Hogmanay and after
For all that the commercial events at Castle Beastie are shut down over Christmas and New Year, this is actually one of my busiest times of the calendar. Come the first of January, I am usually feeling extremely left-over. People who have the energy to make resolutions and plan holidays and so forth on New Year’s Day clearly, it seems to me, have not had enough to do in the past week. I will start eating more healthily again; I will sort my desk; I will get organised for the year; but not yet. January is for hibernation and recovery, if you ask me. Far more natural to start the new year on the twenty-fifth of March, as they used to in the Middle Ages.
Mind you, it’s not that I am feeling delicate after Hogmanay, if that’s what you are thinking. The Scottish Hogmanay or New Year’s Eve is a notoriously hard-partying night – but we were with nice English relatives, who were extremely, well, English about it all. In fact I went to bed before midnight, without a drop of whisky. Given how tired out I was feeling, I didn’t mind much. (Well, not too much.) I was reminded, though, of a pertinent comment which I read in a newspaper a year or two ago. I thought it so true that I stuck it on the kitchen noticeboard, but I’m afraid that I didn’t make a note of who wrote it, so I must quote it unattributed:
‘The English celebrate New Year as if they were Hobbits in Tolkien’s Shire; the Scots celebrate Hogmanay as if they were Aragorn on the frontier of Mordor. Long may the difference continue. Happy New Year.’
Slàinte mhath, agus bliadhna mhath ur!*
(*Good health, and happy new year)