Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Bliadhna mhath ur!

Happy New Year!

Our family saw in the New Year with a modest celebration (the children had found and eaten most of the 'fancy' nibbles hidden for visitors) so with a dish of Bombay mix, some Christmas cake, lemon barley water and BBC Alba, we hooched, hugged and sang our way into 2013.

I'm not a huge fanatic of resolutions as I always have a fly puff or lump of cake just after midnight thus instantly squashing any good intentions flat, however this year I am going to learn some basic Gaelic.
We sang in Gaelic at school but it was only taught in lesson form to those who either excelled at German or were native speakers and sadly, I did not fit the criteria.

The musicians on BBC Alba included the amazing Duncan Chisholm, formerly of Wolfstone and an ex nextdoor neighbour of mine plus I recognised several very familiar faces in the audience and felt a bit home sick for the ways they celebrate in the North.

The finale was the Runrig song, 'Alba!', the passion in the voices was infectious and when I looked up a translation of the lyrics, I felt fired up with a love for our country that would have ignited a damp peat fire.


Air sgiath a' seoladh nan neoil
'S an domhain liath
Mar dhealbh a' tighinn beo tro na sgothan
'S mi a' tilleadh gu tir

Alba nam beanntan ard
Nan acraichean lom
Thairis air na lochan mointich
Nan coilltean 's nan gleann



Ach 'se sealladh leointe is gann
Tha an seo aig ceann thall an linn
Talamh alainn nan daoine
Fhathast an lamhan duine no dithis

Cuibhlean stolda mu dheas
Na fasaichean a tuath
An taigh-mor falamh an Dun-Eideann
Gun chumhachd gun ghuth



Sibhse chuir achadh ri achadh
Taigh ri taigh
Gus nach bi ait anns an tir
An gabh sibh comhnaidh air leth

Ach 's math dhomh bhith seo an drasd
A cur failt air a' bhlas
'San tir a tha cho ur dhomh an diugh
Is a bha i nuair bha mi 'nam phaisd




This flight is sailing through the clouds
And the blue heavens
The homeland appears like a developing photograph
Through the mists as I return to land
I see Scotland of the high mountains
And the empty acres
Flying low across the moorland lochs
The forests and the glens



But it's a wounding and a hollow sight
Here as we reach the end of the century
The beautiful soil of the people
Still in the hands of the few

I see the wheels of industry at a standstill
And the northern lands wasted
And the empty house in Edinburgh
Without authority or voice



You that have laid field upon field
House upon house
Till there be nowhere for you to be placed alone
In the midst of all the earth
But it is good for me to be here now
As I welcome the warmth
In this land that's as exciting for me today
As it was the day I was born

I hope with all hopes that this year sees a dynamic leap for our country and people, an end to the inequality which stifles our collective abilities, our health and our dignity.

Today, our family are off to assess what needs done inside our farmhouse in preparation of our return there because this year, we are going home.

May your year be blessed with health, happiness and enough wealth to provide you with what you need.
And here is to our country.



  1. It beats 'Flower of Scotland' into a cocked hat...but then, what doesn't!

    Good luck with going home.

  2. Hailing from the central belt has it's disadvantages - I'd have loved to have learned Gaelic at school! :( As it is I only know two words 'alba' and 'agus' - hardly useful in conversation! XD

    Here's to a far better year than previous to you and your farm! :)

  3. Flower of Scotland is so dreich. It is up there with 'Mull of Kintyre'.

    What does 'agus' mean? I hear it a lot on BBC Alba and there used to be a children's programme called 'Haggis Agus'.

    The Farmer is settling the cattle for their evening feed as I write. Many thanks for both your good wishes for our homecoming and the forthcoming year.