WELL, well, there we go, another year gone. The shortbread and currant bun have been consumed and the Christmas cake we bought and forgot to eat has been found at the back of the cupboard. We do that every year. Once we found a Christmas pudding sporting a sell-by date in the previous Millennium. Tasted OK, I’m told.
Traditionally, I hear the Bells and burst into tears. This year was slightly different, since I was working on the BBC Hogmanay show. The presenter was, of course, Jackie Bird. If Christmas isn’t Christmas without presents, then Hogmanay isn’t Hogmanay without Jackie. I can confirm that Ms Bird is indeed a slender woman. I hope she takes care to avoid the cracks in the pavement as she could just vanish from sight.
Ms Bird is an elegant lady who knows how to rock a frock, so I took great care to stand well away from her, since I’d just resemble a pigmy hippo that had wandered in and put on a jacket.
It’s a bit surreal working on the Hogmanay show. For one thing, you have to rehearse. So this means you have two Hogmanays because the Bells and fireworks all go off at around 9.30pm, everyone shouts “Happy New Year” and then your body starts to look for whisky, steak pie and shortbread. I tell you, it’s a helluva shock to the system when someone just hands you a cup of corporate BBC coffee and a digestive.
Then you have to do it all again, for real. I saw a man hug Ms Bird. It was a tense moment. She could have been snapped in two on live telly.
Scotland was getting on down in the party spirit as I headed back. Fireworks were lighting up Bathgate, Livingston and the whole central belt in brilliant reds, golds, pinks and purples. It looked like Scotland was being attacked by drag queens from Mars.
Mind you, on that one night of the year, if drag queens from Mars landed and knocked any door in Scotland, they’d be hauled in, filled fu’ o’ drink, a song demanded, the Birdie Dance performed and they’d be sent back to the mother ship with a bag of shortbread and some black bun, analysis of which would keep them preoccupied for years.
One final word on resolutions . .
IT is generally a bad idea to take up your New Year resolution to learn how to tap dance by lurching into the middle of York Place at about 1.45 in the morning of January 1 in front of a car driven by a tired, cranky, middle-aged mum who is suffering from shortbread withdrawal.
I am willing to bet, young lady in the bright yellow outfit, that you have no memory of bouncing (safely) off the bonnet of that car. For me, however, the image of a tall, gangly legged female suddenly appearing in front of me flailing about is seared into my mind. I thought I’d hit a giraffe with rabies.
Happy New Year
Give up this pointless idea of quitting
Resolutions are rubbish. Just because a date has changed in the calendar, it doesn’t mean you should run about giving stuff up, making yourself miserable, and you know in your heart of hearts you’re going to fail by January 6. So take stuff up instead. Resolve to have more fun. I personally have decided to take up in-line skating and cooking. Not at the same time, but I’m willing to give it a go.
Winds of change blow through how we share weather tales
So, our very own hurricane was just biding its wee time out there in the Atlantic, and decided to have another pop at us. Families all over Scotland have been calling each other up to check roofs, garden huts and trees. Jings, imagine if Jackie Bird had popped out for a pint of milk.
We used to recall the big weather stories by the battle tales. My mother remembers the bitter winter of 1947. She was just a girl, and she recalled the curtains being frozen inside the houses. Her grandchildren were aghast at the idea of no central heating.
My strongest memory of the 1968 gale was waking up when mum was tucking in extra blankets around me and my brother.
Actually, she tucked us in so tight we couldn’t move. I suspect her theory was that if the roof came off and the kids got sucked into the sky like a Scottish Dorothy and Toto (I’m Dorothy. He’s the wee dug), Billy and I would land in Oz safely strapped to our beds.
Those are folk memories and family tales, but now our pair of rampaging hurricanes have given the world not one but two Facebook sensations, the Flying Trampoline, and the notable sequel, Bin Flying Down Leith Walk.
Come on, who knew those big black bins were so aerodynamic?