from Jan Bates and Gerry Chandler

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Quiz photo

Where is this? It's very famous and we saw it last week on December 21, 2002 while out for a walk.

It is really 2003 now. Yesterday, as on the eve of the eve we were asked by our current landlord, a young man of about 25, how we would celebrate the incoming of the year. He said that he would be going to a party with government colleagues. What would we be doing? We said that we had partied out and we'd have a quiet evening at home. The tone of his voice was one of a bit of surprise. Or, more exactly, it was the rythym of the conversation that caught notice: he had a pause as if he did not know what to say. After all, he had been to California for Christmas week where he had been with family. Now, he'd come back to the east coast to be with friends. Why weren't we more excited about the event?

So, what is it with us? We've had enough of loud places where you can't hear your companions. Since we are on permanent holiday, there is not a lot special about this particular eve. No false holiday cheer for us. Of course, that doesn't mean that we are rejecting friends; had we been in New York, Darlington, and elsewhere we would have been partying with friends or family, but we aren't there.

We are so unusual, or perhaps we should say unique, since we haven't made any particular count. But we have friends our age in England who stayed home with just a few friends in for a quiet night. Their son is the one out for the big bang party — if he needs a ride they'll be available to bring him home. Other friends in the States celebrated between Christmas and New Years with friends. The Eve itself was quiet. And our really senior friends, those over 80, also had a quiet night.

However you saw it in, welcome to the New Year.


January 1, 2003