At midnight checked with the TV for timing, blew the cork on the bottle exactly right and celebrated the beginning of 2009 with Marcia.
Marcia went to bed very soon after; I held out till 1:30, fruitlessly trying to call friends in other places - but the lines were jammed. In one night Italian operators make over 260 million Euros of revenue. Stunning.
Got to bed and launched the mail program to send the last of the New Year's greeting.
Woke up really early - 6am, checked the mail program, fell asleep at 6:30 and woke again to bright sunlight streaming in through my bedroom window. It was 11am already. Ilham called in, I checked other stuff on the Internet, replied to some mails, got up at noon.
Grabbed a cup of coffee, a piece of panettone, a copy of the Economist and a chair and went to sunbathe on the top terrace until 3pm.
The sun touches the snow on the mountains just behind the valley; the sea is a deep, cool blue.
This time last year I was in Taji. My thoughts, as I sit in the weak, bright sunlight, are with the people I met and worked with. Some have returned home; a few are still there.
Sawed down the wood panels from the old door - that's fuel for the fire tonight. Dinner is cottage pie (minced beef, onions and mashed potatoes in a casserole; peas on the side). I'm making that while Marcia plays 'Need for Speed' on the new Wii she bought as house-gift for Christmas.