At Random with Martin Laing – 7.1.21

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Future tense

Dangerous thing for a journalist, crystal ball-gazing. Usually to be avoided at all costs, in fact, as it has a pernicious habit of wreaking savage revenge by biting the perpetrator on the unmentionables.

However, as you read this, we are already into 2021, but as I write Hogmanay is still imminent. I am, therefore, going to predict the near future – ie, Hogmanay – and do so with trepidation offset by a rapidly diminishing degree of confidence.

I’m willing to bet that for the vast majority of you, last week’s New Year’s Eve was one of the strangest you’ve experienced, as a direct result of Covid restrictions, of course.

Last year (2019, that is) my wife and I had a particularly enjoyable, if quietish, Hogmanay. We spent the run-up to the bells in the Perle Oban, where we were entertained by some excellent live music in good company and a vibrant atmosphere, with, naturally, plenty of cheery libations to help pass the time.

At midnight, all of us in the bar tipped out into the street for the traditional celebrations, the highlight of which was the superb fireworks display. A charming young lady provided very welcome free hot chocolate to combat the cold, before we returned to our tables for a nightcap prior to ambling home and to bed.

We had planned to do the same thing this year, but obviously that was not an option, hence the crystal ball-gazing, in as much as I predict most of you had your usual Hogmanay plans scuppered.

The changes notwithstanding, I hope everyone had a good time and saw the arrival of 2021 in good spirits (literally, in some cases) and with loved ones where possible.
What the rest of this year has in store for us, I won’t predict, other than to say that I bet we are in for some surprises.

Happy Bertie

My good friend Allan ‘Bertie’ McKie – coincidentally general manager of the Caledonian Hotel before it metamorphosed into the Perle – turned 60 last week. Welcome to the club, auld yin! Hope you had a grand day.

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