Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Weel done, Cutty-sark!"

Happy Halloween, or rather Samhain if your wanting to be really traditional.

Despite my nickname for my twin sons being "the hobbits"* they are out guising dressed as pumpkins supervised by dad (not dressed as a pumpkin), collecting a years worth of sweeties from the neighbours. Some wag has also lit the bonfire that was being built in the field next to our cul-de-sac. It is going to be an interesting night.

I used to love Halloween, I've always been a cold weather person. Oh, don't get me wrong I enjoy the sunshine but there is something more appealing when the air turns crisp and the leaves turn shades of gold and red. Now that the boys have started school I find I miss the old feeling I had of going into the classroom from the cold outside, shedding my outer layers and warming up at my desk beside the radiator (which wasn't such a bonus during summer.) Halloween isn't a patch on Christmas of course but I won't mention the C word again until the beginning of December, promise.

Every Halloween at our primary school we would gather in the tv room (picture a fairly large room... with a tv, there you go.) There we would listen to Tam O'Shanter (by Robert Burns) on the radio, full of sound effects to add to the fear as the story unfolds. I still can't hear the poem without a chill creeping up the back of my neck, particularly the part where he is being chased by the witches, riding away on his poor horse Meg. At that part I would close my eyes tightly and try not to listen any more. As childhood fear goes, Tam O'Shanter is right up there for me with the Childcatcher from Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang and Peter And The Wolf.

No one seems to dook for apples any more, even toffee apples have gone by the wayside. And pumpkins might have replaced the more traditional turnip lanterns but that is only because it is extremely difficult to carve the bloody things! Whereas a pumpkin is fairly easy in comparison. They don't look as good though it doesn't tempt me to try turnips again. Much rather eat them mashed with butter and black pepper.

So the hobbits have returned and one tradition has remained. I won't need to buy sweeties in the near future.

*my way of saying that my nearly 5 year old boys are cute, hairy and with big feet! Honestly, they are a size 28, 4 sizes smaller than I was when I went to high school! As my Granny used to say "they've got a good grip of Scotland."

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