I was trying to think of any truly brilliant New Year's Eves I've had, and I mean seriously good - not just memorable, because I know I've had a few of those...memorable largely because I can't remember much of anything. The Millennium one springs to mind, when a group of us stayed in a cottage in Donegal. I do remember having irish stew and a double vodka red bull in a pub at about 6, then it's all a happy, bright, noisy fuzz, with possibly some dancing on the beach, until about 3am when I was told in no uncertain terms to stop hoovering the kitchen.
I was trying to think of any great ones, because most of mine have either been memorable for the wrong reasons, a bit dull or just plain bad. I can remember dressing up as a tart/vicar/magician's assistant; being tucked up ill in bed; skiing (that was pretty good); a food fight; being heavily pregnant; falling asleep; getting lost; and being dumped on New Year's Eve. I haven't met many people who admit to liking it - it doesn't have the best reputation ever. A party night awash with so much expectation that rarely delivers. Still, I do remember a time, long, long ago when I'd get slightly panicky if I didn't have something lined up. It sort of felt wrong to say I had no plans, as if it was a weird measure of popularity. And there'd always be THE party to go to, the one everyone wanted to be invited to. They were usually the biggest disappointment of all. Never lived up to the hype.
My best New Year's Eve has got to be the one with next to no expectations - isn't it always the way. Back in the early 90's I got a job in Glasgow and drove up to my new home and a house full of strangers on Hogmanay. What a night to arrive in Scotland. It was the warmest, most fun welcome I could possibly ever have imagined. I met so many people who became firm friends. That New Year's Eve made such a difference.
It sort of creeps up on me now, we rarely have any firm plans - the pressure to HAVE FUN has gone, to be honest it went a good while before marriage and kids. It's become an excuse to have some fizz and eat party food in front of the telly, or catch up with good friends, which is what we are doing tonight. Last time of course he was away, and the year stretched ahead - it wasn't the happiest night. So I will be glad to see the back of 2012. But I'll also raise a glass to the year that's been - there's much to be thankful for and much to look forward to. I think this one could go into the best ever category.
Whatever you're doing tonight, I really hope you have a happy, healthy New Year.