SOMEONE once said that youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve and middle age is when you’re forced to.
I don’t know what category I slot into, but I’ll be in bed well before the witching hour. Even though it is our anniversary.
It wasn’t always like this.
When we were first married we boogied the night away and most of the early hours and were still at work on time the next morning. New Year, in particular, was to be savoured and late nights were compulsory. In fact, I met Maria at a New Year party at her parents’ home.
Comedian Lennie Bennett and I were both reporters on the Blackpool evening newspaper. He was moonlighting in clubs before turning pro and I was his roadie. We left a club in Manchester after midnight and he insisted we went to a party.
He directed me to a small mansion on the outskirts of Blackpool where the celebrations were still in full swing. Maria’s mother met us at the door and welcomed me in a warm embrace. It was like Dustin Hoffman meeting Mrs Robinson for the first time. I thought I had died and gone to heaven on a cloud of Chanel Number 5 with the most glamorous 38-year-old I had ever met. Then I saw her husband, Louis Colaluca, watching. If I wasn’t careful, I could expect a horse’s head on my bed in the morning.
But the night got even better when, across a crowded room, I saw Maria. She was 16 and I was 23. And that was it.
We have always celebrated New Year’s Eve as our anniversary. We met 47 years ago at 2am on January 1, wondering what the new year would bring and what the future held. Well now we know and wasn’t I a lucky boy?
We’ll be celebrating quietly on our own this evening but the stamina has gone. At 2am in the morning, we’ll be in bed, fast asleep.