I’ve brought in New Years on rainy Belfast streets listening to terrible tribute bands,  toasted the new day on a beach with an audience of sleepy seals and  spent several New Year eves wandering the deserted lanes of a very sleepy Belgian village waiting for something to happen.

The eve of 2012 was a  new experience of uncharted territory for me as I was  treated to a traditional Ulster Scotts New Year in the heart of the quiet Ballymena countryside (at least it was quiet until the Lambeg made it’s entrance).

For a non musician, Rhthymless person such a myself, it was a revelation to spend the evening with a small gathering of musicians,in a character full old farmhouse, jelously guarded by two very alert geese and about a dozen roosters.

The Walls of the farmhouse were papered with Caroline’s energetic paintings and  Willie’s collections of fiddles and drums hung, slung and perched on every available space.

As midnight approached we joined the geese and livestock in the farm yard for a serious Lambeg drumming session, the incredible sound of the drum cutting through the darkness was riveting, I wonder did the neighbours find it as riveting as I?

Suitably inspired we were all give a drum or percussion of some shape or form and joined in with WIllies infamous “Lambeg drum rant rap”  (click on the link at the top of this page to listen). I was given the wooden spoons which I  just about managed without disturbing the rythym!

The drumming ended up being pretty frenetic  and could have ended in a very sleepless night but  we were fortunate enough to have Cherith Boyle (www.cherithboyle.com) to wind us down with a stunning harp recital, she played some of her own compositions which were both haunting and sparkling, worth a listen on this link.

I woke up this morning to the sound of twelve roosters, two Geese and my two little boys who had happened upon a clatter of tin whistles, luckily everyone was still filled with the grace and patience of newly made resolutions of loveliness and those who could, slept on!

We breakfasted in Canadian style with caroline’s wholemeal cranberry scones, apple blackberry sauce and maple syrup yoghurt all fabricated on the spot though I did notice the blackberries came from the hedgerows via the freezer.

A bit of a wander in the country side in a rare spot of winter sun finished off a very special and unforgettable new year for me.  Stuff the champagne and canapés and bring on the Lambeg. Great celebrations are all about spending moments with friends, sharing time, ideas, inspiration and giving a bit of yourself, thanks guys!