The Wednesday Wondering – Happy New Year!

Happy New Year and welcome to the first Wednesday Wondering of 2014. I hope you’ve all had relaxing, fun-filled Christmases and are reading this without that uncomfortable headache that often comes with the over-indulgences of New Year’s Eve!

We skipped last Wednesday’s Wondering with it falling on Christmas Day but I personally don’t find New Year’s Day quite so fraught so offered to post as usual today.

This coming Saturday (4th Jan), we’re going to have a reflective Saturday Spotlight where The Write Romantics look back on their writing experiences during 2013 and their writing aspirations for 2014 so, with this in mind, I’ve posed another non-writing yet seasonal Wondering question for today:

What’s been the best/worst New Year celebrations you’ve ever had?

Here’s what some of The Write Romantics have said…



My best New Year celebration would have to be New Year 2005…my parents were with me in Australia, I went into labour on New Year’s Eve and then my daughter arrived on New Year’s Day. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to top that one!

My worst New Year would have to be when I was in my twenties. We went to a nightclub that promised to be awesome and failed to live up to expectations. The snow was coming down by the time we left – which was early because the club was so appalling – and taxis seemed to be invisible that night. We shivered as we walked for miles, and I think I hid beneath the duvet for pretty much most of the next day.



There have been a few really memorable New Years including the start of 2000 in Bruges, a big street party in Stirling and seeing my then favourite band in Dublin.  However I’ve decided that my best New Year was when I did Hogmanay in Edinburgh in 1999.  My sister was a student there and we did the whole Prince’s Street experience.  At midnight fireworks were set off all around Edinburgh Castle and then the kissing started.  I have never been kissed as much in one evening.  Men just came up to you and gave you a kiss.  I must admit I got so into the swing of this (and I was quite drunk by then) that I even kissed a policeman.  He didn’t seem to mind!



My worst ever New Year’s Eve was on 31 December 2000, the day after I got married.  If I add to that sentence “for the first time”, you might see why I now look back and think that I should have taken that disastrous night as a sign!  My now ex –husband and I were on our way to our honeymoon, with the best man and his wife.  That probably wasn’t a good sign either…  We decided to go skiing in La Thuile in Italy and, flights being difficult to get on NYE, had also decided to drive.  Typical Brits, we didn’t take a lot of precautions – snow tyres, warning triangles, the correct directions, that sort of thing!  The best man’s wife was in charge of the map and after seven hours driving we were going great guns and were on track to arrive in the resort before midnight.  Only we reached the top of the road and discovered that the mountain pass, which would take us from the French side of La Thuile to the Italian side, was closed in the winter and completely impassable due to snow.  So we had to drive hundreds of miles back down and around the base of the mountains.  The best man (and I use the term loosely), had the raging hump and we nearly saw in the New Year at the bottom of a cliff, after his irate driving almost sent us hurtling off the mountain several times.  We eventually arrived, totally fed-up and with a terrible start to the New Year, at about 3 am.  I should have taken it as a sign, since by the end of that year my new husband had already forgotten the promises he made on our wedding day and by NYE 2002 we were separated.  Still, this New Year will mark the start of the year in which I will celebrate the tenth anniversary of my second marriage.  Since getting together, we have a house party every NYE, with lots to eat and drink, silly games and loads of laughs.  A honeymoon in Italy might sound a romantic way to spend NYE, but I know better – let me tell you!  Happy New Year, everyone xx



For me the best New Year’s Eve has to be The Millennium. My children were small, but still managed to be a part of the celebrations. Despite being a small village it felt like everyone was squashed inside my husband’s family home as the countdown began and not only a new decade started, but a new millennium. It was a great way to see in the New Year with friends and family of all ages.

The worst New Year’s Eve celebration has to be the one where I didn’t hang onto my drink and it kept getting filled up. Actually, it was New Year’s Day that was the worst!



I used to love working Christmas and New Year’s Day in hospitals when I was a nurse! I know lots of you will think that is weird but there is such a fun atmosphere amongst the staff and patients unless there is anything really dire going on. One day when I don’t have children and family to think of I’ll go and help in one of the hostels or centrepoint on those days.



My best New Years Eve was when I was about 8, my Aunty Dot used to have the most amazing house parties which the whole family would attend and there used to be a lot of us. At midnight we would all form a massive line and Conga out of her front door and down the street just going in peoples houses doing the Conga and most of the times they would join in and grab onto the back of the line. It was hilarious 🙂 The worst one was probably the first year after My Aunty Dot died, we were like lost sheep with nowhere to go for a party 😦



My best New Year’s Eve was when I was 14. I stayed over at a friend’s house while her parents were away and our plan had been to just watch films on TV, eat crisps and see the New Year in but, after helping ourselves to her mum and dad’s homemade wine collection, we staggered into town and joined the revellers at the town’s market cross. I’d never been drunk before (and it was 4 years later before I was again!) but it was an amazing feeling. The atmosphere at the market cross was incredible (helped by the wine) and we ended up at a party where I snogged a lad from school who I would never have gone for if I hadn’t been wearing serious beer goggles and who I knew felt the same about me as he wouldn’t look at me after that! I could write reams about the hilarity of the evening but may save that for a YA I’m toying with!

My worst New Year’s Eve would be most New Year’s Eves since then! It’s been such an anti-climax for so many years that I’ve made a conscious effort to avoid it; stay in, watch a DVD and be in bed before midnight! I’ve lost count of the amount of nights out in packed pubs, unable to get served with one or more of the people I’m with in a bad mood that brings the whole group down. My worst two in a row were probably with my ex boyfriend. Our first NYE together we had his best friend and his wife to stay and the four of us went out to see a band in Birmingham. The venue was so packed that there was barely any standing room, never mind sitting down. It was sweltering and the friends with us had a domestic and stormed out. We then had to wait two hours for a taxi home and the atmosphere was unbearable. The next year, the same boyfriend was meant to have sorted a night out and didn’t get his act together so we ended up travelling to his home in Lincoln to see another friend and his wife. The men decided we’d go clubbing only the wife didn’t fancy it so, at the last minute, it was just me and the two of them. I envisaged an 80s night or something but it was extreme hardcore dance music instead and it turned out that the friend had a drugs problem so spent the evening high as a kite and hurling himself around the dancefloor. Despite being anti-drugs, my boyfriend seemed to find it funny and was happy to dance all night himself. I hated – and was scared by – everything about the evening and wanted to leave but we were staying at the boyfriend’s parents’ house so I could hardly go home on my own. We never made it to a 3rd NYE together, thank goodness!


So, that’s our happy and sad tales. Do share yours; we’d love to hear from you. Happy New Year and all the best for a happy, prosperous and wish-achieving 2014.

Julie xx 

When wishes come true…

First of all I would like to say a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has commented and wished me well. No-one is more surprised than me about my offer of a two book deal with Harlequin’s Digital Imprint Carina.  In my heart I know my novel is good enough to be published because over the years I have read some that actually kept me going they were so bad and had found publishers, but I never actually believed it could happen to me. I thought it was something that would always happen to everyone else. I keep thinking it all might be a mistake, once my contract arrives I think I might actually believe it’s true and then I’ll give everyone a full update.

You know there is a garden centre we visit every couple of months up at Ambleside and outside there is a wishing well type thing with a bell that you throw your money at to see if you can hit it. It has become a Phifer family tradition now that none of us can walk away until we hit that bell at least once and make a wish. My wishes these last two years have been, please let me finish my book, please let me find an agent or publisher, please let the lovely editor I met like my book, please let the lovely editor buy my book – you get the idea. I think it might be time for another trip up there to make another wish but I’m not sharing that one unless it comes true but whatever you do with your writing and no matter how disheartened you may feel – don’t ever give up.

Helen P xx