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2002-12-31 Granny baby-sat for big bash at Ballincar

That Song Should auld acquaintance be forgot for the sake of Auld Langs Syne......., is it just me, or does that song really irritate anyone else? At this juncture, I feel bound to admit publicly that when it comes to New Year, I am a bit of a Scrooge.

 

Its just that I simply cannot see the point of it all. The tradition of bidding farewell to the old and welcoming in the new seems in itself an admittance of failure. Are we saying that the previous 12 months have been something we ought to be ashamed of in some way?

Of course, there is a positive aspect to it - that we are going to try to better ourselves during the next twelve months - but should we not always be striving to do that anyway? Why should betterment be highlighted on one day in particular? Why do we resolve to change ourselves in some way, and normally forget the resolution by the end of the first week in January?

Can we not just resolve anytime? I am constantly goal-setting, and as far as possible I try to live every day as my last, so for that reason I never feel the need to bid farewell to the old and to welcome in the new. And by stating this, I am not in any way saying that I have reached perfection! I have a whole load of room for improvement, but I try to focus on betterment every day, not just December 31.

When we were very small, I remember my parents going to a big bash at Ballincar House Hotel every New Years Eve, while we were left with our favourite baby-sitter, Grannie. New Years Eve television was famously awful, but Grannie had more than our two channels and there was always a big New Year Special which we would endure for hours, hoping to extract some entertainment, even if only for a few moments.

If it was particularly unbearable, we would switch over to Benny Hill who Grannie Maisie would describe as a dirty old creature, but despite the odd tut for the sake of it, she never missed an episode! Then at nidnight came the countdown - 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - Happy New Year! Up stood Maisie, arms were linked and usually dislocated by energetic swinging and singing as we joined together in that hateful auld dirge!

Maybe in Ireland we dont do New Year? Sylvester in Germany seems a much more lavish affair, the Aussies seem to know how to celebrate New Year, Time Square in wonderful New York is the perfect backdrop, and Hogmanay in Scotland always appears rather spectacular.

On December 31, 1999, it was a lot of fun being part of the Millenium celebrations live in Merrion Square in Dublin. I will always remember the warm and friendly atmosphere and real feel-good factor. There was an unforgettable buzz in that crowd of thousands, and for about 20 seconds we performed two phrases of Danny Boy to a worldwide audience of an estimated 3 billion!

That was a New Year to remember, but we were saying goodbye to the last 1000 years, bidding farewell to 1000 years of wars, conflict and a lot of negativity.

So as you can imagine, I love to work on New Year (thats a hint Sligo!). Other than that, Scrooge Nelson much prefers to have dinner with some some select friends, maybe a video, or a deep conversation starting up at around 11.50pm so we actually miss the countdown.

New Years Day is a different story - a long bracing walk on one of our stunning Sligo beaches, or witnessing the first salmon of the year on Lough Gill. One year myself and my good friend Nuala braved the icy depths at Deadmans, and we have the photos to prove it.

This year, thankfully I am working on New Year, so you can think of me smiling my way through my New Years Eve concert, and then on New Years Day as I brave the (hopefully) not so icy depths of.......Tahiti!