Early in 2017 I posted something on this blog with the title Caledonian Culture War. This was about the introduction in Scotland of baby boxes – from 2017, the parents of every new-born child in Scotland will receive a box full of baby-friendly goodies like a blanket, changing mat, towel, reusable nappy, sponge and thermometer, with the box itself able to double up as a crib. Also in the box is a poem of welcome to the bairn written by Jackie Kay, Scotland’s Makar (poet laureate). This is composed in Scots English and begins: “O ma darlin wee one / At last you are here in the wurld / And wi’ aa your wisdom / Your een bricht as the stars…”
Unbelievably, some people had a problem with this. And in the post, I stated I had a problem with them having a problem with it.
Yesterday I was surprised and delighted to find in this blog’s inbox an email from Jackie Kay, who’d evidently read the post and had decided to include me in her New Year greetings. The greeting came in the form of a short poem, part of which addresses the baby-boxes controversy. You can read it in full at the bottom of the Caledonian Culture War post, but I’ll reproduce the ending of the poem here, as the sentiment expressed is perfect for the beginning of 2018.
“…happy new year yin and all, wee yins and big yins and – here’s tae us taking a snip at oor cultivated cringe – and turning the whinge down to a low peep in this year about to blaw in, the year 2018, wha’s like us?!”
So as 2018 blaws in, I wish you all a happy, cringe-free and whinge-free New Year too. Though I have no doubt that on this blog I will continue to find things to whinge about from time to time.
According to Western Christianity, today is the 8th day of Christmas, so technically we’re still in the middle of the festive season. Here are photos I took the other night of the Christmas tree and New Year greeting outside the Asok Skytrain station on Bangkok’s Sumhumvit Road.