Being Scottish by birth-right and half-Scottish by blood, I can't help but feel the stirring in my breast as the skirling of bag pipes herald in a new year.
So, in true Hogmanay style, I offer you a Scottish joke to herald in 2010, and to leave 2009 behind with a fond smile.
Here ye are:
Prince Charles is visiting an Edinburgh hospital. He enters a ward full of patients with no obvious sign of injury or illness and greets one.
The patient replies:
"Fair fa your honest sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin race,
Aboon them a ye take yer place,
Painch, tripe or thairm,
As langs my airm."
Charles is confused, so he just grins and moves on to the next patient. The patient responds:
"Some hae meat an canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat an we can eat,
So let the Lord be thankit."
Even more confused, and his grin now rictus-like, the Prince moves on to the next patient, who immediately begins to chant:
"Wee sleekit, cowerin, timrous beasty,
O the panic in thy breasty,
Thou needna start awa sae hastie,
Wi bickering brattle."
Now seriously troubled, Charles turns to the accompanying doctor and asks "Is this a psychiatric ward?"
"No," replies the doctor, "this is the serious Burns unit."