Just before Christmas we received a box of chocolates with a card from neighbours, welcoming us to the street and giving a mobile number in case we ever needed anything at all. Nye ran to the shop to get a return gift while I wrote a card. We went round but there was no one in. We checked the lights regularly and at last on the night afore we saw a light and went round with a gift and explain we had been here over 27 years but had pretty patchy residence in the last 18 months. They had seen the van with furniture arrive in November and probably seen Bryn and Nye going out regularly together and assumed a new couple had arrived. They were lovely and said some neighbours were coming round on Hogmanay for prosecco. It sounded tempting but we had a previous engagement. We exchanged contact details and hoped we might see them at the New Year fireworks.

We had a very enjoyable Scottish and Portuguese Hogmanay with Kenny and Helena and a host of their family and friends. I was relieved that the virtual reality headset seemed to stop working, so I was spared the humiliation of flailing around looking like a fly in its last throes stuck to flypaper with an audience around me. We set out to the street with a few minutes to go until midnight, despite the lashing rain. I stopped to try and help 2 girls put up their umbrella but it was broken and they threw it away. Bryn had on his party shoes and was a light display before the main event. A crowd of youngsters counted down and the first firework exploded dead on time. It was a fine display with high spirits, much hugging and a slug of whisky from Kenny’s mother’s hip flask, a first for me!

Street view of castle and firework display

The display was impressive but it seemed our new neighbours didn’t come out. We went back to our host’s house and still no VR success. Reality was just fine thanks. When we got back home, at about 2 a.m.,  there were bright rainbow coloured lights in the neighbour’s window but we decided it was a bit late to crash their party.

We have started the year with some bullfinch sightings and the bluetits are still heading in and out of the birdbox. As I was setting off to visit my sister, a very tame robin was hopping around the front garden and doing some amazing hovering in flight which we had not expected at all. New year, new bird antics.

In the damp weather I have avoided going for a hill walk with my sister as it proved slippery before but we have had a couple of walks along to the canal in stead each time covering a different stretch  but we saw no boats. I was pleased to be able to take in an open cafe as we have had failed attempts in the last few days to get to several shops, galleries and a building society. On the way back it was darkening but the towpath was lit with white and red lights making edges and the places where care should be taken at concealed exits. 

Shane and I have been very fortunate to have two lunch invites already this year, Great food and great fun was had with Cath and Michael and  both their offspring put in an appearance too. A year ago I wrote that I hoped they would join us aboard in 2022, but much that was expected last year did not happen and much that was unexpected did. Cath remains a keen blog follower though so we still have high hopes for a boat visit one day.

Someone who has made it to the boat is my niece Lorna and partner Paul. We joined a gathering of her  family so cousins and cousins once removed met together, lunched laughed and had  a walk along the prom. That certainly blew away any cobwebs.

Portobello beach on the third of January