This year I made my traditional Christmas visit to Worthing Hospital’s maternity unit and other wards just after Christmas rather than just before. But this time the Mayor and I struggled to give away the copious amount of sweets we had brought to greet staff and patients with everyone complaining they had consumed too many already. Next year we had better bring a basket of fruit!
On New Year’s Eve, did you look forward or backward? A colleague of mine tells how for his Scottish father New Year’s Eve was taken more seriously even than Christmas. Apparently, he had a series of little rituals. At five to midnight, he would open the back door to let the old year out, and then as Big Ben struck twelve ‘first footers’ used to arrive at the front. He always paid off any bills, and even had a haircut before the 31st of December.
Others pay not a thought to what has gone before. “We are where we are, and there’s not much we can do about it”. They focus entirely on the year to come - resolutions, plans, forward looking thinking.
Many years ago, I made a resolution not to make any New Year’s resolutions. It followed a story in the Herald where local notables were asked for their resolutions for the coming year. My Worthing neighbour Sir Peter Bottomley was quoted vowing to do all he could to bring about a long-awaited new community centre in part of his constituency and foster better community relations.
An Australian soap star who was appearing in panto at the Connaught even more virtuously hoped for a cure for AIDS and an end to world poverty. Thirdly, they asked the model Katie Price (aka Jordan) who was again in the news and lived close to Worthing. She replied, with rather less of a global philanthropic vision that she wanted to grow her nails long. Fortunately I think I must have missed the newspaper’s deadline and avoided proposing something equally ill-judged.
The Roman God Janus- from whom January takes its name- had two faces, looking backwards and forwards at the same time. Maybe he has something to tell us. Ignore history or you will be condemned to relive it. Whichever way you are looking I wish all my constituents a more prosperous and peaceful year than the last.