The spirit of Christmas returned with vengeance on Saturday, when we took a trip through west to stay with my parents for the weekend. We were making up for lost time after the recent snow storms and work schedules put paid to our regular family Christmas get-together, and set about having a party in line with previous years, i.e., raucous, hilarious, controversial and as always, fun.
Before all that, though, there was the small case of a 30th birthday party in Gullane on Friday evening. Gail and I were invited to Whatton Lodge, normally a convalescence home for the elderly and retired Lothian mineworkers, but for Friday evening it was the venue for a modest gathering of family and friends of Rob Maule, a fellow Indian food and beer lover whom I got to know through his wife, Sarah, who grew up as a friend of my wife.
I hadn’t been too sure in advance of what the night might entail; I had imagined a band/DJ with around one hundred people partying the night away, but instead it was a large 3-story country house overlooking Gullane beach, complete with 16 bedrooms and a kitchen bigger than the plan of our entire house in Leith.
All the food and drink was catered for, and I mean all of it. There was so much food to choose from I didn’t know where to begin: lasagne, salad, Indian nibbles and little pastries, several curries ranging in heat and spiciness, and fresh breads and olives. On the drink side I cleaned out an entire case of Miller almost single-handed, but there were also umpteen cases of wine of all shades, champagne, gins, rums vodkas and whiskies. For playing with, the kids had computer consoles and a gong, while the adults had their fun on a Thora Hird type chair lift and disabled scooters. Talk about fun? It was a blast.
Gail and I had our own bedroom to sleep in, a large twin bedroom overlooking the main driveway. Each bed was at either side of the room making it impossible to push them together given that meant they were about 20 foot apart!
The curtains would only close a fraction so the daylight woke me early on with a touch of a hangover (not as bad as the one that was still to come) but after getting ready, we came down to another load of free food, fried this time, in the form of bacon, black pudding, toast, rolls, eggs, sausages and tea.
Snow had fallen overnight but that didn’t prevent us getting back to Leith to get changed and collect our daughter so that we could head out past Glasgow, towards Paisley and beyond, to visit my parents in Bridge of Weir, near the west coast of Scotland.
Champagne was poured when we arrived around 2pm then we all exchanged our Christmas gifts to one another. Before we knew it, it was time to head down into the village for our family Christmas meal. I’d pitched the idea of going out for food instead of having my dear old mother slave away at the stove (an idea she jumped at) so that we would all be able to have as much fun as each other and nobody would be left out – it worked a treat as the night was fantastic.
Amaretto’s is a small Italian restaurant situated on the site of what used to be the Railway Tavern, a popular wee pub frequented by my father in earlier years. It closed down some time ago and the opening of this little gem has given the locals a lovely friendly wee place to eat out at reasonable prices with nice staff and very nice food.
It was a typical Galbraith gathering, growing in loudness and hilarity with my mother and wife laughing and sharing jokes at one end of the table, while my sister and father discussed politics and the state of Scottish education at the other. In between all that, my daughter and me carried on as usual, like a couple of kids, one slightly bigger and dafter than the the other.
The meal had been booked early on so we were back up and home by around half past eight in the evening. This left us the rest of the night to chat and have a laugh, nibble on various cheeses and crackers, and Gail and I to demolish an entire bottle of Jack Daniels while listening to an assorted selection of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Ted Heath and Sammy Davis Jr.
Needless to say, my hangover on Sunday morning was significantly worse than it had been the previous day. However, it wasn’t bad enough to prevent me getting up, showering and eating breakfast before my wife and daughter showed up. We stayed until early afternoon before heading back home and chilling out for the rest of the day. I headed straight to my office and got stuck into some work: assignment 3 of my Savvy Authors workshop.
Back to the business now of writing, reading and following through on all my GDR promises. 2011 is here and if it’s anything like last year, it won’t sit still for very long.
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