New Year curmudgeon

Girl Power on New Year's Eve! Is Julian to be pitied or envied?

Girl Power on New Year’s Eve! Is Julian to be pitied or envied?

It’s New Year’s Eve. 10.15pm. I’m sitting in the saloon, wrapped in a blanket, my hot water bottle snug at my back. Julian’s snoring from the aft cabin is almost matched by Lily’s snoring from the fore cabin. Only Katie sleeps quietly. Now this is a New Year’s Eve of my dreams. The last time I ended the year with such little fanfare was in 1996 when I was on a McCafferty’s coach travelling overnight up the east coast of Australia. I can’t remember which leg of my solo trip from Sydney to Cairns fell on the night of New Year’s Eve, but I think it was somewhere in mid-Queensland. I remember waking up when the coach stopped at a road side service station. All the passengers had to alight. Bleary-eyed, I went in search of toilet facilities and then to get a bottle of water and a bag of M&Ms from the counter. Standing around in the night-time heat, waiting for the driver to let us back on the bus, a wave of relief washed over me when I realised it was 2am and, for the first December 31st in my adult life, I had avoided kissing or hugging anyone on the stroke of midnight.

My dislike for New Year’s Eve is the inverse of my love for Christmas. Partly it’s because by the time December 31st rolls around I’ve simply had enough food and alcohol and dressing up. But a bigger reason is that I despise the forced jollity and camaraderie of it all. Christmas is all about family, about being surrounded by loved ones, people with whom I have a shared history. All too often, on New Year’s Eve, I’ve found myself in a crowded noisy pub or club, standing beside someone I barely know, or worse, someone who every other day of the year wouldn’t even speak to me, and because it’s midnight I’m grabbed and hugged and kissed and wished a Happy New Year. My eyes scan the room to find my friends in similar unwanted clinches.

Since the kids have come along I’ve had an excuse not to go out on New Year’s Eve and at least my past five December 31sts have been spent either at my mother-in-law’s or my mother’s house, often with extended family. But then there’s the hassle of staying up past midnight. And when your kids wake you up at 7am every morning, staying awake past 10pm requires stamina. Conversing, wearing uncomfortable party clothes and keeping a smile on your face until midnight is an endurance trial.

Here, right now, is the perfect way to see out the year. The three people I love most in the world are safe and snug and close-by. I got my kisses and hugs before they went to bed. And, despite the Moroccan music that is blasting around the marina right now, I have time to quietly reflect on the year that has passed and prepare for the year that is to come.

Unlike 2014, when we set our sights on sailing from Plymouth to the Mediterranean, we have no definite sailing goals for 2015. Now that we are in the Mediterranean, our intention is to hang around here for the next year or so, sailing for wherever the wind and our mood take us. We have no destination beyond some vague ideas about our first port of call when we depart Aguadulce. France, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Turkey, Morocco – who knows. We certainly don’t, but the possibilities fill us with great excitement.

I finished writing Book #1 in 2014 and submitted it to a publisher and, hopefully before I go back to work next week the first draft of Book #2 will be complete, and I plan to spend the first three months of 2015 revising that and getting it ready to submit to a publisher. Book #3 currently exists as a very flawed first draft that has been in cold storage for about a year and a half. I’m resolving to complete it by the end of 2015. Meanwhile, I carry on with smaller writing projects, and I am resolving to pitch a certain number of publication ideas to magazines and newspapers each month. I am thrilled with my new 2015 diary, an experimental move away from the same filofax I have used religiously for the past fifteen years. And I am thrilled with the new multi-coloured pens to which I have treated myself, in order to colour-code my to-do lists. (I am, folks, a woman of very simple pleasures!)

I resolve to be more patient, kind and empathetic; to eat less chocolate and get more exercise; to care less about the messiness of four people living in a tiny space; to read more; to make a greater effort to keep in touch with loved ones; to become a better sailor; and to once again fit into my favourite skirt!

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2015 filled with love and fun!


15 thoughts on “New Year curmudgeon

  1. Happy New Year to you too – here in Arviat we are still in the old year, but only 7 more hours to go – we will be toasting in 2015 with de-alcoholized wine – whoopee!! Have one of our grandsons overniting so that’s the most exciting part 🙂
    In answer to your question (is Julian to be more pitied than envied?), of course you know that the answer is definitely “envied”!! three beautiful and intelligent (more intelligent than Barbie by far, although maybe she’s more intelligent than she looks!!) women, of mixed ages and interests 🙂

    • Happy New Year Martha, to you and all yours. Clearly, you are grandmother to two boys. If they were girls you would instantly recognise the dolls – not Barbies, but the characters from the movie Frozen. All the best for the two new grandchildren on the way xxx

  2. Happy New Year Martina. I have loved reading your posts for the last 6 months and they have really kept me entertained during long night feeds (Joshua James French was born in September). Really looking forward to reading about your continued adventures in 2015. Lots of love. Fiona

    • Hi Fiona, Great to hear from you. And congratulations on the arrival (not new any more!) of Joshua. What a lovely name! Glad the blogs are keeping you entertained during those night feeds. Katie was a September baby, and I remember night feeds were much more difficult compared with Lily, who was a March baby, and her feeds were accompanied by bird-song at 4am! All the best for 2015. Love, Martina xx

  3. Happy New Year to all at Carina of Devon. We have just celebrated the New Year with friends at Shaw Way, Plymouth each contributing a course and homemade bread and fresh ground coffee. A quiet affair enjoying the fireworks from all corners of plymouth. Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015 and wishing you all you wish for yourselves. XxxDee and Rex

    • It’s Julian here. Hi Dee and Rex. A very happy new year. I thought I just had to reply to you as I am sure I would have enjoyed making a course for your dinner in our home port of Plymouth. It was all a little too crazy around the marina here as this is one of the hottest night spots in town! The party finished at 8am. So I decided on an early night as Martina has mentioned in her blog.

  4. I’m with you there – I was in bed well before midnight and quietly reflected on the year that’s passed. I celebrated by watching The West Wing, eating chocolate and doing some sewing. One of the best New Year’s Eves I’ve had for years! I hope 2015 is a great year for you all.

    • I’m still working on caring less about the messiness!! Julian and the girls are going away on Monday for a few weeks and I’m so excited about a huge spring clean when everyone else’s back is turned!!

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