Thursday, January 01, 2009

Cracking Ne'erday

Loch Eck, approaching Bernice
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
I've cracked it. After a lifetime of end-of-year blues, I think I've achieved the painless transition to 2009. I think the beastly combination of nostalgia and regret at the passing of Christmas first hit me when I began to keep a diary - there's nothing like writing the final entry to remind you that that's another year gone - at the age of ten. In my day I have attempted to kid myself that I could be jolly on Hogmanay, but in my Glasgow youth this involved bleak expeditions to find friends who lived elsewhere in the city, or, later, the teetering walk home from some party over frosty streets with the horrid knowledge that one was beginning to feel really bad.

The young baby years were no better, as they tended to involve merely "seeing the year in" over the increasingly dire telly and heading bedwards immediately afterwards. Then, and in the years to follow, there was the relentless approach of the school term, which sometimes began as early as January 3rd, depending on which day of the week Ne'erday fell. Whatever I was doing - wife of a teacher, mother of pupils, a teacher myself - this was the worst and darkest time, when the early-morning struggle to rise in the chilly dark seemed more of a nightmare than ever.

But enough of these dark rememberings. This year worked. The secret? Tidy the house after your Christmas visitors, noting as you do so that your house is actually quite a decent size after all. Shop early and casually, knowing that the close friends who are joining you for dinner on Hogmanay are bringing the main course and a Christmas pudding with them. Waste some of the afternoon on the computer, and on reading the book you've been too knackered to read in the past two weeks. Have a lovely relaxed evening with the aforementioned friends, enjoying the fact that the four of you have made a little effort to scrub up a bit. Eat heartily, so that the drink you consume makes you mellow but not drunk. Talk about the things that really interest you all - so that you don't have to witter small talk till the bells. At 11.45pm, put on the telly and wonder why BBC Scotland seem to find it so hard to get any decent singers and why the show has the rather desperate air of an impromptu gathering or a wedding without the bride - and learn that Jackie Bird has had her teeth whitened. (This is hearsay - blame the Best Pal) At midnight, kiss each other heartily, drink champagne and admire the Edinburgh fireworks, before switching to Jools Holland and becoming ever so slightly raucous. When your pals leave before 1am, put out any light that might tempt a first-footer, leave Mr B to do the washing-up, and head for bed with your book.

All this leaves you with a clear head on Ne'erday, able to enjoy the brilliant sunshine of a two-hour walk above Loch Eck - see photo - returning ravenous to eat bread and cheese and get your iMac wired to the BT hub so that you don't have to put up with the erratic wireless connection any more. This involves the return of Rob, who was your guest last night and who spent part of the evening persuading you to let him bring a long ethernet cable he just happened to have lying around, and results in the joyously speedy connection of my dreams.

There. No nostalgia, no maudlin maunderings, no hangover. I've had a good day and later there are two episodes of Eastenders to remind me of how lucky I am. But first I think I might eat again ...


  1. Congratulations on passing on to another year without pangs of the blues! It sounds like the day was well spent and oh, so relaxing!

    I, of course, had to have a poke at your photos...they are as lovely as ever! How fotunate you are to have a hale and hearty hubby who is willing to take these wonderful jaunts alongside you! How I wish Mark and I could do the same...guess that is what causes me to be a bit down-hearted. I miss walks....

    Thank you or sharing. I have so enjoyed reading your blog in 2008 and look forward to 2009! Oh, and keep the photos coming, too!!!!!

  2. What a gorgeous pic of Loch Eck! Happy New Year to you.

  3. It was indeed a fine way to spend Hogmanay! Should we get our teeth whitened or would we then be doomed to a perpetually manic rictus in order to get our money's worth?

  4. At least Jackie didn't look like a human xylophone this year.