It's 10.41pm: hardly more than an hour and a quarter until midnight and the end of the year. End of the year - beginning of the year: which? Half empty or half full?
The kittens are playing, Boudi is sitting quietly; there's a Wallender on the telly - good, but a tad depressing - and we have begun our first drinks of the night: bottled bitters.
The Kiwis in one of the upstairs flats are already excelling themselves in the noise department: they seem permanently oblivious to having neighbours. We may well be very glad of the absinthe that will be opened later: and yes, I really do have a bottle, complete with sugar spoons and sugar cubes to serve in the traditional manner. It would also make a pleasantly Bohemian start to 2110.
We're at home because of the kittens, in essence. This time last year, we were sipping cocktails in the Art Deco splendour of the Hotel American in Amsterdam, as Amsterdamers filled the night outside with fireworks. A young boy who had clearly emptied his piggy bank set off little firecracker things - triangles of brief light - on the low wall of the fountain. Later, we stood on the balcony of our room in the hotel, canned Heinekins keeping us warm against eight below temperatures, and watched as the sky bloomed with colour for well beyond half an hour.
I am mellow now. I intend to get mellower.
A very happy new year, one and all.