on Wednesday, 25 January, Scots the world over will raise their glasses
to The Immortal Memory of Scotland’s National bard, Robert Burns.
Although Haggis forms a part of the Scottish diet throughout the year,
there is no doubt that the Burns’ season sees a dramatic increase in the
consumption of Haggis, Neeps an Tatties, which is absolutely delicious
whether in the comfort of your own home or at a Burns Supper.
Burns (1759-1796) tops the poll, time after time, as the greatest Scot
of all time – and rightly so. It is due to Burns that Scotland is still
Scottish. In the dark days following the incorporating Union of 1707 he
reminded Scots that they are Scots. Inspired by fellow poet Robert
Fergusson he wrote in Scots, and thereby sved the leid for generations
to come. The Alloway-born poet and songwriter was a Scot through and
through, as he showed in a letter to Mistress Dunlop on 10 April 1790 –
“Alas,” have I often said to myself, “what are all the boasted
advantages which my country reaps from the Union that can
counter-balance the annihilation of her independence, and even her
Robert Burns was to inspire, through his poetry, songs and letters,
generations to come, he himself was inspired by one of Scotland’s
greatest heroes from the past – Sir William Wallace, Guardian of
Scotland. He wrote to Dr John Moore on 2 August 1787 –
While the story of Wallace poured a Scottish prejudice into my viens
which will boil along there till the flood-gates of life shut in
visitors to The Flag will well know, Robert Burns plays a major part in
the cultural section of our weekly offering, as we regularly feature his
poems and songs. As a songwriter he gave Scotland her National Anthem –
Scots Wha Hae; to the world he gave the universal song of parting
– Auld Lang Syne; and the international song of Brotherhood –
A Man’s A Man. As a poet even he had just written that great
cantraip of a poem Tam O’ Shanter, it would have appeared in
every Scottish poetry anthology from that day to this, but of course he
gave us much, much more.
Burns, like haggis, is not just for one day every year, He is there to
be enjoyed every day. He is there to inspire as every day of the year
and to remind us that we are Scots.
week’s recipe is for a cocktail which appropriately carries the name of
our National Bard – Robert Burns.
Ingredients: ½ ounce whisky; ½ ounce sweet vermouth; 1 dash
orange bitters; 1 dash pernod
Stir with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass – then toast the Bard!