Mum’s the Word

PIC PHIL WILKINSON.TSPL / JOHNSTON PRESS''JANET CHRISTIE ,  MAGAZINE WRITER
PIC PHIL WILKINSON.TSPL / JOHNSTON PRESS''JANET CHRISTIE , MAGAZINE WRITER
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Here’s to January, that most wonderful time of the year

Aye, January is the longest month, right enough,” says my taxi driver mournfully as we head through traffic-free streets.

“Town’s deid. Hogmanay was deid too, just tourists heading into the city centre with tickets and they like to walk for ‘the experience’. Everyone else stays put cos they can’t get into the centre without a ticket. And after midnight, it’s driving around searching for folk who’ve booked then staggered off and don’t have the DECENCY to cancel. And then the rest o’ the month it’s deid. Aye, deid.” He gasps out another long sad “aye!” then sucks his teeth.

“Town’s deid. Hogmanay was deid too, just tourists heading into the city centre with tickets and they like to walk for ‘the experience’. Everyone else stays put cos they can’t get into the centre without a ticket. And after midnight, it’s driving around searching for folk who’ve booked then staggered off and don’t have the DECENCY to cancel. And then the rest o’ the month it’s deid. Aye, deid.” He gasps out another long sad “aye!” then sucks his teeth.

Dad’s Army’s Corporal James Frazer’s “wur doomed” pops into my head and I suppress a snigger and say, “Good for the local economy though. Jobs ‘n’ that.”

“Aye, true,” he says, rallying.

I’m commiserating, but I’m faking. For me it’s that most wonderful time of the year. I love January; we’re through Christmas and out the other side of Hogmanay. The festivities usually turn out better than expected and leave a loved up family and friends glow – we’ve sung, danced, viewed, walked and talked, and remembered who we were, who we are and who we can be.

So it’s back to routine, and back to the supermarket where the aisles are empty canyons and I am Wile E Coyote. Shopping’s a whizz. No more stocking up for the beige buffet, it’s just the cat food, toilet paper, cooking oil run, and in no time I’m at the checkout. The cashier is pensive, but a professional, and starts the ‘how are you today?’ routine.

“Great, thank you. And you?”

“Oh… bit quiet isn’t it?”

“Yes, it’s lovely.”

“Is that what you’re having for tea?” she says, nodding at a bag of Quorn.

“Er yes.”

I’m not giving her much to work with, so lob in, “What’re you having?”

“Dunno, quiet night. Weather’s terrible, look at it.”

Through the floor to ceiling windows, clouds are galloping across a darkening sky and the wind whipping up from the firth is splattering rain across the glazing. Looks like a breath of fresh air to me. Exhilarating.

“Dreich,” she says.

I love dreich. All fifty shades of it. It’s forgiving. But I keep the thought to myself. Maybe I’m weird.

“Still, I’ve just seen the Creme Eggs arrive,” she says, and brightens. “And there’s Valentine’s…”

No. Just no. It’s still January, people. Enjoy it while you can.