We twa hae run about the braes, and pu’d the gowans fine ; But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit, sin auld lang syne.

Long enough title?!

So here we are at the posterior end of 2010, another year having raced by like Red Rum, funny how they get faster as I get older...Did you all have a great Christmas? Wherever you're sitting reading this I hope that you did, and that 2011 brings you peace, health and happiness.....remember to make a life next year, not just a living.

Fiddling about with a contributory piece for an Irish paper yesterday, being asked to consider traditional customs and superstitious folklore in Ireland compared with today, naturally got me thinking about family times past.

Dermot and I loved Christmas, being only 2 kids in 60's and 70's Ireland meant we always did fairly well on the present front and Christmas Eve found 2 washed angels waiting for Da to come in after Midnight Mass, then bed. He always brought me a new pair of slippers in which he said the priest gave out at Communion, I believed it for years....I don't have the gullible tag for nothing!

Christmas Day was presents ripped open, Mass in new clothes from coat to shoes, dinner at home with whatever Grandparents were here, (Ma once offered 4 people the turkey leg- over tasting of the sherry for the trifle, actually I think she laced it with vodka)

Uncle John always calling just as we sat down, then preparations for The Party.  Always Christmas Night our house was the place for all the relations to head with Joe's drum kit, Da and John on Harmonica, Kay, Mary, Brother (not my brother, keep up) Josie and the accordian, and all us kids....we'd eat too much, make fingernails from candle wax (?!) and dread Kay singing "Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think...." because that meant it was about 4am and the end of the party, and the longest wait of the year for the next time....
But we're Irish, so New Year's Eve, John and Josie's Celbridge cottage, more singing, music, dressing up, and the traditions of the back door and the front door open to let out the old year and in with the new.  The youngest child with the black hair (yep, me) bringing in the piece of coal.....I truly hated that, as the coal house was next to the loo, miles up the bloody garden in the pitch black dark....

Memories are made of this as the song goes, I'm glad I have them all.

So, tonight what are you up to?  We shall be off at Midnight to the plaza in our village here in Spain, we have cava and grapes. The idea is to eat one grape and one sip of cava for every strike of the Church bell at midnight.  This is harder than it sounds, strangely, I have no problem....

Red knickers must be worn for good luck, then we shall dance Pasa Doble badly with the outdoor live band and  drink and eat until the wee hours depending on how cold it is!

So, wherever you are, whatever you do, friends old and new:
'Athbhliain faoi mhaise dhuit'
"Feliz Año Nuevo"
"Happy New Year"
"Blwyddyn Newydd Dda" 

I think that covers all the places I have lived! Happy 2011 everybody!!