We had a great evening, to see out the Old Year and welcome the New.
We were one down, as Bernie is in London with her boyfriend, and was watching the fireworks on the South Bank.
We were also one family down, as the friends who have joined us for New Year's Eve for many years had other commitments (a better offer) elsewhere.
So we decided we would simply have to have a good time on our own, and we managed it. After a few games around the stove, we climbed a local fell. Ant had a rucksack full of kindling and wood, along with hot chocolate and coffee.
We noticed others planning to ascend, so thought we would settle just below the summit; but that proved impossible: the wind was very strong and rain and sleet were coming down. So we ascended to the top, where there is a large stone obelisk, which provided a measure of shelter.
There we were joined by a couple from a village further up the valley, with their youngest boy, who enjoyed watching us trying to get a fire lit. Eventually, by getting the whole family (minus Bernie) lying in a circle to form some sort of wind break, and by dint of striking matches in large bundles, we managed to get a flame to take hold. And then the fire really got going. The wind gusted it into strong flames and it produced real warmth.
So we treated our new friends to a few Scottish ballads (mixed in with the odd Tom Lehrer, Don Mclean etc song). Suddenly midnight was upon us, and as we sang Auld Lang Syne, all the hotels around the lake we were looking down on let off their fireworks. It was a magnificent site, seen from above. Goldie did not enjoy it, but she is quite a patient dog.
Then our new friends revealed they too had some fireworks: they had thought they would struggle to light them in the wind and rain, but by using a glowing stick from our fire, were able to do so; so doubtless all the hotel partygoers enjoyed the sight of fire and fireworks on the mountain too.
It was very wet and windy, and quite cold, so we didn't hang around too long. But the descent was hilarious. There is a broad grassy trod for a lot of the way, pretty steep. The rain had converted this into a very hazardous descent, and I went down a long way, inadvertently, on my back, to the children's delight. In fairness, they did little better, and only Mrs T reached the bottom with her dignity intact and her overtrousers unmuddied.
And so home - where Charlie played the piano, and we all sang along. He was flicking through various song books, starting stuff at random stopping when he got bored, and then playing other things from memory which he preferred. My favourite was A Farewell to Stromness, some of which he remembered correctly…
So it was two before we headed off to bed - and for some strange reason the kids aren't up yet, though it has just gone eleven o'clock.
Happy New Year and a Happy Feast Day to all my readers.
A Chartres Surplice - a school and God's own county - The first of the final two coats of arms is that of Chavagnes International College, of whose Scouts I am privileged to be chaplain. Fine and brave Scout...
11 hours ago