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The end is nigh ...

This week's Friday Five calls for comments on Last Things. Here are mine.

1. As the year comes to a close, what are you looking back upon most fondly?
Some really fun Sherlockian events, especially the one I attended in Poughkeepsie in June (new friends were made, G & S was sung, and on both the outgoing and return journeys I stopped in NYC to see museums). Is that a pathetic answer, or a refreshingly honest one? Remember, this was the year in which one of my sons got married, moved in with me, and announced that he and his wife were expecting my first grandchild.

2. What do you do with the end slices on a loaf of sandwich bread?
I use them in sandwiches, like the other slices (and happy is the day when both heels are available and I can make a double-crust sandwich!). They are the best part of the bread for everything except possibly toasting (only because they're curved and thus don't cook evenly in a toaster), but I've been know to toast them anyhow.

3. What in your residence is approaching its last days?
I'm not sure I want to tempt fate here. Last time I answered a Friday Five question about what thing I was surprised was still going strong, I named my 15-year-old heat pump ... and within a couple weeks it had given up the ghost! The fact is, all of my appliances -- except the replacement heap pump, of course -- are pretty, er, mature, and no breakdown would utterly shock me. But I'm thinking the closest to death would be either my upstairs toilet or the fridge. Each is more than 30 years old and very inefficient (though now that I've started using a slightly less cold setting on the fridge, it has stopped making a hideous noise and shuddering at the end of every temperature cycle). The toilet may be in more critical shape: its flush mechanism, various bits of which have been replaced over the years, is pretty wonky. You have to use just the right amount of pressure on the handle, and then not go anywhere till it stops running, just in case.

4. What would be an appropriate cherry on top of your 2018 in these final days?
Performing well at the New Years Eve gig I unwisely accepted. I'll be the only hack among some very good musicians. (A friend got me the spot. People should stop being nice to me -- it's going to give me an ulcer!)

5. What (or who) has a fantastic tail?
One of Number Two Son's cats has a pretty agile one. He hates to have it touched, I've learned.