Alison McQueen


New Year’s Eve, 2011

I can’t say that I’ll be all that sorry to see the back of 2011. It’s been a tricky year, featuring a litany of unexpected spanners flying into the works at regular intervals, the most inconvenient of which was me breaking my hand after tripping over my husband’s crutches. The official story is that he broke his leg while skiing in Switzerland. The truth is that he did it during his first lesson at the indoor snow dome in Milton Keynes, way before he got to the slopes. Typical man, he left his crutches strewn across the patio one day, cunningly hidden behind the outside table. He might just as well have left a bear trap for me when I came out to prune the roses. Over I went, like a sack of coal. Snap. The break to my hand was spectacular. To add insult to injury, it has healed very poorly and will never be the same again.

The hand incident was roughly the tone of things to come for the rest of the year. There even came a point in high summer (shortly after the car accident) when paranoia started to creep in. Perhaps I had done something really terrible in a previous life and now my chickens were coming home to roost. And just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, they did. In spades. But enough of all that now. Having conducted a quick straw pole among my known associates, it seems that everyone was having anannus horribilis. Things have been pretty tough out there.

I’m not much of a one for New Years Eve celebrations. I am still haunted by the memory of some of those hideous parties I attended during my late teens and early twenties when I felt compelled to join in. To boycott NYE was somehow regarded as sacrilegious, and I was at an age when I cared about what other people thought while pretending to enjoy the inevitable big count down to midnight. As the clock struck, so the tongues would start lunging towards you. The New Year Kiss. To be avoided at all costs. Thankfully, all that is now in the dark and distant past, and I am quite comfortable in the knowledge that I need never put myself in that position again.

So this evening, I shall be quietly contemplating the demise of 2011 with a certain degree of relief, and welcoming in the new year with a discreet glass of something warming. I might even watch a bit of Hootenanny, if the mood takes me. And whatever you are doing, may I take this small opportunity to wish you peace, prosperity, health and every happiness for 2012. I have a feeling that it’s going to be a much, much better year.