Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year 2009

I always feel a bit sad when it gets to this time on New Years Eve. I start to think about all the previous New Years Eves I spent before I got married and how times have changed. All the lovely people who are no longer with us, the good times, the not so good times and the really bad ones. I feel a bit sad to see the end of the year and start to be a bit apprehensive about the coming year, wondering what it will bring.

New Year's Eve was a great time for celebration in the North East of England, a bit like Hogmanay in Scotland. In those days it wasn't a Bank Holiday so the South didn't celebrate so much. Hard to believe now.

The whole family went about First Footing, going into neighbours' houses having a drink (not alcoholic for us younger ones) laughing, singing, dancing etc. After that my Dad always took my sister and me to my Gran's house. That was his Mam, then we met up with all our cousins, aunts and uncles for more laughing and singing, no dancing though, there wasn't room. What I do remember is hearing Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra singing Well Did You Ever, over and over again. I can't hear that song without thinking about New Year.

Then we sat about and played silly games like I Spy With My Little Eye. It was made difficult to guess what words my uncles were selecting because of the dialect and they spelt words exactly how they pronounced them. One memorable word was something beginning with H. Eventually we gave up. What was the word? Oven, which they pronounced huven. I might add we just about choked laughing. Great times!

After that my Dad took us home. Mam and my brother had gone to bed by this time but it was usually about eight o'clock and time for Mass, so we'd set off to walk there. New Years Day was still a Holy Day in those days. When we got back Mam was usually cooking the bacon and eggs for breakfast. I can't remember going to bed at all. Great days!

Nowadays people don't seem to do the first footing thing here. We're very unsociable too and just stay in watching telly. My husband is always our first foot. He goes out of the back door at about 3 minutes to midnight with his piece of coal (for good luck), waits until he hears the buzzer at midnight (I have no idea where this buzzer is) then he comes in the front door kisses me and toasts me with his glass of sherry. No staying up all night for us!

Well on reflection it's been a good year. If you're still around to reflect, I reckon that's good. Who knows what next year will bring, good things and no doubt not so good ones. Whatever happens you can't predict it. What you can do is be thankful for the people around you and the blessings you have in life.

To everyone reading this I wish you a wonderful year in 2009, good health and happiness and in addition I'll give you my Dad's New Year toast, he always said:

“Here's wishing you everything you'd wish yourself."


  1. And the same to you and your family.

  2. Happy New Year! Much Love and many, many Blessings to you and yours.

  3. Winifred, I so like to read your posts. Refreshing. And, I think just a little different 'take' on wording, since we are a long ways apart on this terrestrial ball.But we have in common God and one Saviour who ever calls..."Come unto me, all ye that are heavy laden and I will give you rest". He sure has given me that rest and peace. Wishing you a New Year filled with that same rest and peace.~~~I'm sewing a new skirt for myself and quite enthusiastic about it. In fact, time for me to get downstairs and start reviewing the directions for putting on the waistband.~~~I enjoyed reading your post about your memories and thoughts. Happy day wishes coming your way!

  4. I like the New Years 2009. I didn't care for the one I was using and I removed it today. We won't do the New Year's Bash, Cloody litttle ill today. Happy New Year.

  5. Winifred,
    I read on another blog about the New Years footings about going door to door, etc. but had never heard of this before. I am glad I got to hear these stories though. I like traditions. We don't really have any in my family though.
    My husband and I are lucky if we stay up until midnight. Ha.
    Have a Happy New Year Winifred!

  6. Winifred - that's great, that "first footing". If I could stay awake (or had any coal), I'd step out my back door and do the same. I don't have any sherry - will port do? I'll kiss my man and say goodnight - no late ones for us either.

    Have a very Happy New Year! See you in 2009.



  7. Happy New Year to you and your family........

    I am looking forward to reading your posts through 2009.

    Gill in Canada

  8. Lovely memories of new years past, Winifred. In my Catholic faith, New Years Day is still a holy day and I am going to church in the morning, then to lunch at some friends house. Here, collard greens and turnip greens and black eyed peas are eaten for good luck. The greens bring more money one's way. So I'm eating a double serving! LOL. Pork is also traditional for the new year, but no fowl of any kind is allowed, or one will have bad luck in the new year.

    May 2009 bring many blessings to you and yours. Happy New Year, Winifred.

  9. Oh Winifred, This was a wonderful, wonderful post. I could almost see and hear the wonderful times you had.

    I hope your New Year will be wonderful, filled with good and prosperous times.

    ~hippo hugs~

  10. A very happy and healthy new year to you. Your post was fabulous by the way.

  11. I'm a new visitor to your blog. I like to stay optimistic at the start of the year. So love and health to you and everyone else.

  12. Great post Winifred! We had a quiet New Years Eve than stayed with tradition of Ham and blackeyed peas for New Years Day.

    Here's wishing you a wonderful 2009!

  13. Dear Winifred ~~ I so enjoyed reading this post and learning about 'first footing' which sounded great for making friends. Good memories for you
    and thanks for sharing them. Be positive, maybe 2009 will be the very best year. Let's hope so anyway. Take care my friend, Love, Merle.

  14. First footing - yes how we loved it even in Liverpool when growing up. Taking a piece of coal with us too.
    As you like cats you might like me new year greeting which is all done through posing cats.

  15. I have really enjoyed the last few months Blogging and your lovely comments, thank you so much.

    Renie New Years Day isn't a Holy Day any longer here and the Epiphany is now celebrated on a Sunday! Strange how different countries have different Holy Days even within the same faith. In Spain they have lots more than we have, they're also holidays from work too. Nice!

    We always used to have pork for New Years Day lunch with the usual Yorkshire Puddings, apple sauce, roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts and turnip.

    Hope you're all avoiding or recovering well from the dreaded bug. It's been a nasty one this year. Take care.

  16. Great memories! Hope you have a Happy New Year. New Years eve seemed strange to me this year not getting that midnight kiss from Pete.

  17. It's good to look back (through rose-tinted glasses usually) but this is a great time to look forward too.


I'd love to hear from you:

Durham Miners' Gala

North & South West Towers of Durham Cathedral It's many years since I went to the Miners' Gala or rather the Big Meeting as...