A reminder of summer broke through the cold and windy Orkney midnight hour at Palace village in Birsay as we greeted the New Year, 2017.
From the depths of nowhere and through the darkness of the night came the chimes of "The Sun has got his Hat On" : mystery New Year Bells .....ringing out here, live on Orkney, to rival Big Ben on TV.
Next day, all was revealed: our new neighbours, Mo and Janette, had driven their mobile ice-cream van up from Central Scotland for the occasion. Once again, at 1pm on New Year's Day, the chimes were ringing out "The Sun has got his Hat on...Hip, hip, hip, hip, Hooray!" ; this time, to bring the village kids running out of their homes to see what all the noise was about.
Free ice cream cones, all round !
You might not have believed it if this story had appeared as an episode in The Sunday Post cartoon strip of The Broons at Auchentogle, but it really happened right outside Annie's Place, here in Palace, Birsay.
There are many traditional New Year customs in Scotland, including whatever you do or however you behave towards one another on New Year's Day will continue throughout the rest of the year.....so here's hoping that this means the sun will be shining for all our guests throughout the year ahead.
Happy New Year to all our Annie's Place customers, past and present, throughout the world. Haste Ye Back!