A kiss is just a kiss even as eras end

7th January 2000 at 00:00
PERSONALLY I blame Lord Nelson. He may have done a lot for the cause of sailors who want to kiss each other but he certainly ruined the millennium round here.

Mind you I knew it would go wrong. The transition point between epochs is bound to be blighted with Oversignificance. Last weekend was like a combination of the first day at school (when you pal onto someone wholly unsuitable) and that awful last day at school (when you get sentimental and exchange phone numbers with people you'll avoid for the rest of your life).

But it was the Nelson Touch that really did for us here. Last November my friend Wild Rosemary read how Horatio boasted that he had kissed Lady Hamilton across two centuries. Of course what the one-armed bandit was alluding to was that he had begun kissing Lord Hamilton's wife at 11.59pm on December 31, 1799 and not come up for air until the clock struck January 1, 1800. This was too much for Poor Rose.

Having just broken up with her dishy divinity teacher Rosie found Nelson's romantic gesture so compelling that she determined immediately to go out and ge herself someone new for the Snog of the Century. "After all we're not going to get the chance to kiss across 2,000 years again," she insisted over a seasonal bottle of wine.

"I mean it's all very well for those of you in stable relationships who know who you'll be smooching away the New Year with but it puts a pressure on those of us who are single."

The kind of pressure in fact that militates against finding a mate. Or at least someone whose lips would be at a loose end as we entered the third millennium. Which is why New Year in our house was spent with my wife comforting Rose at the kitchen table while I tried to explain to Tom that I certainly was not going to take him up to the Brecon Beacons so he could wee a two and three zeros in the snow and the girls grumbled that they weren't in Trafalgar Square which is where everyone else with any style was bound to be.

We have lived through a momentous time. Thank goodness it's over. Now we can all return to insignificance. The world is now on its second day of a new term and things have never looked so normal.

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