I love Burns Night, celebrated every year on January 25th.  I’m not Scottish, nor do I have Scottish roots, as far as I am aware, but  I have many Scottish friends, so as a simpering Sasanach I’ve managed to blag  my way into many a Burns Night Supper over the years and enjoyed every one.

There’s something about Burns Night that warms my heart (It’s probably the whisky doing that, but I’ll get to that later). What a great excuse to don the tartan, scoff haggis and dance late into the night to celebrate the life of Robert Burns, who was born on January 25th, 1759. Ah, the haggis, scourge of the vegetarian, with that glorious blend of sheep’s heart, lungs and liver all mixed with oats and wrapped in stomach lining, then lovingly served with lashings of neets and tatties (turnips and potatoes to us Sasanachs) mmm… delicious!

Robbie Burns, The Bard,  didn’t live very long; just 37 years, but he was a prolific poet and is accredited with writing Auld Lang Syne, as well as Tam O’Shanter, about a man who stayed in the pub too long and had a pack of witches chase after him. The Address to a Haggis, read out as the haggis arrives, heralded by the bagpipes, is something I always find hilarious, but then Burns had an unusual sense of humour, especially for the age in which he lived. I know we would get along if we were to meet today.

I lived in Oslo for a while, where a large Scottish contingent lived at the time, so every year a magnificent Burns Supper was organised. It was there that I was first introduced to that wonderful elixir; Scottish whisky. During the supper, after every speech to the lads and lassies, many a dram was downed and the laughter grew louder and laughter as the whisky disappeared. ‘Rabbie’s’ poetry was read, then more whisky. The dancing began, then more whisky… You get the picture. Naturally the evening ended with a disgraceful rendition of Auld Lang Syne.

One year, after a raucous Burns Night, my husband and I shared a taxi cab home with the piper, a very amiable, magnificent specimen resplendent in kilt and sporran. We talked a great deal, nothing of which I will ever remember, but when we arrived at our house, I accidentally left my shoes in the cab. (Because the snow is very deep, crisp and not so even at that time of the year in Norway, you have to change into your boots to come home in order to get to your door without frostbite) That wonderful man remembered where we lived and returned them to me personally the next day and stayed for a Hair of the Dog.  Enjoy your Burns Night if you are lucky enough to celebrate it this year.

My favourite  poem by Robbie Burns is My Love is like a Red Red Rose:

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose,

That’s newly sprung in June:

O my Luve’s like the melodie,

That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,

So deep in luve am I;

And I will luve thee still, my dear,

Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry , my dear,

And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;

And I will luve thee still, my dear,

While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve !

And fare-thee-weel, a while!

And I will come again, my Luve,

Tho’ ’twere ten thousand mile!


Check out this haggis recipe: http://tinyurl.com/2936asz


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  1. Will raise a glass of the hard stuff to you tonight, Jenny

  2. Enjoy yourself and thanks for the reminder of the poem. I think quite a lot of us lassies have heard the words lovingly whispered to us, by the bonny lad we loved the most.

  3. We enjoyed a Burns Night supper last night in an old Workhouse. They were also serving vegetarian haggis!

  4. Tatties peeled and haggis ready – enjoy!

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