Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fun the Scottish Way

What an exciting evening I had at the Burns Night Dinner!  I tell you the Scots know how to have fun.

The start of the evening was cocktails.  I of course opted for a scotch, neat.  Steve had a glass of red wine ( after all he was driving later!)

Then came the Host's welcoming speech, which was short and sweet, and then the entrance of the Pipe and Drum regiment, bringing in the flags, playing God Save the King, Scotland the Brave, and then the Star Spangled Banner.  That was just the beginning of the fun.

The soup was served,  Cock-a-Leekie, soup that is.  While it wasn't entirely authentic, as I really didn't see any leeks in the soup, it was delicious and served with Queen Victoria scones.

Then came the Address to the Haggis, listed below, given in Scottish dialect with English translations on our programs.  Then the Haggis was piped in,  a piper played, another carried the Haggis and a third followed, parading it around the room.

Each table was served a Haggis and we passed it around and enjoyed Haggis and Bashed Neeps  (that is smashed turnips for the non-Scot).

Then came the supper, roast lamb with mint jelly, smashed potatoes with cheddar cheese and herbs, and green peas. Then some rich trifle sort of dessert, which was really like strawberry shortcake!

A red and a white table wine was enjoyed by all at our table.

The woman next to me was scheduled to give the Immortal Memory Speech. She did a marvelous job. You see she is from Glasgow, and there is nothing like hearing a Scot give a speech!

We had Scottish Country Dancers that danced for us, then we were invited to join in the Friendship Waltz.  Now with the recent knee injury, and the fact that I was wearing heels, I begged out of the dancing,  but it was fun to watch.

There was more entertainment by the Pipers and two of the men danced the Highland Fling for us.  

Then it was time for the Toast to the lassies, which was incredibly funny and witty.

Then the Reply from the lassies, which was equally witty and entertaining  

There was more dancing. I would have liked to join in on the Gay Gordons ( a terrifically fun dance), but wasn't sure the knee would hold up.  I was invited to dance by a man in a kilt ( i am sure that will never happen again), but had to turn him down.  Hey, if i was going to dance it would have been with Steve! Next year, I promise not to have a knee injury and to join with Steve in the dance.

Then the closing of the evening, everyone made a large circle ( all 250 people!) held hands and joined in singing Auld Lang Syne ( Scottish dialect!)

Not sure I have ever had so much fun at at dinner party in my entire life. 

 Address To A Haggis 

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,

Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!

Aboon them a' ye tak your place,

Painch, tripe, or thairm:

Weel are ye wordy o' a grace

As lang's my arm.


The groaning trencher there ye fill,

Your hurdies like a distant hill,

Your pin wad help to mend a mill

In time o' need,

While thro' your pores the dews distil

Like amber bead.


His knife see rustic Labour dight

An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,

Trenching your gushing entrails bright,

Like ony ditch;

And then, O what a glorious sight,

Warm-reekin, rich!


Then, horn for horn, 

they stretch an' strive:

Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,

Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve,

Are bent lyke drums;

Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,

"Bethankit!" 'hums.


Is there that owre his French ragout

Or olio that wad staw a sow,

Or fricassee wad mak her spew

Wi' perfect sconner,

Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view

On sic a dinner?


Poor devil! see him ower his trash,

As feckless as a wither'd rash,

His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,

His nieve a nit;

Thro' bloody flood or field to dash,

O how unfit!


But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,

The trembling earth resounds his tread.

Clap in his walie nieve a blade,

He'll mak it whissle;

An' legs an' arms, an' heads will sned,

Like taps o' thrissle.


Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,

And dish them out their bill o' fare,

Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware

That jaups in luggies;

But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,

Gie her a haggis!

The Translation

Fair is your honest happy face
Great chieftain of the pudding race
Above them all you take your place
Stomach, tripe or guts
Well are you worthy of a grace
As long as my arm

The groaning platter there you fill
Your buttocks like a distant hill
Your skewer would help to repair a mill
In time of need
While through your pores the juices emerge
Like amber beads

His knife having seen hard labour wipes
And cuts you up with great skill
Digging into your gushing insides bright
Like any ditch
And then oh what a glorious sight
Warm steaming, rich 

Then spoon for spoon 
They stretch and strive
Devil take the last man, on they drive
Until all their well swollen bellies
Are bent like drums
Then, the old gent most likely to rift (burp)
Be thanked, mumbles

Is there that over his French Ragout
Or olio that would sicken a pig
Or fricassee would make her vomit
With perfect disgust
Looks down with a sneering scornful opinion
On such a dinner

Poor devil, see him over his trash
As week as a withered rush (reed)
His spindle-shank a good whiplash
His clenched fist.the size of a nut.
Through a bloody flood and battle field to dash
Oh how unfit

But take note of the strong haggis fed Scot
The trembling earth resounds his tread
Clasped in his large fist a blade
He'll make it whistle
And legs and arms and heads he will cut off
Like the tops of thistles

You powers who make mankind your care
And dish them out their meals
Old Scotland wants no watery food
That splashes in dishes
But if you wish her grateful prayer
Give her a haggis! 

No comments: