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."