Thursday, 1 February 2007

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o' the puddin-race (Otherwise known as Haggis)

We went to a Burns Supper!! It was absolutely fantastic (and slightly surreal). It was held on the evening of Tomato's departure and was probably the perfect cure for post guest blues (I admit it - I got slightly sniffly as I watched his taxi drive off).

We had an hour between Tom heading off and the time we were supposed to meet up with David and Jenny (No, they are not Scottish but had never been to a Burns Supper before and had decided that, to make their lives complete, they had to spend an evening eating haggis, drinking whisky and listening to poems that they didn't understand a word of) so Chris and I ran around like headless chickens (or should that be headless Haggi - not sure what the plural of Haggis is) to get ready in time.

For those of you that don't know - A Haggis is a small bird with vestigial wings (similar to an emu or ostrich), that has three legs - One short and two long which enable it to run rapidly around the mountains and hillsides that make up its natural habitat. It is native to Scotland. (See artist's rendition). During Haggis Season (which is typically around the same time as Burns Night), wild Haggis are hunted, and their meat served up as a local delicacy. Wild Haggis are nocturnal beasties and are rarely seen so not a lot is know about their breeding habits but it is believed that in their mating season the Haggis make a droning sound - very much like a beginner playing the bagpipes for the first time - to attract a mate. (This has given rise to speculation that the bagpipes were indeed invented in Scotland simply to lure unsuspecting Haggis into a trap). At the onset of this noise all other wildlife for a five mile radius can be seen exiting the area giving rise to the belief that 1. The noise is used as an extremely effective predator deterrent and 2. That Haggis are tone deaf.

Anyway, we met up and made our way over to the Amari Watergate Hotel where we joined the rest of our group (Can I just say that in Thailand this is how they do the kilt) - Louise & Gordon, Susan & Bob and Clare & Roger - what a laugh we had. The St Andrews Society had really gone to town - we were given an introduction to all things Scottish (I didn't know that Scots had invented the MRI Scanner, fingerprinting, insulin, the hypodermic needle, the post office and the postage stamp.....we're a clever lot aren't we), the Selkirk Grace was said and then came the entrance of the Haggis (I have to say that Jenny got very excited at this point) followed by the address to a Haggis. (Made me feel all patriotic). The food was fantastic - Haggis, Neeps and Tatties ( That's turnips and potatoes for the uninitiated) - Ok, so I'm not a huge fan of Haggis but even I ate some of it. We had the usual ceremonial speeches which included a very funny Toast to the Lassies (can't remember a word of it but it was very funny) and the best rendition of Tam O'Shanter I have ever heard. Rodger (See Photo), who loves Scotland but is not a Scot, leaned over and asked 'Do you understand any of this?' the look on his face when Chris and I told him that we both did really made me laugh.

I completely embarrassed myself on my husbands behalf - We had joined another table to sing 'Auld Lang Syne' after which Chris grabbed me and said 'That guy looks like Andy Goram' to which I replied 'I have absolutely no idea who that is' - Chris then educated me that he was 'only the best goalkeeper Scotland had ever had!!'. So to save Chris's blushes I went over and asked him and it was indeed Andy Goram.

Chris shook Andy Goram's hand at a Burns Supper in Bangkok - How random is that??

Chris and David, very sensibly, headed home and Jen and I stayed into the wee small hours and drank far too much whisky. The next day I had my fourth ever hangover and Jen sent me a text message saying that she hated all Scots and all Whisky and she never wanted to see either again!! - she was obviously feeling just as great as I was.

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