It’s Scotland, the date 1759…
Picture a freezing cold late January night in wintery Ayrshire, perhaps with snow swirling around the door of the low clay-built cottage above.
Candles flicker around the tiny kitchen as Agnes Burnes, in the later stages of childbirth, takes to her bed in the dark recess. It is here that her, and husband William’s, firstborn son, Robert, comes into the world.
William is a market gardener, Agnes a dutiful wife. They live simply off the little bit of land they own.
Baby Robert will be brought up to learn his father’s farming skills. He will scatter seeds, and plough the fields, and harvest the crops, just like his other, younger male siblings.
But Robert is different, for when his day’s work is done, and by the guttering light of a candle, he pens his poignant verses and poems. Robert’s literary brilliance earns so much public acclaim that even now, more than 200 years later, his poems are still recited the world over.
You might have guessed that I am a fan!
Tomorrow evening people all around the globe will gather to celebrate Robert’s birth. We will eat delicious, steaming haggis, neeps and tatties, and enjoy a wee dram – and toast the man’s genius.
His lovely auld Scots’ words will be sung and spoken, and we will all get a bit nostalgic about times gone by.
It’s all part of Burns’ Night – and it’s magical.
Enjoy your Burns Suppers, everyone. I know I will.