Thursday, 1 January 2009

Travels with Muriel X: an Edinburgh hogmanay

Friends of Donald bravely had the six of us, plus several other guests - adults and children plus a dog - for a New Year's celebration at their home in the Edinburgh suburb of Cammo. I began the evening with a very strong whisky (recalling, as I drank it down with probably more enthusiasm than was altogether seemly, even for New Year's Eve, how I managed to single-handedly bring up two children just 14 months apart in age: I drank), followed swiftly by a few glasses of bubbly, then by a magical never-emptying glass of red wine. As a result, large bits of the evening are missing (or it could be large bits of my brain).

What I do recall is heading out in a group into the fuh-reezing night at some berserk hour quite a while after midnight to 'first foot' the neighbours - this is a Scots tradition that requires the first person through the front door in a new year to be a tall, dark stranger carrying a lump of coal (or, says Donald, a 'black bun', whatever that might be). I also apparently played a game of pool - passably, surprisingly.

I came to this morning on an air mattress, snug in a sleeping bag, in my hosts' front room - fully dressed, down to my boots. I felt horribly grim but this wasn't considered sufficient reason to beg off that fine Scottish tradition - a bracing walk in sub-zero temperatures. I actually enjoyed the walk - the bitterly cold air gave me the impression I was functioning after a fashion - but after we got back to the house I felt 100% worse and that's how I'm still feeling - so the prospect of nine hours on a bus to London, which is what I'll be doing shortly, isn't thrilling me.

Little Fergus, meanwhile, kicked off the new year with some spectacular examples of how Terrible the Twos really can be. First, he objected loudly and strongly to the traffic lights being red ('I don't want the lights to be red!'); then he remonstrated with his father for stopping the car at the red lights ('I don't want the car to be stopped!'); and he took the crown for contrariness this afternoon by furiously refusing ice cream for dessert - on the grounds that the ice cream was cold.

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1 comment:

Juno said...

Oh Mur, truly you are terrible, and I wish I had been there. You know you are getting old when you wake up on New Year's Day without a hangover.