During my travels I have not had full access to Blogger and have not been able to post or comment, so my greetings are belated.
The Metro train rattles through darkness and stops at stations gleaming rose and grey, white and amber, marble and polished granite, bronze and brass, mosaic and elaborate plasterwork.
I cannot read their names, I cannot even recognise their names when they are announced, but I can recognise some of them visually. They are all different, all differently striking.
This is underground Moscow on New Year's Eve and we are heading for Red Square. So are thousands of others, many of them young men in thickly padded black jackets and furry black hats - Asiatic young men who come from Tashkent and other Central Asian towns to work in Moscow for a few years, perhaps to earn enough to return home.
So many young men, so similarly dressed seem frightening to my English eyes. Is it a protest, a potential riot?
'No,' says my son. 'It's their one night off and they're going to enjoy it'.
New Year in Russia is all the Winterfests rolled into one. Santa is here, the Madonna and Child are here if you look carefully; so are Mickey Mouse and Tom and Jerry and look-alikes of Lenin and Stalin.
Father Frost is here, big-time, in blue and silver with stuck-on stars and a big white beard. His helper, the Snow Maiden is also here, generally explained as his grand-daughter, but we all know that rich older men bearing gifts may have their nubile female attendants.
We have to push our way through the crowds. Red Square is closed in preparation for this most significant of Russian nights. Big screens are erected. President Putin will speak to the people at midnight and then....then there will be fireworks!
The snow starts and grows heavier. It is late, but all the shops are open and busy and the illuminated Kremlin buildings glow and glitter golden against the slanting snow. We duck into a maze of side-streets where my Russian companions know of a charming little restaurant hosted by a resident cat and dog. The cat, who is much larger than the dog, wears a bow-tie in honour of the occasion. The dog, a chihuahua, trots about anxiously - the risk of being trodden on is high. I greet him in English. He acknowledges me politely and sits beside me in the alcove. The cat in the bow-tie ignores me.
We return home through emptying streets and flying snow. Shop keepers are trying to hasten the last customers out. The Metro rattles us back to the suburbs. Father Frost and his lady-friend must visit every child in Russia tonight.
In every main road and quite a few side ones the snowploughs wait in silent ranks, ten, fifteen at a time, their drivers chatting and smoking in groups, waiting for the call to action.
In the meantime the gritting lorries are out in force, spraying a corrosive mix that turns the snow to brown sludge. Night or day, ice or snow, Moscow keeps moving.
There is no time to be lost, for we need to be ready at ten o'clock to bid farewell to 2012, with all its joys and pains and tedious bits. We raise our glasses of champagne to what is past.
The food is ready; smoked salmon, a cold roast, slabs of white fat, black bread, pickled herring and salads, beetroot and vegetables in vinaigrette dressing.
Friends arrive bringing more delicacies. There are very special mushroom gathered deep in a forest in Belarus....Cossack mushrooms. There are gherkins and fruits and then there are chocolates made locally and bought fresh from the factory. There is vodka, of course.
We eat and drink. There are many toasts, to our families, our children especially. There are photos on mobile phones and a few tears. The vodka flows. Ah, the past has been good to us.....and now....now.
On the television a hush falls over the vast crowds in Red Square and President Putin speaks to the people.
He says what all great leaders say, 'Be good, work hard, be kind to your family, be proud of your glorious nation.' Then the great bell of the Spaski Tower in the Kremlin strikes midnight. The national anthem plays out over scenes of beautiful Moscow in the snow. It is dignified and proud and moving.
Then the fireworks start, great earth-shattering detonations of colour and fire exploding into the night.
They go on....................
Happy New Year to us all - everywhere.