I had the usual dilemma again about what to say at midnight between the old and new years. I resolved it in the usual way as well – I went to bed early. Bah humbug!
Here is the dilemma in detail…
I was brought up to say “White Rabbits!” on the first of the month as soon as I got up, and definitely before saying anything else. As a child this was quite easy to do. When I came down in the morning, one family member or another would shout it out to me, instead of the usual “Good morning”, and I would answer in kind.
Ah, but what to do now that I am grown up enough to be awake at midnight? And especially what to do at New Year?
If I am awake so late, I often murmur it to myself under my breath (I really am one of those little old dears who talks to herself, it seems). If I am unavoidably caught up in a New Year party I tend to mutter “WhiteRabbitsHappyNewYear” as soon as Big Ben has done its bit. If I am lucky no one is really listening and honour is satisfied. If anyone does actually realise I have said anything different, I go into a slightly inebriated explanation which my audience will have forgotten by the time I see them again.
I assumed lots of people knew about this odd custom, but as the daughter’s boyfriend was unaware of it, I thought it was worth noting down for the benefit of future generations. It took me a long time to persuade him I wasn’t joking, and I was only able to do so in the end because we found an article on Wikipedia which mentioned it. Ah, the youth of today – if I put something up on-line they will believe it is true.
In this case, though, it really is.