..by Anura Guruge
Yes, this is the impressive, iconic, white edifice with the ever shining gold dome, completed in 1819 and now having the distinction of being the oldest state house in the U.S. where the legislature still meets in the original chamber. [Some simplify that to say that it has the oldest ‘working’ chamber.] Our visit was for home-schoolers. It was organized by the same lady that arranged the equally successful and rewarding trip to the UNH ‘Know the Coast‘ day in October. It was originally going to be on Thursday, but got postponed till Friday because of the Nor’easter. We had to be there at 10 am. We had to first shovel the drive again and clear up the approach to the mailbox before we could leave. Since it was a ‘holiday’ parking wasn’t a problem and we parked right behind the State House, at a meter, with six quarters for 2 hours.
We lucked out in multiple ways. There were only three families the group just met the minimum 10 requirement for a guided tour. Furthermore, though their was another tour at the same time for a troop of boy scouts, we got the Director of the State House Visitor’s Center, Virginia Drew. She was good. She has been doing this for 12 years. She was knowledgeable, engaging, friendly and very helpful.
I was surprised how ‘open’ the State House is. I know it is the people’s house, but it was different. You just walk in. Everybody was ultra friendly. It was a good visit, a good tour. I was impressed. It was my first time. Devanee had gone with her school in Grade 4, as is the norm. Deanna had never been, and neither had Teischan. I am going to go again. See NH government in action. That we know a few legislators will make it even more fun. We got to see where Senator Andrew Hosmer will be sitting. Teischan even tried it out.
Click to ENLARGE.
..by Anura Guruge
I have talked about ‘Hogmanay‘ once or twice before on this blog, given that it is a holiday that I am very fond of. Yes, it is a New Year’s Eve bash, but it is one done with gusto, passion, lots of music, some bagpipes if you are lucky and of course, lots of booze, with single malts coming into play at some point. Yes, it definitely helps if you are dark haired, or even better have black hair and a dark complexion — now that chimney sweeps are hard to find. Yes, there is a lovely Scottish tradition that says that associating with dark people at hogmanay bring you luck for the coming year. It originated with chimney sweeps, but now it applies to all darkies (like me). I used to get invited up to Glasgow in Scotland for hogmanay. I had a friend, who died last year, who was a big wheel in every sense in Scotland, who booked an entire hotel for the night of December 31st so that his friends could celebrate hogmanay in style. At midnight women would line up to be kissed by the darkies …
I am surprised that there aren’t many, if any, hogmanay parties in NH given the crowds that attend the annual Scottish Highland Games at Loon. There are 2 to 3 hogmanay style Scottish dinners at the local hotels on Friday and Saturday night during the games. I would have thought that they would try and do a proper hogmanay party along similar lines. All you need is a couple of Scottish musicians and hopefully a few bagpipers.
I did find one event labelled as such in NH, but it is at a church and it finishes way before midnight.
Next year, when all have recovered from any and all hangovers from this year’s celebration I am going to start talking to various people about extending their event to include some elements of hogmanay.
Check the list of U.K. holidays I posted before Christmas. In Scotland both January 1 & 2 are holidays, the second day a must to recover from the first footing of New Year’s.
Happy New Year. May you be showered with all that is best in life in 2013.