As a Scot with relatives normally resident in Foreign, I know that this time of year is especially difficult for those of our ain folk forced, through circumstance, to spend the festive season lying on a tropical beach somewhere.
My heart bleeds, it really does.
Thoughts of home were brought to mind by an email from Peter, who noted with some distress that Lulu has turned up contributing a squawk to that new "Homecoming" ad.
For those in Foreign, a word of explanation. The tourist authorities here are promoting 2009 as year of homecoming, holding the thing (however loosely) together by next year being the 250th anniversary of Burns' birth.
Anyway, to promote the idea, the authorities have paid for a short ad with the great and the good, Chris Hoy, Sean Connery and other luminaries, taking a line in turn from Dougie MacLean's "Caledonia". I'm not sure how that song is especially Burnsian, but I'll get back to that in a minute.
Peter, like all right-thinking Scots, is justifiably horrified at the inclusion of Lulu and I can see his point.
Scots don't like Lulu for two main reasons.
There's her pit-oan English accent for one thing which she oh so hilariously leavens with occasional renditions of her original "Glesca" patios. Oh, desist Lulu, do! I fear my ribs might break such is my merriment.
The other gripe left at Ms Lawrie's door is that she left Scotland to become famous and she only visits Scotland to patronise the locals. Perhaps alone among my compatriots, I've got no problem with Lulu moving to England to further her career.
In fact, I would've preferred it if Lulu had moved away a bit further. There's a very good cabaret circuit within The Crab Nebula I hear.
More seriously, I seem to recall, back when the world was made of wood, Ms Lawrie making some very uncomplimentary comments about striking miners back in the early 1980s. Ancient history I know, for the kids who only see her as some post-modern, post-ironic, post-menopausal, marginally cool icon, but some of us have got very long memories.
Anyway, fuck off Lulu, where was I?
Aye, I 'm not at all clear why the powers that be are using "Caledonia" in the ad. I mean, it's a great tear-jerker and everything but it's not anything to do with Burns is it?
But if it's a free-for-all on the pulling on the heart strings front can I direct your lugs to The Theme for Scotland by Skyedance? I'd like to listen with you but I always get something in my eye when I hear it so I'd better not.
I guarantee for those JT readers in Foreign, that this tune will have you booking a flight home toot sweet.
So, when you're going through duty-free, get me a Toblerone, a big one mind.