New Year’s Eve

I’ve come home for New Year’s where I won’t be wearing novelty sunglasses, dodging ricocheting champagne corks, startling people with blow horns.  New Year’s Eve is a time to be surrounded by as many strangers as possible. People help fill in the silences, drive out the thoughts and we have someone to link arms with for a moment, to lean on as we belt out Auld Lang Syne. Strangers will offer the required sentimentality that crowns the party whereas loved ones mightn’t summon it up for us the way we imagine it should be. Tonight, more than any other night, we crave a room filled to the rafters with warm bodies and don’t balk at paying hundreds of dollars for the privilege.

Couldn’t think of anything worse this year. I want to clearly hear my thoughts. I’ve been paying extra special attention all day in case they start chiming in early. I’ve kept my ears peeled. Nothing coming through yet but I’m patient.

I’m in the middle of nowhere so reception might be patchy.

In the meantime I’m entertained by the sight of my childhood bicycle still hanging from the shed’s rafters,  and mum’s trays of wheatgrass sprouting on top of her bedspread evoking an image of 90s LA mixed with Homes and Gardens--Greenhouse edition. I stare into a stoked fire, and gorge on fluffy potatoes boiled in their skins. I pass not-so-fluffy sheep that were white last time, now rolled in muck. The sound of a clock ticking signals nothing but the passing of evening into night, the same as it does every other evening. The glamour quotient is dimmed. I don’t bring high heels. I know from experience that they never get an outing around home. I wear a pair of quilted bedroom slippers my aunt bought my mum. Turns out self examination will have to wait as I become the subject of the portrait my brother will spend New Year’s on.

Important thoughts still somewhere in transit. The roads may be frosty. I’ll be here when they come, waiting…

However you choose to spend the evening, may it be peaceful and happy, and wherever the year takes you, may you have your wellies at the ready, to go plodding on in despite the muck. And may someone have your slippers warming by the fire when you come back in.IMG_0546
IMG_0507IMG_5682IMG_5280IMG_0450IMG_0460IMG_0446IMG_0296IMG_0429IMG_0209IMG_0528IMG_0284IMG_0210IMG_0520IMG_0289IMG_0443IMG_5690IMG_0497IMG_0488IMG_0402IMG_0510IMG_0498IMG_4754IMG_4123IMG_4122IMG_0279IMG_0282IMG_5673IMG_0517IMG_0466IMG_0467IMG_0464IMG_0540IMG_0304IMG_0283IMG_0492IMG_0457IMG_0302If your New Year’s resolution happens to be to read more, my novel is available. You can buy Silk for the Feed Dogs here.


  1. What a beautiful country! I’m glad I found you and your wonderful writing and photographs. Have a Happy New Year, Jackie! Best of everything in 2014 to you and yours.

  2. Mmmmm…proper scones! Happy New Year!

  3. Happy New Year, Jackie! Loved your book! Never thought I’d enjoy a book about fashion, but I soo did. Great to see pictures of the old sod, have a wonderful holiday. Best for 2014, Colin

  4. Aidan Duggan

    A very happy 2014 to you Jackie and hope you enjoy the trip home.Love reading your sentiments. Aidan (aka Marion’s Aidan 😉

    • I’ll call you Marion’s Aidan if you wish but I’ve been calling you Just Aidan this far 🙂 Hope you have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. All the very best and thanks for lending an ear (an eye just sounded weird). 🙂

  5. Wow. Looks like the grass is greener on the in-side. 🙂 Happy 2014.

  6. Ha! Each visit brings a new revelation 🙂

  7. What a wonderful, warm homecoming! I’m almost homesick! Happpy new year to you and your loved ones! xxx

  8. terminalbeard

    It’s truly a wonderful world, yours….Happy New Year Jackie

  9. Welcome Home. Always nice to go home! Enjoy~ Travel safely and a Happy, Healthy, Rich Tapestry New Year to you and your family. XO

  10. Wonderful pictures! Finished reading ‘Silk For The Feed Dogs’! Left you a review on Amazon. Happy New Year to you!

  11. Nothing beats the familiar comforts of our own home. Happy New Year Jackie. A toast to your second novel for 2014 xx

  12. Lovely snapshot of your world…..can we see the finished portrait…please?

    • I will keep you informed on portrait progress. The pressure is on and his public is waiting 🙂 He’s working on three at the same time so I hope at least one is finished before I go back to NYC. Stay tuned!

  13. Wow– I love love that photo of the purple door with the stained glass. And your Mom’s wheatgrass is amazing! Looks like a very charming place to have grown up, even if its not the most glamorous of places for a New Year. Also, you reminded me: I need to get some slippers. And a fireplace. And someone to combine those two in a warm but not fiery way.

    • Thanks Aussa. Of course, I’m now wondering if Mum will miss those babies if I sneak them into my suitcase and back across the Atlantic! I walked past that door many times without really seeing it until a few days ago! Must be the clarity that a new year promises 🙂 They should make miniature fireplaces (starter models/baby fireplaces–how cute would that be?!) for Manhattan shoebox apartments.

  14. Love the slippers, too funny. But warm. Warmth trumps fashion anytime out in the country (I also grew up in the country, on a farm and even now the smell of manure is like perfume to me). Sounds as if you had a cozy New Year’s Eve. Love the pics. And why am I now suddenly hungry for mashed potatoes and biscuits? Cheers and happy everything to you. P.S. Do you use a digital camera or are those lovely photos from your phone?

    • Wondering if mum will miss those little beauties if I slip them into my suitcase..? 😉
      Me too, Cinthia. I find the smell of manure to be more wholesome and good than most smells we are confronted with. Love when out for a walk and the smell of a farmer’s field just hits you in the face. Hm mmmm. Makes me return home so ruddy alive! I use my phone to take photos and just touch up a little on computer.

  15. These are what home pics should be about…but rather loving the Kate logo!! Hope the gales aren’t too bad… xxxxx

  16. Late last year I was flipping through the pages of my passport as I whiled away the time at a government office being interviewed for a visa – long story, don’t ask – and was surprised of the memories it bought back of places I had long forgotten. Amazing how a picture or customs stamp can drag up memories – good and bad.

    • I love the story represented in passports: the colors some faded, the style of different countries’ stamps, and of course the personal memories that lurk behind all this. Sitting in Dublin airport with a 3 1/2 hour delay I have taken to perusing my own…

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