Year of The Year

London Newspaper Group — KNP 22-12-1978


By Christopher Long

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Year of the Year

When elderly Chinese get together to reminisce about the old days, they say to each other, 'Ah, do you remember, way back in the year of the horse...' or 'A funny thing happened to me in the year of the snake...' and instantly memories go back with one accord.

And like so many other jolly good ideas, the West has not been too proud to learn a thing or two from the inscrutable East.

So, when you and I are doddering in our dotage along the front at Eastbourne or wheeling our bathchairs through Kensington Gardens, we shall turn to each other and say, 'Remember all those strikes in the Year of Elimination of Racial Education?'

Looking back over it all I think I've done my bit. In 1970 I took the plunge as a mature student to go back and study – and of course it was International Education Year. And in 1972 I saw my first words in print – appropriately in the year of the book.

1974 saw me a married man, making earnest deliberation that we would not have children just yet because we were breaking our backs rebuilding our house – and yes, you've guessed it, it was World Population Year.

So it will come as no surprise to hear that in 1975 I granted my wife true 'liberation' when we decided to separate in International Women's Year, and I acquired a dog instead. His arrival just pipped Animal Welfare Year at the post – and never in 1976 was there a dog that endured so much welfare.

Meanwhile, my building works were duly completed to coincide with European Architectural Year. But then my efforts seem to have lapsed.

I confess that I did little to support Export Year, World Rheumatism, Historic Education or National Safety Year in the coal pits, all of which were crammed into the busy year of 1977.

But in 1979 I hope to make up for it. So what have they got in store for us this time? International Real Ale? More Pay for Diary Writers Year...?

"I say, Carruthers, whatever made you dash off into the desert like that? Don't you remember, back in the Year of the Child?"

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