Friday, 3 January 2014

Hogmanay Duan

Oidhche Choinnle, oidhche shona,
Oidhche air am bi loinn is sonas,
Maighdeanan a’ roinn nam bonnach,
Coinnlean a’ boillsgeadh soluis;
Chiream charam feadh an tighe,
So an tigh ’s am beil mo ghnothach,
’S chan eil romham dhol na’s fhaide! 
Candle-night, fortunate night,
Splendid and felicitous night,
Maidens distributing the bannocks,
Candles shining with their light;
Lots of bustle about the house,
This is the house where my errand lies,
And there’s no need for me to go further. 
MacTalla XI, October 17, 1902, translated by Catriona NicÌomhair Parsons

Bliadhna Mhath Ùr dhuibh uile!

Slàinte, sonas agus beartas dhuibh,
Bliadhna mhath ùr, agus mòran dhiubh.

Health, wealth and happiness to you,
Happy new year, and many of them.

Happy New Year!

The last month or so has been incredibly busy here, with the baking and decorating of copious amounts of cake and a long overdue trip to my hometown to catch up with friends and family, and (more importantly) attend my sister's wedding. An evening spent drinking massive amounts of chocolate-flavoured wine with my gracious host, Dyni – who so very kindly put us up at pretty short notice – and my dear friends Candleshoe and Mudrat (actual names withheld to protect the guilty. Heh) at least made up for the horrors of spending the best part of a day with my whole family in an enclosed space, and it was good to see my nan for the first time in three years. The wedding itself was lovely, though, and the vicar was hilariously stoned.

And with that done, there was the long trip home, and Christmas was just about upon us.

The winter has been pretty mild in terms of temperature, in spite of a cold start, but it's been extremely stormy, and even when it hasn't been howling with wind and rain outside, it's been pretty moody and grim:

But with plenty of rainbows to add a little variety:

We managed to make it home just before the worst of the storms hit, thankfully, and so we were able to spend Christmas Day with the in-laws and my now four-month-old great-niece.

Hogmanay was a quiet one, as usual. The kids decided to stay up and wait for the bells, and as per tradition, once the bells had rung and the toasts were made – with orange or apple juice, on the insistence of the kids – Mr Seren proudly announced that he hadn't had a shit since last year. He's a charmer, that's for sure.

As usual, we'd spent the day "redding" the house – cleaning and tidying and making sure everything was all as it should be. In the evening a feast was had, and once I'd taken a shower and was all set for the evening, we lit some candles and put them in the window and all along the mantlepiece to begin our festivities proper. Games were played, a chocolate yule log was consumed, and then the old year was laid to rest. Offerings were made, thanks were given, and the old year was swept out and the new year welcomed in. We put a silver penny out on the doorstep to see if the new year will be a prosperous one (it was still there in the morning, so it should's hoping). Then, for New Year's Day itself, it was off to the in-laws for the customary steak pie dinner and more cuddles with my great-niece.

And now thoughts are turning to the year ahead, in hope and wonderment at what it might bring for us; hopefully good things. Whatever it has in store for us on a personal level, it's sure to be an interesting one on a broader scale too, with the Scottish Referendum come September. Although I predict that "ridiculous" might also be a good adjective too, if the media coverage so far is anything to go by.