01 January 2010

New Years, past and present

Last night I was trying to download a few things to use up the extra bandwidth I had bought, which doesn't carry over to the following month. But as midnight drew near it went slower and slower. Perhaps the net was overloaded with people Twittering new year's greetings, like what happened when Michael Jackson died.

Eventually I gave up and went to bed, and listened to the crackers going off. I was too lazy to put my shoes on and go out and bang on a lamp post with a brick. That's how people used to celebrate New Year in my youth. Well, not where I lived. We lived on a smallholding in Sunningdale, next door to Sandringham in Johannesburg. Sandringham was in the municipal area and had lamp posts, we were outside it, and didn't. We had our own diesel generator for electricity. But we had friends in Benoni, and went to them in alternate years. And they lived right at the edge ofg the municipal area, the last house in Northmead. Beyond lay smallholdings and the airfield where we used to go on Sundays to watch the Tiger Moths and Piper Cubs doing circuits and bumps.

And in Benoni, on the stroke of midnight, all the domestic servants, the cooks and the cleaning maids and the gardeners, took to the lamp posts and banged them with halfbricks. It sounded almost like a chime of bells, and the ringing was punctuated by drunken shouts of "Happeeeeeee". It was far more impressive than fireworks, and didn't frighten the dogs.

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