Burns’ Night – 2013

What a venue, and what a marvellous evening in the Chateau in Cenon (Bordeaux). Members Alan and Aracelis, kindly offered their spectacular home, for the second successive year for this
most Scottish of evenings. It was a sell out! The full capacity of 28 members booked. Guests commenced the evening with a rather potent Scottish Sparkle, skilfully prepared and ladled out by John. There was a healthy display of tartan evident, together with knobbly knees displayed by the kilt wearing Scotsmen!

We progressed to the spectacular dining room already laid with delicious salmon (of genuine Scottish origin). Alan commenced proceedings with the ‘Selkirk Grace’ followed by our President Deirdre providing a toast to the immortal bard.

We were then treated to animated singing led by Kit of ‘Comin’ thro’ the rye’ accompanied – as has become the custom at our Celtic events – by Jack, duly dressed in fine regalia. He then lead the magnificent procession, with several circuits, piping in the Haggis. The strident bagpipes were momentarily silenced when the key pipe came adrift, causing some amusement, but not detracting from the spectacle of Eileen proudly bearing the Haggis, followed by the Rankins, all in their tribal gear ! Chris then treated us to an ‘Address to the Haggis’ before brutally stabbing it ! Then to the serious part – eating the haggis, which courtesy of the Rankin family had been on a tour of Scotland and England before making it to Bordeaux, it was agreed by many to be the best ever ! It was of course accompanied by the traditional, neeps and tatties (mashed potatoes). Less obvious was that the excellent whisky, served to all, was to be partially poured on the haggis (like gravy).

It is doubtful that this traditional Scottish meal is normally accompanied by such excellent wine, but we were in Bordeaux! Chris then proposed the toast to the ‘Lassies’ to which Eileen responded in song ! Then to the plentiful and rich Trifles, made by members. Arnaud, who kindly supplied the whisky plus wine from his Chateaux, gave us some insight into his own selection of whisky,and the growing popularity of this import in France, his wine is very popular too!

The repas concluded with Coffee and Deirdre’s excellent Shortbread. Jack then exercised his pipes again to accompany us singing ‘Flower of Scotland’, and finally ‘Auld Lang Syne’ (perhaps Robbie Burns’ most famous rendering).

Thus finished the formal part of the evening which reminded us of Scottish traditions, and that lovely accent (which must be a huge challenge to non native English speakers (as well as many who are !)). All agreed it had been a memorable and most enjoyable evening. Such events do take a lot of organising, preparation and catering, especial thanks are due to the Rankins and Basgallops forbearing the brunt of this, as well of course to our entertainment team. Our sincere gratitude to Alan and Aracelis for providing their
magnificent home to the BBC for this occasion – there cannot be a more fitting setting !

Report by Phil, Photos by Phil and Alan