It is New Year’s Day 2018, and I have many important things to tell you. The first is that New Year’s Eve in Venice is wonderful, and made even more wonderful by spontaneous cocktails at the Danieli and making friends with everyone who works at your favourite local osteria. Next year, you should come. Come here to the Giardini, just before midnight, look out towards San Marco, and see the lagoon brought out of its inky darkness with fireworks. And before that, have a meal at Osteria Ruga di Jaffa – that local place I was talking about – it really does do unbelievable pasta.
The second important thing isn’t really one thing, but many, all folded into Christmas. Things like preparing cicchetti on Christmas Day; going for a dog walk through the Suffolk wilderness in the midst of a storm; also, Nigel Slater’s pork and cranberry terrine, served as a starter for a Christmas Eve dinner.
And of course, the unrivalled loveliness of watching It’s A Wonderful Life while baking bread; and Verona in December, all twinkling lights and hushed festiveness.
Then there’s the importance of driving cross-country on Boxing Day to spend time with as many loved ones as possible, and having those visits be filled with such love and gaiety and good food.
This Christmas has been filled with so many important things, that the list could go on ad finitum.
But it’s this next really really important thing that I’m most excited to tell you about.
Just before Christmas, we went to Bruges.
And on our first night there, Dom asked me to marry him.
So 2018, in all of its unknown happiness and heartache, will also include a wedding. Or at least the planning of one. And for that resounding reminder of love and hope, I’m so very grateful.
Happy New Year, everyone – may yours be a joyous one.