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The Tattie Holidays


We all know what is rushing towards us after the tattie holidays. Right now though it is time to step back, breathe, and enjoy what October can offer.

We can thank the farmers for this holiday. How many of us remember getting up early on a frosty morning awaiting a van, or bus to pick us up? Then we would spend the day tattie howkin.

Backbreaking work but whole families used to do it. In fact, whole communities could be involved. So many children would be absent from school to help with the harvest that it was deemed better to just declare a week’s holiday.

The tradition of families working together in a field has been replaced in the main by tractors and machinery. Other communities have slipped in and taken over at least the first week of the tattie holidays.

In the Highlands, for many, the tattie holidays have developed into ‘Mod Week’. I can’t see the Mod ever being replaced by machinery. Even with some competitions taken place online this year, I can’t see this Mod Week changing anytime soon.

Who would have thought that The Mod would go virtual? It has allowed people to take part on some level or other. In many ways, it has loosened up some of the entries. Seeing bairns in their own homes blethering or singing has been great. Not every child is happy in a competitive environment so it has allowed those who simply enjoy singing to just do that without the atmosphere of competition.

When all is said and done the Mod allows Gaels to meet up, talk in their language, and enjoy the craic together. I love the fact that the tattie holidays also mean ‘Mod Week’ now to many.

I did briefly mention the Mod in Blàs in the Highlands but nothing much in Blàs Roots in the Soil. Maybe this is a theme I can include slightly in the next instalment Blàs..., yes, I have yet to pick a title. But then I have only got to about chapter six in the first draft.

After this week of walks and catching up on invoices, minutes, and general paperwork, I will have to focus my mind on my next Blàs story. I have a good few ideas but still have many to develop yet.

I’m trying to figure out how much time I can also dedicate to my next Grumpa book as well. I need to consider where I am going with him. I do have a good idea of the next story so I need to develop this or I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on my Blàs story.

What is it that expression they use in economics ‘opportunities cost’? I’m hoping my swithering around wouldn’t turn out to be costly for both stories.

The photograph above well reflects my thinking at the moment. Rushing forwards, a bit frothy but tinged with gold at the prospect of what may develop. If anyone needed inspiration this walk is the place to go.

The Big Burn is the perfect place to clear your head and dream. It has to be said one of my favourite walks whatever the season. Though nowadays, way busier than it once was, but then I am sure that can be said of most country walks these days.

So what will the second week of the holidays bring? I sincerely hope for more writing on my part now all that paperwork is done. I have heard that the weather will be warmer which is a bit worrying. October, tattie holidays, or Mod Week whatever you want to call it has always signalled, blustery cold weather or if we were lucky blue sky and hard frost. A prelude to the colder weather that awaits us in November.

If we do indeed have a heatwave for this time of year it will be more difficult to stay on the PC and write. The garden will beckon, after all, I haven’t encouraged it to go to sleep for the colder days. No lifting of plants or wrapping up of others.

Whatever the weather throws at us I’m sure I will force myself to put fingers to keys and produce a fair amount of words. If not I will only regret the opportunity cost of taking off some time.


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