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27 January 2016
A busy start to the year

2016 opened with our usual house ceilidh chez Frances. Being traditional souls we normally celebrate Old New Year (12 January) on the Monday nearest the day, but this year our ceilidh on 4 January was earlier than usual, nearer to “new New Year”, because our first engagement was the following Monday. We had our usual singsong, and a Gaelic song quiz – with dismal results! Keep listening to Mire ri Mór, girls! Click here for some pics.

On the 11th we duly set out for High Blantyre, where we gave a performance for the ladies of Auchentibber SWI – and one young man, sitting quietly at the back, waiting to give his mother a lift home. He took it in good part when we attacked him with our poit mhùin and threatened to douse him with maistir! Must observe the old traditions!

Frances and her passengers had an interesting journey home when the car hit a series of potholes and burst a tyre. No spare wheel in modern cars! And there was a rip in the tyre, so the pump was useless. The RAC man fitted an emergency tyre, and all got home safe and sound – eventually! Next day Frances and Margaret enjoyed a nice wee jaunt to Rutherglen to return the borrowed tyre. A good opportunity to reconnoitre where Sgioba Luaidh will be performing in February.

Next was a chilly early morning start to take part in a Gaelic Open Day in the historic Lanark Tolbooth. It was great to see so many of the public coming in for a look around. We were kept busy, with plenty of volunteers willing to join us at the table. Our animal puppets were busy too, with lots of cute kids singing “Ee i ee i o”. We particularly loved wee Calum, who was very taken with the “cheeky bó”, and came back specially to say “Tiaraidh” to her!

We took time off to listen to an interesting talk on “Gaelic in Clydesdale”, then we were treated to a lovely lunch in the Wallace Tearoom. Even more people flocked in after lunch, including the local MP and MSP, who had a go at waulking with us. By this time the snow was on, so reluctantly we decided that it would be prudent to leave a bit early. We made it home safely, the only problem being road signs that were obliterated by snow! Click here for pics.

Another SWI night, this time in West Kilbride, where we partook of a wonderful haggis supper, with a variety of gorgeous puddings. We then listened to a fascinating talk by Mark Hogarth, marketing manager of Harris Tweed Hebrides. He is an expert on Harris Tweed, but had never hand waulked before! Good for his professional development! Pics here.

Then, a few days later, more haggis! We were invited at short notice to join the Chit Chat club in the Beacon for their lunchtime Burns Supper! We enjoyed some great entertainment, piping, fiddling, recitations, and lovely wee country dancers from Aileymill Primary.Then we did a brief demonstration before tucking into the haggis and neeps. Some pics here.

2016 has got off to a good start. We look forward to what the rest of the year may bring.

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