I wish you a very early merry Christmas. That’s because there’s no EE next Friday, but my column will be in Saturday’s Boxing Day paper.
Like loads o’ folk all over the nation I was hoping our promised “truce days” from Covid – December 23-27 – would actually happen and the rules duly be relaxed for families to get together.
Yet I can understand the lobby of people urging Boris and Nicola to grasp the nettle and stick to strict lockdown, lest the virus numbers continue to climb.
It’s bitterly disappointing to think of ending up all on my ownio on the 25th, especially not seeing my beloved grand-Toots. But if needs-must to ensure I’ll see them for more years to come, it’s a no-brainer.
Digging out last year’s cards, to write this year’s, I saw how many wished me a healthy 2020, as I did the senders.
Maybe it was just as well none of us had the foggiest about the dark days round the corner: The deaths of dear friends whose funerals only a few could attend; contact with others only by phone.
At the beginning, the Zoom family chat was a novelty, complete with weekly quizzes. Fit a pliter I made o’ gettin’ on to the damnt thing for our nightly sessions, the hi-tech-savvie Toots scrakin’ at me: “You’ve pressed the wrong button again, Nana!”
But as time went on, we craved being face-to-face with our loved ones.
Even though I’ve had plenty time to get masellie Christmas-organised, I’m still tail-end Charlie. Especially with wrapping prezzies, which I loathe. Because I canna thole the fankle with stringed gift tabs, I always buy sticky-on ones. Those I ordered from Asda this week sure enough stucky-on-affa-easy but, sadly, nae a writing implement in the hoose would mak’ a mark on thieir shiny, skittery surface. The quine telt me I needed a cristal pen. A fit?
To clear the clart I set aboot reddin’ oot some of the Toots’ toys they’ve grown out of: A pedal car, kirns of dolls, soft toys, baby books, wee jigsaws, games. Oot came the heavy-duty black baggies and I was going ma dinger… Until I started remembering every Christmas I’d given each one of those prezzies; the joy and excitement on their wee facies.
And in my mind’s eye my own two babes – 40-plus years ago, star-struck over their parcels under the tree. That’s when the tears started to sting.
Whether or not we can be with the ones we love on Christmas Day, they’re constantly with us deep in our hearts.
Have a happy, healthy one!
Praise for ‘brutalist’ building is baffling
I near cowked on my rowie reading that the carbuncle of a building on George Street – once Norco, now John Lewis – had been considered for listed-building status.
Historic Environment Scotland praised its “design quality, with expressive and sculptural use of concrete, making it an outstanding example of Brutalist architecture in Scotland … both contrasting and harmonising with Aberdeen’s granite building traditions.”
Have you ever read such dross? The blot on the landscape is brutal indeed. And the only reason the listed status wasn’t granted was because there are plans for a glazed canopy over George Street. Fit next?
The hideous structure is a sad reminder of one of Aberdeen’s most superb traditions: The Northern Co-Operative Society, aka The Copie. Created to bulk-buy goods and provide cheaper shopping for poorer families, by the middle of the last century there were Copie bakeries, grocers and butchers in every city neighbourhood, as well as its wonderful HQ – the Arcade in Loch Street.
If you’re over a certain age, you probably went with your mum twice a year to join the queues for the “divi”.
But at the end of the ’60s our councillors opted to bulldoze the Arcade, replacing it with the concrete Brute. Aberdonians were angry but their protests came too late. ’twas ever thus.
Heartbreak as cafe badly hit by fire
What a heartbreak: The wonderful Park Cafe at Hazlehead severely damaged by fire last Friday.
Police suspect the blaze was deliberate. Let’s hope they track down the thug or thugs responsible ASAP so they can be hauled up before the courts.
Whoever it was must have slunk home stinking of smoke.
Does a mum or dad have suspicions?
Let’s just hope that owner Pat Kennedy manages to get the place up and running again as soon as it’s feasibly possible. The place is a diamond in a glittering crown of a park.