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Monday, January 26, 2009

Burns Night

There are four notable men who are to be commemorated this year: the biologist Charles Darwin on the 150th anniversary of his publication On the Origin of Species; the composers George Handel and Joseph Haydn (250th and 200th anniversaries, respectively); and the Scottish poet Robert Burns (250th anniversary).

I shall feature all of these on my blog during the year, starting now with Robert Burns, for last night, 25th January is, by tradition, "Burns Night", celebrated by Scots men and women wherever they may be. I was fortunate to have my good Scottish friend Ken visiting, and we resolved to celebrate the occasion in style.

Robert Burns
Please click on the picture to hear some of Burns' poetry

We followed the customary practice of serving haggis with tatties and neaps (mashed potato with mashed turnips and swede) according to the procedures described here. Even though there were just the two of us, we delivered the rituals and speeches with the decorum as if at a full banquet!

The haggis was ceremonially transported into the dining room to a recording of the customary song A man's a man for a' that and Ken performed the honour of the address.

Ken brandishes his weapon as he addresses the haggis...

...before cutting it open... serve

After a dram (or two) of Famous Grouse whisky and a can (or two) of McEwan's Export, the mood had turned a little mellow as Ken eulogises with the Immortal Memory, a tribute to the life and work of Robert Burns.

It was indeed a most pleasant evening!


Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

They had something on TV here showing the celebration they had locally in Dunedin...where I presume you have perhaps been and seen the "Scottish-ness" of the whole settlement.

10:09 am  
Blogger Maalie said...

Kiwi, yes indeed, Ken himself lived and worked in Dunedin for some years. I went there a number of times in my capacity as an Education Inspector, and of course I went to see the albatrosses :-)

2:43 pm  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Each to his own. Of course I realize that some of you like eating boiled intestines, but personally, I prefer the Linda McCartney version.

Peter went to Sainsburys to buy a haggis but they didn't have any. Only too late did he find out our local butcher had one.

3:42 pm  
Blogger Charles Gramlich said...

I've been working for quite a while about some stuff on Darwin but don't know if I'll have it finished this year. I should really try given the anniversary.

3:50 pm  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

The evening sounds delightful - well, except for the haggis of course. That I would have passed on!

5:24 pm  
Blogger Merisi said...

The menu sounds so flamboyantly adventurous; however, the images you provide tell of a quiet, peaceful evening!

I gather there were no sweets for dessert. Were the womenfolk meeting elsewhere, perchance for some dainty sweets and tea?

6:32 pm  
Blogger Maalie said...

Lorenzo: There are other things in it besides intestines, like liver, brain, lung, pancreas and testicle. Yum yum!

Charles Gramlich: Yes it will be difficult to do justice to Darin (and to the others, come to that).

Halfmom: You don;t know what you're missing :-)

Merisi: Oh yes, there was desert. I made some Chinese Butter according to an old recipe of my grandmother. Not very Scottish, I suppose, but it slid down nicely with the whisky!

7:15 pm  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

I used to have wonderful Burns' Nights with my Scottish neighbours until they moved away. They prepared wonderful food and we danced Scottish reels too. I'm glad you celebrated in style.

I look forward to your posts on Darwin. It's certainly going to be his year.

9:39 pm  
Blogger simon said...

i wish i was there!

9:50 pm  
Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

You wouldn't survive the sudden change to dire cold simon:-)

Actually they have even had a few days of 31C, 32C in Dunedin lately! One of my nephews is in his third year of med there. Won't be as warm once the academic year gets underway down there again though.

10:58 pm  
Blogger Screaming Meme said...

Hi...I want to personally invite you to a new blog I created...Project:{Create A Home}...It is a place for inspiring and creative women to come together to be inspired to reach all their goals and dreams in life...And my personal decorating blog...Screaming Meme...I hope to see you there! Meme

6:50 pm  
Blogger Shrinky said...

Aw, God bless Ken! I have had many's an ocassion to be proud to witness the piping of the haggis in. (And it's been many's a year since I have laid eyes on a can of McEwan's). Thanks for bringing a smile to my lips.

6:57 pm  
Blogger Maalie said...

Ellee: I am booking into the Darwin Festival in Cambridge University in July. I shall probably write about him then.

Simon: We wish you were too mate!

Screaming Meme: I really can't imagine why you are targeting me; I'm not a woman, let alone an inspiring and creative one!

Shrinky, I have just floated a case of McEwans out on the ebb tide - it should wash up to you on Friday - go beach combing!

8:15 pm  
Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

Meme made a mistake maalie.... she thought she was hitting up lorenzo and me.... such women of inspiration and creativity that we are, into home decorating every step of the way ;-)

10:23 pm  
Blogger Merisi said...

Maalie, Screaming Meme did not ask you to be a woman, only to give her the pleasure of your company. *giggle*

1:16 pm  
Blogger simon said...

runcible girl!

8:55 pm  
Blogger Magdalene said...

Sounds bloody lovely old chap - and I don't even like haggis.

Thanks for droppping by. All well in my world, though feel in need of a quiet retreat somewhere soon.

I was thinking of you earlier this week while stomping along the sea wall in Teignmouth accompanied by The Weirdo. I had just managed to persuade him that the 'cormorants' were indeed shags, when the light drizzle became a downpour and we were forced to go and steam up our favourite cafe, The Oystercatcher, and improve our lot with a good fry up. Only mental people go looking at birds in the rain.

9:14 pm  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Have fun skating!

3:58 pm  
Blogger Shrinky said...

Maalie, you are a true friend indeed - cheers! (Grin)

11:16 am  

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