In this blogposting…
* The Gate of the Year
All the Best!


In recent times, New Year Resolutions have acquired a bad name, mostly because people fail to carry them out.  As far as I am concerned, this is probably because they are either:
- unrealistic - ‘I will lose two stone in weight by the end of February’;
- unwise - New Year’s Day is the worst possible day to stop smoking; or
- just plain dull - ‘I will read a Charles Dickens book every month’.

A friend of mine obviously agrees with me.  Folded inside her Christmas card was a list of New Year Resolutions which, she says, she is recommending to everyone she knows because they are ‘original, challenging - and great fun’.

* Make some thick vanilla custard, put it in a mayonnaise jar and spoon-eat it in the street.
* Hire two private investigators and get them to follow each other.
* Wear a T-shirt that has ‘Life’ printed on it and hand out lemons on a street-corner.
* Get into a crowded lift and say ‘I suppose you’re all wondering why I sent for you today’.
* Go into a department store and ask - loudly - what year it is.  When somebody tells you, shout ‘It worked!’ and run out, cheering.
* Buy a parrot and train it to say ‘Help! I’ve been turned into a parrot!’


Without wanting to sound portentously high-minded (and how portentously high-minded is a phrase like ‘portentously high-minded'?) I have to be honest and say that I don’t really like the way New Year’s Eve is celebrated and never have.  The forced jollity of party-poppers and booze gives me the vapours; unanaesthetised tooth-extraction or a rainy afternoon in Middlesbrough (God forbid) are more pleasurable prospects as far as I am concerned.

For me, today is a time of ‘stock-taking’; of thinking quietly about the things I have done and not done over the past year; and of making plans and formulating hopes for the year ahead.

It’s a watch-night, too.  As the year’s gate opens we realise that a new path lies ahead and that it will contain uncertainties and sadnesses as well as victories and pleasure.  As the year turns, we feel uneasy and afraid as well as hopeful and steadfast.

It was these thoughts - this need for comfort and reassurance - that inspired the poem God Knows, written in 1908 by Minnie Louise Haskins and made famous when King George VI used it in his Christmas broadcast in 1939.

Although I am no God-fearer, I nevertheless believe that the poem’s sentiments are expressed sublimely and unimprovably.

‘And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”


And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”


So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

So heart be still:

What need our little life

Our human life to know,

If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife

Of things both high and low,

God hideth His intention.

God knows. His will

Is best. The stretch of years

Which wind ahead, so dim

To our imperfect vision,

Are clear to God. Our fears

Are premature; In Him,

All time hath full provision.

Then rest: until

God moves to lift the veil

From our impatient eyes,

When, as the sweeter features

Of Life’s stern face we hail,

Fair beyond all surmise

God’s thought around His creatures

Our mind shall fill.'

...will take place at 1200 on Wednesday 9 January.  It’s a notable AGM, too - for several reasons.

Firstly, we’ll be celebrating Hildie’s birthday, which falls on the day before.

Secondly, it’s the first AGM of 2013.

And thirdly, it will be the first-ever AGM to take place in two places at the same time.

Nev and Hildie are both wrong about the Lit and Phil.  It isn’t as full of sanctimonious silence as they like to think.  Which is why I will be there at the appointed hour.

But, for fear of loneliness and rejection, I will then wander up to The Milecastle a few minutes later!


And finally for 2012 - and with the true truckshunter spirit of curiosity, wonder and adventure - ask yourself, just once in a while….

When was the last time I did something for the first time?

And then make it your business to do as many things for the first time as you can in 2013.


Post comments on this blog or email me:  truckshunters@googlemail.com


Hildie said...

Good Evening Truckshunters ....
I'm here to wish a
Happy New Year to all
the lovely people I have met as a result of my being a Truckshunter .... I very much hope the New Year brings some magic for you all ...

Ada, Brenda, Brian, Barry and Jean, Dave Shannon, Ellie, Gerry and Hilary, Ian, Kev, Linda and Keith, Lawrence, Maureen, Margaret Beck, Mike and Pauline, Nev, Nigel, Sid, Serge, Stephen and Heidi, Michael,Paul and Alfie from the BBC, Rachel and Vivienne.

I'd also like to send my best wishes for the New Year to the ones I have not yet met but, one day, hope to!
They are ....

Mim, Val, Jim Little, Martin, Peter and Ryan.

And I'm thinking of Alison Best
and Ian's Mam
... both of whom I had the good fortune to meet, simply because I was a Truckshunter.

Ianstuartrobinson ... over the last few years, I've met such fun people ... gardeners, piano tuners, poets, Morris dancers, Ballet Masters, Rugby Coaches, Mathematicians, Yellow Coffee Van people, Civil Engineers for British Rail, the welcoming staff at Tanfield Railway and Birkheads Secret Gardens .....
and it's all down to you ....
thank you .... sincerely.

Vivienne said...

Happy New Year everyone!
Well said Hildie. xxx

Bentonbag said...

Like Ian I've never liked New Year's Eve, the forced jollity clashing with regret for time lost and possibly wasted. But 2012 was such an awful year for us that I came close to cracking. Last night Tommy and I went up into our new loft extension opened the landing window and, as the year turned, watched all the fireworks bursting out all over Tyneside. I felt the burden of the old year beginning to burn away and be lifted from my shoulders and a little spark of hope for the New Year start to flicker into life. Whatever it brings I'm grateful for old friends and new and all their love and care. Happy New Year to you all.

Ian Robinson said...

Brenda...beautiful words and well said. Here's to everyone's burdens getting a little lighter and everyone's lives getting a little brighter in 2013.
Hildie...what can I say? Your comments are thoughtful and kind, as always. The spirit of truckshunters is to make sure people know how important they are to all of us - and you're there - right at the top. It wouldn't have been possible without you.
You're a star.