x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Count the fingers: 0, 1, 2-

So another decade comes to an end...or maybe not.

Call me stupid, but do decades normally end after nine years? This is the question that, ever since the swathe of end-of-noughties round-ups started appearing, has been causing me to scratch my (clearly very little) head. It is only 2009, you see. Shouldn't the decade end after 2010? For weeks I didn't say anything, fearful that my lack of numerical skills would, not for the first time, be exposed to gales of laughter.

I eventually whispered it to a colleague, after reading yet another cultural round-up of films I haven't got round to watching, books I haven't got round to reading, and albums I know I'll never get round to hearing. "Of course it is," they replied. "It's been 10 years since the millennium." I had to get out my fingers for that one. "So it is," I said. But I was still perplexed. "Is it like those people that start counting the week on Sunday, so Sunday is day one, Monday is day two?" (I've never understood that either). "No," they said, very slowly and deliberately, as if trying to explain the concept of the hour and minute hands to a five-year-old. "The millennium dawned on New Year's Eve 1999/2000. So the new decade dawns on New Year's Eve 2009/2010."

Much to their relief, the penny dropped. Sort of. Ah, the millennium - surely the biggest anti-climax of the previous 1,000 years. I spent it in a freezing cold barn in the depths of the English countryside. Photographic evidence from that night reminds me of a time when I wouldn't be parted from a pair of highly flammable black trousers (they go with everything!) and my pale pink frosted lipstick (so Baby Spice!).

Who knew then, as I danced the night away to Prince, trousers close to combusting in a cloud of self-generated electricity, that in the space of a decade I would get married, become a journalist and move to Abu Dhabi? On New Year's Eve 1999 I didn't even know how I was getting home the next day, let alone have a plan for my future. Conversely, 10 years on, I know exactly what I want - which makes me wonder if any of it will happen. At least one of my resolutions - to go to more concerts - is coming true: my dawning moments of the new decade will be spent at the Emirates Palace watching Rihanna.

It is a million miles from that freezing barn. And I know for sure I won't be wearing pink frosted lipstick. Goodness knows what I'll be doing in 2020. Sorry, 2019.