Whither And Why
Sir Hilary Harrison-Nairn and Gerald Honk, Esq. Two gentlemen with a blog.
From the desk of Geoffrey Honk Esq.
New Year’s Eve… A time for celebration, resolution and those often terrifying moments of clarity when one receives a snapshot of one’s year-to-be. Like many others, I enjoy a jolly good knees-up, and I have been privileged to ring in many a fresh annum in the splendid company of my good friend, the capacious wit and renowned rabble-rouser Sir Hilary Harrison-Nairn of Warkworth.
I recently joined my friend at his modest country pile to discuss New Year’s Eves past. Settling into the tasteful chintz armchairs of his small library, H.H., chuckling pithily into his cravat, began to recollect.
“We had rather an off year a while back and in no small measure. Whoever thought that leaving the arrangements to my Uncle George “Dog Whisperer” Tapplowe was a smart action, I’ll never know.
‘We’ll have it in the open air,’ declared he, ‘amongst the nature of this fair Northumberland of yours, and set a table under the great canopy of heaven!’ Lemon drizzle?”
I eagerly partook.
“Mad as a badger is Uncle George, although, give him his due, I was quite game for an al fresco banquet; table, candles, silver service, and all to take place within spitting distance of that ancient Hermitage. As long as there was plonk and hot food, I was sold. But we had not accounted for the temperament of Bismarck, my uncle’s colossal hound.
Dashed thing took issue with the whole affair and howled his way through the first and second courses, straining at the leash. He finally slipped his moorings midway through the sweet and hurtled over the perimeter towards the banks of the Coquet. Uncle George naturally followed, bellowing and cursing his name. If only that was the end of it.
Soon came the unmistakable holler of a desperate Uncle George, preceded by a large number of Roe Deer, with Bismarck in hot pursuit. The main body of the herd came over the crest of the bluff as one, charging straight for our bijou spread. A valuable George III oak trestle and an aunt’s hip were among the casualties sustained in the fracas, and we did not get round to singing our traditional songs and celebrating midnight until around 4.30 in the a.m.”
Checking my pocket watch, gratefully still in working order despite its own involvement in the infamous New Year stampede, I posed the question of how best to celebrate next December’s end.
“This year? My dear Honk, I for one will be dashed if I miss any of that jolly theatrical malarkey. Village Pantomimes always bring joy to one’s heart and reinforce a sense of season. A staging of Rumpelstiltskin at our Memorial Hall is a welcome alternative to an accident-ridden jaunt in the country, what?”
My friend then proclaimed his intended attendance of “Out of the Trees”, a musical festival in which the folk and alternative genres give up their best troubadours, descend upon our fair village, and woo the ears of the general public. I agreed to accompany my friend to both, and, leaving the Harrison-Nairn residence for another night, I ruminated that New Year celebrations truly are designed for memories that persist lifelong in their retelling. Yes, we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for Auld Lang Syne.
Whoever the devil he is.
“Rumpelstiltskin” is performed at Warkworth Memorial Hall from 15-17 December.
“Out of the Trees” will take place in Warkworth on 18 December.
New Year’s Eve usually occurs on 31 December, and should be followed by New Year’s Day.
Sir Hilary Harrison-Nairn and Gerald Honk, Esq. can be found on Twitter @WhitherAndWhy