Well, you’ll be excited to hear I survived my first encounter with haggis on Thursday night. It wasn’t too bad, actually, if you don’t think about what’s in it or, indeed, what it’s in. I learned a few other things too:
- if bagpipes were originally designed as a weapon of war, then played indoors they’re a weapon of mass destruction. They certainly make for very poor incidental background music while people are chatting before a meal
- on the other hand, watching a tallish piper with a taller set of pipes limboing through a low door while piping in the haggis adds to the evening’s gaiety
- Scots derive great entertainment from making Englishmen recite Burns. Apparently they don’t mind their national poet being mangled.
- However, when the bard’s verse is read by someone who actually knows what it means – and does the actions – it almost makes sense. Almost…
- a full plate of haggis, neaps and tatties is possibly the stodgiest meal in the world. Fortunately, they diverged from tradition for the pudding course and I didn’t have to tackle a deep-fried Mars Bar to follow.
- you’re not supposed to cross your hands until the last verse of Auld Lang Syne. First you have to sing all the verses in between the one you think you know the words for (Should auld acquaintance be forgot and tumty-tumty mind…) and the last one. There are a lot of verses.
- when someone asks ‘Should we try a couple of sets of strip the willow*?’ the correct answer is ‘gosh, is that really the time, we should be going …’
There was probably more, but by this time there had been drink taken and if I had any other words of wisdom to share with you, I have forgotten them.
*It’s a dance. Get your mind out of the gutter. Honestly…