Thursday, January 25, 2007

Are you ready to go catch a haggis, and cock up your beaver everybody? Because today's the day to do it!
Yes, once again it's Burn's Night, when Scotland rings to the sound of 'Scots Wha Hae' and copious amounts of whisky are drunk to accompany the traditional meal of Haggis, with neeps and tatties, yum!
And all because nearly 350 years ago, a chap by the name of Robert Burns was born. This has led to those lucky Scots getting an extra holiday, because of all the poems he wrote, and for being an all round, jolly good egg to many people.
I like his poetry. One of my favourites is 'To A Mouse', which I recite to Pudsey when she gets worried by something, or I startle her by accident.

'Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim'rous beastie,
O, what panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!
I'm truly sorry Man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal! '

The perfect words to calm a small dog, trust me.

Another well known of his poems, which will be recited in full at many Burns' Suppers tonight, is the 'Ode To A Haggis', which I'm not going to write out here in full, 'cause it's rather long, but you can read it here if you want to.
Now, the first line of this poem goes:
'Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!'

This has led to much confusion over the years, as many folk now believe the haggis to be a pudding, which it's not. The haggis is in fact a rare, mostly peaceful, shy creature, which sadly was hunted to near extinction after tourists took a great liking to them, and in order to help maintain their breeding programmes, the puddings were made as imitation haggii to sell to the gullible sassanachs and so.
There is a lovely site that I found while searching for Haggis cams on the net, where you can find much interesting information about these sweet little creatures. You can read all about them here, and be sure to check out the delicious Haggis Cocktails while you're at it! There's also a fun game to play whilst getting pished trying them.
But most delightful of all, I had great joy the other day, when I spotted one of the wee beasties in my garden! I'd just come back from Pudsey taking me walkies, and there it was, snuffling around searching for blaeberries! -
Wildlife of the British Isles #42 - The Haggis
To spot one so close to Burn's Night, is an extremely rare occurence, and according to legend, an omen of good fortune! Yay for me, eh?

Anyhoo, tonight will find me supping a few drams before tucking into a supper of imitation haggis, with all the trimmings, and I hope you will all be raising a glass or two also.
I shall leave you with my favourite poem by Burns, being -

Cock Up Your Beaver!
When first my brave Johnie lad came to this town,
He had a blue bonnet that wanted the crown;
But now he has gotten a hat and a feather,
Hey, brave Johnie lad, cock up your beaver!

Cock up your beaver, and cock it fu' sprush,
We'll over the border, and gie them a brush;
There's somebody there we'll teach better behaviour,
Hey, brave Johnie lad, cock up your beaver!

Happy Burns day folks!

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