It’s that time of year when Scots the world over get together
for a shindig to pay tribute to our Bard so today Canadian writer Melanie Robertson-King whose blog you may remember I visited on St. Andrews night has come to mark the occasion.
Of course we’d rather not be on our own, so do join in the celebrations and where you feel moved by the bard, chip in with your own songs, poetry or reminiscences. The programme and menu are in accordance with tradition, so let’s get on with the show!
1. 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.
2. First course: Scotch Broth
While we’re blowing on our soup, Melanie’s going to tell us about her Scottish roots and how much Rabbie figured in her upbringing.
As a wee girl, I was a member of the Wee McGregors (Highland Dancing group) and every year at Burns night, there was a huge celebration in Brockville at a gorgeous, Victorian hotel in the Wedgewood dining room (sadly the hotel is no longer there). After the meal, we danced… Highland Fling, Sword Dance, Shepherd’s Crook and more.
I had a Robertson tartan kilt and plaid made. I still remember my mum taking me to Craig’s to be measured and a few months later, my regalia arrived from CapeBreton where it was handmade. I danced until the summer of 1969. The last event I competed in was the 1000 Islands Highland Games where I won a silver medal in the sword dance.
(Fantastic photo – thanks for sharing!)My Dad had died in the spring of that year and the spark was gone. It wasn’t until a number of years later that I embraced my Scottish roots again. I still have my medal although I’m not sure where I have it squirreled away for safekeeping. My father had a collection of vinyl records by Scottish artists and they were played regularly and on Sunday mornings we listened to Breath of Heather on the radio so I grew up with the music and later on discovered the Corries, Old Blind Dogs, Runrig, and others and their music brought back number of happy memories. I also have a set of bagpipes languishing in the basement of my house and the bag cover is in the Robertson tartan!
Melanie – I’m impressed by the bagpipes. I think we need a picture! Of course as a Scot living at home we took a lot of our culture for granted. At school we had an annual competition to recite a poem in Scots (by heart of course) and in January there were always things on TV.
In the sixties there was an actor called John Cairney who played Burns on the stage and on TV and became a real heart-throb (and I’ve just discovered he’s still around). Music-wise in the sixties the folk scene was really taking off, and my sister’s boyfriend (now husband) had a folk-group of his own. But on TV there was only Andy Stewart or Robin Hall and Jimmie McGregor (check out this nice arrangement) – and I was really only interested in pop! But I did (I might not have admitted it!) enjoy when family sang songs around the piano – a throwback to a former age. ‘Rowan Tree’ and ‘Bonnie Glenshee’ were family favourites. TBut te only Burns suppers I ever went to were organised by the school Debating Society – too serious!
Here comes the main event:
3. Address to the Haggis – yes, we have the full experience!
4. No vegetarian option tonight so here we go with the main course
While we’re eating – you’re choice of music, Melanie, Bay City Rollers, Proclaimers, or shall we go traditional with the Corries?
Consider it done! (Hope you like Killiecrankie – my favourite)
5. The Immortal Memory
This is where a celebrity makes a speech about Rabbie Burns and his legacy. I think this could be a good time to choose a man.
Who do you fancy as our esteemed speaker?
a) Sean Connery b) Billie Connolly c) Ewan McGregor
Billie Connolly. As much as I love Sean and Ewan, Billie is the man.
Your wish is my command – Billy Connolly – If it wisnae fur yer wellies
Well that leaves us with a recitation of Tam O’Shanter, but that could take a while, so let’s close with a something we have not had so far – a piper! And Melanie has completed my education byt introducing me to the Red Hot chilli Pipers –piping as I had never heard it before.
And of course a reminder to everyone who fancies a bit of Scottish romance to take a look at Melanie’s novel.
When a contemporary teen is transported back through time to the Victorian era, she becomes A Shadow in the Past…
Nineteen-year-old Sarah Shand finds herself thrust back into the past. There she struggles to keep her real identity from a society that finds her comments and ideas strange and her speech and actions forward, unlike Victorian women. When Sarah verbally confronts confining social practices, including arranged marriages, powerful enemies commit her to a lunatic asylum. After falling in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, Robert Robertson, she must decide whether to find her way back to her own time or to remain in the past with him.
Where to buy:
4RV Publishing: http://4rvpublishingcatalog.yolasite.com/robertson-king.php
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-shadow-in-the-past-melanie-robertson-king/1112348992?ean=9780983801887
Author Website: http://www.melanierobertson-king.com/
Author Blog: Celtic Connexions http://www.melanierobertson-king.com/wp02/
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Melanie-Robertson-King/221018701298979
Twitter Account: @RobertsoKing https://twitter.com/#!/RobertsoKing
Phew – what a night!