A Reel-ly Good Time…

Well, it’s almost Christmas. And it’s almost time to say goodbye to 2018.

As far as I’m concerned (other than a rather interesting, exciting and quite lovely development over the last 8 weeks – what you might call 2018’s “golden goal”…?!), this meme sums up how I feel about 2018:


But, it’s almost done so no need to reflect on fuckwittage and pain from 2018 – let’s be positive and look forward to 2019 and instead I’ll dwell on something nice.

So, I went to a ceilidh the other night.

Are youse all aware of what a ceilidh is? Scottish Country Dancing. Kind of like an English “barn dance” but with added risk of injury. Basically, it’s like a heavy cardio workout but you’re allowed to drink heavily while you do it. In fact, that’s actively encouraged. And if there isn’t at least *some* bruising the next day, you haven’t done it right.

Now, opinions on Scottish country dancing are divided amongst my mates and family: some see it as a right laugh and they just jump in with both guttie-clad feet; others would rather stick skewers in their genitals than get wheeched around the dance floor by people of varying levels of sweatiness.

Me? Hmmmm. I have a love/hate thing with ceilidhs: in recent years, any that I have been to (usually weddings…) I’m content to just watch from the safety of my table, clutching a beer and taking photos to be used for blackmail purposes at a later date, whilst everyone else risks losing a limb during a particularly violent Strip the Willow (or “Strip the Widow” as my late great Grannie Anderson used to call it).

<begin tangential anecdote> An old school friend of mine tells a brilliant story about his Dad doing a StW at a wedding so enthusiastically that, as he birled his partner round for the umpteenth time, his false teeth shot out of his mouth, skited across the floor and under the top table. Classic. <end tangential anecdote>

Anyway, occasionally at ceilidhs I do just think “fuck it” and get involved. And it was a bit like that the other night. It was actually the Christmas night out for my gym – Fitness Soul – (yup, how cool is that? My *gym* has a drunken Christmas night out! Read about last year’s here). Our happy band of dancers was made up of folk from a variety of countries, including France, the USA and Poland. The Scots in the groups all shared stories about the utter horror and adolescent embarrassment of learning all the dances while we were teenagers at school – but, although we were the ones who maybe knew some of the dances, it was the non-Scots especially who were all over it – with varying levels of success it has to be said!

This was a really big ceilidh, organised by the Edinburgh Ceilidh Club. The attendees included quite a number of scared-looking tourists who, after a few dances, looked like they’d been doing it all their lives; as well as a number of People Who Clearly Knew What They Were Doing…

I have to say, these folk gave me The Fear a bit. My idea of a ceilidh is nobody *really* doing it properly, but kind of just having a go and not worrying (a bit like me doing zumba, actually…). But some of these folk were *serious*. There was one guy who – along with the kilt – was wearing a pair of those weird “barefoot” sports shoes – you know the ones that are like rubber socks? With like separate bits for each toe? Like these:

barefoot shoes

Really?! Hardcore.

Then there was the charming big fella who St Bernard Waltz-ed me then insisted on “escorting me off the dance floor”. And that wasn’t a) a euphemism or b) because I was too pissed to make it myself – he really was just a Scottish dancing gentleman, apparently.

What was actually really nice to see was that there was loads of “younger” folk there – late teens (to be fair, when we first went it, there were so many of them on the dancefloor, we thought we’d crashed a school disco…). It’s good to see that there are a few 18 year olds who are keeping this tradition going – and who were happy to spend a Friday night at a ceilidh rather than getting pished on Buckfast behind a loads of bins (though maybe they were doing that between the dances…).

All in all this was a top night: great people, brilliant band (Teannaich) – much fun. A few calories burned too – and no limbs lost!

I’ll leave the final word about ceilidhs to the excellent Scottish comedian Danny Bhoy – couldn’t have put it better myself.

Merry Christmas to you all – slàinte mhath!

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