Happy Near Yews Greetings


It is Chinese New Year about now – Year Of The Ram. Presumably not the Dodge, ironclad, or hydraulic version, though I can think of a lot of fun to be had with each of these. At restaurants all over the city banquets are being prepared and the noise level is rising. For our part we are celebrating with fish and chips ( extra prawn cutlets) and beer. Not being Chinese, we do our best.

It pays not to blow yourself out on these things too much, because as we have discovered, there are more new years than you can imagine. Followers of the various sects of Christianity have new years at different times, and if you get drunk and scar your liver too early in the piece you are in poor shape for the next round of vodka and piety. We did the Scottish one on December 31st but soft pedalled the Orthodox one a few weeks later. Given the fact that Irish New Years is coming on the 17th of March we may lie low now.

I do not decry these various feasts. I think it is charming that every culture adjusts the calendar to suit their own ends – after all it is pretty well a mathematical construct as it is – new is when you say new is, and if it is newer than your neighbours, so much the better. And the business of assigning a zodiacal identity to it is also good – more work for the printers, decorators, and cartoonists. I just think that the concept should be extended to allow other peoples to have their own mascots:

The Australian Year Of The Blowfly…or Redback…or Box Jellyfish…

The Peruvian Year of the Llama..every year…

The Lithuanian year of the Scabies Mite…

The Canadian Year of the Beaver. Beaver flavoured pudding…mmmmm.

One of the young chaps at work is Chinese – from Mainland China. I shall be watching him closely in the next week to see when he finally succumbs and falls asleep at his desk. And I shall have a camera….




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