the best stuff ever and made a lot of jokes about being naughty, and tipsy. Considering the amount of sugar they'd consumed, I doubt the meagre alcohol content of their 'grown up' glasses managed to touch a single human cell on its way through. It didn't matter to them, the stage had been set for pretending they were very, very grown up, like 16, or something.
Husband and I had already quietly worked through a decent bottle of red ( a saved Christmas present) and discovered how much this helped us to smile and swig the dreaded but traditional sparkling concoction. It didn't turn out to be such a clever mixture, after the fact. We were therefore soon feeling quite queasy and the worse for wear, compared to the children, who, after 20 minutes or so of absolute hyperactivity, settled down to another movie which slid onto the screen of its own accord - Spy Hard.
Appalling, horrible, terrible movie with the most childish and unsophisticated slapstick humour, which suited our 9 and 11 year olds down to the ground and had them steadfastly propping their eyelids open and refusing to leave the sofa. It was worth it to hear them laughing.
Normally I end up shedding a tear for the end of the year. I did get my sudden irresistible urge to be outdoors in sub zero temperatures to appreciate the sky; something that winds husband up to the Nth degree. His small chorus using words like bloody, effing and freezing is another happy family tradition.
This time, however, I couldn't find a single drop of remorse about the passing of 2005. It felt like the year of nothing. Plenty happened, a lot of it awful, but it seemed, at the last analysis, to have been a period of shakeup, of change, of chores, of tidying up lives and purposes. Lots and lots and lots of action, just none of it moving forward. The best thing I can compare it to is a year in the sports changing rooms, getting out of one outfit and into another, getting small ailments noticed and seen to, fitting new pads and wrist supports and all that; getting ready for a new game.
A year of preparation.
Goodbye, 2005, and thank you, I guess we're going to find out just how much we needed you, now.
Hello 2006! The excitement is building, I can nearly hear the crowd, and I just know, whatever happens, it's going to be a good game. Dear God may we come out of it with honour intact, and in one piece.
Oi, you; fasten your helmet....................