|New Year's Day: Not recovering from a hangover, but on the slopes|
Not kept up by partying the night before -- that hasn't happened for many, many a year. But en route to Gatwick for a nice easyJet flight.
New Year's morning is quite eerie as you trawl through the dark, cold, empty streets of London -- no traffic, no people save the odd miserable-looking person at a bus stop. But once you are inside the artificial light of an airport, frankly it could be any old day, and any old time of day. Although the grumpy woman on the check-in desk did grudgingly wish us a Happy New Year once she'd handed us our boarding passes.
We decided a few years ago that New Year's Eve just isn't fun when you have small kids. Unless you are to host your own party, going out isn't an option (who's going to babysit on the biggest party night of the year?). So you grimly sit up until midnight watching Jools Holland or the London fireworks, drinking champagne because you feel you ought to, before retiring to bed at 12.15. It's always an anti-climax.
Therefore, it seemed a good idea to book an early flight to Geneva. Very early.
As we waited for the airport bus from long stay parking in the dark and cold, I remembered various New Years' Eves from years gone by.
1987, when I was 14, and had my first kiss behind the garages during my parents' block party in Hong Kong. A drunken fumble with a teenager who wore train-track braces.
1990, a party when we Scottish danced all night and my friend and I said; "This is our decade!" as the clock struck 12.
1992, spent with my Uni friends in one of their parents' houses, a large country estate which we had all to ourselves. We drank solidly till 4am. I seriously regretted it the next day.
1994, in the Alps with The Doctor and his brothers, throwing snowballs as we made our way to a dodgy apres-ski bar.
2000, Millennium Eve, when The Doctor had to work, and I spent the moments after midnight trying to call him in the rain in a Devon village. My mobile never really was the same again.
2003, spent with our neighbours in Clapham, trying not to drink too much because we were setting off on a four month round the world trip the next day (though not at 6am).
2005, in a ski chalet, and The Doctor's cousin insisted on waking up Littleboy 1 at midnight to see the fireworks. (He was 9 months old and didn't appreciate it).
2009, watching the Ball Drop in Times Square, New York. On TV of course - we had a two and four year old. And we didn't have any good enough friends to have been invited to a party.
2011, in Vermont, watching a torchlight procession and fireworks in ski resort. (At 9pm -- it was a "family" resort). Then going to bed early.....
2013, when a massive, champagne-fuelled family row occurred at about 12.15am.
Looking back, there's no doubt the really good New Year's Eves were those early ones, when it was still massively exciting to sing Auld Lang Syne and toast the coming year, not the later ones when, to misquote John Lennon, the feeling is more "Another year over....and what have you done?" .(I doubt The Doctor would even say that, as he is a solid hater of New Year.)
So, no regrets as I got on that easyJet flight. And certainly none when we arrived in sunny Geneva, and three hours later were strapping on skis and joining the New Year crowds on the slopes.
Happy New Year!