Saturday, January 01, 2005

Over the last few years Butter and I have celebrated New Year in a number of ways: at a house party, at a temple in Kyoto and - possibly the best - sitting on my sofa while Butter languished in her sick bed. (Speaking of whom, she bought me a Gameboy for Xmas and has been hogging it all afternoon and I want a go!) Last night, we did something we've never done before: joined the throngs in London Town. We stayed at a hotel near Waterloo called the Mad Hatter - motto 'You don't have to be mad to stay here, but it helps'. Actually, it was okay, apart from the apple pie beds and the lunatic at breakfast (more of him in a sec).

After a warm-up drink and a pizza, we went to see Bill Bailey, half-man, half-troll, at the Apollo. He was very funny, although he's been doing the same routine for years. Still, when you're onto a winner, why change things? The only moan I have is that, as always, the man with the world's largest head sat in front of me. I wouldn't mind so much but the bastard didn't laugh once. Perhaps he was a Belgian tourist who'd wandered in by mistake.

Leaving the theatre at 10.15, we found ourselves among the madding crowd flooding around Leicester Square. Ah, it made me proud to be British: drunks fighting with corner shop proprietors while the police stood nearby munching KFC; swarms of chavs staggering towards the moshpit of Trafalgar Square, furtively smuggling Bacardi Breezers into the alcohol-free zone. We manouvered our way onto the Embankment, where thousands of people were crowding to get a view of the London Eye and the midnight fireworks display. We ended up watching it from behind the Royal Festival Hall, near some bins. It was highly impressive, although it had been scaled down because of the tsunami, and there was a minute's silence before midnight, which nobody in our vicinity was aware of. Finally, we went back to the hotel for a nice cup of tea. It was the most sober New Year of my adult life, and it was lovely to wake up this morning without a hangover.

So, back to the breakfast-time nutter. There we were, peacefully awaiting our breakfast, when the man at the table behind us accused us of complaining about him. Then he thought we'd stolen his toast, and tried to take ours. He couldn't work ouy why he only had four slices while we had twelve (er, possibly because there were four of us and only one of him). He kept walking in and out of the kitchen, haranguing the staff, before returning to his table and muttering swear words under his breath. The best bit was when, just before he left, he walked over to the buffet, produced a plastic bag and filled it with rolls and fruit. Fantastic.

My aim for 2005 is to not have a single accident. Oh, and we're hoping to buy somewhere. Expect months of tortured descriptions of the house-buying process. Happy New Year.