It's New Year's Eve, and I can't believe that the year is almost over. It always creeps up on me and feels like a bit of a surprise. I find the spell between Christmas and the New Year fun, but disorientating - I never seem to know what day of the week we're on! It's been a lovely few days here, with lazy time spent at home, as well as going for walks, to the cinema, shopping etc. Earlier in the week we drove to a country pub for our annual family Christmas meal. We've doing this for many years with three generations getting together to exchange presents, laugh and catch up. The last year has had some wonderful moments, but some sad ones too for our family, and we really valued being together. The pub is very old with an old barn attached, and this is where we always book our table near the open fire.
Desserts are served in pretty tea cups,
and all around the walls and beams are antique agricultural implements. It's very cosy there, a great pub in winter, and apparently it even has its own ghost!
Yesterday we went ice-skating in Bath, or rather, P and the young 'uns did, and I spectated. On the few occasions I have skated I have spent most of the session holding on to the handrail, only to fall over soon after I let go. Instead I stood at the side with a coffee and took photos. The session started in the light just after the sun had set.
Gradually the light faded and the floodlights came on, illuminating the heavily scored ice in different colours and casting shadows in purple, pink and blue.
By the end of the session it was dark. The rink is in a large park and the surrounding trees were lit up. I loved seeing the moon behind the tree's branches against the dark sky. The scene looked ethereal and rather magical.
As we left the park, the lion statues on the gate were thrown into sharp relief in the moonlight, reminding me of E Nesbit's story The Enchanted Castle in which marble statues come to life at night and move about the garden.
Tonight the five of us are going out for a meal which is very unusual as we usually spend New Year's Eve in. We will celebrate the arrival of the New Year, and say goodbye to the old one. I shall leave you with an extract from one of my favourite poems, 'The Darkling Thrush' by Thomas Hardy:
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky,
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.
It's dated 31st December 1900, marking the beginning of the new century. I love his description of a wintry afternoon as the light fades and the frost sets in, and the contrast with the people who are warm indoors by their fires. A beautiful poem, I think.
However you spend it I hope you enjoy New Year's Eve, and I wish you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year! See you in 2015!
x x x