Was New Year’s Eve good for you? Did you trip the light fantastic? Go clubbing until four in the morning? Host a sparkling dinner party with seven courses, plenty of wine, and delightful conversation? Good for you if you did any of those things, and a double dose of it if you managed to do them all.
You would have found me, if you were so inclined, sitting in my front room reading a book. I was in my pyjamas as well, just in case you were forming a mental image and needed a more detailed mise en scene. I’m currently reading the second volume of The Book of Dust, by Phillip Pullman; a brilliant series for a fantasy fiction lover like me.
I don’t do New Year’s resolutions; the changing date on a calendar, for me, isn’t a reason to start something new. If I have a particular ambition, then I’m going to start working on that ambition as soon as humanly possibly – even if I’ve sometimes got a little voice from nearby saying, “Dad, what are we doing now?” What we’re doing now, Bryan, is learning a useful skill called “entertaining yourself for half an hour” whilst I concentrate on this.
So nothing is changing for me this week, and this column won’t be an inspiring “new year, new you” style letter from the heart. Sorry if that’s what you were expecting; I do hate to disappoint.
I don’t ever go properly out on New Year’s Eve; I’ll usually spend the evening with friends (except for one terrible time where I was laid low with a bug and slept for about 14 hours straight – I felt blooming wonderful afterwards, though, so every cloud …), but never in crowded pubs. Oh, except once, in my early 20s, when I decided that it would be a good idea to go with some friends to a local pub. A full set was being played by a DJ, with speakers that were twinned with the NASA space programme – and I, quite naturally, sat directly under one of them. It took two days to stop the ringing in my ears and my voice was feeble for a week. Never again.
And now the new year is officially upon us – the last year of the current decade (unless our calendars started recording in 0AD?) – we’re on the slow, incremental rise to spring and summer. The nights will finally start getting lighter and there will be so much more to do.
I have a book coming out in June 2020, which is awfully exciting, and I’m planning to move house with my son at some point this year. We’ve already outgrown our space, but such is life – a new residence will be rather lovely to mark a year or more as a new family.
In the meantime, I am adjusting to a year of firsts being almost done. I have both aged 20 years and de-aged the same amount. There are days when I feel exhausted and there are days when I enjoy playing games with the best of them. Just today, for example, we played with Nerf guns along the west cliff in Ramsgate; I slipped over four times and went face down, but didn’t care in the slightest. Why should I? I was having the time of my life, and to hear Bryan laughing hysterically at me every time I collapsed was worth the Nerf gun’s weight in gold.