Friends And Fresh Air….The Only New Year’s Party I Want.

30 Dec

Ah, here it is again….a new year.  Now I am forty, I feel confident enough to say (quite honestly) that I really don’t care for New Year’s Eve.  I’ve celebrated it in various means over the years; clubbing in my teens, house parties in my twenties, restaurants in my thirties….now I’ve at last reached my forties I am determined to celebrate it in the way I want to, rather than the way I feel I should be doing so.  Not to say that I haven’t had many good New Year’s Eve parties.  But to be honest, there have only been a couple which I truly loved; the other times I could happily have stayed home rather than be out in a club so loud I couldn’t think, queuing for an hour to get a drink and standing in the pouring rain at two in the morning waiting to catch a taxi which I knew before stepping into it was going to cost me about thirty pounds. As I got older, I found myself gradually resisting the pressure to do specific things on New Year’s Eve.  As a result, I enjoyed myself far more.  One of the best parties was a Regency-themed one that my friend and I organised.  We were all fed up with clubs and packed pubs where you couldn’t even sit down all night so we all agreed to have a house party.  But a refined, genteel house party.  Regency was the order of the day.   Oh, boy did we do our research!  We insisted that everyone come in full fancy dress and everyone did.

Me and a handful of my Regency counterparts.

Me and a handful of my Regency counterparts.

The men all had stick-on sideburns and wore breeches, the women all came armed with fans.  We had learned dances from the BBC adaptation of ‘Pride And Prejudice’ (the ONLY version worth watching with Colin Firth as Darcy) which we taught to everyone.  We projected selected episodes in a loop onto one of the walls (on mute) and whenever the dances at the ball came on the screen, we all dropped everything and joined in. I should point out that the women also dropped everything and stared, chins dragging on the carpet, whenever Colin Firth climbed out of the lake as Darcy in his wet shirt.  And whenever he was dancing.  And actually, whenever he was actually on screen.  Having a floor-to-ceiling projection of Colin Firth in breeches is rather distracting full-stop.

Excuse me whilst I take an hour from my day to just....er....drool.

Excuse me whilst I take an hour from my day to just….er….drool.

  After midnight we went onto the long lawns in front of the house (it was opposite the beach on the promenade) and had a series of races, copied directly from those actually staged at such events in the Regency period.  They were used to display the physical skills of the men!  It was such a fun party and we never repeated it, for fear that it wouldn’t match up.  However, in recent years my desire to ‘party’ – Regency or otherwise – has waned somewhat.  Honestly, by midnight these days I’m pretty much worn out!
So last year (or is it this year?  Which side of the coin does midnight on December 31st fall?) I didn’t do anything at all.  I stayed in with Jools Holland and his Hootenanny on the television (always a good’un if you’re in for NYE) and was in bed by 12.15am.  The next morning I was up fresh and early, ready for a long walk over the Sussex Downs which had been arranged by a good friend, Paul.

We aren't really that tall and skinny.  Alas.

We aren’t really that tall and skinny. Alas.

Paul and I lived together for eight-and-a-half years.  Well, I say ‘lived together’; it was like the set-up on ‘Friends’.  We had apartments next door to each other, we were the only two tenants in that part of the building and our front doors were permanently open during the day so we could wander in and out of each others apartments as we wished.  It was like having a room-mate but with privacy when needed.  It was perfect.  Paul knows me very well and was there for some of my most awful months of being very ill indeed with hydrocephalus.  On more than a couple of occasions he rushed me up to hospital in London.  We both suffered from insomnia at that time so would go to all-night shopping stores at four in the morning for something to do.  I look back at those years living with him with nothing but joyful memories so to celebrate the New Year with him indeed feels like a special event.
So we met outside Bill’s Cafe in Lewes around midday – about twenty of us, adults, children and dogs – and disappeared merrily into the hills.  It was a beautiful, glorious day.

Ahhh...you can't beat the fresh air!

Ahhh…you can’t beat the fresh air!

I only knew a handful of the party when we set off but by the time we were returning I knew them all.  We ascended to the top of a hill where we had a fantastic panoramic view and then descended to the valley and the village of Glynde, where one of the party lived.  Shoes off at the front door, we all piled into her amazingly cute little cottage and had tea, coffee and home-made cake, whilst resting our weary feet.

Some of us in the cottage (the rest had gone to the pub!).  Paul is seated at the right in the white shirt.

Some of us in the cottage (the rest had gone to the pub!). Paul is seated at the right in the white shirt.

Then we all got the train back to Lewes, hugged each other and bid each other a Happy New Year, and made our respective ways home.  It seemed to me to be the perfect way to celebrate a New Year; to spend the first day of it in nature, with a crowd of happy people and animals, walking, eating, drinking, talking….basically a party without the booze and the hangover next day!  So this year we are doing it all again.  I shall update with photos from that walk on New Year’s Day.  The weather isn’t going to be as kind to us; it’s currently raining and raining and raining.  But we are going.  Because mud or no mud, you can’t beat a New Year’s Day party in the open air.  And if we happen to stumble across a Darcy-esque figure in a wet shirt, so much the better.

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2 Responses to “Friends And Fresh Air….The Only New Year’s Party I Want.”

  1. Jenn December 30, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    Haha… last year I stayed up and was in bed a few minutes after midnight lol… I’m 28 you would think I’d be out… this year, I have a date…. with my kobo LOL bringing in the new year with my book yay!

    Happy New Year!

    • jordantheheadcase December 31, 2013 at 10:40 am #

      Haha, nothing wrong with that! I will watch Jools Holland’s Hootenanny as it’s a really good run-up to midnight. That’s if I manage to stay awake till midnight. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, seeing friends and celebrating the New Year proper! Happy New Year to you too. Jordan x

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