Posted by: Valerie | January 25, 2010

Burns’ Nicht wi’ nae haggis

A braw laddie he was

Do you know what day it is? It’s the 251st birthday of Robbie Burns and we should have been eating haggis and neeps and drinking a wee dram or two. Sadly, all we had was chicken soup but at least it was homemade. Anyway to honour the day I’m including a link to the BBC Burns site where you can listen to any of his works read by notable Scots, including an actor named Brian Cox who comes from my home town of Dundee. We were slight friends many, many years ago although I doubt he would remember me now as he has become very big in theatre circles and also does a lot of movies. 

Brian Cox

Rather than remembering me, he might be more likely to remember my couch. Brian was younger than most of us young sophisticates who occupied a top floor flat in a tenement on the Provost Road (no bathroom – the loo was on the stairs and served several flats!). We belonged to an amateur drama group attempting to stage Under Milk Wood. We were all terrible except for young Brian who even at the age of 16 was obviously extremely talented. He was desperate to get into the local Rep theatre but they wouldn’t look at him so he hung around with us. Brian had a curfew at home which he kept missing and when he did he used to bang on our door and ask if he could sleep on the couch. Ah, a brush with fame even though he didn’t get famous for a wee while. So here is the link 

Oops! On testing the link I got the message that the reading is “not available in your area”. You’ll have to read it instead.

What else is happening? It’s the January thaw. It’s raining – real rain. The snow is melting off the roof and the icicles have disappeared. The yard appears to be submerged in lumpy grey porridge and walking is impossible without ice grippers. Next it will freeze and then snow on top of that and we’ll be in real trouble. 

However we did have a lovely day on Saturday and Joe and I jumped into the van and went for a drive round for a short photo safari. We took off down side roads previously unexplored and found some lovely spots. We are somewhat spoiled for choice around here, it has to be said, as it is a very lovely area as long you are into lakes and rocks and pine trees. 


Although I do complain about the isolation here, it really does give me great pleasure to wake up in the morning, draw the curtains and look out across the yard to the hill at the back of the property and the huge trees that border it.  It would be hard to start the day looking out on an urban landscape again after all this. 

On Wednesday Joe and I are going into Peterborough for routine medical appointments on Thursday. We decided to stay overnight and giver ourselves a bit more time in the not-so-very big city. We are hoping to go the movies – something we haven’t done in years, literally. Of course what we hope to see is Avatar. Brian Cox is not in it as far as I know. Will report. 


  1. Know what you mean by the isolation. As long as you can share it with another warm body, it is not so bad. It’s that feeling that you might be missing something…..but a nice hot bowl of chicken soup is the remedy for most things and is why I consider our snowy view chicken soup for the soul.

    Just waking up is a bonus some days!

  2. My first Burns night in Milngavie we were invited to the village hall do. Told to bring our own bottle. Having come straight from the U.S we had the obligatory bottle of good red. Everyone else had a bottle of Scotch which they willingly shared. I remember getting home and not being able to lie down without being nauseous or throwing up. I seem to recall making a deal with the good lord that I wouldn’t drink ever again if he made me better. Neither action occurred. I enjoyed the haggis but didn’t know if it was because I was under the influence.

    • Do you think we used to drink a whole lot more than the equivalent generation today? I certainly don’t drink like I used to and in fact don’t even drink daily any more. If I have one a week that’s exceptional now. Or maybe it’s just old age and common sense kicking in…

      Hoe are the invalids doing?

      love, Val

      • I know I drank a whole helluva lot more–now, every time I go home I think all my relatives in the UK are raging alchoholics– I drink more than you do but not much!!

  3. Wondering if you got to see Avatar and if you liked it. We haven’t yet gone to see it and it has been years since we saw a movie. (Saving Private Ryan!)

    • Yes, we did see Avatar on Wednesday and it is everything they say about it. It was an experience like nothing else I have ever had. The 3D is utterly convincing – I even ducked when something seemed to come flying towards me! Joe had trouble with the fantasy aspect of it but the “eye candy” is so exceptional that sitting back wondering what amazing thing you are going to be shown next is almost enough on its own. I really loved it.

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