Spreading the party spirit

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Yo ho ho. Yes, it’s on its way. The festive season is rapidly approaching. It will soon be time to dig out the funny hats or dive under the duvet for a couple of weeks.

It will soon be the season to be jolly.

The time for parties and crowded shops. The time when you can’t get to the bar of your local for people who haven’t been there since the last yo ho ho season.

Why can’t we just yo ho ho all the year round instead of crowding it into a few days at the end of one year and the beginning of the next.

I know the answer, but I’m still going to ask the question – why does Christmas and the New Year have to be so close to each other? Why can’t we spread them out a bit?

OK, Christmas is a fixed feast, but I’m sure that in bygone times the New Year wasn’t always the first day of January. Something about Romans and Gregorians tugs at the back of my mind.

But, of course, there will be no change. Christmas and the New Year will forever remain close neighbours. So we just have to get on with it.

I’m far from being a bah humbug, unless anyone is forming that impression. Far from it in fact. I let my silvery hair down on numerous occasions and don’t need a festive season to do it.

Works parties were always a time for much hilarity, but often followed by a bit of argy-bargy. Things that should have been said sensibly in the sobriety of the workplace can be spouted out at very much the wrong time.

But I’ve been at some great works dos. The printing industry was – not so now – famous for its bashes. They were usually held around the stone in the caseroom and reporters, photographers and the office staff always felt a bit special to be part of that gathering of talented tradesmen.

Mine were at the Border Telegraph in Galashiels. Newsprint was spread across the stone, and the beer and whisky took pride of place alongside filled rolls cut in half, sausage rolls and mince pies.

The gas pots that were used to melt the metal for the linotype-setting machines were disconnected and reconnected to frying pans which were soon full of sizzling bacon.

Fun was very much the order of the day and into the evening as tales of days gone by were happily recounted.

It was almost seen as a sin to leave too leave early. I remember one advertising manager being locked in the warehouse because his wife was coming to collect him. And I well remember a printer – after we had adjourned to a nearby pub – trying to toast some leftover rolls on a fake electric fire.

The BBC Radio Tweed studios were famous as a party venue – any excuse really. We once shared the building with the local tourist board, so always shared our Christmas festivities. I – and a rather prominent member of the board staff – once formed the judging panel that involved tape measures and girls wearing stockings and .... no, no, no, enough is enough. Once the police were called, but that ended in a happy marriage.

My festive season kicks off at Scott’s Selkirk on December 6, when I am the Toun Crier.

I haven’t been to an office party for a few years, but have been persuaded to attend this year. I promise to behave.

Yo, ho, ho!