Hogmanay 2019

Christmas has come and gone. I am relieved on one score at least – no more Christmas music with its abundance of glockenspiel tricking me into thinking I’m getting a tonne of WhatsApp messages.

Around this time of year, during the inbetweeny-bit, a strange compulsion comes on me – to clean my living space, and tidy things. I suspect it’s a pagan tradition, but every year I succumb. 

Mon 30 Dec

I set about it with vigour. Bags for the charity shop, the Recycling Facility and the bin (quite a number of socks in the latter) were filled. Older clothes, even those with precious memories attached, were ruthlessly discarded.

I even changed the bed linen.

Two hours in, the scale of the task was becoming apparent, but with bulging sacks and a vacuum cleaner – taking momentary respite from its endeavours – littering the hallway… as Van said many a time, it was too late to stop now. Out with the old, in with the new.


The purge complete, I flicked through a ski brochure online, trying to decide if I have the time and money to fit in a second ski trip this winter. I don’t, but I’m figuring out if this is a non-negotiable situation.

My niece and nephew no.1 bought me the most elegant trilby hat I’ve ever known for Christmas. It’s yellow, and covered in gold sequins. It will make the perfect accessory for this evening’s Hogmanay celebrations. 

A thought occurred. I realised I hadn’t seen the trilby hat for a while.

Panic momentarily set in, before I located it in the laundry bin, where it had probably fallen during a particularly frenzied dusting episode.

Freshly showered and shaven, wearing a shirt not necessarily clean, but freshly-ironed, I closed the browser, clamped the trilby – smelling faintly of stale underpants – on my head, and set off to the party, clutching a few beers, a half-full bottle of Jack Daniels, and a packet of stripy doughnuts.

New Year’s Day

Sometime after 3pm I climbed into my car, after an evening, night and morning spent in the company of some truly great friends. The Jack D a little emptier than it was… the doughnuts, however, still intact.

When I plug my phone into the car stereo, sometimes the System remembers what I was last listening to and picks up where we left off.

Sometimes it chooses a random song instead. Today it pulled up the near-forgotten Natalie Merchant. 

Maybe it’s the time of year, the wispy melancholy that pervades a grey New Year’s Day, the contented tiredness from a Ligretto session that began before the bells and ended shortly before 3am, but Natalie Merchant’s liquid-silk vocals prove to be a serendipitous choice.

Farewell today // Travel on now // Be on your way

Go safely there // Never worry // Never care // Beyond this day

Raising a glass to you all, wishing you a year of hopes & dreams fulfilled. Here’s to great friends that make the world a great place to be.

Thank you for reading my random musings in 2019! 


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