The shortest day of the year and – a vampire’s delight – the longest night, the Winter Solstice. A huge, glowing moon in the sky this morning when I woke up, with the rising sun beginning its ascent in the eastern sky at the same time as that as that shining moon descended in the west. A very ancient celebration, especially here in the British Isles, with many of the components and traditions absorbed by those pesky Christians (get your own traditions you spongers!!!) including such ‘Christmas’ staples as mistletoe (a Druidic staple as all Asterix readers know).

Partly a religious observation and a way of marking the seasons for our ancestors, it was also a good excuse to brighten up the long, cold nights of the Celtic winter by having a big-ass part with plenty of food, dancing and drink. So, not a lot of change there then, really for modern Scots. On which score I’ve tried not to let my nasty cold get in the way of catching up with chums this week for some drinks and food before Christmas hits. Or, as in tonight, combining food and drink in the same place – good company, fine ale and some warm grub on a cold night, life’s simple pleasures. Happy Solstice everyone.