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Lucky us! This year, we’ve been invited to two celebrations. The first is at The Kettering Park Hotel to join Jo, Janet and Carol. The second, an even more local affair – Karen and Paul’s, next door!

The evening began at the Hotel at 7.30pm with Champagne and Canapés. First impressions were a little concerning as the Bar area, designed to hold about 50 persons, was creaking at the seams attempting to house almost 150!

Still, the organisers thoughtfully let us all get to our tables a little ahead of schedule (just as we five decided to find somewhere else to wait!), and we were all piped-in by err, a Piper. We were on table 14 (of 14), and with most tables arranged for 10 guests, the whole room was pretty densely packed. We shared the table with another group of 5, who’d travelled all the way from Cambridge, and we were soon chatting and getting into the mood for a celebration.

The ‘ice-breaker’ was the balloons on each table. I’ve not seen this type before, but they were long and came with a mouthpiece to inflate them. Once inflated, the ‘game’ was NOT to tie a knot in the end, but to simply let them go, and watch them fly around the room – or in our case, use them as missiles, attacking the other tables. Trajectory was difficult to master, but ‘aiming low’ (my speciality) seemed to be the key to long and accurate flights.

Course followed course, and the staff coped pretty well with the numbers they had to serve – over 150. The food was very tasty (and very hot), and the steak was pretty generous in size. By the time we got to the ‘Edinburgh Fog’, we were all pretty stuffed – and then the cheese-board arrived!!

In a slight break with tradition, Ann and I spent a lot of time on the dance-floor – Ann dancing, and me coping with my two left feet! Still, it helped burn-off the calories recently acquired!!! The resident DJ, did a good job in keeping the dance-floor busy and provided a good mix of styles and tempos! If only I had a right foot as well, I might have enjoyed it even more!!!!!
Midnight arrived, and after subjecting the congregation, as we linked hands, to ALL the verses of Auld Lang Syne resulting in a lot of ‘la-la-ing’, 2015 had officially begun. In another break with tradition, Ann and I carried on dancing until around 12.45, when we said our goodbyes and headed for the car-park and our next get-together – at Paul and Karen’s.

It was now 1am, and well past our bedtime – and if we thought we were just going to Paul and Karen’s for a ‘quick drink’ we were happily wrong! Paul and Karen’s generous nature meant that her guests had already eaten well, and were still on the ‘drinks course’ – so that was perfect timing for us. Were in good company as testing the alcohol were David and Rosi; John and Trish; Bobby and Stella; James and Heather plus a couple of couples who we’d not met before. The only other significant activity apart from the drinking was dancing – and Stella and Heather were setting the standard! Unfortunately, standards weren’t being followed, and my two left-feet got another airing, in spite of my shrapnel wound (and when I say ‘shrapnel wound’, I mean ‘inebriation’.)

Bobby tried his hand at various music-mixes, but I think it’s fair to say, Calvin Harris shouldn’t get too worried with Kettering’s competition – thanks Bobby, for at least trying to get us all on the dance floor! A combination of exhaustion and alcohol made a dynamic combination resulting in complete inaction – with the exception of Stella and Heather whose energy seemed to be limitless (what are you two on, and can I have some please!)

After a lot more gossiping, it was time to call it a night – even though it was nearly morning! I think this year was a record for us – we didn’t get to bed until 3am!!

Happy New Year everyone – we had a great night!!!

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