Thursday, 26 January 2012

Burns Night

Yesterday was the anniversary of Robert Burns' birth, which is a bit of an unofficial holiday in Scotland, celebrated with the "traditional" dinner of haggis, neeps (turnips), and tatties (potatoes), and of course the reading of such poems as the Address to a Haggis, Auld Lang Syne, and the Selkirk Grace:
Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.

Some friends of ours tweeted that they were hosting a Burns night with regular and veggie haggises and extra seats around the table (though these turned out to be on the sofa) and would anyone care to join them. My response was somewhat more enthusiastic than Chris' as I think he more accurately judged how tired we'd be our first full day home, but I fluttered my lashes and he replied that we'd be attending.

The food was wonderful - I had the veggie haggis as I think sheep are for wool, not eating, and Chris got the regular stuff which he continues to claim to enjoy - and the company moreso. The 13-year-old twin daughters of the house led a protracted game of "I Spy" that got squirrelier and squirrelier as the night progressed. My objects included "slacks", "mortar", "plinth", "lintel", and "soda" occasionally counting on my American words to confound the Brits. The curtain ties were the object in question twice, first as "tie backs" and later as "sashes" and at various times we debated whether you could see things such as photosynthesis or light (I reckon yes and no, respectively). It also brought us a variety of philosophical conversations:
"What would you call those?"
"Daisies."
"They're not daisies!"
"You didn't ask what they are, you asked what I would call them."

Poor Chris spent most of the evening dozing on the sofa or quietly playing with his phone, as is his wont around crowds. I was asked to declaim a poem, specifically "Lines on the Fall of Fyers Near Loch-Ness" which was a bit of a gimmie, being mostly in "English" and not Scots:

Among the heathy hills and ragged woods
The roaring Fyers pours his mossy floods;
Till full he dashes on the rocky mounds,
Where, thro' a shapeless breach, his stream resounds.
As high in air the bursting torrents flow,
As deep recoiling surges foam below,
Prone down the rock the whitening sheet descends,
And viewles Echo's ear, astonished, rends.
Dim-seen, through rising mists and ceaseless show'rs,
The hoary cavern, wide surrounding lours:
Still thro' the gap the struggling river toils,
And still, below, the horrid cauldron boils

1 comment:

  1. If you couldn't see light, surely you'd be blind?

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