Monday, 7 January 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I haven't managed a post this week, so this is a bit of a marathon update. I've much enjoyed being off work since just before Christmas, and the start of this week was no exception.

I brought in 2008 with friends at a watchnight service in church. I love this service for 2 reasons, the first being slightly the better of the two: firstly, it's a good, positive, gentle way to bring in the new year, with time for reflection, repentance, and looking ahead; being with my church family is always lovely and sharing special times together is part of fellowship.

The second reason is that it's a good excuse not to go to parties that I've been invited to: I have a horror of new year parties, born, I fear, at the millenium, when bad planning ensured that my sister and I ended up at a party full of people we only knew (if at all) on an exceptionally superficial level. If memory serves me correctly, it was on a Sunday (or possibly a Tuesday - Gospel Meeting night), for everyone else had been to church beforehand and seemed rather surprised that we hadn't. So they're all dressed in their Sunday best (including hats) and we turn up in jumpers and jeans like a pair of heathen tramps. So the two of us spent the night trying not to so much as look at each other, in case we laughed and got thrown out (not so much because we were desperate to stay, but because it would've been quite a walk home, and also because these people had been kind enough to invite us (actually, on reflection, that's not technically true - we kind of gatecrashed, which is why we didn't really know anyone) and we didn't want to be ill-mannered).

What I especially hate about new year parties is that you have to, by definition, stay till midnight, even if it's rubbish. But they always start at 9.30, so you're sitting there, gradually falling asleep, knowing that there's no way you'll get out until at least 12.30, trying to fill time by making conversation with strangers and eating the buffet. I fail to see the point; admittedly this may be because I am fundamentally unsociable and dislike making conversation.

Anyway, New Year's morning dawned bright and crisp, so I went for a walk to Ormeau Park - one of the nicest parks in Belfast, in my as-valid-as-the-next-person's opinion. It was early enough to have the park more or less to myself, and there was plenty of wildlife about. Sitting, watching and listening was a perfect chance to appreciate again the joy of quiet, and nature. One of those things I should do more often.

Wednesday was back to work; it was, of course, a bit of a write-off, between catching up on what everyone did at Christmas, and eating all remaining food from before the holidays and then feeling quite sick. By this stage I had not the faintest idea what day it was, which is rather disconcerting.

And so to Thursday, which was to be the first Builder Day of the new year. They were to be blitzing all the remaining stuff on Thursday and Friday; needless to say, on Thursday, only one dude turned up and on Friday no one came at all. Thursday's chap was to fill in the holes in the wall where the heating is vented outside, and to finish off the steps at the back. I have no idea whether he did these things or not, for to my eyes the steps looked complete beforehand (and much the same afterwards) and it's too cold to go and see whether the holes are filled in outside. I think they might be, though, because the gale force wind that has been channelling its way down the hall for 3 months has abated; alternatively, maybe the wind has just changed direction. 'Tis hard to know.

In any case, all else has been eclipsed this week by Friday's snowfall. I was unable to get to work until (*gasp*) lunchtime, for Fifi refused to move over the snow. Apparently what I should have done was put her in second gear and kept the engine revs low while pressing the accelerator, or something, to provide enough forward thrust to get over the snowdrift. What I actually did was stroke her steering wheel and say encouraging things, which didn't seem to help as much as you might imagine. Still, we got there eventually, and in one piece (well, two if you count me and Fifi as separate pieces, which would not be unreasonable).

And that's about it for the past week. By the way, the new year resolutions are going well: I have not undertaken any extra DIY projects (although I found myself tempted by a flatpack bathroom shelving unit in Wyse Byse at the weekend, but I'm not sure that really counts as DIY, since it would probably lack the 'Y' element 'cos I'd get my dad to do it), and have not mentioned Richard Dawkins at all (by way of precaution, I'm still keeping a wary eye on his website, just to be on the safe side). I don't think I've put weight on, though, and I haven't come up with a new crisis plan, but there's plenty of time for all that.

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