Happy New Year! Or Should I Say Happy Hogmanay?

Happy 2018

Wishing you a Happy New Year, or as they say in Scotland, Happy Hogmanay!

BagpiperNew Year’s Eve has long been a popular holiday in Scotland, sometimes more than Christmas, even. According to Wikipedia, one reason for that may date to the Protestant Reformation when some of the more conservative churches refused to celebrate Christmas because of its rather obvious pagan customs, like decorating with greenery and burning the Yule log. (This changed during the Victorian period.)

Hogmanay celebrations include New Year’s Eve parties, with the countdown to midnight and singing of Auld Lang Syne, written by Scottish poet Robert Burns. And what Scottish celebration would be complete without whisky, shortbread and a bagpiper?

gorgeous man

A good choice for the first-foot!

One of the more interesting Hogmany customs is the First-Foot, the notion that the first person to cross the threshold of a home heralded good luck or bad luck. A tall dark-haired man is the most desirable first-foot, who crosses the threshold bearing gifts after midnight. Women and fair-haired men supposedly bring bad luck.

Auld Lang Syne was written by Robert Burns in 1788 and is sung to the tune of an old folk melody. No longer just popular in Scotland, it’s now sung world wide on New Year’s Eve.

Burn’s original words are:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?


For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

I hope 2018 is a good year for all us!


Edinburgh Cityscape with fireworks over The Castle and Balmoral Clock Tower

My Heart’s in the Highlands #TuesdayTravels

Tuesday Travel buttonMy heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.

Robert Burns wrote that song back in 1789, and now that I’ve been to the Highlands, I understand what he meant. Not that I’m interested in chasing the deer, but I left a piece of my heart in the Highlands last July. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Robert Burns is Scotland’s national poet, best known for writing Auld Lang Syne, sung around the world every New Year’s Eve. Burns was born on Jan. 25, 1759 and Scots will be celebrating his birthday this week with Burns Day Dinners and appropriate toasts accompanied by Scotch whisky.

Our day in the Highlands was one of my favorite port stops on the cruise of the British Isles. We docked at Invergordon, not far from Inverness, capital of the Highlands. This photo was taken from our cabin’s balcony as we neared port. The oil storage tanks aren’t very scenic, but North Sea oil has been very important to Scotland and the United Kingdom.

Invergordon1-400x300After visiting the battlefield at Culloden Moor, we had lunch and drove towards Loch Ness, passing through Inverness.

Inverness Castle

Inverness Castle

Since we didn’t stop in Inverness, I’m supplementing my photos with this one from Deposit Photos, which shows just how pretty this small city is.

Inverness, Scotland

Scotland – Inverness

I snapped this photo from the bus. What a lovely place to live.


We didn’t see any deer, but we did see lots of sheep. Again, this image is from Deposit Photos.


Glen Shee, Highlands, Scotland

When the time came to leave Invergordon, a local band piped us on our way. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

Pipe Band

What’s your favorite place on earth? Where have you left a piece of your heart?