T minus 6hrs 40 – Sound check
After weeks of wall-to-wall sunshine, Nelson turned on the rain for New Year's Eve. I was in town at 5.20pm and popped along to see how things were shaping up at the top of Trafalgar St, at the foot of the Cathedral steps, which is the focus for festivities tonight. There was a band onstage, doing a sound check – lots of drumming, snare drums, a few guitar riffs, and flashing lights; smells of garlic and prawns wafting from the cafés and bars; waitstaff bustling about with trays of tall beers, white wines, a few espressos; a restive black dog wearing a red bandana around his neck, tied to his master's chair leg; someone reading a book, sudden bursts of laughter, and light drizzle on the umbrellas – hoodies rather than tee-shirts, for some. Still fairly quiet, really.
Now it's 11.30pm, and the rain has held off. It will be packed down there, the band going full throttle, not an empty chair or table to be had; people dancing in the open spaces – quite possibly Immy is among them, with her friends. There are already fireworks exploding skywards from the beach – another very traditional place to welcome in the New Year here in Nelson, and right around New Zealand. Christina will be ringing in 2018 at Raglan beach.
I have a grandstand view of the rockets and starbursts from my window here in the house, where I will be celebrating quietly with the cats and a cup of tea, which is perhaps not particularly traditional! I'll be listening out for the ships' and boats' hooters from the port at midnight....there's a problem with our tripod so fireworks will not be blipped by me, but I'm sure there will be some fantastic blips of pyrotechnics from around the world. This time last year, we were on the beach in Koh Samui, watching the fire poi.....
Actually, as I write this I can hear some very raucous signing coming from what used to Mike and Hazel's house next door, and which is now a holiday let. I think it's Spanish - there are a lot of them there, and they are popping corks. Must be midnight - no hooters, just very loud Spanish songs!
Happy New Year, everyone – here's to 2018 being a good year !