To give you yet another taste of the hectic — and wonderfully multi-ethnic — lifestyle we enjoy in the Greater Daglan Area, I offer a single photo. (Don’t worry, there will be a photo to view, after you read a few words.)
The scene you are about to see was taken early on New Year’s Eve, as we prepared to leave our house. We were hosting good friends from Toronto, the Flying Finn and her husband, VP Martinis, and the four of us had enjoyed another marvelous lunch at Le Grand Bleu, the Michelin-starred restaurant in Sarlat that I often rave about. For the evening, we had been fortunate enough to be invited to a private dinner party, with dancing included, at the 13th Century château (beautifully and tastefully renovated) on a hill high above Daglan.
For me, New Year’s Eve often suggests Highland Dress, since New Year’s celebrations are so important in Scotland, where the event is called Hogmanay. While I don’t have a drop of Scottish blood in me, my wife Jan was born in Scotland as a Macdonald, and that counts.
Over many years of attending the St. Andrew’s Ball each November in Toronto, I had acquired all the elements of the full Highland Dress, from the Prince Charlie jacket and waistcoat up top, down to my sporran, and then all the way down to the ghillie brogues on my feet. Most important, I proudly wear my own kilt, which is made of the Ancient Dress Macdonald tartan.
So now comes the photo. In it, you will see our male cat Scooter, relaxing before the fire at the foot of his (supposed) master. And then we have my ghillie brogues — which I have to say, are really, really good for dancing — followed by my long wool stockings, and a bit of my kilt. You will also see, tucked delicately into my right stocking, my sgian dhub (or hidden knife), which Scotsmen traditionally wear because, well, you just never know.
You will be relieved to know that the sgian dhub remained hidden throughout the evening’s festivities, which included a marvellous five-course dinner, rather a lot of very good wine, and the aforementioned dancing. It was a great celebration with great friends, old and new. And, as you’d imagine, the following day was very, very quiet.