Parting is such sweet sorrow ...
I've never liked Hogmanay. Perhaps as a smallish child, there was a certain je ne sais quoi about knowing that the adults were staying up later than usual, about that first time I was invited to join them in the sitting room at midnight (how Victorian that sounds!) - but when the diary years took over (when I was 10) I always had this feeling of wistfulness that Scots usually have the sense to drown in whisky. Later, there were the hangover years - we'll draw a veil over that, shall we - followed by the responsible parental years when we were asleep by midnight. Then the time when adult children came and went over the holiday period, followed by the custom that most successfully banished the gloom for me: entertaining our closest friends to dinner and managing to stay awake together in time for a final dram at the bells.
And now we have Hogmanay 2020. We're alone: alone in our house because of the pandemic, alone in the world because we've been dragged away from the rest of Europe in a welter of lies and misguided nostalgia for an imperial past - or, God help us, wartime, when plucky Britain stood alone... I can still remember a Lowe cartoon Very well - alone . And I don't like it.
(Here midnight struck, and I nipped downstairs for a dram with Mr PB - maybe I'll be more optimistic now.)
I listened today to an inspirational speech by my MSP Mike Russell, speaking at the close of the Holyrood debate yesterday. I think he says it all for me, and with an eloquence and mastery of his subject that is woefully lacking in Westminster these days. It confirmed in me the conviction that there is a battle ahead, and that standing back and accepting the status quo is not something I can do with any conscience.
So I'm not going to say any more about this last day of this horrible year, other than this: Europe, Scotland will be back. Keep a light on for us, mes amis.