I have only ever been out on Hogmanay twice. Once, I stayed at a friend’s house in my hometown. She had invited friends from her University to visit, a collection of English literature students. I was a rural curiosity. The evening passed. We spoke of films, and television, and books. And afterwards, it was never spoken of again – not even the year after when she and I were nearly struck by sheet lightning during the Christmas break.
In the mid 90s in my final year as a student my then girlfriend and her flatmate and boyfriend thought it would be lovely to go out for a meal. We went to a restaurant in central Edinburgh. This was rather more expensive than a student who worked through the holidays to support himself through the year was used to. The cheapest thing on the menu was mushrooms in filo pastry. It cost £30. In 1994. That was more than the books for an individual degree course cost. The pastry was burned, sorry charred. The sauce surrounding the mushrooms was cold. I pushed it round my plate allowing it to visit every part. I was the only person at the table who was sober; hell, I was the only person in the restaurant who was sober. It was cold. It was miserable. It was unnecessarily costly – financially and emotionally.
That is my experience of a Scottish new year. Since then I’ve stayed in.
So a very happy new year to you at home.