This New Year's Eve, instead of me running the Stake Youth & Families' New Year's Eve Activity (though I did help to plan it), Scott, Lucy, Jack and I headed down to London! I was a bit sad about missing the church event, because we were going to be saying goodbye to the Cain family from Bletchley Ward, who were emigrating to New Zealand.
Anyway, first of all we had taken Harry and Tom to Scott's Mum and Dad's in Rayleigh to stay the night, then we drove to London. Scott had researched where best to park and it all went smoothly and we arrived at about 7.15pm. With our camping chairs, warm clothes and flasks of hot chocolate, we started walking to the embankment, about 20 minutes away, to find a good spot.
Walking past St. Paul's Cathedral.
When we got the embankment, it was already filling up fast, and we picked a good place pretty much opposite the London Eye, where the main countdown and firework display would be.
We had a lot of hanging around to do, but passed it well enough, then at about 9pm, music started to be played through massive loud speakers all up and down the embankment, and a real party atmosphere began. The weather stayed clear, and we were plenty warm enough.
Lucy with a hot chocolate.
As the time went on, Lucy and I enjoyed dancing, and we also chatted to some of the people around us. Two guys next to us had come from Italy just to celebrate the London New Year. It became totally packed, but never in a scary way. The atmosphere was great!
As midnight approached, the London Eye and tall block next to it had some great colour combinations...
...and then finally the count-down began!!
The very first of the fireworks.
My photos don't do the slightest bit of justice to the overwhelming scale, duration, loudness and sheer utter amazingness of the fireworks... it wasn't just that though - the music was just fabulous, and the quotes of people throughout the year, such as The Queen, Seb Coe, Borris Johnson and David Cameron etc made you feel all patriotic and unified - we were completely captivated and in awe for the entire time!! We just felt like laughing, dancing and exclaiming the whole time! The show lasted for an incredible 12 minutes. It was pretty smoky afterwards!
Then we made our way slowly along the embankment - there were just people everywhere, and we all felt so united and happy! People were calling out to each other, hugging each other, and I think we high-fived a few people along the way. People were pretty drunk though, and there were bottles everywhere. We got back to the car fine, and drove home with no problems or traffic. Scott picked Harry and Tom up from his Mum and Dad's later on New Year's day.
It was certainly an experience anyway! I don't know if we will do it again - it was a long wait beforehand, but I'm so glad to have experienced it once, and especially in 2012, when we had such a good Olympics hosted here, plus the Queen's Diamond Jubilee - it felt like a good year to do it, and for celebrating Britain.
Here are a couple more photos taken from the internet.
This gives a better idea of how many people were there!