Morning after the night before.
Herb and I enjoyed hosting a Burns Supper for friends and family. Our previous Burns Supper was a great success, hangovers were in place the next day for some (it’s always The Malt!) and we have been badgered over the last few years to repeat The Event.
When we checked out the Long Room this morning it was a bonus to see that we had indeed tidied up last night.
Our Burns Supper
We bought MacSween Haggis, I asked the girl guests to bring the turnip (neeps) (NOW DON’T START!) and mashed potato (tatties).
OK! O.K. All Right Now!
In Scotland a turnip is the large orange vegetable, not the smaller swede. (and just so you know-in Scotland those turnips are carved out at Hallowe’en time to make a turnip lantern. Friends and I when children, went round to each others home at Hallowe’en, recited a poem or sang; we were gifted tablet, toffee apples or peanuts.
Back to the Burns Supper
Starter: Cock a leekie soup
Main: Haggis, neeps and tatties
Cheese and biscuits
Malt whisky .
If friends wanted the malt, I gave due warning.
We had a whole lot of fun reciting verses from famous Burns poems.
Here are some quotes from his work : some profound, some common place.
‘The best laid schemes o’ mice and men – Gang aft a gley, And leave us naught but grief and pain For promised joy…..‘ To A Mouse.
‘But pleasures are like poppies spread. you seize the flower its bloom is shed. Or like the snow falls on the river- a moment white- then melts forever‘. Tam O’Shanter.
O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us. (O would some power the gift to give us, to see ourselves as others see us.) To A Louse.
Anyway, during the evening Tam O’Shanter and To A Mouse were fairly trashed by English friends who rose to the occasion and gave their best; always good for a laugh to a Scot’s ear.
They scored highly.
Robert Burns was born in Alloway, Ayrshire, west coast of Scoland, 1759. Son of a peasant farmer who is celebrated all over the world for his poetry and songs.
We Scots are super proud of Robert Burns. I am an Ayrshire girl and proud of this great tradition of celebrating The Bard.
His arguably most famous works include:
My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose- a beautiful love song that hits the spot.
So what constitutes a good Burn’s Supper?
A casual Burns Supper can be as accomplished an affair as you want or, just adjust to suit.
A fancy one is just that: all singing and dancing: Addressing the Haggis, The Immortal Memory, Toast to the Lassies, Reply to Toast to the Lassies…and lots of whisky if you want. (I have been known to sing ‘My love is like a red, red rose’.)
My most memorable Burns Supper
One of the very best and most prestigious Supper’s I attended was in the 1980s in Doha, Qatar, at The British Embassy. Very nice thank you!
What a hoot. Very correct and many enjoyed the evening; hardly a surprise when I tell you that there was a bottle of whisky between every 2 people.
A couple, seemingly quite elderly although probably younger than I am today, latched onto our group. They were pleasant and I got the impression they were somewhat dazed by the evening. Perhaps the Scottish recitations, the gay abandon.
Later at the dancing a sight was etched in my memory . The aforementioned Lady was dancing, gieing it laldy, swirling and skirling across the floor, furcoat flying behind her. The end result: her lying flat on her back, furcoat softening the landing, legs in the air, and a look on her face like my cat when he’s fallen off the chair. Yet another victim of The Malt Whisky I expect.
One of my 1st husband’s colleagues missed work for 2 days. He blamed the haggis. Total and utter bollocks.
A family tradition:
I am from Stewarton in Ayrshire (Burns territory) and my father, Robert Templeton, organised Burns Suppers for the Stewarton Bonnet Guild. I attended them, must have been in the early 1980s. Splendid affairs.
Following a little in his footsteps -when I lived in Marlow it was sprung upon me to perform a Reply to the Toast to the Lassies. We were going to a Burns Supper in The Prince of Wales (I think) pub in Marlow and somehow I just knew that Trevor Fulton would ask me to do something.
We arrived for the event and Trevor said,
‘Susan, you’re Scottish can you just do a little something when the speeches start?’
Now although I had a sixth sense and had taken my Burns Book with me- just in cases – you cannot just do a little something.
However I rose to the occasion. My father’s spirit backed me and I jotted down stuff during the meal. Some of the enjoyment of the evening was lost, however the pride I felt at doing requested speech was enormous.
If you ever get the chance
Do attend a Burns Supper. You will
- laugh and sing
- maybe cry (His words are stunningly provocative)
Excite your tastebuds, have a dram and experience a Scottish tradition celebrating a great man.