Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy Hogmanay!

Long time, no blog! Greetings to anyone who may be reading this post - which I suspect will be very few - if any (that is apart from my number one fan 'J' who is constantly on at me to update my blog! And perhaps Alison from Helensburgh - hello!) 

Hope you had a great Christmas!   Perhaps you are now making preparations for the coming New Year celebrations - or maybe not.  

So what will you be doing this Hogmanay?  How will you celebrate and welcome in the New Year?  Partying in the streets - or at home with friends and family?  Will you "see in the bells" and retreat quietly to bed or will you already be fast asleep before the bells and oblivious to the whole thing?  Does this time of year make you happy or morose?

Back in the day we had our own New Year rituals.   Before the bells the young - who were old enough to be allowed to "bring in the bells" - would be kept occupied by writing their New Year resolutions.   It was traditional that the house was cleaned from top to bottom - including windows.  All trace of household rubbish had to be removed from the house.  All debts to be repaid.  Family would arrive and around 10.00 pm all who had gathered would be served with a hearty meal - which traditionally included butcher's best steak pie.  Afterwards, the tables had to be cleared and every dish washed and out of sight.   Windows were opened wide - one to let out the old year and one to let in the new. The New Year calendar would face the wall waiting to be turned over as soon as the New Year arrived.  Whisky and other drinks, freshly baked sultana cake and shortbread at the ready - and we were set!    Counting down the minutes - all would be ushered into the living room and be given their preferred tipple.  Five minutes before midnight we'd gather in a circle  - wth the BBC Hogmanay Show going on in the background.   Then the countdown would begin. Ten, nine, eight, seven, six ..........!  On the stroke of midnight the church bells would ring - in the distance you could even hear the horns of the ships docked on the River Clyde (sadly long gone).   We would charge our glasses, toast the New Year, perhaps shed a tear or two as we rememebered and took time with our own thoughts - and then we'd await the "first foot".   (The "first foot" could be a family member or neighbour but for good luck the preference was that they'd be tall, dark and handome - a tall order on occasions it has to be said!  (and heaven forfend that the first foot be female or have red hair!  They would surely bring bad luck - apparently!!)  The first foot would normally carry a bottle in one hand and in the other a lump of coal - to symbolise warmth for the home in the coming year and/or sultana cake or shortbread as a symbol that the house would not go hungry. And then the partying would begin!

Ah! Those were the days......!

Whatever you decide to do I hope it makes you happy. 

All the best for a happy and healthy 2012!

Bella B! xx