Tag Archives: New Year

Je ne regrette rien

1948: French singer Edith Piaf (1915 – 1963), affectionately known as the ‘Sparrow of Paris’; ‘Piaf’ translates as ‘sparrow’. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

I have long been enamoured of Edith Piaf, her life story and of course, her singing. I don’t remember how old I was when I first became aware of this wonderful, pitiful, strong, brave woman, the Little Sparrow starting life singing in the streets and living in a brothel. Not a great start in life for anyone and particularly a woman in Paris in 1915. War was raging; her father was fighting at the front and her mother had neither the money nor the inclination to look after a baby.

We are told that Edith was born under a street lamp in a doorway at 72 rue de Belleville in the 20th arrondissement on the 19th of December 1915. Above the worn out marble doorstep is a plaque that reads, dont la voix, plus tard, devait bouleverser le monde” translated as ‘whose voice later was to upset the world’. Edith did not just go on to move the world with her voice, but brought inspiration to many and continues to do so even today.

Her mother, known as Line Marsa, chose to call her baby daughter Edith after Edith Cavell, the celebrated British nurse who was celebrated for saving the lives of hundreds of soldiers from both sides. Cavell was later arrested by the Germans and shot by a firing squad just days before Piaf’s birth.

Shortly after the birth, Edith was packed off to live with her maternal grandmother. A bad decision that was overturned by her father on his return from the front. He sent his mother and aunt to bring her back. The aunt owned a thriving brothel in Paris and so Edith’s early days were spent surrounded by prostitutes and the men of class who came to visit them.

When I think of Piaf I think about her passion, her determination, the carefree spirit of her younger days and the spirit of constantly seeking greatness.

But why am I writing about Piaf on the 5th day of this New Year? Some years ago shortly after my husband died, I was playing companion to an elderly English woman. She was that particular type of woman, from her class. Peremptory, imperious, and brusque, so used to giving orders and being obeyed. But we got on very well and over the months and several returns to Chichester by me, we became friends. I remember her saying often, regret nothing; apologise for nothing. So no New Year resolutions for me – instead I am working on regretting nothing that I have done. Oh yes, some foolish decisions that would have been best left unmade but on the whole, I have enjoyed all the years of my life even when in amongst the good, the fantastic and the truly memorable, there have been a couple of hiccups when loved ones departed this world.

So onward into this New Year, with no regrets for what is past; it cannot be changed, but hopefully I can learn from it.

And now from my very favourite poet, from whom we haven’t heard for a while –

“Tell me,
what is it you plan to do 
with your one 
wild and precious life?” 
― Mary Oliver

The Year Best Forgotten

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, 
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…” 
― Alfred Lord Tennyson

Christmas came and went amid the usual flurry of last minute preparations, enjoyment and laughter. For us here in Aotearoa/New Zealand, there was nothing to stop our usual celebrating with family and friends. Not so for the rest of the world, where the deadly virus continues to expand and multiply. I wonder just how long we can stay immune.

Then New Year. Again, we celebrated as usual. However, this year there was limit on the numbers of folk who could gather in one place. Again, of course, there are those who spoil things for the majority by not heeding the rules. We can only hope that there will be no dreadful outcome from this.

And so I thought back on the year Best Forgotten.

2020 started with the usual bang. Huge fireworks displays the world over. As a grump, I wondered if some if not all of the money squandered in this way, would be better directed to assisting the homeless.

Here in Aotearoa we first became involved in March when the elderly (that’s me) were advised to stay home and stay away; then the rest of the country was also in lockdown. Our Government acted strongly, decisively and quickly. Borders were closed, incoming passenger flights stopped and generally, the populace accepted the order to sty home. We of course, do know just how fortunate we are. We share no borders with other countries, we are an island nation, there are only five million of us, and our Prime Minister was willing to act on advice received.

So over the next few months, we worked down from Alert level 4, through 3 and 2, to now be at Level 1, And most of us do realise just how very lucky we are.

Now that year has passed and we can only look forward to a better future.

When reading emails today, I came across this, from Jeff at Murder is Everywhere. Jeff is an American author, who chooses to live most of the year in Mykonos in Greece.

And from Jeff’s blogpost I copied for your amusement/entertainment, the following thoughts about that year –

1.     The dumbest thing I ever bought was a 2020 planner.

2.     I was so bored I called Jake from State Farm just to talk to someone.  He asked me what I was wearing.

3.     2019:  Stay away from negative people.  2020:  Stay away from positive people.

4.     The world has turned upside down.  Old folks are sneaking out of the house and their kids are yelling at them to stay indoors!

5.     This morning I saw a neighbor talking to her dog.  It was obvious she thought her dog understood her.  I came into my house and told my cat.  We laughed a lot.

6.     Every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they fit.  Pajamas will have you believe all is well in the kingdom.

7.     Does anyone know if we can take showers yet or should we just keep washing our hands?

8.    This virus has done what no woman has been able to do.  Cancel sports, shut down all bars and keep men at home!

9.     I never thought the comment, “I wouldn’t touch him/her with a 6-foot pole”, would become a national policy, but here we are!

10.   I need to practice social-distancing from the refrigerator.

11.   I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to the backyard.  I’m getting tired of the living room.

12.   Never in a million years could I have imagined I would go up to a bank teller wearing a mask and ask for money.

And now I leave you with this quote from T S Elliot. Did he foresee 2020 all those years ago. His quote is most appropriate.

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language 
And next year’s words await another voice.” 

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year

“You are never too old to set another goal or
to dream a new dream.”
C S Lewis

 

New Year

New Year Celebrations, Wellington, NZ – Photo Courtesy Simon Woolf Photography,

New Year’s Day is coming to an end here in New Zealand where it is 9.30 pm, and I know that many of you are just starting the day. To my sisters, one in London, where it is 8.30, am another in Los Angeles where it is 12.30 am, my sisters of choice, one in Kitchener, Ontario and one in Virginia where it is 3.30 am. To you and to all my friends in the blogosphere, enjoy New Year’s Day when it reaches you.

Not only is it New Year’s Day but I have a particular celebration to make today. This is the day that the number of my followers reached 1,00. Whoever would have thought way back in 2011 when I first started blogging, that this number would ever be achieved.  Thank you to those who have followed me for a while and those new followers. I really appreciate your tenacity. Sometimes my blog posts have been difficult to write and I expect equally difficult to read. But your comments and likes are really appreciated.

And now as we move into yet another year, our thoughts go to those friends and family who are no longer here to share our joys and happiness, and yes, sometimes our tears in this new year. We remember them with love and thankfulness that for a time they were part of our lives.

And because for me, it is always time for a Mary Oliver quote, once again I share with you one of my favourites –

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do 
with your one wild and precious life?” 
― Mary Oliver.

If you have been following for any length of time, you will know that I love quotations. I particularly like this quote for New Year from another favourite,  Alfred Lord Tennyson

“Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come, 
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…” 
― Alfred Lord Tennyson

 

 

 

Moving Into 2018

“Instructions for living a life. 
Pay attention. 
Be astonished. 
Tell about it.”
Mary Oliver

About this time of the year, I look back on what has gone before and set some goals for the next 12 months.   Not Resolutions as I know that for me they don’t last through the first two months and are usually dead before the end of January.

I use as my guide what I learned from the story of Noah and the Ark.  I first wrote about this in January 2012 and then used it again in December 2014.  The following year, 2015 was not great, my Late Love the Architect died and 2016 was hardly any better.  I had my misadventure in April and then my contretemps with a chair and a rug in December, so I was glad to see the back of that year.

And now it’s 2018 and I am looking back on 2017.  So what did I learn?

  • I did listen to the voice within when deciding to remain in my little apartment in my daughter’s house.
  • I followed my intuition that I would be safe here
  • I hadn’t made my preparations in advance as originally, this was to be a  stop-gap while I found somewhere else to live.
  • My life was built on strong foundations and those foundations are my two very supportive children and daughter-in-law, and the four large grandsons who are growing into fine young men.
  • My possessions were brought from storage and some fitted well into my new little abode.  The rest found new homes via the Salvation Army.  A win-win situation.
  • Once again, I chose my companions well and cut the few toxic people out of my life
  • I still love my companions and fellow travellers.
  • And some of these travellers aka my children I set free once again to return as and when they wish or if they are needed.
  • Yes, I did listen to other people’s opinions but always made my own decisions.
  • I learned that living in a house with two teenage Grandsons is never boring.
  • I make time for quiet meditation which nurtures my soul.
  • I embraced many new experiences since writing the original posts.
  • I was brought up in England and have always loved the feel of the gentle rain on my face.
  • And I also love the sunshine and notice how differently people behave when the sun is shining.
  • I volunteered at another Hospice; the one where my Late Love died and continue to believe I got more from the experience than anyone at the Hospice does.
  • I have learned to accept the assistance offered by others – I hope this acceptance has been gracious.
  • I know that there will be hard times interspersed with the sunshine and light.
  • I have known for a long time that we share this planet with a myriad of other creatures both large and small, and we don’t must share the bounties with them
  • I continue to nurture an attitude of gratitude.  I am very aware of how very lucky I have been all my life.
  • I know that one woman with a strong belief in herself can overcome just about anything life can throw at her.

So with a cheerful heart and a desire to see what this New Year will bring this aged adventurer, I am ready for 2018.

“I think of life itself now as a wonderful play that I’ve written for myself,
and so my purpose is to have the utmost fun playing my part.” 

Shirley Maclaine –  American actress, singer, dancer, activist, and author
1934 – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another New Year

Janus

A statue representing Janus Bifrons in the Vatican Museums via Wikipedia

“Happy New Year!”

That greeting will be said and heard again and again over the next few weeks.  But the day celebrated around the world as New Year’s Day was not always January 1.

Celebrating the dawning of a new year is the oldest of all holidays and was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago.  The Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon (actually the first visible crescent) after the Vernal Equinox (first day of spring).

The beginning of spring is a logical time to start a new year.  It is the season of rebirth, planting new crops, and blossoming of flowers.  But the choice of January 1 has no astronomical nor agricultural significance and is purely arbitrary.

The Babylonian new year celebration lasted for eleven days. We know little of the actual celebrations but from reading about the period it would probably be  safe to say that modern New Year’s Eve festivities pale in comparison.

The Romans continued to observe the new year in late March, but as their calendar was tampered with by various emperors it soon became out of synchronization with the sun.  So in order to set the calendar right, the Roman senate, in 153 BC, declared January 1 to be the beginning of the new year.

At about this same time (153 BC) we are told that the tradition of making New Year resolutions began.  This was when  Janus, a mythical king of early Rome, was placed at the head of the calendar.  Janus had two faces and so was able to look back on the past and look forward to the future.  He became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies at the start of a new year.

Many of us make New Year resolutions and so if you have made yours be aware that you are following a tradition set in place almost 2,200 years ago.

Resolutions

 

Happy New Year

Six word Saturday button

It’s Saturday again so here we go.  If you would like to participate please either click on the picture above or click this link.

It’s New Year’s Eve – Let’s Celebrate

I am not afraid of tomorrow for I have seen yesterday and I love today.

I should like to wish all my blogging friends a really Happy and peaceful New Year.  May your wishes (and your resolutions) come true in 2012.