Sunday, 14 January 2007

Robbie Burns Supper.... mmmmm HAGGIS!

Edited January 15 2017: There have been a lot of visitors to this blog post recently as it's getting close to Burns Day, so if you use any of this "Reply to the Toast to the Lassies", please leave a comment and let me know where you're from, and tell me about your Burns Day celebrations!

Yesterday we celebrated Robbie Burns Day (a little early, the real date is 25 January) with a traditional Robbie Burns Supper for 160 people. On the menu: roast beef, HAGGIS, mashed tatties, peas, champit neeps, gravy, followed by pies and shortbread. The haggis was piped in by a Highland bagpiper to the strains of Scotland the Brave. Silly me forgot to take the camera so I "borrowed" this pic from the internet.
The Space Cadet was given the task of giving The Toast to the Lassies, which he did with poetry and a lot of laughs, and I was elected to give the Reply to the Toast to the Lassies. I was kinda nervous to stand on the stage in front of 160 people, however here's my speech:

Thank you. Such inspired poetry!
What a pity Robbie Burns himself can’t be here to hear you, I’m sure he would be sitting with his mouth open struck completely speechless at your poetic talents…

I have to admit I was a little surprised when asked to give the Reply to the Toast to the Lassies this evening, as I don’t have a single drop of Scottish blood in me. Sorry, it’s all English!
However, many years ago, I was forced to stay overnight in Scotland when my plane broke down at Prestwick Airport on a flight from London to Toronto, so perhaps one night at the Railway Hotel in Glasgow qualifies me for the task. And if any of you have ever stayed at the Railway Hotel, you'll know it's not for the fainthearted.

First, a little story:
Our minister (name withheld to protect the innocent) was visiting patients at the local Hospital the other day.
She asked the first patient “How are you feeling today?”
First patient “ Well, here’s a hand my trusty fiere and here’s a hand of mine…”A little surprised, she spoke to a second patient “And how are you feeling today?”
Second patient’s reply “O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us.”Astonished at the answer, she moved on to talk to a third patient.
The third patient replied "The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men gang aft agley."
Amazed, our minister turned to the doctor in charge, and asked “Is this the psychiatric ward?”
“Oh no” replied the doctor, “This is the burns unit.”

(You have to know a bit of Burns to get this joke!)

Robbie Burns certainly loved the lassies, and many of them, of that there is no doubt.
You have a Burns poem about you if your name is Anna, Alison, Katie, Mary, Jeanie, Chloris, Clarinda, Nancy, Nell, Molly, Polly, Peggy, Bessie, Jessie, Eliza, Maria, and Delia.
And probably a few others who I have missed.

Of course, the love of his life was Jean Armour. Jeanie had four children by him before Robbie married her, five more after, and he fathered several more children with other ladyfriends during their marriage. He certainly loved those lassies!

It is said that there are three rings in marriage. The engagement ring, the wedding ring, and suffering.
Of wedding rings, Burns wrote:

"She asked why wedding rings are made of gold;
I ventured this to instruct her;
Why, madam, love and lightning are the same,
On earth they glance, from Heaven they came.
Love is the soul's electric flame,
And gold its best conductor."

You men may not be great believers in the institution of marriage, but let me remind you of something. There is only one thing worse than being a bachelor - and that is being the son of a bachelor!

Here’s a few facts about the laddies:

· Men love to barbecue. Men will cook if danger is involved.
· Men who have pierced ears are better prepared for marriage. They've experienced pain and bought jewelry.
· Men think that they are marrying Miss Right, but unfortunately her first name usually turns out to be Always.
· Any married man should forget his mistakes - no use in two people remembering the same thing.
· A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man.
· Men hate going shopping. That's why the men's department is usually on the first floor of a department store, two feet from the door.
· When men play their favourite game, golf, they yell “Fore”, hit six, and write down four.

So ladies, stand, and drink a toast
To the lads we honour most
They are heroes, strong and Spartan
They are our heroes wearing Tartan!

Ladies, raise your glasses for a toast… To the laddies!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I don't know much about Burns so I enjoyed reading this

  3. That was wonderful! I'm not much into poetry, but I sure loved what you wrote. I raise my glass to the laddies... and to you!

  4. So true about men. I esp. liked the one about BBQing and cooking with danger involved, also the pierced earring one.

  5. Cheers!

    You visited my blog and asked a question - they are 5x7 pieces. Thanks for your visit & comments!

    Have a happy day, Cat

    Now I'm going to go peek thru your blog for a bit!

  6. Hi there:-) Thanks so much for visiting my blog and leaving a comment...I always enjoy "meeting" new people!! How wonderful that you've been to Sudbury and seen our famous Big Nickel...I've been here all my life and loved the way our fair city has grown and doesn't look like a moon surface any longer! lol

    I had heard that Robert Burns' birthday anniversary was coming up...of course, I've heard of him and his wild ways! lol I so enjoyed learning more about him through your post and LOVED the speech you said...I bet everyone enjoyed it:-)

    I've read a few more of your posts and thoroughly enjoyed them so I will be back for sure!! Loved the little doorway and shoe on your stairs...I love faeries and I thought that was such a neat idea! hehe

    Hugs xoxo

  7. Hi there,

    It's always nice to get an interested reader, especially one who doesn't know me and has just surfed on in. OK, so I had better answer some of your questions.

    First of all, yep, I'm from the UK, Scotland and Aberdeen to be more precise, though before travelling I spent 5 years in England studying and working. I started travelling some 27 months ago when I was 24 (I have now had 3 birthdays on the road) in Mexico and have been making a rather circuitous path westwards.

    I am travelling alone (no-one would be crazy enough to drop their things for this long), but on the road you are never alone and always meet people along the way. Indeed, that is probably the best part of travelling alone: you have to actively go and meet people, be they other travellers or locals. And as for means of transport, well whatever's cheapest and most convenient really. Of late that has meant more hitchiking (surprisingly easy in Arab countries), but generally bus and sometimes train (at night if possible to save on accommodation).

    As for language difficulties, of course there are some (I would be lying if I said there weren't), but after a month in a country you start picking up the most useful phrases and can manage to make yourself partly understood. Plus of course English is the world's lingua franca, so it's very lucky being a native speaker.

    As for Burns night in Oman, I'm not sure. There is a large expat community in Oman (many working for Shell) and of those a sizeable number are from Aberdeen (the oil connection), so I'm sure something is organised.

    Anyway, I hope you will keep reading (at the moment I'm in beautiful (and warm!) Yemen) and I will of course pop over to check out goings on over in Canada.

    Yours, Erik.

  8. Love the burns ward joke!

    Haggis! I have never tried it, what is it like?

    Look at all your followers leaving comments after such a short time of blogging, you are the 'bees knees'!

    bye for now!


  9. Thanks for visiting my blog.
    Your's are so absolutely readworthy and I'll put you on my contactlist. OK?

    This post is great. You know, even though you're English, I say it, there are many similarities between Scots and Norse. Food, nature and even words. Haggis, I've eaten
    (Sheepstomach stuffed?) and I do think it's lots of local recipes?
    It's not a bad idea to start earlier than the real day. It's like here in Norway: We start testing the Christmasfood long before - and the drinks as well. So when Christmas arrives: Anticlimax.

    Your speech was adoreable and very informative as well for me.

    Thanks for visting and sharing.

  10. Great speech! Particularly the facts about the laddies! I'm sure you got lots of laughs!

  11. I tried to recite Ode to a Haggis last year. It was lamentable. I thought I could get away with it as I have lived here for 14+ years. Nope.

    Our plumber still says "and all that" at the end of sentences. It sound quite Burns-like. He's buried not far frae here (24 miles).

  12. Thanks for a wonderful post and the poems where great. My boyfriend is of Scottish decent and my Uncle on my dads side came from Edinboro, Scotland. Thanks for visiting my blog come again.

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. I was near Pickering last week, Malton...Haggis was there!
    If anybody needs some give me a shout!


  15. why is love so painful? and i imagine marriage, too, ten thousand times more painful perhaps, that whole suffering part???


  16. What a fantastic post - just brilliant

  17. Oh, quite entertaining!! You have a flair for the humorous.

  18. So here's a toast to all the laddies out there and to you in particular.

  19. Soory, I'm not able to comment your newest post. Sorry for you, 'cause I know where the pencil hides.He-he

  20. what a marvelous post!! a great speech, a wonderful joke. do folks actually do this kind of thing up there? down here, we just drink.


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