Hope you had a good Chinese Hogmanay.
I certainly did with no black bun but plenty of black ear fungus.
Black ear fungus is the sort of stuff you find on your plate at Madame Ying's new year lunch in my local Chinese restaurant in Barcelona. None of your chicken chow mein. The extensive menu consists entirely of special delicacies.
Thankfully, black ear fungus turned out to be ear-shaped mushrooms that grow on trees. Madame Ying explained that these little ears kill off impurities in the digestive system.
The mixed seaweed salad is even better for you. Not the seaweed you get in some Scottish restaurants which is actually deep-fried cabbage. Real seaweed which keeps your arteries unblocked and has anti-ageing qualities. As Madame Ying says, seaweed will make you immortal.
The taro that came with the roast beef may have looked like a cross between a turnip and a radish but it is full of protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, niacin and more vitamins than you will find in Holland & Barrett.
I am thus fortified for the Year of the Dragon. Or the year of the mother-in-law as some may call it. In Chinese culture, the dragon is a divine beast. A symbol of good fortune and intense power.
The dragon has the "head of an ox or donkey, eyes of a shrimp, horns of a deer, body of a serpent covered with fish scales, and the feet of a phoenix". It usually clutches a pearl to symbolise its supernatural powers. Fill in your own mother-in-law joke at your peril.
This also the year of water. Being Scottish we will say that every year is a year of water. Feng shui experts predict the water will be of tsunami proportions bringing natural disasters and toppling of many governments. But not Barack Obama who is a strong earth person and will have good news in the second half of the year.
Alex Salmond did not get a mention. But 2012 is a good year for travelling in a north-westerly direction. Which is good news for Scottish tourism.
Finally, there was black bun of a sort at Madame Ying's new year dinner. It was a wee pastry with black rice and honey. Black rice is even better for you than porridge oats, says Madame Ying.
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