It's taken a week of 10-hour sleeps (marvellous), but I think I've recovered from the obscene eating, drinking and dancing(!) spree that was Christmas and New Year on Berneray.
The annual Christmas meal took place on the thursday before New Year in the community hall. This is organised by Berneray Christmas Club. 109 people for the meal (though only about half of the resident population of Berneray were amongst this number), followed by one of Berneray's famous Ceilidhs. The meal was dished up by around 20 of the "women of Berneray" while several "men of Berneray" were involved in wine-waitering, cooking for the 20-odd women, and washing up.
The food was good, though it was a bit disappointing to discover afterwards that it wasn't sourced very locally - which is kinda odd in the current ethos of supporting and sustaining local community services. A pity. Apart from that, and one (lone) person trying to be as rude as possible, there was a total absence of spats, tantrums and "scenes" - unlike most Christmas parties up and down the land, there won't be lots of people groaning "I wish I hadn't done that" the day after.
More about the sustainability issue in future postings on this blog.
The dance was something else. I am baffled at the stamina of residents who can consume a four-course meal, a frightening amount of wine, and then do several hours of fast, complex and intricate dancing. You have to be at a Berneray Ceilidh to appreciate this.
There are a few pictures of the meal and dance on our community website.
Hogmanay brings first-footing, where after the bells residents generally pop round to various houses. As per last year, ended up (with many others) at the MacAskills in Borve - possibly the friendliest and most welcoming people I've met in my life. Much merriment, whisky (a Berneray "single" is equivalent to a mainland "quadruple"), nibbles and sausage rolls. Then off to Farquhars (I've probably spelt that wrong - sorry) with Fred, Cathy-Ann and one of the many Andy's, then back to Wester Rhumhor where Kenny (ferry skipper), Patricia and a collection of locals and visitors were in full swing until 7 in the morning. Tactically a good move finishing there, as oor hoose is opposite and below, so literally rolled into bed.
Next morning: "I'll never drink again". Till next Christmas...