DOES anyone know exactly what “auld lang syne” means? No me neither. Still, I like the sentiment. Auld acquaintance should certainly not be forgot..

Certainly not if you had a Christmas card from them, they shouldn’t. Did you write “We must meet up”? in your cards. Have you done so for the last 20 years? In which case, now’s the time to do something about it. I tried last year. As I wrote my Christmas cards, I got out my shiny new diary and wrote notes to myself to get in touch with half-a-dozen old friends whom I hadn’t seen for some time.

Then a virus drained every ounce of energy from me – even my toes and eye balls felt exhausted – and by the time I finally recovered I was so far behind that I spent the rest of this year trying to catch up and never got round to most of those friends.

So they’re in the dairy again for 2017. This time I hope I won’t feel so feeble. Because I know it will be worth it. For years a friend from my very first job and I used to write that trite little message in our Christmas cards. She lives in Inverness, not exactly on the doorstep. We hadn’t seen each other for nearly 20 years and our only communication was the dutiful annual card. Then one year, almost simultaneously, we both decided to do something about it.

For the last five years or so we’ve met up a couple of times a year in Edinburgh. We eat, drink and talk non-stop. And laugh a lot. (For “cup of kindness” read “bottle of wine”). Now very grown up and sensible and responsible pillars of society, we regress instantly to the daft girls we were years ago. Brilliant. There’s nothing like old friends who’ve known you forever.

Those token gesture Christmas cards had eventually done their job. Who else is out there, waiting to be re-discovered? This time between Christmas and New Year is always good for catching up with people too. But tomorrow night when you’re holding hands and singing, possibly with strangers, then spare a thought for those auld acquaintances.

And make this the year you get in touch again. For auld lang syne. Whatever it may be.

SPRIGHTLY is one of those words, isn’t it?

It pretends to be a compliment but more often than not, the unspoken meaning is “Good grief, you can manage to walk unaided and string two words together even though you’re OLD!”

No wonder Anne Reid, the brilliant 81-year-old star of Last Tango in Halifax doesn’t like it. She also says she gets very “spiky” when people treat her as an old lady.

Fantastic. Age is certainly important – but never as important as character and talent.

AFTER the men in charge of Muirfield golf club voted again against allowing women members, the women of Edinburgh have had their own small piece of revenge.

They’ve sponsored a bench in Princes Street Gardens, with a plaque saying: “The members of Muirhead Golf Club are hereby excluded from sitting on this bench. By order of the female population of Edinburgh.”

Funny, but really just as sexist as the men,.

What they should have done, of course, is welcome the men to sit there – but just make it as uncomfortable as possible. Then they’d know what it’s still like for many women when men make the rules.

WELL, that was the year, that was. Who’d have thought it? Let’s face it, if someone had told you this time last year that Donald Trump would be US president, David Cameron out of politics altogether, Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary and former shadow chancellor Ed Balls in danger of being a national treasure after his stint on Strictly, you’d have laughed like a drain.

It’s certainly been interesting.

Even those of us safe, well-housed and well-fed, still feel as if everything’s been shaken up, thrown around and settled down in not quite the same place. Good. Sometimes we all need a little shaking up, especially, perhaps, if life is a lot more comfortable for us than it is for many people. A new perspective never does any harm. Mind you, you understand now that when the Chinese say “May you live in interesting times”, they don’t mean it nicely…

Still, if you’re reading this, it means that somehow, we’ve all got this far.

Thank you for all your e mails and those occasional real letters and cards throughout 2016. It’s always good to hear from you.

I hope you and yours have an excellent 2017, though maybe not quite as interesting as last year… Happy New Year!