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Moreen Simpson: Christmas 2021 was a triumph despite a last-minute change of plan

Christmas was saved with some quick thinking this year (Illustration: Helen Hepburn)
Christmas was saved with some quick thinking this year (Illustration: Helen Hepburn)

Last Christmas, Covid broke my heart.

This year… it nearly did the same thing all over again. And I’m sure there were thousands of Neest families just like us.

I was forced to isolate from my grandchildren on the 25th in 2020, able just to chat to them out in the garden. Me and the other grunnie were in bits.

This year, the same plan to go to my son-in-law’s sister in Westhill for the day. She and her hubby are brilliant cooks and totally laidback with it. No sounds of warfare from the kitchen.

Ah, but, then the phone call on Christmas morning. Our hostess – who was dutifully abiding by Nippy Sweetie’s rule to test before meeting others – had come up positive. No way Joey could we go to their hoosie.

Plan B: the other grunnie would have us all to hers with the food, already cooked, transported from Westhill. Last-minute change though it was, it worked a treat and we all toasted the fact that, so far, none of us in the family has been badly affected by the horrible virus.

It’s not always easy to remember the name of your virtual assistant (Photo: Mike Stewart/AP/Shutterstock)

The day was also a revelation to techno-dinosaur Mo. I’d never really understood what an Alexa did before and fair fell for it, demanding my quine give me one for my birthday in February. Then I decided to see if it could play one of my favourite pop songs, so I scraiks: “Sarah! Don’t Stop Me Now.” Silence – from the gadget and a’body roonabout.

Then, as one, my 10 and seven-year-old Toots convulsed into horrified laughter. “NaNaaaa! Whaaat are you calling her?” Sorry, pardon. An al’ wifie pits her fit in it again.

Boxing Days and Hogmanays are nae fit they eesed tae be

How Boxing Days have changed over the years. There was a time I’d be up with the lark and meeting mates to scour the sales in Union Street and George Street, always starting at C&A’s.

What bargains we got there, including when five teenage gypes bought identical conical-shaped furry hats, all different colours, for five shillings each. Imagine oor fury when, ootside Woollie’s, a mannie shouted: “Have you clowns lost the circus?”

Sadly, photies in the EE on Monday show the streets on December 26 as empty as Aberdeen’s proverbial flag day. Nothing stays the same.

Boxing Day shoppers were few and far between in Aberdeen this year (Photo: Chris Sumner/DCT Media)

And, pardon me for bein’ a Moanin’ Mo, but Hogmanays (like puddicks) are nae fit they eesed tae be either. As a bairn in Rosemount, I remember all the tenement flats packed to the gunnels with friends and neighbours guzzling pineapple and cheese sticks, hard Scotch or Advocaat; babes to pensioners, all welcome, the younger ones piling in after the Beach or Palace dances.

Everyone had to do a turn, a’ the better if there was a wee piano. A song, a dance, a bit of verse, some jokes. The littler the flat sometimes the better the laughs.

What a miracle if everyone could relive the good old days. Whatever you’re doing for Hogmanay, enjoy – and cheers to better health and loads of happiness in 2022.


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