Have I mentioned before that I love Christmas?  Well, I dislike New Year in equal measure!  Does anyone actually like it?  It’s the unknown and the unknown is scary.  Of course, 2024 may turn out to be the best – and it certainly sounds better than 2023 – but, in the absence of a crystal ball, who knows?  Suffice to say, New Year’s Eve – or, to us, Hug Manny – is, undeniably, a time for reflection; to look back.  Time for ‘another shot of courage’ and a huge glass of optimism …  If wishes were free, I would be in St Wolfgang tonight, drinking champagne whilst watching the fireworks cascading in the sky above the lake, illuminating the majestic snow-capped mountains above.  To 2024!  Failing that, I would be in the Fife Arms in Braemar – again, in the shadow of snow-capped mountains – being entertained by a well-oiled Judi Dench on the automated piano!  One needs a party and copious amounts of alcohol on an occasion which, in truth, only marks the passing of time – and loved ones.  Just me?  Not for one minute …

Christmas 2023.  Its shorthand?  Enforced confinement due to inclement weather conditions which, in turn, only served to encourage over-indulgence.  Alcohol, food and sleep, a given, but, weirdly – for Manny, Becca and I – George Michael will, forever, be our memory.  George Michael and his dancing!  To explain, before everyone arrived, I had skimmed forward to see if there was anything which jumped out at me worthy of recording on television.  George Michael in concert.  Why not?   Well, several gins down, we decided to give it a go, unaware that it was hours long or that it was George in his full LGBTQ+ mode (Seriously, there is, now, an ‘I’ and an ‘A’ added to that?!).  Nobody can deny the genius that was, nor his voice.  He penned some of the most beautiful songs – A Different Corner being worthy of my Top Ten – but, latterly, his sexuality seemed all-encompassing.  Suffice to say, his dancing was a highlight and the GM memes continue to flow thick and fast between us.  Little things …

I’m ashamed to admit I, actually, did record An Audience with Kylie – God help us! – and Rylan Interviews Cher!  What was I thinking?  Perhaps, it reflects more on the level of television on offer.  However, all is not lost as far as Christmas 2023 is concerned.  Yes, the name George Michael will, forever, make us smile but there was an element of sanity amidst the double gins: Dove.  Regular readers will be aware of the significance of that name, being the yacht upon which a 16-year-old Robin Lee Graham set sail around the world in 1965.  Introducing Manny to the story, I, then, found two copies of the original book of the same name, plus a copy of the DVD of the 1974 film.  Our thing.  It all started when I found a little wooden yacht in the Crail Harbour Café and felt compelled to name it Dove, reminding me of the true story which had captured my imagination all these years ago.  Manny needed one for Christmas so …

Creative or what?!  I went back to the little Harbour Café and found a much bigger wooden yacht.   Extremely plain, I searched the internet for nautical accessories, ordering life belts and roping interspersed with fairy lights.  With the help of Tippex and UHU, I transformed Dove into an original masterpiece.  Manny loved it – we, all, did.  It sat, illuminated, on the table of an evening, nothing more calming.  Strange, the power of the sea has always terrified me – and Manny – and, yet, it offers perspective in abundance, something I both seek and crave.

Christmas 2023.  George Michael and Dove.  Eclectic, perhaps, but unforgettable.   So, to 2024.  No dishwasher, a car on its last legs and a future bestseller/film/mini-series on the brink.  Could go either way!  Oh, well, nothing for it but to take one day at a time and be the best one can be.  Remember, ‘No man is an island‘.  Treat others as one would have them treat oneself.  Never lose one’s sense of humour and don’t just follow the crowd.  Choose one’s own path.  The individual is all-important; one voice.  A Voice Outwith the Crowd …  Follow Trish-Trash.com and add colour to the grey.  None of it means anything, though, without one’s health and, thus, that is my wish for 2024 … stay well and stay strong!

When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window …’

‘The Reverend Mother’, The Sound of Music.

We watched it again, this Christmas – eyes filled with tears.  Nothing comes close, nor ever will.  I had the words above inscribed on a piece of marble by Sandro in Rome.  They seem an appropriate end to 2023 …

This is Trish, signing off.