Author Topic: who was Skittery Winter today?  (Read 9644 times)

Offline bonjedward

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who was Skittery Winter today?
« on: Friday 31 December 04 10:52 GMT (UK) »
Did anyone get called 'Skittery Winter' today? As it may be becoming a rarity, I'd better explain: in Scotland, the last person in the house to get up on the last day of the year (Hogmanay), gets made fun of, and called 'skittery winter'.
In offices and other workplaces, the last person to arrive in the morning would also be ridiculed, with workmates banging on desks, radiators, etc. and shouting 'skittery winter' at them.

It might be an almost dead tradition now - in the 1980s when my mother was working in a travel agency, the younger staff had never heard of it. I suppose with the introduction of more flexible working hours in many companies, the whole idea of ridiculing the last to arrive loses its meaning.

Anyway, it's usually me who's the last to get up (today's a holiday), but this morning the kids (who normally get up at 7 to watch cartoons) didn't get up till 10, and share the honour and title for the next year!
Researching: Towers family of Paisley; Argyll: Carmichael, McQueen; W. Lothian: Aitken, Smeal, Cunningham, Brash, Easton; Stirlingshire: Bruce, Henderson, Galloway;  Midlothian: Gillis, Philp, Turner; Ayrshire: Robertson, McMurren (also County Down), Bone, Eaglesham, Scoffield, Frew, McLatchie;  Moray: Rennie, Stronach;   Donegal, Derry: Douglas, Wray, Steen;  Bermuda: Outerbridge, Seon

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Offline Su

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Re: who was Skittery Winter today?
« Reply #1 on: Friday 31 December 04 12:12 GMT (UK) »
I've never heard of it David, but it's lovely.  What a shame these old sayings ten to die out.

My excuse for getting up late is hubby was lying on me nightie ! :-[

Today I am having a George Bush day .. one of quietude
undisturbitudeness, unwrinkleditude, and relaxitude.

Su Zzzzzzzzz

Barnett Altrincham/Manchester
Bates Hindley Lancs
Bowyer Altrincham Cheshire
Cunliffe Hindley
Hollingworth Hale Barnes/Mobberley Ches
Jones Salford/Altrincham
Ramsdale Hindley Lancs
Timperley Warburton/Dunham Massey
Yarwood Great Budworth,Lymm,Dumham Massey

All Census look up transcriptions are Crown Copyright

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Offline Berlin-Bob

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Re: who was Skittery Winter today?
« Reply #2 on: Friday 31 December 04 12:34 GMT (UK) »
Hi David,

definitely me - the cat was up already !!

didn't know the "skittery winter" one but my in-laws (scots) do the "first footing" - the first person to (ring the bell, knock on the door and) enter the house in the new year !

Happy Hogmanay !

Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)

My research interests (and data found) can be seen on my website:   http://www.margulies-chronicles.com/

Offline Little Nell

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Re: who was Skittery Winter today?
« Reply #3 on: Friday 31 December 04 13:52 GMT (UK) »
Ah, yes, Bob, but do they bring something to eat, something to drink and something for heat?  If we go first-footing we take some homemade shortbread, a dram or two and ideally a piece of coal, but that can be hard to come by in modern houses!

Slàinte!   

Nell
All census information: Crown Copyright www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline bonjedward

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Re: who was Skittery Winter today?
« Reply #4 on: Friday 31 December 04 14:46 GMT (UK) »
They should definitely bring some drink, and insist their hosts drink it, while their hosts insists the guests drink the host's offerings . I could do without the lumps of coal, though!
But most importantly, they shouldn't come before midnight. My parents invited my father's cousin and his wife (both English, they stayed a few years in Scotland) round for Hogmanay. My parents were horrified when they appeared at 8 p.m. - they weren't supposed to come before midnight!

Firstfooting continues for a number of days into the New Year - the idea is to visit all your friends, neighbours and family. It used to be said that you stopped when your drink ran out, but since the price of alcohol, and especially spirits has fallen enormously compared to wages, it need never run out!

Happy New Year!!
Researching: Towers family of Paisley; Argyll: Carmichael, McQueen; W. Lothian: Aitken, Smeal, Cunningham, Brash, Easton; Stirlingshire: Bruce, Henderson, Galloway;  Midlothian: Gillis, Philp, Turner; Ayrshire: Robertson, McMurren (also County Down), Bone, Eaglesham, Scoffield, Frew, McLatchie;  Moray: Rennie, Stronach;   Donegal, Derry: Douglas, Wray, Steen;  Bermuda: Outerbridge, Seon

Offline JillJ

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Re: who was Skittery Winter today?
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 01 January 05 17:32 GMT (UK) »
In the days when Firstfooting was far more of a tradition than it seems to be nowadays, I recall that the "Firstfooter" had to be a dark haired man.   Why?

Jill
Jowett & Broadbent in Leeds.
Perry, Hartshorn/e & Wilkes in Birmingham & Dudley. Walker and Dabill in Sheffield & Notts.
Farrar in Darlington & Leeds.
Kidd & Taylor in Hartlepool & Teesside
Census information is crown copyright from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline bonjedward

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Re: who was Skittery Winter today?
« Reply #6 on: Saturday 01 January 05 18:29 GMT (UK) »
I seem to remember hearing that it is supposed to go all the way back to Viking raids 1000 years ago, where fair haired strangers were pretty scary, while a dark haired stranger was probably a local.
Researching: Towers family of Paisley; Argyll: Carmichael, McQueen; W. Lothian: Aitken, Smeal, Cunningham, Brash, Easton; Stirlingshire: Bruce, Henderson, Galloway;  Midlothian: Gillis, Philp, Turner; Ayrshire: Robertson, McMurren (also County Down), Bone, Eaglesham, Scoffield, Frew, McLatchie;  Moray: Rennie, Stronach;   Donegal, Derry: Douglas, Wray, Steen;  Bermuda: Outerbridge, Seon

Offline Berlin-Bob

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Re: who was Skittery Winter today?
« Reply #7 on: Saturday 01 January 05 18:56 GMT (UK) »
I'd heard that, too, about a dark haired first-footer.  We used to argue whether I, hirsutely challenged, still counted as dark-haired, and decided, as I had previously been dark-haired, I was "technically" OK !
Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)

My research interests (and data found) can be seen on my website:   http://www.margulies-chronicles.com/

Offline JillJ

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Re: who was Skittery Winter today?
« Reply #8 on: Saturday 01 January 05 19:38 GMT (UK) »
Thankyou David & Bob.   It never ceases to amaze me that there is always a bit of apparently sensible logic behind these traditions!

Jill
Jowett & Broadbent in Leeds.
Perry, Hartshorn/e & Wilkes in Birmingham & Dudley. Walker and Dabill in Sheffield & Notts.
Farrar in Darlington & Leeds.
Kidd & Taylor in Hartlepool & Teesside
Census information is crown copyright from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk