Saturday, 1st January, 2022

[Day 656]

I am sure that quite a few people are more than happy to see the back of 2021, particularly if they have experienced family sickness or worse in the last year. I waited up until midnight and then ‘saw in’ the New Year, complete with a minute tot of whisky. I spent some minutes sending texts to various people on the phone’s contact list. Out of the blue, I received a New Year text from a Dutch friend that we have not been in contact with for about 15 years, as far as I can remember. The Dutch family had come over to see us and helped us celebrate our wedding anniversary some 15 years ago and we certainly had a family holiday with them in the Lake District but we have rather lost contact over the years. Anyway, it was nice to hear from them and in cases like this, I send the URL of this blog so that people can read something about our day-to-day lives, humdrum as it might be. One of my flatmates from our university days who currently lives in Colombo, Sri Lanka, also sent me an incredibly short text which read ‘Still reading your blog’ We tend to remember each other’s birthdays if only bcause it happens to be on the same date in May.

Upon rising, I popped down to the newspaper shop and the shop proprietor and I, after wishing each seasonal greetings, were trying to work out what we would both do if we were to win £1 million in the next few days (I was thinking of the forthcoming Premium Bonds Draw) We came to the conclusion that if we won, the greatest happiness would be secured for both of us by giving all the money away. It did not occur to me that the shop would not be open but, in theory, the shop should not have opened. However, the proprietor opened up if only because so many of his regulars (including ourselves) didn’t think and just came along to collect our newspaper as normal. Through an unfortunate oversight, the supplement to ‘The Times‘ which includes all of the details of the TV programmes for today, was missing so we had to make do one way or another. In the park, we met up several of our friends including our University of Birmingham friend as well as Seasoned World Traveller. As we had not seen the latter for about a couple of weeks, I was mightily pleased to see him if only because I had been carting a small token Chrissy present of a few mince pies together with a card for him. We discussed the virus news and some of the good films we had seen on the telly over the last few days and met diverse others and their associated dogs whilst sitting on our usual park bench. Eventually, we made for home and had some quiche and seasonal vegetables for lunch.

In the afternoon, which was a little attenuated by now, we stumbled across a ‘box-set’ of Pride and Prejudice, broadcast on the Drama Channel like yesterday’s box set. This was one of the classic productions and there seemed to be a lot of detail of the dialogue that would normally be cut if the whole of the action had to be cut down do a conventional 90 minute film. We enjoyed watching this until it was time for us to get ready to go to church which we always do on a Saturday afternoon, leaving the house at about 5.30. When we got back, we had a bowl of soup and settled down for a conventional TV viewing for New Year’s Day. At about this time of year, I quite like the kinds of programmes that give you a ‘review of the year’ to remind you of the significant events you have just lived through. A few years ago, there used to be a programme which ran for several years which looked at a really ‘classic’ photo month by month and they managed to track down the photographer who gave an account of how he was fortunate enough to get one of those ‘classic’ shots where you just have to be in the right place at the right time. However, there don’t seem to be any of those of that type of programmes around this year (or we might have missed it whilst we entertaining/being entertained)

Whilst we were walking down to the park, our Italian friend spotted us and pressed a present into our hands and we are popping round to see some of our oldest friends tomorrow morning. Finally, the French lady who is a near neighbour of our other friends has invited us round for tea next Monday so we are finishing off the Christmas/New Year festivities with quite a flourish. After next Monday is over, we shall have to think about taking down the decorations and packing them up until next year.