“All’s well that ends well,” wrote the Bard, and I take comfort from the sentiment as another year ends.
The last day of the year is not, I must admit, my favourite time. While I can approach a new year with a genuine affirmation of hope, the occasion also comes with an underlying sense of dread. I can’t explain the optimism, but I can articulate the dread: it is the vague foreboding that my luck, defined by a lifetime of good health and happiness – to neither of which I’ve conspicuously contributed – must one day run out. It’s an age thing, I suppose.
There, that’s got the seasonal melancholia out of the way; now for the celebration.
This year, as in all previous years, it will be an intimate affair at home. We don’t go in for the kind of simulated revelry in which millions will be indulging, like standing in a crowd in the rain waiting for ten million quid’s-worth of fireworks to illuminate the London skyline, or getting sloshed with strangers at some social event put on by a hotel for the purpose of tripling the prices we’d normally pay for mediocre food and booze. I’m not partial to fireworks, or hotel food, or cheap champagne.
My brother, his wife, and a couple of neighbours, are coming round, and my darling M will serve a filet mignon dinner, while I show willing by opening a few decent bottles of claret. And, yes, at midnight a bottle of shampoo from one of France’s more stellar houses.
My hopes for 2013 are modest, simple and heartfelt: good health for my wife, family and friends and a few spells of decent weather, including a few sun-drenched days at Lord’s watching England retain the Ashes.
Oh, yes, peace on earth, and an economic recovery – though history suggests that no sensible man should hold his breath for either.
On the whole, I’m more than content with my lot. Long may it continue!
And on that uplifting note, I wish you all a hale and hearty New Year.