Saturday, January 26, 2008
I see myself as something of a hermit these days but the people around me get me out of my cave rather often. Anne is a going-out girl so she gets me to the occasional classical concert and I take her out to dinner once or twice a week. But family connections get me out a lot too.
But the last 24 hours have been really hectic by my standards -- caused by the confluence of two dates: The birthday of Robert Burns on 25th January in 1759 and the arrival of the first white settlers in Australia on 26th January, 1788. Both anniversaries are much celebrated and I celebrate them too.
Last night Anne and I put on a small Burns night for Jill, Lewis (old friends) Joe and Sam (my son and his girlfriend). We did most of the customs: Saying the Burns grace, bringing in the haggis to pipe music followed by the Scotch whisky. reading the Burns ode to the haggis with knife raised and stabbing the haggis at the appropriate point in the poem -- followed by a toast to the haggis.
And the haggis we had was really good -- not at all something to be dubious about. After the meal I read out a speech to the Immortal Memory followed by a toast and then we read a few more of the poems. I even went through the mouse poem and explained what all the strange words meant.
We also had three desserts: Clootie dumpling with cream, tablet and shortbread. If you don't know what tablet is, you haven't lived. It's not remotely pharmaceutical. It's a sort of fudge.
And today I went to a family gathering. For many years my relatives on my mother's side have had a family get-together over a BBQ lunch on Australia Day. It was a bit smaller this year but I enjoyed it as ever.