Sunny evening, 6 June 2018

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Tuesday 25 January

Overcast with occasional light rain. 'Nuff said about the weather here.

It's Burns Night in Scotland, and it's haggis and whisky galore. Tortured renditions of Burns prose and poetry will be the order of the night, made even more tortured by the water of life. Haggis is an offal-based meat dish, and various bits and pieces of a sheep's innards are turned into basically mutton mince, packed into a sheep's stomach. This is served with neeps (turnips). I've tasted it once, and it's not far off mincemeat; but knowing how it's made it is not something I'd care to repeat in a hurry. Our local supermarket has shelves, laden with haggis. Leaving my slight sarcasm to one side, I would like to state that Robert Burns did not just write in Scots, he also wrote in perfect English. This is in Scots, with verses 1, 3 and 5 read by Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond:

Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that;
The coward slave-we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that.
Our toils obscure an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The Man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an' a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man's a Man for a' that:
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that;
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that:
For a' that, an' a' that,
His ribband, star, an' a' that:
The man o' independent mind
He looks an' laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that;
But an honest man's abon his might,
Gude faith, he maunna fa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities an' a' that;
The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth,
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that,)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.

Over in Shetland, it is Up Helly Aa tonight. The streetlights will be turned off at around 7.30pm, after which a torchlit procession will carry the boat through the town. It will then be put in place and all the torches tossed into the boat, which will duly burn to a cinder. Celebrations will last until and beyond first light (around 8.30 am). I dread to think what the combination of Burns and Vikings will do to the Shetlanders; but when asked what Burns meant to Hebrideans, the answer was a simple 'not much'.

1 comment:

  1. Happy Burns Night Guido. I have added Bill and Daria to Silent Keyboards - J-Land Angels.