And a Happy New Year to you all! Many readers will ask how we celebrate
Hogmanay in the Chateau, and even if you are not, we will tell you anyway.
The brief answer is we were in the UK at the start of 2023, but there is no fixed
pattern even if we were in the Loire Valley. If the mood took us, we could have
brought a consignment of Andy Stewart CDs to France. This would have
allowed us to stage our version of the sort of 31 st December programmers that
once populated BBC1 and ITV, complete with obligatory dancing. Possibly
mercifully, this has not yet come to pass.

Of course, ‘Hogmanay’ is possibly French in origin and may date from the
return of Mary Queen of Scots from France in 1561. The word’s roots perhaps
derive from ‘hoginane’, or gala day, and in Normandy, presents given at the end
of the year were ‘hoguignetes’. Today, the French celebrate with le Réveillon de
Saint-Sylvestre with a feast including pancakes and champagne. Tradition
dictates that all guests of this special dinner shall benefit from prosperity and
good luck. The 31 st of December is also the day that the President of the French
Republic speaks to the nation at 2000hrs from the Élysée Palace.

Should we be in France at the end of this year, we may stage another fusion
evening, one that combines crepes with Stone’s Ginger Wine and a selection of Billy
Connolly songs. From attic to basement, everyone in the Chateau will sing
along with the following verse:

If it was nae for your wellies, where would you be?
You’d be in the hospital or infirmary,
Cause you would have a dose of the flu or even pleurisy,
If you did nae have your feet in your wellies!

And we might even play this number when clearing the party debris on the 1 st of
January… Andy Stewart – Donald Where’s Your Troosers – YouTube