ALAN: Happy New Year, Jane and Jim! I notice that the two of you still don’t seem to think that the new year is a very good idea. You only decided to try it on for size an hour or so ago. We’ve had it for ages now, so I think that if you look closely, you might find it’s a bit worn out…
JANE: Happy New Year, Alan and Robin! We’re liking the shape of this New Year quite a lot. It seems all fresh and shiny. How many hours in the future are you anyhow?
ALAN: At the moment, it’s 9.00pm on 1st January 2015 and Robin and I are starting to think about going to bed because it’s been a very long day. So that makes it 1.00am where you are, and your 2015 is only an hour old. You’ve got a lot of catching up to do!
JANE: Do you and Robin usually stay up to see the New Year “in”?
ALAN: We used to, but now that we’ve grown old and boring, we usually sleep through it. Some friends of ours have a party every year. They always invite us, and we always turn them down. We feel a bit guilty about that (they really are very close friends) but this year we had a perfect excuse for not attending. Because we’ve moved house, we were 300 km away as well as being fast asleep when the champagne flowed.
How about you and Jim? Do you stay up specially?
JANE: Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t. It depends on whether the day after is a “work day.” We’re very lucky in that we have fantastic neighbors. Most years we gather at someone or another’s house and visit.
Last year was colored by the fact that one of our neighbors was very ill, but she really wanted us to have the party. She died this past summer, so I’m very glad we all met.
ALAN: Oh that is a sad story. Raise a glass to her if you have a party this year.
JANE: We definitely will. Barb is very missed. She was a bright light on our little dead end street.
New Year’s Day is often a quiet one for us, although some years we have friends over.
Many years ago, someone told me that if you wanted a “rich” year, you should eat pork on New Year’s Day. If I remember, we do this. Another little superstition I follow if I remember is putting a few coins outside the window. This is supposed to attract more money for the New Year.
Superstitions can be fun.
ALAN: Eating pork on the first day of the year is a German tradition. Being an observant people, the Germans quickly realised that poultry scratches backwards, a cow stands still, but a pig always roots forward. Consequently they reasoned that if you dine upon pork you will obviously move forward in the new year. Sounds quite logical to me.
I hope this will be a rich year for you.
JANE: Wouldn’t that be nice… And it’s already a richer year for that cool bit of trivia about how pigs root forward. I’m thrilled. I’d always thought you ate pork on New Year’s Day because it was rich in flavor.
ALAN: I don’t know if this will be a rich year for us, but there will be some money coming in and it will be very welcome. I become eligible for the pension in March. Since I retired last August, we’ve had no money coming into the house at all – and we’ve been spending rather a lot on moving house and filling up the new one with fridges and washing machines! The pension isn’t huge, but it will be nice to have something to top up the coffers a bit. They’ve been looking rather empty recently.
Do you have any special plans for 2015?
JANE: Well, one plan will definitely involve paint. We will be getting new cabinets and counters in our kitchen. Then, doubtless, we will need to freshen up the paint. Funny how fixing one thing makes other things look a little shabby.
Otherwise, we haven’t planned too much in the future, although it’s safe to assume that there will be writing and archeology.
ALAN: We’ll probably spend the year consolidating ourselves in our new home. Robin has big plans for the garden and I think I’ll soon feel the urge to do some decorating. We also desperately need more storage space (we have far too much stuff!) so I might have to put some shelves up. Of course, first I have to find somewhere to put the shelves…
JANE: I love shelves, and cabinets. One of the things that appealed to me about this house was that it had a nice, solid shed in the back. New Mexico’s very dry climate means that we could transform it into a library. We did…
ALAN: We’re a bit too humid to make that a success here, though we are seriously thinking of indulging ourselves in an extra shed which will take the overflow of Robin’s gardening apparatus.
JANE: Now that I think about it, though, one of our intended plans is culling some duplicate books so we will have more room for new books. But that’s going to wait for warmer weather.
When we have the new kitchen cabinets put in, the carpenter has offered to move some of the old ones to our garage. So now we will have more cabinets… Joy!
I am really very easily satisfied.
ALAN: Robin is much the same. Give her places to put stuff and she’s happy as can be. She keeps saying we can put stuff in the garage. Unfortunately, despite the fact that it is a double garage, we now have so much stuff in it that I can’t get the car into it any more. Oh well, there’s parking space on the drive.
JANE: Ah… Jim solved that for us by building the World’s Most Solid shelves at one end of the garage. I’m not kidding. At one point, we had a sofa stored on them. Since we have lots of heavy boxes containing extra copies of my books, these shelves are a joy.
Want me to send you a picture?
ALAN: Indeed I do – a sofa on a shelf is something I absolutely have to see.
JANE: Oh, the sofa is no longer on the shelves. That was some years ago. Sorry!
However, as you noted, it’s actually very early in the morning here. I think I’ll wander off to bed… Happy New Year to all of you reading this!