I only started celebrating New Years when I left home: it was a bit of a culture shock to find the rest of the world made such a big deal of it.
Back home, New Years was – weather permitting –in the middle of haymaking. Staying up to midnight to see the year in was the worst possible indulgence, if you had to get up in the morning to milk cows and then spend much of the day in the hay paddock.
So the first few New Years away from home kind of made up for it. They’re a bit of a blur.
Some were memorable: a three day-er in Whakatane, with a 21st on December 30 (happily, a Friday) spilling over into a New Year’s party at the same venue the following afternoon/evening/night/morning/ and then New Years Day on Ohope Beach.
Or a toast to the New Year on Mt St John in Auckland, a few years later: or stopping half way across Mangere Bridge at midnight having just picked up a friend from the airport.
Others were spent in tents in places like the Kaimanawas, and one memorable one in a cave on the edge of the Beansburn River, watching the rain come down, the river raise, and – further up, the snowline come further down the pass.
There was an exhausted, altitude sickness one in Kathmandu in Nepal, in the late ‘90s.
The last one I saw in was the Millennium, from the top of Mt Victoria.
A couple of years later, having done the Heaphy Trail and torn an Achilles tendon, I was with a bunch of fellow trampers at the Last Resort in Karamea, awaiting the midnight hour.
Pretty stuffed. A couple of games of pool had come and gone. The proprietor had excitedly promised us, when we checked in, “something special!” for New Years and when we asked us what it was he proclaimed “JELLY WRESTLERS!”
He looked a bit shocked when we just stared blankly black.
I was on about the third or fourth beer, and it was starting to taste soapy – a personal warning indicator light.
Checked the watch. It was 11:15pm.
O to hell with this – I’ve seen in enough New Years, I thought, and limped off to the bunkhouse.
In that spirit, I don’t think I’ll be seeing 2016 in at midnight. Unless either the daughter or the neighbours get me up, in which case, there might be a certain lack of the seasonal spirit.
I may commit sarcasm.
But, in the spirit of the New Year, here’s the Kinks, with probably their last really decent single.
I love the vocal – as Ray Davies starts with,
Here’s wishing you the bluest sky,
And hoping something better comes tomorrow.
he sounds like a drunken uncle rising unsteadily to his feet and beginning New Year’s (or maybe a 21st ) speech.
So here’s to everyone who had a crap year and is planning on a better 2016. There’s plenty I know like that.
And for everyone else, too: here’s to better things.
I know you’ve got a lot of good things happening up ahead,
The past is gone, it’s all been said.
So here’s to what the future brings,
I know tomorrow you’ll find better things…