A party on New Year's Eve? We'd all much rather be in bed by 10.38pm

 

Fireworks displays will entertain millions of people across the country tomorrow night but fewer than one in five Britons will take part in public New Year's Eve parties because they are exhausted and short of cash.

A quarter of a million people are due to watch fireworks from the banks of the River Thames in London, while Manchester's display is back on this year after the city council cancelled the 2011 event, saying it could not afford the £20,000 bill. A fairground owner, Gary Gore, has stepped in to cover tonight's costs. Yet about 40 per cent of the population will not even bother to stay awake until midnight to to see in the new year – 10 per cent more than last year. The poll of 2,000 people, commissioned by Travelodge hotels, found that the average time that respondents would be in bed and asleep was 10.38pm.

According to another poll, for Morrisons supermarkets, 83 per cent of us plan to stay at home watching television instead of attending public fireworks displays or parties.

About one fifth of those not going out say they cannot afford it after a financially challenging year.

A similar number say they refuse to pay "extortionate" and "inflated" ticket prices for events, while others blame exhaustion after Christmas celebrations. People in York are most likely to get an early night tonight, followed by those in Cardiff and Cambridge.

Mercifully, for those who do venture out, wet weather is predicted only in London and the the South-east of England tonight following heavy downpours across Britain today. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: "If you cannot get in [to London] early enough, the River Thames fireworks are broadcast live on the TV, so do consider watching them from home."

The traditional Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh will begin tonight with 7,000 torchbearers walking through the city centre.

Up to 80,000 people are expected to visit the Scottish capital for the annual street party.

Hourly one-minute firework displays will count down to 2013 from 9pm while five live music stages will feature bands including Simple Minds and The Maccabees.

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<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
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I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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