Auld lang syne... and resolutions.

New Year festivities started with a drive from hell. I alluded to it in an earlier post regarding my father and my aunt's dubious driving abilities. In any case, it made everyone grumpy. Which shows that while with certain sacrifices and patience, one can, for a limited time, live with one's parent's again. But don't get into a car for 9 hours with them.

Anyway, we got up to the party house, just outside of Linlithgow, and got settled in. There were a lot of kids kicking about. And this was good because it had started snowing (ah yes... those amusing blizzards). And kids + snow. Well, even adults + snow. I firmly believe that reaction to snow is an excellent measure on how old someone really is; if they're 80 and still love snow, then they're really only in their early teens.

Any way it snowed but not very much and not for very long. I did get a couple of cool pics though, and this is one of them:It was all gone by the following morning due to Britain's all time number one form of precipitation, rain. Ah well, it was pretty while it lasted.

The night of the 30th boasted a big meal that I decided to flex my culinary muscles with. It was pretty simple really - couple of legs of roast lamb and tatties with some green things. I didn't do the green things. Not that I'm one of these "veggies are for big wusses" people, I'm not. I like veggies. I like green veggies. Even broccoli and sprouts. And peas and cabbage. Well... sprouts kind of are cabbage really. So, yeah - I like greens. I'm just rubbish at cooking them. So if I'm in a position to delegate that particular aspect of a meal, then I will. And I did. And the greens were yummy. There was even baby corn. Which is not green but is certainly yummy.

I didn't prep the starter either. It was yummy too though, and consisted of prawns in a yummy sauce wrapped in smoke salmon. There may have been avocado. I knew I shouldn't have waited this long to write everything up.Dinner was followed by cheese, port (mmmm... port) and whisky. Probably too much whisky. Gilmour, our host, has an impressive collection and seemed intent on pouring as much of it down our throats as humanly possible. There were some gems. I feasted upon Ardbeg 17 and Talisker 18. One of the guests attempted to drink all of the Rosebank, much to the chagrin of his wife. I slept on the couch in the lounge. It was comfy.

In the morning on New Years Eve my sis and brother-in-law and crazy-Irish-thug-nephews arrived. Fortunately, being in the country, there was a great deal for them to do. In particular play in the quickly melting snow, play in the mud, and pretty much anything else that would get them very, very dirty. In fact, one of the cleanest things they did was drive the tractor. Yes, my 5-year-old nephew in charge of farm machinery. Be afraid...And yes, he is actually driving it.

The party sometimes creeps up on you. You're just kind of sitting there, next to the fire, having a beer, occasionally putting some food out. Everything's chilled. There're some nice tunes playing. The kids are watching Ice Age. You're chatting. A couple of more people arrive that you haven't seen in ages. Go back to your seat by the fire. And then there are almost 50 people kicking about, there's an accordion player belting out reels, the kids are dancing with the adults, you can't remember whose drink it is you're getting and you're realising, the more you catch up with everyone, how unbelievably brilliant all your friends and family are. Even the family who are grumpy. And so everyone's dancing and only a small percentage know what they're doing but it's ok because they're trying to teach everyone as they go and there's laughter and spilt drinks and mummies and daddies lifting daughters and sons to join in with the grown-ups. And some of the kids are sitting on the rolled up carpet in the corner laughing at all the old people dancing like they were kids but really loving it because it's not embarrassing when everyone's parents are doing it. And so before you know it, the dancing's finished and it's 5 to midnight and you're getting the champagne out of the freezer and filling up the glasses for the bells and everyone's rushing outside to join the smokers ('cause they're outside already) and it's not as cold as you thought and is that because of the booze or all the snow melting or what? And you leave the exposure to do funny things on your camera because it looks cool. And then you're all screaming the countdown and hugging and wishing happy new years to everyone and meaning it.
And wouldn't your liver thank you if that was it? Wouldn't it be so nice if after the bells you went to bed? Maybe, but hardly the best way to spend the first few hours of 2006, really, is it? No. You spend the first few hours partying with your mates. And if you're lucky, you get your seat back by the fire. Which I did. A quiet moment's reflection - a few resolutions and then a mission to discover what all the noise was on the dance floor.

It was kids. Partying past the bells with fervour. Hugely impressive. We nicknamed the twins in pajamas Thing One and Thing Two after the Dr Seuss characters. Heh.Kids that can party that late and behave well and still have a brilliant time give me hope for the future. No one whined about the lack of X-Box, no one moaned about... well, anything really. They did try to nick all the smoked salmon, but that's more an example of a developed palate at a young age than anything else. God help us when they want to start drinking.

I didn't stay up all night to cook breakfast. I don't have to do that anymore (not that I ever had to, I just felt I had to). I went to bed at 530 and that was fine. Beer, champagne and whisky isn't too much of a hangover recipe, even if the first two were devoured in pints.

It marked 4 years since I quit smoking.

Bill Mooney went around trying to wake everyone up at 630, at which point my sister asked if he wanted her to go wake up his kids.

My resolution is to finish my book and to keep up the exercise and balanced eating. Achievable goals. I hope.