It’s Burns Night!
Happy haggis eating, whisky sipping and partaking of the delicacies of neeps ‘n’ tatties.
It’s that time again for all Scots (and everyone else) to celebrate the birth date of our most famous son, Robert Burns.
Haggis has been a national dish in Scotland for hundreds of years, so criticise it at you peril – as I found out in a previous post to celebrate Burns Night, when I put up this great picture of a haggis, taken at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
I even included this.
But a reader who described himself as “Mr True Scotsman” didn’t get the joke. Bursting with indignation, he wrote: “Haggis is not an animal, it’s a delicious meal made up of animal’s.
Not a type of animal. This makes me so angry!!!!!!!”
The exclamation marks are his, not mine.
So…ahem…absolutely no jokes this time. We all know these little haggis creatures need to be very carefully stalked if you’re to catch them in time for Burns Night.
On a more serious note. Haggis lovers in the US haven’t been able to enjoy the real thing since the import of red meat products was banned after the UK suffered the scourge of mad cow disease.
Hopefully this could all be resolved if a forthcoming audit shows the standard of food safety control in the UK can match the standards laid down by the US.
But getting back to Burns. His poetic genius gave us iconic works like Auld Lang Syne and the ghostly tale of Tam O’ Shanter, where a witch in a cutty sark (Scottish name for a short nightdress) chased our hero over the auld Brig O’ Doon, (below) near Burns’ home in Alloway.
The poem was so loved by shipping line owner, John Willis, that in 1869, he named his new Clyde-built clipper ship The Cutty Sark – yes, the same one that’s now a huge tourist attraction on the Thames.
Happy Birthday, Rabbie.
* The picture of Robert Burns is a reconstruction by forensic experts at Dundee University who believe this is how he may really have looked.