It was 31st December 1999 that I realised that I didn't much care for being in groups on New Year's Eve. We had gone to a circus themed party at a friend of a friend's house. It was fancy dress.
Those of you who know me will know that I love fancy dress. This time however, I had different ideas. This was the millennium, the dawning of tomorrow. The future, including hover-cars and food in pill form, started at 00:00 hours. I wasn't going to spend that night dressed as a clown. Not when I had already found a pukka silver shirt and blue hair dye.
The party went as house parties do. I was found mostly in the kitchen, chatting to those I knew (about 30%) about stuff*. This was fine, until 9:30pm when the assembled guests were ushered into the living room, I had a bad feeling about this. I asked my "friend" what was going on.
"We're going to do our acts now." he uttered matter of factly. "What acts?" "You know, we all have to do a circus act as part of the fun." My heart sank faster than the Belgrano. I had no idea about this part of the party. Z and I quickly cobbled together a shonky high-wire mime. Fortunately we'd drunk enough to be truly wobbly on the wire and we didn't need the safety net.
To add insult to injury we then had to brave the elements to watch the fireworks. This was so badly timed that we missed the big count down to the year 2000 and nothing happened. Aeroplanes were meant to drop out of the sky, ATMs should have been chucking money onto the streets and Walt Disney was scheduled to raise from the grave. The Millennium bug didn't strike, a bulb on the Christmas tree went out and that was it.
We have since had the majority of New Year's Eves at home, just Z and I with superb food, wine, company and Jools on the telly Hootannanying through the wee small hours. This year we're going for beef wellington as the good food.
Not everybody likes their beef cooked the same way**, so individual wellies are the way forward. Tis the season, and all that, so we are having sprouts. It's the only time of the year that I get to eat them. Served with boulangere potatoes, a grand way to see out 2011.
For the record I have enjoyed NYEs in the presence of others since 2000, mostly with my old school friends from Milton Keynes and Z's from Windsor. Whoever you are with, whatever you are doing, happy new year.
*Stuff is great, I could waffle on about stuff for ages.
**I like mine to remember mooing and pastures green.