This time last year, my local area was affected by unusually heavy flooding. The Thames burst its banks on a scale we hadn’t seen since 1947. I captured as much of it as I could, fascinated by the changed landscape. My 365/40 and 41 are images not previously shared here, of Walton Quay (41) and the Thames towpath between Molesey and Hampton Court (40).
I had to include one more picture, even though it has appeared on Focused Moments before. This last image, snapped as the flood water came rushing in, was the closest I have come to having an image go ‘viral’ on social media. It was shared 450 times on Facebook alone with views well into 5 figures. The view seems innocuous enough but to people who know the area, it was a unique sight.
I thought my photograph of Hampton Court on New Year’s Day 2009 might be suitable for today’s blog, as 2012 draws to a close. It has been a difficult year for me personally but a tremendous year to be British. Tonight I am celebrating in another place rich in British history, Dartmouth in Devon (of which, more another day).
A very brief potted history of New Year’s celebrations: Julius Caesar instituted January 1 as the first day of the year. January is named after Janus, the Roman god with two faces that looked into the past and into the future. Romans celebrated New Year by making sacrifices to Janus, exchanging gifts, decorating their homes and throwing parties. In medieval Europe, Pope Gregory XIII established January 1 as New Year’s Day in 1582. But the celebrations today retain much of their more pagan origins. One ancient tradition that still continues, particularly in Scotland, is ‘first footing’. At midnight, the Old Year is let out through the back door and the New Year let in through the front door. The first person at the New Year to pass over the threshold should bring coal or, more likely(!), whiskey for luck in the year ahead.
Wishing all my blogging friends a very happy New Year.