Ah the village Ceilidh, a little like childbirth, one of those things that when the girls come round selling tickets you actually think it will be a good idea to attend. Then when you get there you remember why you moaned about it the last time and vowed never to return. Yes, rather like childbirth there is a certain amount of selective amnesia involved in ceilidhs as far as I'm concerned.
You see I am a natural reel wrecker and feel it is only fair that I stay off the dance floor in order that there should be no actual "murder on the dance floor", yes I am that bad.
It all goes back to school days, when, being taller than other class members, I had to dance man. This has left me with a definite disadvantage when it comes to the partnery bits of country dancing as I bumble about not knowing what sex I'm meant to be and generally creating a mayhem best suited to bulls and china shops.
The prerequisites for a ceilidh are simple – village hall, fluorescent lighting with enough power to floor the national grid in 20 minutes, lots of enthusiastic people of all ages, booze, 1970s buffet food including fish paste sandwiches (oh yes, really, honestly) and a band, the older and badder the better.
This latter essential was proved a classic on Saturday. The band (two old men with a shiny drum kit and an accordion) were something to behold. they actually looked as if they might expire before the end of each dance. We found we were taking bets as to whether or not they'd last out the set.
But there is something special about village cailidhs. There is a timelessness about the whole thing. This kind of event has been going on here for centuries (not always with 1970s foodstuffs) and many of those children running about the dance floor will one day be dancing with their partners, then sitting out the dances and watching their own children running around the floor waving balloons and trying to lift up kilts. It is ongoing, the past, the present and the future. It is country life in Scotland.
Oh yes I can see all the tradition and the sentiment and the good of it all. I can also see the scattered bodies, fallen chairs and the look of a war zone if I get up on that dance floor.
I must remember my lack of ability next time they come round with the tickets, this could be a perfect time to give a donation and sit back and watch the telly.