New Year’s Eve and many traditions still hold: particularly getting rat-arsed.
I realise that, at our time of life, it’s adolescent to come home fighting drunk in the early hours, wakening the neighbours and giving them verbal when they complain. But will Her Indoors pack the booze in …?
There are other traditions we like to maintain, too. First footing, for example. It’s said that the first person to cross your threshold after midnight should be a tall, dark haired man carrying coal. In our house it’s usually me: a short, fat, bald man carrying a can of lighter fluid, which is as close as you can get to a lump of coal where we live.
A third tradition is a scan of the New Years Honours List with regular declarations such as, “what did that tosspot do to deserve a gong?”
Naturally, there’s the inevitable look back on the last 12 months. This usually takes place on New Year’s Eve and involves mind-blowing comments like, “I never did find that tube of Preparation H after we got back from Prestatyn.”
It’s traditional for us to troop along to my sister-in-law’s farm on New Year’s Day where we join hundreds of other partygoers, all eager to hear my rendition of Mack The Knife. I did it dressed as Darth Vader one year.
Aside from my one effort on karaoke, I tend to keep out of the way in the kitchen, where I drop into bizarre conversations with people I’ve never met before.
They stare at my cap and ask, “Why do they call you Flatcap?” My response is usually, “Why do they call you moron?”
Ann, my sister-in-law, runs a riding school on the farm, and many of her guests are pupils, their parents, and others who stable their nags there. Considering most of them are women, the conversation usually centres on horses, pregnancy, horses, hysterectomies, and horses, not necessarily in that order.
“Are you at all horsey, Flatcap?” one bright young thing asked.
“Well I saddled a few fillies when I was younger,” I told her, and she went off complaining about me.
Few of the people there are readers, which is a shame for me.
“You write books?” asked one young feller.
“Yes,” I said. “You know what I mean. It’s a regular parallelogram made up of printed pages containing words. You read them with your eyes; those things either side of your nose. And if you don’t know, your nose is that bulge in the middle of your face that stops your forehead from collapsing over your mouth.”
Her Indoors is usually drunk enough to carry home by ten o’clock and I can settle down at last. The festive season is over and done with … at least until Easter. And that can’t be far away. Tesco’s were selling Easter eggs the day after Boxing Day.
So this is Flatcap signing off. I’ll see you next year. In the meantime, have the best of New Years and be good. If you can’t be good, you need to perfect your technique.