Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Last post of 2013

Lily and I, thwarted by our late-afternoon shopping expedition to the King's Road where we discovered everywhere shut at 5pm, are sitting at the dining room table, wiping up the remains of our takeaway hummus and babaganoush with ragged strips of flatbread.

When the plastic container is spotless, we look at each other blankly.

'What shall we do now?' asks Lily.

'I don't know.'

Lily perks up. 'We could have a biscuit!' She eyes the unopened Christmas tin.

'Not a very good start to our new regime, is it?' I look at her mock-disapprovingly over my glasses.

She grins. 'Only a suggestion...!'

'So, we could do something useful...' I run the idea of clearing out the loft past my mind's eye. What a marvellous way to usher in the New Year. But it turns out to be a passing whim. I just don't have the energy. 'Or we could do nothing.'

'We could watch something on iPlayer ... whilst eating biscuits!' Lily throws back her head with laughter.

'What did we do last New Year?' I ask. But neither of us can remember.

'I suppose we could unpack,' I venture. But Lily is by now lost in the mists of Facebook. Ah well. I clear the table, wash up the plastic takeaway containers (waste not, want not) and set about emptying the dishwasher. I feel, more than ever before on a New Year's Eve, like going to bed.

Something has always turned up in the past. Though I can't for the life of me remember what. I go over to the bookshelves and pull out a handful of diaries.

'Oh, this is what we did last year!' I exclaim. 'We went over to Esme Eddington's... oh yes! And you set fire to your hair when you leant over the candle.'

'And I missed the countdown!' says Lily.

'What were you up to?'

'Getting a glass of Coke from the kitchen.'

'What's this for 2011?' I read from January 1st: '"Blurred vision, droopy eyelids, difficulty breathing, constipation..." What's that all about? "Flaccid paralysis...?" Oh I know, it was when Dan was waiting for his botulism to develop after eating his wind-dried ham.' We laugh. 'Oh look - we had Rose and Richard staying and we all went to Cass and Piers's party - that was a brilliant year.'

I flick through the next diary. 'Oh - we went to the Blakes' in the village. I'd forgotten about that. And 2009... that was the year we stayed with Sophia and Vincent and do you remember, we wrote out our goals for the year. None of which we have achieved.'

I push myself up from my chair and unzip the suitcase. I delve around for any dirty clothes and toss them in a pile, which I then dump in the utility room, where Dolly is curled up in her basket. Feel like curling up with her. Maybe I should just give up and go to bed.

8.30pm though.

Text Rose. 'What are you doing tonight?'

'Not doing nuffink.'

'Just read diaries to jog memory of previous New Years and 2 yrs ago we went to Cass's party. Come over and we cd recreate those heady reckless carefree days....? Time for an hour's kip first...'

'Nice idea but Richard wants to stay put and really don't want to risk drink driving.'

Honestly. What has become of us? London, social hub of the universe, and we're all staying home alone. I had more fun in the depths of Mistlebourne.

9:30. Ah. The phone.

'Hi Eliza. Just checking you're coming tonight.' It's Sam from No 48.

'Oh! Er... yes!' I'm frantically riffling through the mental filing cabinet.

'We're kicking off at 10. Vodka and fireworks. Bring Lily. We've set up a cinema upstairs for the kids.'

Yes! I knew it. Something always turns up! Happy New Year!

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