I mean the end of the Season of Goodwill.
Christmas Day, celebrated with our family’s customary guilt-ridden orgy of gift-giving and other forms of flatulent indulgence, is out of the way. I write this, thick-headed, on a balmy Boxing Day morning, in expectation of the usual annual invasion of our house – though thankfully the throng has shrunk in recent years as more and more people spend the holiday season in exotic places.
Then on to the awful New Year’s Eve – that artificially inseminated celebration of the advent of a new Gregorian milestone. My seventieth, as it happens. After that, bellies bulging and bank accounts sagging, we can get back to some kind of comforting routine.
This season, as in years past, we have all vowed to celebrate future year-end holidays spending, eating and drinking less. Fat chance of a thin time – assuming we have a choice. For the New Year looms with the usual fearful short-term outlook for humankind – this one bearing the prospects of a national and possibly global economic recession, a continuation of the Euro-zone crisis, and nascent revolutions in Syria and Egypt, possibly even in Russia.
Life’s uplifting compensations these days come in parochial form. My daughter’s wedding approaches, with it (apparently) the prospect of grandchildren. England has a splendid cricket team and its rugby team a new management regime. The nation will rejoice in other diversions, notably the monarch’s golden jubilee and, if it be to your taste, the Olympic Games.
I for one remain stubbornly cheerful, and as optimistic as the newspaper headlines, and my continuing robust health – and that of my beloved wife – will allow.
I have only one New Year’s resolution, or rather wish: to stay alive and fit.
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”