Felicitations of the new year one and all from a cold and miserable London, and a cold and miserable Charlie. In fact, 2008 sees the tenth anniversary of me packing in the real world and doing this full-time. Phew, where’s the time gone, eh? Ten years since I wrote in penury at a tiny table next to a grumbling fridge in a chilly kitchen while I now, er, write in penury at a tiny table next to a grumbling fridge in a chilly kitchen. Ten years, eh? It’s as much a surprise to me making it this far as it is to my bank manager, agents, family and friends, I can tell you.
They’re predicting snow here today, so expect the entire city to grind to a halt, the transport system to break down and newspapers to prepare their “It’s The Big Freeze!” headlines at the first hint of a snowflake.
As usual I have made a whole bunch of New Year’s resolutions which won’t last beyond the end of the week. These include updating this page more regularly than over the previous months (see? It’s working!), improving my French, improving my Irish, finishing the novel that I’ve been meaning to for about eight years (that’s writing, by the way, not reading – I may mouth the words and follow them with my finger when I’m reading, but I’m not that slow), seeing more of elderly relatives (mine, particularly), play at least an hour’s ukulele a day, and stop buying so many books. I think I must own Amazon by now. No wonder my bank manager has taken to pitching a tent in my garden and shaking his fist at me every time I look out of the window. If I stop buying books, maybe I can afford clothes instead of this barrel and braces I normally walk around in.
One bit of sad news today on the travel front is the closure of the magnificent Burlington Hotel in Dublin. One of my favourite places to stay in the world, it closed its doors for the last time yesterday and the travel world is poorer for it.
Finally, for new visitors to the site as result of Christmas gifts of Attention All Shipping, In Search of Elvis and so on, a big hello. I’ve laid on this brass band for you and the mayor’s here to welcome you with a handshake. Don’t forget to sign up for North Atlantic Drifter, the monthly, well, occasional newsletter that flings itself out from this site with news, cut and paste jobs, gratuitous space filling and a fair few dozen typos. Sign up here. In the meantime help yourself to the Ferrero Rocher while I take the sausage rolls out of the oven.