“Welcome one and all to the final Blog of the year! My husband Duncan, ever helpful in matters related to ‘Cook-Inn’, wanted to help this week by telling folk all about the ancient Scots tradition of ‘First-Footing’. Him having come down with the cold just last night, in his place I will relate for you all the way it works to the best of my (English) ability. On New Year’s Day, the first visitor to one’s home is said to be significant. It is hoped that it will be a tall, dark stranger – usually male – hopefully wearing a kilt. He will be ideally carrying a ‘dram’ of whiskey and a piece of coal, to light your fire and drive away the cold. Lots of young men (and not a few kilted women) have been dropped a few quid beforehand to engage in this practice over the centuries, to ‘ensure’ good fortunes to the household in question. Superstition, of course; but generally seen more as a bit of cultural fun than anything.
Of course, the ‘Whiskey’ could be any drink – tea, brandy, water, as along as you don’t tell everyone what is in your flask. And the ‘coal’ might be symbolized in a number of ways, seeing as a lot of people have central heating now. Maybe part of the fun for modern players is to re-interpret the idea.
That said, I wrote this little missive in humour last night, for inclusion in the Blog – after spending two whole hours packing up fruit and veg in Granton Church, while Clive the Chef cooked soup in the kitchen. He insisted on putting reams of onion into the main pot, although he always makes me a separate little pot of lovely allergen-free soup. I believe this is because he wishes to make sure the food is tasty and safe for everyone. Trust me, though, folks…the smell (to me) was nauseating!”
Letter to Sir Humphrey Appleby, Gen. Sec. to the P.M. 30th December 2018. From somewhere in East Lothian…
Dear Sir, I’m really sorry to be writing this complaint.
I re-a-lise that I have never been viewed as a saint.
But in these times of policies and political correctness,
I feel there is an issue here, and all of you forget this.
I’ll be minding my own business, maybe down there at the docks,
And some old lady waiting there, sees me, and gets a shock.
And what’s she do, but holler, for some helpers well-endowed?
Next thing I know, I’ll be enveloped in a garlic cloud!
We have marked-out parking spaces, for the differently-able.
We have numerous legislation to ensure their jobs are stable.
We have loos for the disabled, with a very special key.
But what I’d like to know is, will you cater, now, for me?
For garlic is an allergen, as some now will attest.
I always thought, a mediocre garnish, at its best.
And to have it in my atmosphere, just ’cause you want to scoff,
Is tantamount to saying, ‘Here, you, vampire; b***er off’!
I was brought here first, in Whitby, by a very pleasant bloke.
If I remember right, his name was something like ‘Bram Stoker’.
This means I am a Brit; and I am proud of this great nation.
So, to banish me to Transylvania? That’s discrimination!
We defend all sorts of people, be they coloured black or white.
All those who rise up with the day; and some who rise at night.
But us, the Velvet children, ever left out in the cold…
Are standing up now, for our rights. You’ve taught us to be bold!
Where, once, we hid in shadows; now we march by light of day.
UV allergies can’t get us if a brolly’s in the way.
We’ll all prepare a packed lunch, in case children find us sinister.
And we’ll take our big petition to the door of the Prime Minister!
And so you see, dear Sir, we are a group that won’t be beaten.
Protests will disappear, once the protagonists are eaten.
And maybe, once the garlic’s banned, we won’t make a sharp exit.
We could stay, and form a Trade Deal here, once you complete your Brexit!
God bless, all – and a Happy New Year!
-Janine (vampire in allergy but not in deed). Attachments area