A sparkling night over the Derwent River

Happy New Year to readers. There is something about New Year’s Eve which becomes a great distraction; the focus on midnight. We can never have a foot in both one year and the other like we can when we straddle the borders between states, countries or at Greenwich when you can stand in two time zones at the one moment.  Al we can do is surrender to the ticking and suddenly the next moment is on us.  As it was when 2014 came to an end last night in Australia.

I realise, as I write, that some parts of the world are yet to reach midnight 2014. Australia is one of a very few countries to be able to celebrate entry into 2015 very early on. If you are not there yet, then I can only suggest you enjoy the countdown.

Tasmania and Hobart at the very south of the island in particular, have long days at this time of year. There is still light in the sky at 9.30pm (I know I know I know that many countries in the northern hemisphere, which stretch closer to the poles, have even longer days mid-year. I did experience the White Nights of St Petersburg in northern Russia in 2013.)

Hobart City Council stages two separate firework celebrations on New Year’s Eve; one at 9.30pm when the sky is not perfectly light and the other at midnight when the night sky is black.

Last night, nature created an early spectacle. At 9pm brilliant pink-red tinged clouds marbled across the intense blue sky over Mount Wellington, with the sun well set behind. The strident pinks rippled like the marks left when waves recede over sandy beaches. The unruffled surface of the Derwent River, singed with red, made my heart sing. Sensational.  As the mountain side darkened, spot lights from the headlight of cars driving up and down the mountain, and the street and house lights across the hillside suburbs on the western shore, began to sparkle.

Slowly, the under clouds developed grey tones and the air began to soften beautifully.  Magnificent. Gradually the clouds softened to transparent greys and whites patterning the sky over the mountain. A splendid ¾ moon gleamed nearby.

The first fireworks were well timed and blew their tops at 9.30pm as the last pink glow on grey clouds disappeared. 10 minutes of coloured light and light shapes flying through the air and the delayed booming bangs (reminding me light travels faster than sound) seemed to pass quickly. The grand finale was a crescendo of cascading lights falling from on high like a tree shaped waterfall. The light rained down. And the smoke drifted away down the Derwent River towards the mouth.

For a picture of one stage of the fireworks (although it seems mean by comparison with other stages that I saw) go to http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/thousands-of-tasmanians-party-in-the-new-year/story-fnj4f7k1-1227171557865.

Last year’s New Year’s Eve for me was dramatically different. I vividly recall 2013’s New Year’s Eve when I had a marvellous night along with thousands of others on the waterfront at Kowloon in Hong Kong.

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Then, after midnight, I had to walk many kilometres (along with everyone else like a swarm of insects packed across the six lane main road) back to my hotel because the train stations were so full that people couldn’t even walk into them, leave alone catch the trains.

Now we all have 12 months to consider where we might be and what we might do on New Year’s Eve at the end of this new year.  Best wishes.

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