Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy 2018! We had an uneventful New Year's Eve in our household -- I made a martini, but that was the extent of our celebrating. We watched an episode each of "The Crown" and "The Sopranos," and then I went to bed, comme d'habitude.

Our neighborhood, however, was chaos at midnight. A rolling wave of pops, bangs and bright flashes seemed to sweep over the city, sounding like an advancing army. It actually woke me up. I stepped outside the back door just to listen, and watched the pigeons explode from their treetop roosts in fright. Deep in my animal soul, it did seem kind of scary. I was glad when the sounds finally subsided after half an hour or so and I could go back to sleep.

I know I say this every year, but isn't it amazing that it's 2018? My God. Time really does fly.

Earlier yesterday, I met Kevin and Brent for a sightseeing tour bus trip around London. It turned out to be the trip from hell.

It started well enough, with a loop around Leicester Square and through Westminster before we disembarked to see Buckingham Palace. We had a good walk through St. James Park, where we admired the waterbirds (above), before having lunch at a little pub near Parliament.

And then our plans fell apart. The authorities began closing certain streets -- I suppose for New Year's Eve festivities -- so we had trouble figuring out where to get back on the bus. When we finally did, we struggled to find a functioning audio jack so we could listen to the commentary, and then it began to rain. (Top photo, taken near the Tower of London.) Eventually we wound up clustered with other passengers beneath the small covered portion of the bus's upstairs deck, on a diverted route through South London, with no audio and little idea where we were.

The mountainous man sitting next to me -- and forcing me halfway off my own seat -- provided the only entertainment by cooking up plans to defraud the country. "We could buy expensive items at Harrod's, return them, and then use the receipts to claim the VAT!" he said to his wife. This went on and on -- he invested a lot of time in his plot. Even his wife was rolling her eyes. "Nobody gets hurt!" he said -- to which I yearned to reply, "Actually, dude, everybody gets hurt."

But I held my tongue.

When we couldn't stand the bus anymore, and it came to an area I recognized, we got off. I left Kevin and Brent near Trafalgar Square and came home. I probably won't see them again before they leave tomorrow.

Meanwhile, today, I have plenty to do here at home. I plan to clean out the refrigerator and get rid of the Christmas tree, as well as walk the dog. Time to get back to normal!


Yorkshire Pudding said...

I can't believe you went to bed before midnight. Are you sure Reed is your true surname and not Scrooge? Everybody else is bringing the new year in while you roll over and mutter "Bah! Humbug!" Happy New Year Ebenezer!

A Cuban In London said...

Happy New Year!

It sounds like that fella had a nifty plan to start the new year with a bang... and then, the slammer. :-)

have a fab week.

Ms. Moon said...

Happy New Year, Steve. I hope it's a good one.

ellen abbott said...

here too. loud bangs at midnight. every time I thought they were done they would send up another big one. I did watch a few. if it weren't so cold and if weren't spending so much putting the house back together I'd have been out there shooting them off too. a neighbor on the next street always springs for a lot of the really good ones. there's been more than one year where he and us and another near neighbor lit up the sky.

Red said...

Nobody needs a bus tour from hell but your friends can't stay home toasty and warm. they are there for a short time and have to make the best of it.

Sharon said...

It actually looks frightfully frigid in that first photo. You are a hardy soul being out in that weather. I was at a big party so I missed out on all the bangs and other craziness.

Anonymous said...

One neighbor set off six bright, loud, and annoying firecrackers at 11:07. It woke me up. I figured he was too tired and bored to wait until midnight. Then, for some crazy unknown reason, someone set off firecrackers again at 5:00 am. That woke me up for good. I'm glad to have things return to whatever is normal these days on our made-up calendars of time. Beautiful rainy photo and love that duck! Happy New Year!

Catalyst said...

I have a kitchen to clean up before fixing my (actually Marion Cunningham's) yeast waffles.

Shooting Parrots said...

Happy New Year Steve - let's it's a saner one than 2017!

Vivian said...

This December 31 is an arbitrary start of a new year -- we all know that the REAL one begins on the Winter Solstice any way, so you did right to call it a night when the getting was good. Me, I had one glass of wine too many and fell asleep before I had the chance to say or think of something apt and inspiring to begin January with something apt and inspiring to apt and inspire me. I'm just not that deep.

I love the watery photo of London. It makes me want to go make another cup of tea asap, and lordy, I do love a nice cup of tea.

Happy New Year, and I look forward to reading your inspiring blog aptly in 2018.

jenny_o said...

Happy New Year, Steve and Dave and Olga! I'm mighty glad to get back to the routine, too. There were intermittent fireworks here from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.! The cats weren't impressed.

e said...

I too tried to go to sleep but there were just too many fireworks going off, so I watched a program and then read...the damn things were going off until just before 3 AM! Happy New Year to you and Dave.