This week’s column. First published in the Portsmouth News, Tuesday 31st January 2013.
As you read this, we will be on the brink of a new year. Christmas will be over, Tesco will have the Easter eggs on the shelves, and you may or may not be getting ready to go out tonight.
There is a touch of melancholy about New Year. Our mood can depend largely upon what has happened during the months that we are now saying goodbye to, and the swift passage of time reminds us of how transient life really is.
Before Christmas, my husband and I took our girls up to London to watch Matilda. We sat on the train, the stark landscape whistling by and the purple fingers of a winter dawn stretching across the skyline. We had booked the tickets during the heat of summer, and now here we were, December already and the much longed-for Matilda Day upon us.
I watched their little faces during the journey: India who is nearly eight, and Amelie who is apparently eighteen, though only five in human years, and my mind kept churning over the old cliches. Doesn’t time fly? Where does the time go?
My hands still remember their infant forms; the weight of their fragile, wobbly heads when they were born. Vulnerable, tiny skulls, bathed beneath transparent wisps of hair. Yet here they are, changing every day, and time flowing by us like a river.
I think back over New Years already passed, and consider New Years yet to come. I have memories of my parents celebrating, back when the 80s were in full swing and people still drank Pernod, and I wonder what my daughters will recall when they are older?
Less than glamorously, this is likely to be me and my husband in our pyjamas, munching a takeaway, and waffling nostalgic drivel for the days when Clive James was on the telly. Because, I must confess, there is something about the enforced jollity of New Year that makes me want to stay indoors, snuggled on the sofa, face stuffed in the Quality Street.
This flies in the face of tradition of course. One is supposed to be out on the 31st, knee deep in booze and frolicking on the freezing streets, lighting paper lanterns and giving not a thought to the questionable wisdom of sending air-born incendiary devices off into the night sky.
So, wherever you may be as the last sun goes down on 2013, I wish a happy new year to you and yours. May your days be merry and bright.