Without going overboard, the neat nodule in my brain has long considered the beginning of a new year an opportune time for fresh approaches, but many people have commented on how lacklustre and uncharacteristic both Christmas and New Year festivities seemed this year. Undoubtedly the death of former President Nelson Mandela early in December influenced the national mood. Then a number deaths in a short space of time, three of them within six days, affected us. While none were family members, our immediate neighbour passed away in ICU on 27 December after fifteen months that saw her undergoing chemotherapy, a triple bypass and recovering from a broken pelvis among other health issues. Two friends lost their husbands on 30 December and 1 January respectively. Other friends lost a child and a close friend we didn’t know. A harsh reminder of how helpless we really are in the greater scheme of things.
Even the neighbourhood was unusually quiet for weeks on end. We moved into our home at the beginning of December just over three years ago and that first season was one to remember – not in a good way. Everyone seemed to have friends and relatives descend on them and the parties frequently rocked into the early hours. One chop with a brain in a different time zone parked alongside our verge and started his music before five o’clock one morning. Combined with resentful others in the area who then mowed their lawns around sleeping roosters, it was a high energy season. Then followed two years in which the party-makers played away games so it was with some foreboding that I approached the December 2013 holidays. Two days before Christmas a weed-eater started the day at 6.40am and it seemed the meek had sounded the battle cry. But nothing followed that night nor the next, nor the next ; in fact, we are still living in blissful peace.
Thankfully my sense of humour didn’t vacate the neighbourhood along with everyone else and there were a few incidents that kept the twinkle where it belonged for the most part. Yesterday marked the first belly laugh of the year and it felt good.
Onwards and upwards