Burns night? Another cracker! The Burnett family kindly offered to host this year, at their lovely home down near Bennetts Bar (all my directions and geography relate to pubs, I’m afraid). It was 6:45 when I arrived, and some were already in a local tavern drinking some dutch courage as I unloaded the last of the goodies from the car. By 7pm the house was still quiet, but outside the streets of Morningside were awash with Carnethies, trying to find Neil’s house with a pudding in one hand, a carry out under their arm, and trying to load google maps on their phone. Bill Gauld was the first to arrive – proper old school: on time and without the need for internet. Good man! 15 minutes later we were all inside, the house warming nicely, puddings aplenty, jackets hanging from every corner, cycles stashed in the garage, drinks being poured and a mild panic setting amongst the speakers for the evening. But first the food!
Arriving bang on time, Zea provided the main meal for the evening. Our MC, Gordon, took to the stage to introduce Willie, who performed the Addressing of the Haggis. I’ve never understood it myself, it sounds a little like Klingon to me, but kudos to the president for performing with flair and without the need for written notes! Britton then said the Selkirk Grace, again without notes (!), and we all sat down for dinner. Puddings were supplied by the great cooks of Carnethy: Cheesecakes, trifles, brownies, eton mess, pineapple upside down cake, chocolate cake… the list goes on, and it was all gobbled up. Special mention of Shane’s crème brulee, it’s rare that I need to ask the host if he has a blowtorch!
Subdued with food, the Carnethy crowd slumped into their seats for the entertainment for the evening. However, despite sending an email round looking for volunteers to toast the lassies, there was no response! It seems the Carnethy Men were struck with stage fright, unwilling or unable to rise to the occasion, so the task fell on poor Fiona to take matters into her own hands. No loss though, she toasted the lassies with good grace (insider knowledge perhaps?), and was even kind to those fellas who she replaced. Cat responded in kind, toasting the laddies, even though they clearly don’t deserve it, with fun and good humour. Jamie Thin gave a great Immortal Memory, specifically referring to the conditions of the time and the toil that Burns endured, reminding us all how easy we have it today.
Thankfully, we’re not short of talented people in Carnethy, and the music flowed from then on. Richard and Margaret led with flute and guitar, Mark James sang, as did Moira and also Gio. Willie took to the stage to accompany Moira for a song. Jane and Mike gave us some great tunes on the guitar and mandolin, and I believe Sinead Thin sang Caledonia. All impressive stuff! For a finale we played an original composition by Nick McDonald, called Carnethy Desire, with Jane on mandolin, Mike on the chanter and guitar, and Cat on the ukulele. Apologies if I have missed any acts! Unfortunately I missed many acts as I was in the kitchen sorting the dishes and drinking whisky, with little and great success respectively. Once the last song was sung, we all thanked the performers and pudding makers, and then we all drifted off into the night.
Some made it to Bennetts for a night cap… and less remember making it to Bennetts for a night cap. Oh dear.
Many thanks to the host, the MC, the gracer, the addresser, the pudding makers, the toaster, the replier, the memory man, the singers, the players, and to all the music makers. And a special thanks to the attendees! Cheers!