January 2021


A ‘Happy New Year’ to you all!   This well-worn phrase has a special depth of sincerity and meaning this year, especially for our Memory Cafe members who are amongst many of us who will have found 2020 particularly worrying and challenging.  We all need to start looking forward now: New Year’s Eve always signifies new hope and beginnings and each year that comes gives us a chance to look forward and make new wishes for our loved ones, our friends, ourselves and our community.

Although we won’t have the chance to get together with friends and family in the usual way this year, there are many memories of New Year celebrations in times gone by to bring smiles to our faces.  Do you recall the excitement of being allowed to stay up until midnight when you were a child and linking arms and singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’? Perhaps you greeted the new year by watching television – ‘The White Heather club’ with Andy Stewart and Moira Anderson was always popular, especially the Scottish reels, and then the countdown to the chimes of Big Ben at midnight!

Or you may have had a tradition of ‘First Footing’ with someone bringing in coal for a warm home, bread for enough food and money for wealth through the coming year. Many communities had their own traditions and Newquay was renowned for the fancy dress costumes worn by party-goers as they paraded through the town on New Year’s Eve.  A more recent tradition is the ‘New Year’s Day Swim’ which is now held around the country and can attract hundreds of brave souls to take the plunge into the freezing sea, many in fancy dress, and often raising funds for charity.

New Year’s Day has always been the time for new resolutions – usually soon broken, but can you recall any you made and kept?

Another tradition, long past now, was the delights of the ‘January Sales’ when keen bargain hunters would queue up outside the stores to beat the crowds or even sleep on the pavement overnight! ‘Black Friday’, internet shopping and the sales held leading up to Christmas itself has completely decimated that annual rush.

Whatever your memories let’s hope that there will be chances to raise our glasses and celebrate this year too – even if in a different way!

At the Memory Cafe our hopes and wishes are that it won’t be too many months before we can be up and running again and we look forward to meeting up with friends, old and new, in 2021. My, won’t we have a lot to talk about!!