2009 has been the quietest New Year for a long time. My home is in an area of New Zealand where many Scots were original settlers. I anticipated piping in the New Year with Robbie Burns, haggis and Scottish Country Dancing. Alas nothing. Next year, if I am not working overseas again, I will know to organise a good Scottish New year's party myself.
The local church bells weren't rung either, but the stars were gorgeous at midnight, the Southern Cross bright and clear. I thought of my Japanese colleagues and friends sitting in some high spot to watch the New Year's first dawn, shivering in the cold. Here I didn't even need a sweater.
I wish, when we threw out the old traditions and superstitions, that we’d invented some new ones, something better than a rowdy piss up, which is all so many people sem to do. Summer is a good time for parties and we have sea and sand, bush and mountain space to enjoy them in.