Welcome to the blog of Melanie McDonald ! I'm a professional artist, my life is divided between my home in Newquay, Cornwall and my renovation project - an 18th Century farm - in North Brittany, France. My inspiration comes from the beautiful beaches, skies and seas of Cornwall, Brittany and Scotland. This is where I share my paintings and photographs, I hope it inspires you.

January 01, 2012

One's first-foot ....

Father’s Journal, 1970

January 1st

As I was up long before the other members of the household I carried out the old ritual of going out by the back door, and bringing in a lump of coal by the front door.  After that I did my usual daily stint of lighting the fire and making their morning tea for the sleepers!  Some showers before daylight.  Forenoon damp with intermittent smirr and hill fog.  Wind Westerly, light to moderate, at first but veered to Northwesterly in the evening.  Showers from mid-day onwards.  Afternoon and evening raw and cold.  No sunshine.  Apart from Eliz’s illness, the year just ended was a good one for us in every way.  No post tonight.

The old ritual referred to by Father is of course the Scottish New Year custom of the ‘first-foot’.  According to this custom the luck of one’s household is determined irrevocably for the whole of the coming year by the physical type of one’s first visitor in that year or, in the synecdoche of the common phrase, by one’s first-foot.  Women, children and fair-haired men are considered unlucky; the ideal first-foot is a dark, mature male.  It is better, too, that he does not come empty-handed and if he carries a piece of coal that is felt to be especially productive of good fortune. 

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