View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Wednesday 25 January

A very wild day in Stornoway, with plenty of wind and plenty of rain. The Clansman (currently our ferry) took 7 hours to cross from Ullapool to Stornoway, quartering off the coast of Lochs in a force 8 gale for several hours. I don't want to even think about that.

It is Burns Night tonight, but I'm afraid there is no haggis, tatties nor neeps on my dinner plate. It is a chicken korma with rice, heated courtesy the microwave oven and rice boiled in plain tap water. What Robert Burns would have made of the current furore over the independence referendum we shall never know. I salute Robert in spirit, not necessarily with spirits (although I'm known to take a dram on occasion). I reproduce the poem A Man's a Man for a' that

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.