We were planning a quiet New Years Eve, but it didn't turn out like that. Sebastian had already gone off to Greece with his grandparents. It turned out that our old friends Ian and Carole (from the University) - who we'd been trying to catch up with for ages - could only make New Years Eve, so we invited them for dinner. Of course, there's no point in cooking dinner for a small number of people, so we rustled up a few others to make a party.
It was a real hoot. I cooked, as usual. The apron was a Christmas present - some people know me quite well - and is part of a matching set. This is quite a typical pose for me - some of my friends are certain that I always wear an apron at home, under all circumstances - usually with other clothes as well, of course...
At midnight, some of us were in the hot tub - snow on the ground all around (deep and crisp and even!) - and drinking champagne from individual bottles (with straws). I'm the one drowning in the corner on the far left, where you can't see. Tracey has her back to you. Another of the ladies is now a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Manchester. One hardy soul set of fireworks for our entertainment, to welcome in the New Year. Brill.
I do recommend the hottub - we use ours much more than we ever thought - even given the British weather. Middle of the night (with outside lights on), freezing and snowy, breezy, showers, all can be ignored, since the water is so warm. Just strong winds and heavy rain which preclude its use. Of course, you do get a fair bit of practice in running back to the conservatory! I'm not much of a swimmer myself, so this is just right for me - a sort of warm wet lounge, really.
At least one of our friends was so impressed that he went out and got one himself! He suffers from occasional muscle and joint problems (he's only 26, and immensely strong, but may have damaged himself when younger), and finds the play of the jets really effective in easing his stiffness.