Someone e-mailed to ask about the beige rectangle on the wall behind some of my photos. It's a Scottish tea towel that a friend gave me over a decade ago. I've hung it up in the various kitchens I've used over the years. Here's the text and translations from the Scots dialect:
A SCOTS TOAST
May the best you've ever seen
Be the worst you'll ever see;
Think about the best time of your life, and I hope that things in the future never get worse than that.
May the mouse ne'er leave your girnal
Wi' a tear drap in its e'e;
Literally "I don't want mice to leave your pantry sad because there's no food". Basically I hope your pantry is always full.
May your lum keep blithely reekin'
Till ye're old enough to dee;
I hope that your chimney keeps smoking for the rest of your life, or that you're always successful enough to heat your own home.
May you aye be just as happy
As I wish you now to be!
I hope you're always as happy as I want you to be right now.