Ten years ago almost to the minute, give or take the time it takes me to write this, I was following a man with a lump of coal in his hand into a house in Wales. The New Year's Eve party I was at had decided to follow the first-footing custom in style, and the whole gathering had turned out to walk in through the door at midnight. We were assured that this was, in Wales, all part of the custom; in retrospect, I suspect somebody there just thought it would be amusing to get everyone to go out in the cold. Barry was the one leading the line, having been voted in by the gathering for the job of the official first-footer – he wasn't the darkest person there, nor (for one of the very few times in his life) the tallest, but was judged to be the person who best combined both attributes. He was my new boyfriend, and it was the second time he and I had met.
Not that that anecdote is really going anywhere much, but it's a good moment to look back on.
I was surprised, yesterday morning, when the radio mentioned that this was the turn of a new decade; I hadn't thought about that aspect of the new year. Of course, when you've lived through the turn of a new millennium, all subsequent changes of year tend to feel a touch anticlimactic. But I still like New Years, and the feeling of fresh start that they involve. A happy turn of year to you all.