New Year’s Day, a time to celebrate the turn of another twelve months that will hopefully bring love and laughter to those who need it most. The sun always shines brighter in the eyes of those who had one or two refreshments too many the night before and the smell of soup or stovies simmering on the hob fills your nose. You breathe in the warmth and fill yer boots.
There are many traditions in our family that mark the start of a new year. However it’s the memories of Hogmanay from my childhood and trailing round with my parents into the wee small hours that always make me smile.
It was what we did. We would all dress up in our finest and head out the door. I always thought it was such a treat getting to stay up so late. The clink of the beer bottles held in carrier bags by my Dad would clang in time with our footfall as we made our way round the houses. Doorbells would chime and ‘Hullo theres’ would ring out amid a plethora of smooches as we entered the warmth of each house. Beery kisses from friends with moustaches and that’s just the women (I’m joking!) followed by ‘Oh Mary, they are getting so big and look SO like you’ and ‘Girls, do you want a packet of crisps and a juice?’ Aye. Magic.
Hours would pass while the adults partied on and we would play made up games, hide and seek or even sneakily go in to the lady of the houses wardrobe and try on her high heels. We would snigger as we posed in the stolen patent shoes and pretend we were on a cat walk. Amazing to a 8-year-old who just wanted to be tall. I still dream of being tall and I’m 41. I fear it may never happen but I live in hope.
There would always be a break in the proceedings for a bite to eat, the pineapple and pickle sticks never seemed to last that long! Steak pie, bowls of soup and the like, would appear from the kitchens and the music would be turned down a bit so they could munch in relative peace.
After bellys were full and glasses topped up the singing would commence. Come on Joe, this is your favourite etc. A few tears may be shed for missed loved ones if a particular sad song was chosen but round the room it went as everyone took their turn. My Mum would close her eyes, lift up her eye brows and belt our Patsy Cline or Billy Jo Spears as if her life depended on it. My Dad never sang but the occasional tables were always moved to the side so he could have a wee jive with my Mum. Rapturous applause regardless of your warble would always follow. A meeting of varied talent that just appreciated being together.
To stifle our boredom, we would sometimes be asked to serve drinks. From the hatch that went from the kitchen to the living room, we would ask what they would they would like and try our best to accommodate. This was back in the day when busty blondes and brunettes adorned the side of lager cans, so we always asked if they would like a Rhonda or a Tracy? Can you imagine doing that now? I am glad that the early 80’s were so long ago.
Normally around 3-4am we would hit a wall. We had played, sang, drank, munched and stealthily dressed up in the shoes that didn’t belong to us and now we needed our bed. Our parents were not of the same mind so we did what kids of that age always did in sleepy times – we found the furriest coat from the pile on the bed. We made ourselves comfy and fell asleep to doorbells ringing and the joyous welcome of ‘Come away in’ ringing through our ears.