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Happy New Year!

January 1, 2014

Happy New Year! Unlike those unenviable friends who have already returned to work, we are still in holiday season at Castle Beastie. I would happily continue hibernating until, ooh, about mid-February (wake me up for Valentine’s Day, OK?). Actually the schools go back on Monday, but I am not thinking about that today. Nope. I am sitting by the fire being lazy.

We stirred ourselves for a family walk this morning. As it continues mild and wet, we thought there was no point heading up a hill as we would normally do on New Year’s Day: the hills are shrouded in grey cloud. Instead we went down to the river. After weeks of rain, the ground is saturated and the river is running very high, so we kept dogs and children under unusually strict control.,1.1.14



Eventually we turned off into the woods, where we were able to give them all free rein. The wood here is a mixture of larch and Scots pine, which gives a pleasingly austere effect.,1.1.14-2


Every so often, however, the clean lines are interrupted by a much older and more scraggly deciduous tree, like an ink blot on a neat page.,1.1.14-3



These old trees are mostly oak and sweet chestnut, although my younger son calls them ‘whomping willows’ after the malevolent tree in the Harry Potter stories. I certainly don’t feel much temptation to get any closer to them.,1.1.14-4



At the end of our walk we took refuge in the fishing hut, for a picnic lunch of peppered mackerel, soda bread, apples and good Cheshire cheese. Rich Christmas fare makes one appreciate simple tastes afresh.

Back home again by the fire, I suppose I should now be planning my new year’s resolutions. But I can’t. You see, I am much too busy hibernating.,1,1,14-5



You might enjoy Hogmanay and after.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. boyd hussey, (Douglas Ontario Canada) permalink
    January 1, 2014 5:51 pm

    idyllic happy year too

  2. hmunro permalink
    January 1, 2014 5:57 pm

    Happy hibernation! May the year ahead be full of wonderful rich experiences — and simple pleasures, too — for you, and for everyone at Castle Beastie.

  3. Toffeeapple permalink
    January 1, 2014 6:25 pm

    Enjoy the new year!

  4. Caroline permalink
    January 1, 2014 7:25 pm

    Happy New Year to you all. Its official holiday, celebration time, especially if you lived in Tudor times! With the 12 days of Christmas ending on 5th Jan, Twelfth Night, eve of the Epiphany. Happy hibernating.

  5. Cassandra permalink
    January 1, 2014 8:29 pm

    Happy New Year from Germany! I stumbled onto your blog because you have a beautiful picture of Lady’s mantle on one of your pages. I would like to ask your permission to use it if I may. Please contact me at my email address or on Facebook. My email address is also my name except for the .de. Thanks in advance!

  6. January 2, 2014 12:36 am

    Happy New Year to you. Thank you for your beautiful photographs and the delightful insightful words. Your blog is joy to read and I hope you enjoy creating it as much as we enjoy reading it

  7. January 2, 2014 5:26 am

    Happy New Year to you! Can I just say (as someone who is heading back to work tomorrow) that I am envious of you being able to cuddle up in front of that amazing fireplace? Yep.

  8. January 2, 2014 7:36 am

    That looks like a glorious fireside! Far too inviting to just abandon it in favour of work. I feel the same – work beckons but I am still awaiting the inclination! I love the photos from your walk, especially of the ‘whomping willows’. They look enchanted and witch-like! The river is certainly very high. I hope we get some clearer weather soon, so that we can all venture out (and upwards) into the hills. A very Happy New Year to you and your family!

  9. Dorothy permalink
    January 2, 2014 12:57 pm

    happy New Year! I especially love your blog because I am a Scot abroad, albeit originally from Galloway rather than farther north.

    How I laughed when I saw your dog on the hearth; ours only aspire to getting that close!

  10. January 2, 2014 1:44 pm

    Happy new year, I hope 2014 is everything you want it too be

  11. January 2, 2014 10:04 pm

    Happy New Year!
    (That odd tree in the woods could either be the wild child or black sheep of the family? – you know, there’s always one who just has to be different.)
    Hibernating by the fire sounds great! Enjoy

  12. January 4, 2014 8:26 am

    Hibernating is good.

    Can your dog get any closer to the fire?? I came across some 1970s photos when we were at my father’s for Christmas. Our white cat lying just in front of the hearthstone, a ginger patch on his white fur – singed from the heat of the fire.

  13. January 5, 2014 10:53 am

    Happy New Year, DB. Your Westie has the right idea – stay snug by the fire until the winter is past. 🙂 I enjoyed your photos and am wondering whether the river is the Tay? Younger son is spot on with the whomping willows. Those ancient, gnarled trees so have a touch of magic about them…

  14. January 8, 2014 4:08 pm

    I do love to visit your blog…. your photos and story have made me feel like I have returned home… but I have yet to visit the land of my ancestors. Have a wonderful 2014!

  15. January 8, 2014 10:23 pm

    Thank you everyone for such warm-hearted comments! It’s lovely to hear from readers, whether faithful old friends or new readers, locals or those (including the Scots diaspora) from further afield.

    We sometimes suspect that our Westie is part-cat: he just loves warm spots and has a knack for finding them. This is his latest joy, climbing right into the enormous fireplace in the drawing room. Even briefly singing his nose on the grate has not put him off!

  16. January 14, 2014 9:46 am

    What a fitting way to spend New Year’s Day! The walk and seeing all of that awesome nature, then the perfect packed lunch (yummy), just to return to a warm fire. Pure bliss!

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