Family: Janet Christie's Mum's the Word

Do not ask for whom The Bells toll


As Hogmanay hoves into view, The Bells are no longer such a time of dread. Now that the boys’ teenage years behind them, I’m unlikely to be on call for any mercy dash to A&E scenarios or bucket/mop/back rubbing or holding back hair episodes, unless Youngest has plans… but she seems to be in step with more sober and sedate celebrations if her recent dancing practice is anything to go by. “Oh good, it’s social dance today,” she announced one day towards the end of school.

“Oh, what’s that?”

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“Scottish dancing.”

“Do you like that then?” I ask, a bit surprised in these days of twerking, shmoney and street.

“We all love it,” she says. “It’s fun. But some of the boys, well... It’s hard to do the St Bernard Waltz or the Gay Gordons if someone won’t hold your hands. Some of them hold onto a finger between their finger and thumb and others won’t touch you at all. Weirdos.”

“Well, not weirdos, maybe they’re shy. Or uncomfortable with touching or being touched. I mean that they’re socially different, or whatever the accepted terminology is.”

“What? Oh yeah, some are, and girls too, that’s fine, that’s allowed. But others are just being weird... can’t be bothered with them. Like we’d want to touch them if it wasn’t a class, huh!”

“Well, why does it have to be boy/girl anyway? Why doesn’t everyone just partner a friend, be non-gender specific about it?”

“Why do you have to talk like that? Because you’d get a load of singles left who don’t want to just do it and have a laugh, OMG!”

And she goes, with what looked like a Strathspey skiting along step.

“Shall I see if there’s a ceilidh we could go to at Hogmanay?” I shout at her back.

No,” she calls over her shoulder. “I’ll be meeting my friends. We might be going out…”

Aw no. Almost home and dry? Dram on.