An old friend arrived to share New Year with us…when I say old I know she’ll be offended, but I’ve known this friend since college days. We were the last two remaining students to struggle on with mathematics as our main subject. In our third year we chose religious education and spent a wonderful time visiting churches in Norfolk, observing the rich heritage of artwork and architecture and it’s hidden layers of meaning. It seemed a pleasure, hardly work, to study Christian Iconography. (later in life I would appreciate the rich artwork of other cultures too) I’m really not sure why I didn’t study English, which I subsequently focused on in my teaching and writing. I’d loved the subject at school and remember with warmth my wonderful English teacher.
Back to the present – my friend and I have always kept in touch over the thirty some odd years, sometimes by coincidence even living in the same town until she returned to her home county of Kent.
So we shared New Year together, since she would have been on her own and was also inquisitive as to my new life here in Scotland. I picked her up at Kinghorn station as the light was fading, but the bay was still beautiful, not quite pitch black.
We chattered for a couple of hours non stop, as you do, then prepared ourselves for the Hogmonnay at The Kingswood Hotel, up on Burtisland Road. I was a bit nervous about attending a Ceilidh in Scotland, after all they take dancing very seriously here, but after we’d enjoyed a wonderful supper, arriving a little late because my husband could not get away from work any earlier, the fun began. I was relieved, as we stumbled through a couple of dances, that others were doing so too. There were a couple of points when the caller despaired, but there were also moments of magic when the right pairs grouped together and all ran smoothly….It was a pleasure to watch those who were proficient as kilts flew and footsteps skimmed the floor as they twirled and skipped.
Everyone was friendly, welcoming the strangers in their midst, and as midnight approached we headed out for the terrace where we watched fireworks, courtesy of Edinburgh across the water!
The danger of New Year is to look forward too much and predict what the future might hold. We certainly welcomed 2014 with enthusiasm, whatever it may bring.
Strangely enough, in watching another group dance to perfection after the New Year I remembered that I had also taught country dancing once long ago and my group of children took part successfully in a dancing festival. Maybe, I was better teaching it than doing it myself or maybe I was just out of practice…there’s a lesson in there somewhere.
All in all though, our first Scottish New Year was a pleasure and we were certainly living the moment. I couldn’t help but wonder though, what this small but unique country will be thinking in a year’s time after the all important vote for or against independence. Whatever happens I wish the people well. It’s a very special place!