Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Today was a fairly relaxed day at work, but outside on the street the same scene as Christmas Eve (also a semi-official half-day, like Hogmanay) was repeated: dozens of people jostling and elbowing to get inside the narrow entrance of a wholesale off-licence. Every other day of the year so far apart from these two this is one of the most unpopular shops in the area - dark inside, musty with a few dejected staff standing by little mountains of dodgy portuguese wine in 5l casks. Plus you can only get in by climbing up 3 bizarre high steps to the door, then down again to get inside.

But today it was mayhem, and the steps served their purpose, bottlenecking the punters in the doorway so the staff could get them into an orderly queue. Hogmanay here seems to be a bigger event than Christmas and everyone is stocking up on the booze - as I walked out of the office an old lady swerved onto the pavement in front of me carrying a whole crate of gin on her head. We are going to try and find a fireworks display somewhere on the seafront, since tomorrow is a holiday so plenty of time to sleep in.

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