Wednesday, 25 January 2012
I live in Scotland, top of that strange shaped island in the north eastern Atlantic.
We have a National Bard, national poet, and a day to celebrate the lecherous old drunkard, that day is today.
We have a National Dish which you would have thought could have been our famous wild salmon or hill caught venison but no! It is Haggis made from all the bits nobody will buy mixed with onions, bait of spice, and oatmeal which should then be stuffed into a sheep’s stomach, we are nothing if not gourmets…
It would be a crime to eat such a delicacy alone though we did on Saturday, it is more traditional to get a roomful together and have a party of sorts. In the best gatherings the “great pudding” will be led to the table by someone in full Highland regalia playing the bagpipes, once the European Union gets word of this and measures the sound intensity of bagpipes in a domestic setting I am sure they will instigate legislation to ban it! There is a poem which is delivered to the haggis before the declaimer eviscerates it with his dirk, a dagger he keeps down his sock… People say poems in praise of lassies, I said he was a lecherous womaniser didn’t I? Traditionally a lassie gives a speech in reply before outers join in with their poems or songs. It can all be a bit much especially when they get to dancing highland reels after having drunk some of our National Drink.
Sunday we were invited out to lunch by friends who have some money so I was somewhat disappointed when an email arrived some days later to say that some contribution by Burns would be required. Darn, I really like Haggis but here was a premature Burns Supper where I had hoped for a real treat and a chance to chat with a few university professors to add to my font of useless knowledge. I googled “Burns and Haiku”, sadly he was such a traditionalist and fond of his own voice that he never used the form, all I got was a recommendation to burn my Haikus to CD! Next I Googled “Burns shortest poem”. He wrote countless hundreds but Google had no idea which was the shortest, so much for the internet!! We did eventually find a couple of epigrams which would not have us in the limelight for too long and neither were about sex or drinking.
Epigram Addressed To An Artist
Dear Sir, I'll gie ye some advice,
You'll tak it no uncivil:
You shouldna paint at angels mair ,
But try and paint the devil.
To paint an Angel's kittle wark ,
Wi' Nick , there's little danger:
You'll easy draw a lang-kent face,
But no sae weel a stranger.
Mine was to show that even though Scots were famous inovators in road building, they are still a mess!
Epigram On Rough Roads
I'm now arrived - thanks to the gods!
Thro' pathways rough and muddy,
A certain sign that makin roads
Is no this people's study:
Altho' I'm not wi' Scripture cram'd,
I'm sure the Bible says
That heedless sinners shall be damn'd,
Unless they mend their ways.
I did learn that our mild winter is due to a 25% rise in the suns UV output even though the light output change due to sunspot activity was only 1 to 2 %, this change affects the north Atlantic weather systems especially it seems and few had bothered to measure the UV changes before assuming that they were just related to the light output, Duh. Record sunspot activity has been related to our recent bad winters…
That concludes today’s useless information .
After all that anticipation we did not get our Pudding but an excellent Beef Wellington. Tonight we will get a Haggis from one of the prize winning makers, you smirk!? Thankfully there will be no bagpipes or too much poetry though I think I shall take mine along to raise a smile ot two.
It has been my aim to do something to break the long gloom of winter by spending a while out in France helping with renovation projects but they have stopped for a while, last year we had a spa break when a friend celebrated her landmark birthday with a large group of friends. This year Julie is going to spend some time staying with her cousin an a big city for some culture and I am going to visit one of my online friends, a week to decide what to wear.