Tuesday 31st. December, 2013 – Hogmanay and the Sixth Day of Christmas 

Tom and Rachel at work

Woke for the last time in 2013 – a year which has been supremely eventful for me. I started the year in work with two parishes to look after and ended it retired and with only myself and my family to look to. I’ve always had projects – doing things with the boat or whatever – but the wonder of being retired is that I can now devote myself to the things I want to do. I don’t have to grab time from something else to do what I want to do. I don’t have to do what I want to do with one ear for a telephone which may call me to something more important. And so today I always knew that I would be working on the summer house – and that’s how it turned out.

I got up and walked the dog, breakfasted in the farmhouse (a leisurely breakfast is something I was never able to experience pre-retirement, now I almost take it for granted) and then Tom and Dorothy arrived and together with Rachel we set about building bookcases in the summer house. We were at it all day, or at ;least all the day-light hours (Rachel broke off to drive Mum to the hairdresser and also to collect her; Tom and Dorothy went off for lunch) but by the end of the day we had achieved a great deal with two large bookcases, one in each of the two back corners of the building.

Dorothy, Tom and Rachel (with Mix wandering into shot) in front of one of the new bookcases

Back in the house I prepared the music for Arrochar for next Sunday and spoke to Cathy on the phone before wandering over to the farmhouse where Olive’s son Jeffrey had arrived with several of his friends to celebrate Hogmanay. We enjoyed a drink with them, and then an excellent buffet meal, before I returned to the Granary to have a shower (must go into the New Year clean) and tidy up my study (must go into the New Year tidy) and make sure all of the bills are paid (must go into the New Year owing nothing). As if the change from one year to another makes any real difference – yet still doing these things is engrained in me. I must say, that with more time, it is much less of a frenetic rush than it usually is and I am looking forward to next year enormously.

Some of Jeff’s friends counting down the minutes to 2014

Back in the farmhouse we joined everyone for a drink before the Bells, another drink afterwards (and some shortbread) and then Rachel and I set off to walk the dogs. We’re back in the Granary now. It is 2014. Rachel is off to bed and I think that I will go back and join the party.

If you are reading this, I wish you a very peaceful New Year. May all your desires be fulfilled and all your wishes come true. Most of all may this be a year of peace and one in which we learn to share with those who are less fortunate than we are; a year in which the hungry are fed, the homeless are housed, refugees are welcomed and all are made to feel that they matter. It's in our hands.


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