Every summer, most of the towns and villages around these parts hold a gala day – which we call “The Galaday”, alloneword. I think I was about
twenty twelve when I realised that, “Heeeeey, the ‘galaday’ is, like, a DAY… on which there is a GALA! I bet that’s why they called it GALADAYALLONEWORD! Sweet!”
In my hometown, The Galaday is the social event of the year: it’s better even than Christmas, mostly because there’s a lot more alcohol involved. (“It’s the kids’ day!” people will say, chugging down another can of lager…) One year, The Galaday only ended when police helicopters were mobilised to disperse the crowds, and it’s all fun and games until the riot squad get involved, isn’t it? The Galaday starts with a parade, featuring local schools, marching brands, people dressed as animals/cartoon characters - you know the kind of thing. Afterwards, there are various different sporting events, food trucks, and, of course, the fun fair, which we call “The Shows”. And after The Shows, well, there’s normally someone having a party, so the fun continues until late. It’s a bit like the 4th of July, only without the flags, the fireworks, the patriotism, the… it’s not actually like the 4th of July.
It IS, though, a Big Deal, as I said. When I was younger, I remember my friends and I would count down to it for weeks, whipping ourselves up into a frenzy of excitement, at the end of which our mums would finally take us to Edinburgh – which we called ‘The Town’, as if there was only one of them – to buy us our spechul galaday outfits. For some of us, it was the only time we ever got new clothes, seriously. And for Christmas we just got a lump of coal. If we were lucky.
Last weekend, it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t actually attended one of these events since I was a teenager. When I went to university, you see, I left my hometown, and never came back… umm, other than every weekend, all of my university holidays, and now we live quite close to it. No the thing was, I worked weekends all the way through university, and for quite a time afterwards, so I was never free when The Galaday was held. Most of the time I wasn’t even in the country when The Galaday was held, and when I was in the country and not at work, I was… probably catching up on sleep, to be perfectly honest. So I didn’t go to The Galaday for years, and I didn’t go THIS year either, even although I realise you’re probably thinking that’s what I was leading up to here, and also that this post would be much more interesting if I HAD.
I may not have gone to see the parade – which we call ‘The Walk’ – however, but as luck would have it, we were invited to a party on the same day it was being held, and even although it technically had nothing to do with the galaday, I decided to make the most of the opportunity to re-live my childhood. So I asked my mum if she wanted to take me to The Town and buy me a new dress, and when she refused (It’s true what they say: you can never go home again, huh?) I took myself to ASOS (Which we call… just ‘ASOS’, actually) and bought one myself. Then I bought it in black, too. And honestly? The buying-of-the-dress didn’t have anything to do with galadays, parties, or anything really: that’s just a feeble excuse I made up to justify the fact that that I bought, not one, but TWO dresses I really didn’t need, but absolutely HAD to have.
And friends? I regret nothing. It was one of those “If I don’t buy this now, I’ll be searching eBay for it forever” moments, and my instinct turned out to be correct: the dress sold out within a couple of days and who knows if or when it’ll ever come back. If it does, though, and if it comes back in another colour… I’ll be waiting. You don’t need no galaday to buy a new dress, do you? Thankfully.
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