The Daft Days! Concluded Hogmanay

Author:  shesings [ Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:50 pm ]
Post subject:  The Daft Days! Concluded Hogmanay

:D A plot bunny came to me in a dream, probably caused by one too many mince pies! There are a couple of references in the Austrian books to Miss Wilson spending the Christmas and New Year holidays with Con Stewart's family. I wondered what she, and Hilda, would make of the New Year festivities as they were in the Dundee of my childhood (late 40s/early50s).

Nell Wilson woke slowly from a dream where she was bound fast, unable to move as something sharp pierced her upper leg. Where on earth was she? This was not her bed and why was she pressed hard against this unfamiliar wall in this gloomy room?

Suddenly memory came flooding back...........................

“Nell, Hilda, over here!!” Dr Meg Kelly's clear voice cut through the noise of trains releasing steam, the shouts of busy railway workers and the greetings of countless reunions. Gratefully, Nell Wilson and Hilda Annersley struggled towards the sound and embraced their friend.

“Is this all your luggage? Good, I've a taxi waiting at the top of the stairs.” said Meg, expertly elbowing her way through the crush.

Once their cases were stowed in the back of the black cab and they could sit back, Meg frowned. “You both look tired. Was it a rough journey?”

“We've had worse!” said Nell with a weary grin. “Not a sleeper to be had for love or money, of course, and our compartment was crowded. Still, it was lively enough! We had a singsong, accompanied by a rather good melodeon player, as it happens, and everyone was very friendly. We could have been extremely drunk if we had taken up a quarter of the offers to ' have a wee dram to keep the cold out'.”

“Or ended up missing our stop and landing in Aberdeen!” giggled Hilda, who felt light-headed from lack of sleep.

“Now there's a fate worse than death.” laughed Meg. “Yes, the Scot travelling home for the New Year is a hospitable beast. Just be thankful you were on the overnight train and not one of the daytime specials! A couple of years ago, the last train from London got stuck in a snowdrift on the Fife side. Passengers for Dundee, and round about, got off and walked over the bridge, the rest trooped off and first footed people in Wormit and on some of the farms. Apparently a good time was had by all! And here we are.”

The taxi drew up outside an attractive terrace and they were soon in Meg's tiny but welcoming flat. After a necessary wash and brush up and a light breakfast, Hilda and Nell were delighted to crawl into an ample bed settee and were soon deeply asleep.

It was already growing dark when they both woke, but Meg laughed off their apologies. “A good long sleep is just what I would have prescribed for you both. I have no idea when or where we will next lay our heads down. I know you have spent Hogmanay in Scotland before, Nell, but that was the Highlands, and, from what you say, a big house. This is different! Now, just let me do the dishes, change your sheets, rake out the ashes and get the rubbish emptied and we can get down the road to Ma's. She's really determined that you will have a good tightener before we go out!”

And she swept the cups and saucers onto a tray and off to the sink leaving her guests to look at each other in some apprehensive bemusement, wondering what peculiar form of torture could constitute a 'tightener'.......

Author:  Lesley [ Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days!

Now this does look good! :lol:

Author:  cestina [ Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days!

Ooh that sounds different.....awaiting events with great anticipation :D

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days!

This certainly does sound excellent... I can't wait to see what's in store for them! (Half my family are Scottish, but I've never really understood what goes on up there for New Year - largely because nobody can ever remember the night to tell me :lol:)

Author:  shesings [ Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days!

Thanks, all! And I hope this helps you connect with your roots, Ariel! It's not much like this nowadays, in Dundee anyway!

By this time, Nell had realised that the sharp implement stabbing her was a twisted suspender and that her movement was limited because she was sharing the bed with at least three other people, Meg's youngest sister, Kate, being the only one she could identify. Her dress, cardigan and stockings were neatly folded, along with several other piles of clothes, on top of a chest of drawers so she set her mind to working out how she could safely get out of the bed without rousing its slumbering inhabitants.

Meg's parents had welcomed their daughter's English friends warmly, though her father's “Please excuse me receiving you in my galluses, ladies, but I'm just going up to clean Granny's windows. Should have been done earlier but Morton's queue was halfway up the Wellgate when I got there.” left them completely confused.

Meg explained “Mortons are the local licensed victuallers and Dad pays weekly into their Hogmanay Club. With spirits still being in short supply it's useful, because they see their regulars get what's available. Mickey usually cleans Granny's window but he's been dressing herring for Betty White's stall.” Nell and Hilda decided not to question this last remark, but both wondered why on earth herrings needed to be dressed.

The 'tightener' proved to be nothing more dangerous than a delicious meal comprising a tasty lamb and vegetable broth, apparently called 'kail', a dish of savoury minced meat with fluffy dumplings and a bowl of creamy blancmange.

Meg's mother, a slightly built women, maybe looking older than her fifty five years but with a twinkle in her eye, and an obvious pride in her eldest daughter, set it down to them with the admonition “Eat it up, it'll put a lining on your stomach. Oh, and try to keep eating during the night, by the way!”

“Where's Kate, Ma?” enquired Meg. “I thought you were letting her come out with us this year?”

“Oh, she's getting out and she's very thrilled about it,” was the reply, “but she was helping Granny and Auntie Bella with their messages and cleaning – she's a dab hand at the brasses, the bairn – so she's gone up to Pat's house for a bath. She'll not be long. Oh here, Meg, while you're in, can you reach down that old calendar next to the press? I'll put that bonny one with the views of the Great Lakes, that Auntie Maggie Ellen sent, up there.”

Meg carefully placed the new calendar with its face to the wall. Seeing the surprised looks of Hilda and Nell, she smiled. “It's just another of the Hogmanay customs. Old calendars down, new calendars face to the wall until after the Bells, everything polished and cleaned to within an inch of its life, all the rubbish, including the ashes, being taken out to the bin just before midnight, laying in enough food and drink to stand a siege, welcoming anyone who comes to your door on New Year's Day. And Ma, I have sinned! I have changed the sheets for Nell and Hilda but, as they didn't wake until about five, it was too late for a bagwash and I would never have got a machine at the washie.”

“Just this once, you are forgiven!” said Ma, with a grin, “but for any favour don't tell either of your grannies or we'll never hear the end of it. Anyhow, I can hear Kate so you'll be able to get off soon! Not that you have far to go before midnight.”

A sweet faced thirteen year old breezed into the room, handed her mother a tin with a casual “the shortie from Eileen, Ma”, hugged her big sister and shook hands politely, if shyly, with the guests.

Da arrived at that moment. “You'll need to wrap up really warm tonight, ladies, I wouldn't be surprised if we get a bit of snow. When I was cleaning the Old Lady's window, I nearly stuck to the sill. You know, she was too tight to give me a cushion to park my ..”

“Patrick, watch your language!” roared Ma, “ And your mother will have just put the new cushion covers on today and she wouldn't want them dirtied with your working trousers!”

“Right, that's it, we're off!” said Meg, giving both parents a quick hug. “We'll see you two next year sometime so a Happy New Year when it comes!”

“ And watch what you're offered at the Bells!” roared Da as they left. “That auld rogue, Lisa Keenan, has been collecting empty bottles round the back of The Old Bank Bar for months. The stuff she puts in them could blind you!”

Nell looked at Hilda. Hilda looked at Nell. This could be a very interesting night!

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days!

"Interesting" being the operative word there, methinks :lol: Thankyou for this drabble - 'tis mightily interesting! And no, not much like the family I know...

Author:  shazwales [ Tue Dec 28, 2010 9:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days!

This looks fun ,looking forward to the next bit :)

Author:  Abi [ Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days!

This looks fun... :D

Author:  JS [ Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days!

This is great - the only thing strange to me (a Dundonian) so far is the 'tightener'. Lots of the other things are bringing smiles of recognition - must print it out for Dad :)

Author:  MaryR [ Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days!

Just found this, shesings, and was as bemused as Hilda and Nell by the *strange language*. :lol: Looks like I'm going to be learning as much about your New Year customs as they will.

Thank you. :wink:

Author:  shesings [ Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days!

Thanks, all! JS, I can send you a .doc of this piece, which was supposed to be short but appears to have a mind of its own! I'll try to explain where necessary in the drabble, without being clunky, but just to say 'the close' has nothing to do with cathedrals but is the common entry to a tenement block of flats

Gingerly, and very carefully, Nell turned slightly and slithered down the bed, gambling that she could slide over the brass bed end without getting stuck. There was one fraught moment when her suspender belt caught on a brass knob and she thought, 'Why on earth didn't I take the wretched thing off, when I seem to have managed my other clothes.” She gasped slightly as her feet touched the icy linoleum but dressed as quickly as possible and walked very quietly to the door, her mind still full of pictures of a very eventful few hours.

Meg, Nell, Hilda and young Kate came out of the close into a street scene that left Nell and Hilda open-mouthed. There seemed to be hundreds of people milling round, wearing silly hats and crowding round the stalls which lined both sides of the narrow old street.

“Right” said Meg, decisively. “First thing we do is get some first footing gifts. If we leave it till the pubs shut it will be bedlam, and we'll miss the best. And, yes, all right, Kate, we'll get hats and streamers, too, just to get us in the mood!”

The next couple of hours passed in a whirl of choosing, buying, laughing and chatting to perfect strangers. Hats were procured, all four opting for the Glengarry style with “Kiss Me Quick” on the side. Black puddings disguised as Loch Ness Monsters, wrapped lucky parcels costing one or two shillings and several very attractive home made calendars joined the bottles of sherry, whisky and blackcurrant cordial already in the sturdy bags each carried.

“It's always as well to have lots of first foots” Meg cautioned them as Hilda was debating whether to purchase a seriously bedizened, horseshoe shaped, white pudding. “I've known the boys having to nip back to Ma's about 5 in the morning to grab some oranges, or a string of onions, because they had run short. If we don't need them all during the night, they'll do a turn later on.”

Nell and Hilda were particularly enchanted with their dressed herrings which turned out to be filleted fish clothed in elaborate costumes of crepe paper and tinsel. Having been assured that these were very acceptable, and particularly lucky, gifts, Nell bought a sailor and Hilda a flower seller while Meg bought a beautiful bride and Kate a crinoline lady.

The bars duly closed at 9.30pm but, rather to the surprise of Nell and Hilda, apart from having a tendency to burst into song, usually a sentimental ditty about “The Year That's Awa”, very few people seemed to be the worse for drink. Nell mentioned this to Meg.

“That's because it's considered very oary – that is several degrees below 'common as dirt', by the way – to be too drunk to see the New Year in. You miss all the fun, food and free drink, apart from anything else, so even those who come staggering out of The Vaults every Saturday night manage to stay upright on Hogmanay!”

The earlier 'tightener' was topped up with a visit to the buster stand, where they each had a saucer of chips and peas. Hilda looked a little doubtful about this mixture but had to admit that it was very tasty.

“Though I did worry when I saw that lady plunge the saucers and spoons into the hot water with her bare hands. It looks painful, and not really very hygienic” she confided to Meg.

“Strange as it might seem, the Public Health folk give the buster stand one of the highest cleanliness ratings in the city, even higher than some of the big hotels. The De Gernier family have had that stall for more than fifty years and there has never been a reported case of food poisoning.

Of course,” chimed in Nell, “if that soapy water is always at boiling point, everything will quickly air dry. But her hands must be made of leather!”

By this time they were just on the edge of the City Square where thousands of people were laughing, singing or dancing to the music of the Scottish Country Dance Band.

“Do you think anybody will climb the tree this year, Meg?” said Kate excitedly. Hilda and Nell looked at the huge, brilliantly lit, Christmas tree, towering above them and shuddered.

“Oh heavens, I hope not!” groaned Meg. “I am always on hecklepins when they do that in case they fall. I know they have very good St Andrews Ambulance people here but I couldn't possibly leave it all to them if there was an accident. If anyone manages to slip the slops and get up there, let's hope the daft basket gets down safely and soon. They get away with it if they are down before midnight” she added to Nell and Hilda, “but if they keep the police hanging about when the Square has cleared, the only first-footing they'll be doing is to the custody sergeant in Bell Street! ”

Nell pondered what 'slip the slops' might mean and decided, correctly, that it meant evading the police. This was confirmed a short time later when there was a chase and scuffle under the tree and a young man was carted off, to good natured jeers and banter from the crowd.

Soon it was five minutes to midnight and even more thousands seemed to swell the crowd in and around the Square. A hush spread, the City Church bells began the chime, a rocket streaked high into the night sky, the Bells tolled the hour, cheers and hats rose from the crowd and “A Guid New Year” boomed from the loudspeakers. Nell and Hilda found themselves kissed, hugged and wished “Happy New Year”, not just by Meg, Kate, but by young Mickey, the herring dresser, all his friends and really everyone elsewithin reach. They were also offered several 'wee nips' but, mindful of Da's warnings, they managed to fake drinking from the bottle.

“Right, Ma's to start with,” called Meg and they joined the throng of people streaming out of the Square to start the long night of first footing!

Author:  PaulineS [ Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days!

Thanks, I am surprised at how much I can understand, "slip the slops" was the only term I did not know so I was pleased Nell explained it.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days!

They do all seem to be having fun - it sounds like a brilliant night! Thankyou!

Author:  JS [ Thu Dec 30, 2010 10:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days!

Saw this last night but decided to save it for breakfast reading. Slip the slops was a new one on me too! I like the way you're slipping in translations - for Hilda and Nell's benefit, of course! You're also very much bringing back memories of Hogmanay in the City Square in the early 80s, although I don't think the dressed herring stalls were still around then!

Author:  shesings [ Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days!

I am hoping to get this finished before the Bells but as tomorrow and the next few days will be busy (but not as lively as in former days, she says with a sigh!) who knows? Apart from for the Octocentenary celebrations, JS, I don't think they've done the herring since the sixties. And we've lost a lot of those short pithy phrases, too. "The Back of Schiehallion" is to Scotland and the wider world. Schiehallion is a conical mountain in Perthshire so everywhere is considered to be at its back!

Nell opened the door and found herself in a tiny lobby. With some relief, she realised that she was in the Kelly home and not in one of the confusing number of flats and houses she had visited in the early hours. She stood for a minute trying to recall exactly where she had been, what she had eaten and what on earth she had been drinking!

“Are we racing Mickey and his friends to your parents' home, Meg?” said a breathless Hilda as they hurried along the Overgate.

“Not this time,” replied Meg. “They are off to Auntie Jessie. Uncle Joe is a tram driver and he's working. The trams run until about one so that people from the outlying districts can get home. We always make sure he doesn't have to be his own first foot. It's unlucky to have the householder, or really anyone who lives in the house, over the threshold first. And speaking of bad luck, Nell, I'm afraid that you cannot go first into any house unless we are sure they've already had a first foot!”

“Why ever not?” said Nell in a disappointed tone.

“It's your red hair, Miss Wilson!” piped up Kate. “That's very unlucky. Miss Annersley will be fine though, especially with a bit of coal and a herring!”

Hilda duly knocked at the Kelly's door which was opened with a flourish by Mr Kelly, his braces now hidden under the jacket of a smart suit.

The welcome was as warm as before though the kitchen cum living room cum parental bedroom had been transformed. New curtains graced the window, bed recess and entrance to the tiny scullery, the brass companion set gleamed on the hearth, and fresh antimacassars, sleeves and cushions graced armchairs and sofa. The table was spread with an immaculate white damask cloth and laden with sandwiches, sausage rolls, cheese, shortbread, several different kinds of cake and an intriguing round pastry concoction. A small card table was covered with an embroidered cloth and held an array of bottles and shiny glasses of various sizes.

Mr Kelly provided drinks and toasts were made to the company, to absent friends and to the Back of Schiehallion. Mrs Kelly offered soup, steak pie, sandwiches, Hilda proffered a gift wrapped lump of coal, a round cake of shortbread and her dressed herring. As she supped her soup, and sipped the very acceptable whisky, Nell laughingly apologised for her red hair, but added she often forgot about it as it was now hiding behind the white.

The doorbell rang several times in the next few minutes and host and hostess were kept busy. Kate was anxious to be her grandmother's first foot so the quartet and Mr Kelly walked up the two flights of stairs to the single end attic where his mother lived.

The old lady, who the Chalet mistresses knew was in her late eighties, was still sprightly and had a lively sense of humour. The tiny one room apartment was spotless and the table groaned with the same array of goodies as in her son's home.

The round pasty concoction was in evidence.

“That's Auntie Bella's Black Bun” said Meg. “ It's delicious but very rich and heavy!”

“Eh”, sniffed Granny Kelly, “and if it doesn't go through you in twenty four hours, you're doomed!”

“Mither! Behave yersel!” , “Granny, you are awful!”, “Granny, not in front of company!”, came the roars from her family as Hilda and Nell collapsed with laughter.

“Ach, away ye go!” said Granny. “Hilda and Nell are not company – they're freens! Am I right?” nodding, with a grin, to the two women.

“ Of course!” they chorused

As Nell said to Hilda later, “I wasn't entirely sure what 'freens' were but it sounded like a good thing to be!”

A brief visit back to the Kelly home to collect coats and bags, and shake hands with several more people, and it was downstairs and into the next close to first foot Auntie Bella. That worthy already had quite a few visitors but was very pleased to see them. Drinks, more food and much singing ensued!

After that the night was something of a blur. More houses, more hugs, more music, more food, more drinks, more gifts presented and a series of interesting, if disjointed, conversations covering everything from the National Health Service and the fate of post-war Poland to football and the latest films. “The Hasty Heart” was a great favourite and Nell and Hilda were regaled with tales of its lead actor, Richard Todd, and his days at the local repertory theatre.

In Meg's Auntie Rose's house, her son, a kilted Black Watch soldier, played the Highland pipes, alternating lively reels and jigs with heart melting slow airs.

“What will the neighbours say?” asked Nell after one particularly vigorous Strip the Willow.

“Not a flaming thing!”, laughed Meg, “They are all in here! And even if they weren't, it's not considered the right thing to complain about a neighbour's noisy party at New Year!”

The streets were still busy and groups exchanged hugs and good wishes and the odd dram. At some point they had collected three people who seemed to have run out of nearby friends and relatives but two of them had been left sleeping peacefully under a blanket on the floor of Meg's oldest brother's house. The other seemed to have stayed the course a bit better as Nell rather thought she was one of the sleepers in the back bedroom.

Which brought her to another thing which had been nagging at the back of her mind since she woke. At what point in the proceedings had she managed to mislay Hilda?

Author:  PaulineS [ Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Updated 30/12/10

really Nell
At what point in the proceedings had she managed to mislay Hilda?

How could you do that! :lol: :lol:
Hope Nell finds Hilda soon. I am sure Hilda is not lost, but knows where she is.

Thanks for the update.

Author:  Lesley [ Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Updated 30/12/10

Love that casual thought there Nell! :lol:

Thanks shesings - this is wonderful

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Thu Dec 30, 2010 9:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Updated 30/12/10

:lol: Oh my what an ending!


Author:  Abi [ Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Updated 30/12/10

:lol: Excellent!

Author:  JS [ Fri Dec 31, 2010 11:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Updated 30/12/10

My dad was brought up in a flat in Roseangle, very like the one you describe - and I suspect not a million miles away from your setting?
Thanks Shesings - have a good night tonight.

Author:  shesings [ Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Updated 30/12/10

Sorry all , but you are not going to find out Hilda's fate yet. :devil: Maybe this year if I get a moment later on! This is a wee bit more serious with a little bit of background on how Meg and the Chalet School duo met. JS, I see the Kellys living in 'a guid land' in the Overgate, Auntie Rose in the Westport and brother Pat being in Perth Road just the town side of Seabraes, so pretty near Roseangle!

Having worked out which door was the right one, Nell opened it slowly and looked in. Ma Kelly was just taking a large pot over to the stove.

“Good afternoon, Nell, how are you? Just let me put these tatties down and I'll get the kettle on for a cup of tea. Or maybe you'd prefer a hair of the dog? Patrick and the boys are away to the match so we'll have peace for a wee while. They've Wee Pat with them so they should behave themselves! Meg walked up with them so she could get her first foot seeing you never got the length in the morning.”

“I think I might have had my quota of alcohol for this year already so a cup of tea would be wonderful, thank you, Maggie!” The use of first names had been established when the year was minutes old and Nell relished the relaxed atmosphere.

“Ach, you'll feel better once you've had your tea - the Daft Days are only just begun! Tonight, everybody will be here, tomorrow night it's Rosie's, then it's my brother Tom's, and your last night will be Auntie Bella's. Young Pat and Eileen are disappointed you'll be away for their party. It's their turn to do the finisher but that's not till next Saturday. Try a bit of Eileen's shortbread, she is a lovely baker. Everybody's November and December ration and the two tins of butter in the American parcel went into it. And tell me how you are enjoying your New Year so far?”

Nell sipped her tea and sampled the shortbread which melted on her tongue. “It's been just incredible. The welcome and hospitality that we've been shown by your family and friends has been beyond words.”

“I'm glad of that but it's our pleasure, you know. We are all very grateful to you and Hilda for everything you did for Meg when she was stationed down your way during the War. It isn't easy being a lady doctor at any time and I don't believe the Royal Army Medical Corps knew what to make of one, especially from her background, or not at first, anyway. You'll know that they wanted her to go for a permanent commission when she was in Germany?”

“Yes, she told me that but it was no surprise” said Nell. “When she was seconded to the Russell Sanatorium to look after the troops during that TB outbreak at the base, Sir James asked her to consider joining the staff after the War. And Jem Russell thinks the Rights of Women consist of being smiled at tolerantly and told not to worry your pretty little head about grown-up things!”

“Aye, I don't think Meg was that stuck on him. Very clever, but patronising and arrogant, she said!” returned that lady's mother as Nell nodded in agreement. Maggie's face grew serious “She did tell me that if she hadn't been able to go to you when we lost Martin she doesn't know what she might have done.”

Nell followed Maggie's gaze to the silver framed photograph which sat in pride of place on the sideboard. It showed a smiling young airman, wearing the insignia of a Sergeant Pilot.

“They were always close, you know, just the year between them, and nobody worked harder than Martin did to put his sister through the academy and the university. She won every bursary and scholarship open to her but it was still a hard row for us. Big Pat went back to sea, Young Pat and Alex chipped in a tenth of their pay – and they were getting paid sweeties at that time, I can tell you – Stella had a paper round and there was Martin, his own job, when he could get one, plus a milk round in the mornings, soaper in the barber's after work on Thursday and Friday, and all day Saturday. Not that Meg was idle herself, she had three part time jobs until her final year when we all insisted she concentrate on her exams. And she vowed she'd put Martin through his commercial pilot's training and see that the young ones get the education they want. And she's kept to it with them.”

The two women sat for several minutes in thoughtful and companionable silence.

“ I wonder when the other sleeping beauties will surface?” said Maggie suddenly. “I'm expecting that young lassie's brother and his wife down to collect her but they haven't appeared yet. Stella and her pals didn't go to bed till well after eight but Kate went when you did, almost straight after church..!

“Church? Church!?” interrupted Nell, her hands going to her head. “Oh glory be, I thought I had dreamt that bit! Oh, no! Please, Maggie, tell me the conga line was a dream?”

Author:  MaryR [ Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Updated Hogmanay

Hah! What HAS she been up to? :shock: Makes me even more curious about Hilda's fate. :lol:

Nice to have more background about Meg, though. I'm sure Hilda and Nell were a real help to her after such a tragedy.

Thanks, shesings.

Author:  Lesley [ Fri Dec 31, 2010 8:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Updated Hogmanay

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Poor Nell - in time the memories will return - unfortunately

Author:  shesings [ Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Updated Hogmanay

The last chapter as I know I won't get back to the computer till Sunday evening, at the earliest. Because New Year's Day, the Octave of Christmas, was a Holiday of Obligation, the Catholic Churches scheduled Masses at midnight, 5am, 6am, 7am, 8am etc. so that people could fulfil their duty. 6am at the Cathedral always had a good turnout and, apparently, quite often a party ensued in the street outside! And a Guid New Year when it comes to all CBBers and their loved ones.

Maggie Kelly roared with laughter at Nell's stricken face. “Sorry Nell, the conga line was no dream! You went dutifully to six o'clock Mass with Meg, Kate, and a few others. It seems you came out full of fizz and suggested a conga. Ended up with about a hundred people, including a couple of policeman, dancing along the road. I don't know your exact route but the Nethergate, Mid Kirk Style, Tay Street, Thorter Row and Long Wynd have been mentioned.”

“Oooohhhhh, what will Hilda say?” wailed Nell. “And, goodness, where on earth is Hilda? I can't remember when and where I last saw her.”

“I don't think Hilda is going to be in any position to pass remarks on your doings, hen!” chuckled Maggie. “Just after you went off to church, Big Pat was singing 'Dark Lochnagar', so Hilda responded with another bit of Byron, 'She Walks in Beauty', Granny Kelly chipped in with a bit of Yeats, wee Mary gave us one of her own , Bella sang a suffragette song and between song, poetry and politics they were having a rare old time. A bunch of them, including Hilda, went off to Auntie Bella's to look at the press cuttings of her various campaigns and arrests – she was forever getting lifted in the old days.”

“Oh, and she slept down there?” said a relieved Nell, making a mental note to find out more about the interesting Auntie Bella's criminal record.

“Well, it wasn't quite as simple as that.” confessed Maggie. “She would probably have come back here safely but Stan the Pole was with them.”

“That sad faced man who came over here in '39 and works in the dry cleaners?” said a puzzled Nell. “He was lovely and we had a great chat. How on earth did he stop her?”

“Stan's New Year bottle is always what he calls Polish spirit which he claims he gets through the Polish Club. The rumour is that he distils it himself, from potato peelings, using the odd smells round the shop to disguise the fumes, and it is vicious – you'd be scared to teem it down the sink in case it burned through the pipes! When we have to take a drink, for politeness, from him, we use the tiny liqueur glasses the bairns gave us for our Silver Wedding.

Howinever, he offered Hilda a drink and topped up her tumbler. She took a sip, said “That's really very refreshing!” and, before Pat or Bella could stop her, she knocked back the lot, smiled very sweetly and, very gracefully, slid off her chair. Granny Kelly says she's never seen anybody pass out with such elegance and class!”

“Oh my God, is she all right?” gasped Nell caught between concern and a desire to giggle.

“Oh, she'll be fine when she wakes up. They carried her into the room, the women put her to bed and Meg examined her when she came back with you. She looked in on her again just before she went up to her own place and says she probably won't even have a headache.”

Reassured, Nell gave vent to her suppressed laughter.

“Now”', said Maggie when they had recovered a bit. “You nip into the scullery and have a freshen up. Meg said she'll bring clean clothes down for you to save you walking up the brae and she 'll not be long.”


Nell Wilson climbed carefully into the upper berth of the sleeping compartment in the train and settled herself comfortably. She glanced at her watch. “Do you realise, Hilda, that this is the first time this year we have managed to get to bed on the same day as we rose!”

Hilda finished cleaning her teeth and leaned on Nell's berth. “Yes, we have rather stepped it out, haven't we? Can you remember how many parties we attended?”

“Good heavens, no! I'd lost count on by about three o'clock on New Year's morning. It was good, though.”

“Indeed it was,” laughed Hilda, “though I am not sure I could manage it every year! I think it takes a long training to be able to cope with that abundance of celebration, food and drink.”

“Well, if you will insist on trying 150 proof illicit hooch,” began Nell “Ouch! That stung! Flicking a towel is not seemly behaviour for a respectable headmistress, Miss Annersley.”

“It was meant to sting!” snapped Hilda, “One more word from you about my unfortunate experience, Miss Wilson, and we'll go on to discuss just how seemly it is for a headmistress on her way home from church to be inviting uniformed members of the constabulary to dance with her in the street!”

“But, Hilda, they enjoyed it! I do hope the smaller one realised he had tinsel wrapped round his truncheon before the sergeant saw him. No, of course, that wasn't me! I think it was Kate, the little monkey.”

“She's another bright one, isn't she? I always suspected that Meg Kelly's family would be worth meeting though I must admit I never thought that I would find myself enjoying the company of a woman who once went to jail for throwing a snowball at Winston Churchill!”

“Auntie Bella is a woman of principle! She was a suffragette, he was opposed to women having the vote so she smacked his hat off with a snowball! Anyway, she told me she didn't mind going to prison for her beliefs!”

“Just as well she didn't! Big Pat told me he was glad to see the Forties out because it broke the pattern. Auntie Bella hadn't been imprisoned since she had got into a fight with the Blackshirts in the early thirties. She had been jailed at least once in every decade since the Eighteen Eighties!”

“What a woman!” said Nell sleepily. “Now, tomorrow is also a day and we have business to attend to in London so Goodnight, God Bless and for one last time.............

A guid new year to ane an' a'
An' mony may ye see,
An' during a' the years to come,
O happy may ye be.
An' may ye ne'er hae cause to mourn,
To sigh or shed a tear;
To ane an'a baith great an' sma'
A hearty guid New year.
A guid New Year to ane an' a'
An' mony may ye see,
An' during a' the years to come,
O happy may ye be.

Noo let us hope our years may be
As guid as they ha'e been,
And trust we ne'er again may see,
The sorrows we ha'e seen.
And let us wish that ane an'a'
Our friends baith far an' near,
May aye enjoy in times to come -
A hearty guid New year!"

Author:  abbeybufo [ Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Concluded Hogmanay

Thank you Shesings - this has been great! :D

Author:  Alison H [ Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Concluded Hogmanay

Thanks, shesings, and a happy new year to you too!

Author:  Elbee [ Sat Jan 01, 2011 12:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Concluded Hogmanay

I really enjoyed this, shesings, thank you!

Author:  Elder in Ontario [ Sat Jan 01, 2011 1:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Concluded Hogmanay

I really enjoyed this, Shesings. Quite apart from the fun of seeing Hilda and Nell 'letting their hair down' with so much enjoyment, it was also lovely to see Hogmanay as experienced in those close-knit areas in Scotland. I recall having Black Bun years ago - 'very rich' is probaby an understatement, and a little definitely went a long way!

Thank you for a very enjoyable drabble.

Author:  PaulineS [ Sat Jan 01, 2011 2:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Concluded Hogmanay

A hearty guid New year

To you Shesings and to all members of the Board.

Thank you it was lovely to see Hilda and Nell experience a Scottish custom and enjoying it in the way EBD had the Chalet School enjoy the Austrian ones in the early books.

( The Scottish celebration has gradually moved south, and become sanitised in many ways in the process. In England at the time a Watch Night Service was the only celebration of New Year as most people had to work New Years day, it was only in the seventies I think that England and Wales gained the day as a Bank Holiday. )

Author:  thefrau46 [ Sat Jan 01, 2011 10:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Concluded Hogmanay

Thank you, Shesings. I enjoyed this view of Hogmanay. :D

Author:  janetbrown23 [ Sat Jan 01, 2011 12:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Concluded Hogmanay

Boggles at the stamina of the Dundonians. One glass of wine last night and I have a hangover. Thank you Shesings that was lovely.

Author:  Liz K [ Sat Jan 01, 2011 12:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Concluded Hogmanay

Thank you, sheesings, that was lovely, reminds of a New Year's evening spent with my parents, godparents and another couple years ago and doing the conga out of the back door, down the side of the house and back in through the front door and being reminded of it years later at my godparents' silver wedding annivesary party at which my now ex-husband was present. He was VERY interested to hear all about the conga!!!!!!!!

Author:  JS [ Sat Jan 01, 2011 3:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Concluded Hogmanay

That was super, Shesings. Will PM you. :)

Author:  Abi [ Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Concluded Hogmanay

That was fabulous, Shesings! :D

Author:  whitequeen [ Sat Jan 01, 2011 5:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Concluded Hogmanay

Laughed out loud at Hilda passing out - fantastic! :D
Thanks :)

Author:  shesings [ Sat Jan 01, 2011 5:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Concluded Hogmanay

Happy New Year, everyoine and thank you all for your kind comments! This has been my first drabble and not the one I intended to start with! so I am grateful that it has been so well received.

Just making a brief stop - the chicken's cooking nicely, the tatties are on, the other veggies and the trifle prepared so I have a few minutes before I'll need to set the table for the ravening hordes. JS, the word doc will be with you soon and I hope it brings back as many memories to your Dad as it has to me. Slopes off muttering "Fings ain't what they used to be......."

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Sat Jan 01, 2011 8:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Concluded Hogmanay

Thankyou for an absolutely fantastic drabble! I really enjoyed seeing Hilda and Nell - I haven't chuckled aloud so loudly for a while as I did when Hilda fainted! :lol: A Happy New Year to you!

Author:  roversgirl [ Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Daft Days! Concluded Hogmanay

I only just found this. it was brilliant. Thanks :-)

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