Thé first one I remember was in the late 70s or maybe early 80s? Mike and I were involved in bands in those days. So I was usually playing (keyboards) or babysitting – depending on who drew the short straw. On this particular evening we had a saxophonist friend coming up from Devon to play with us at the Carlton Club (now flats) in Hebden Bridge. I can’t remember which incarnation of band – Rocking Chair maybe? Or did that one never leave the living room?

Anyway this guy and his partner came up to our farmhouse on the Yorkshire moors in a hire car and went off to the gig in the van with all the gear. During the evening it snowed. And it snowed and it snowed ….. there was no way we co could get the van back up the track so we walked home and …. It was still
snowing. In the morning the hire car was nowhere to be seen. It was completely buried. And then there was the big freeze. In those days we didn’t have neighbours with snow blowers or the money to hire snow ploughs. The only way out was to dig yourself out with a spade and trust me that could take weeks. Our friends went home on the train without the car. The hire company were incredulous constantly ringing to find out when they could have their car back. I kid you not, it was MAY before that car could be moved. A long cold winter if you lived at 1100ft.

Another memorable one was the Millennium. This one took a year in the planning and there was even a committee which met every month involving serious allocation of duties under the headings of music, catering, fireworks, lighting and composting toilets. It turned out alright on the night. In fact it ‘were reet good’.

2008 was in the Charente. And I remember this one for the particular location, the ambiance of La France profonde, the company of my daughter and her good friend and the totally inedible cheese fondue that I managed to crucify. Having been bequeathed my mothers 1960s fondue set and being in the land of cheese and wine and proper bread, it seemed the inspired choice for New Year celebrations. Cheese fondue benefits from a dash (I repeat a dash) of Kirsch not a half a bottle of cheap firewater from Lidl.

Subsequent New Years Eves get a bit hazy after that. But I do remember the one when I made about 40lbs marmalade. I can’t remember whether I had nowhere to go, no one to go with or was just too lazy to bother. But at some point in the evening I was gripped by the desire to be productive and embarked on a massive mission which ensured I had to stay up till midnight and beyond.

This year I’m in bed by 10pm writing about what I haven’t done and reconciled to catching up with Jools on iPlayer tomorrow. Pathetic I know but I’m lovin’ it …..