Allan Blackburn column

Allan Blackburn, Owner of GB Antiques Centre and Lancaster Leisure Park
Allan Blackburn, Owner of GB Antiques Centre and Lancaster Leisure Park

Happy New Year. Today I simply have to write about our New year traditions and how they relate to us in the antiques world.

Obviously the first thing one thinks about this morning is new year resolutions and usually that means giving up something, saving money, going on a diet or breaking a bad habit.

For collectors, the fields of breweriana and smokerama are ways to enjoy ‘guilty pleasures’ or ‘antisocial’ habits without it being bad for your health.

All sorts of pub memorabilia; tankards, ashtrays, glasses, beer towels, even pub mirrors are highly collectable and lighters, vesta cases and silver cigarette cases make up the area of collecting called ‘smokerama’.

Talking of drinking, I hope no one is suffering too much today.

Everyone likes to have a good time on New Years Eve and many of the old customs associated with New Years Eve still play a huge part in our celebrations.

Immediately after midnight it is traditional to sing Rabbie Burn’s ‘Auld Lang Syne’.

Aside from the singing, one must also ensure good luck to the house on New Years Eve.

It is said that the first foot over your threshold after midnight should be male and dark haired to bring good luck (believed to be a throwback to the Viking days when blond strangers arriving on your doorstep meant trouble).

They should bring coal to symbolise warmth, wood to symbolise a roof over the families head, silver for wealth and bread, so that we may never go hungry.

But whatever traditions you’re wishing to uphold, one thing we all like to do is gather at the stroke of midnight to hear the sounds of Big Ben, which have traditionally been the focus of the entry of New Year.

The first radio broadcast of Big Ben was made by the BBC at midnight on the December 31, 1923 to welcome in the New Year.

Now every New Year the BBC relay broadcasts on both the radio and television to ring in the changes, along with a stunning display of fireworks.

Next week, I’ll be talking about another new years resolution… going on a diet.