Friday, 25 January 2013

Burns Night.

Image found on Google

The 25th of January marks the birthday of Robert Burns, 1759-1796.  The night on which many celebrate the life and works of Scotland’s greatest poet,. This celebration is called a `Burns Supper` and can vary in grandeur from a modest family evening to a truly grand affair for civil dignities and opulent corporate clients with full and fitting ceremonial formalities, dress and lavish luxury i.e. Whisky !

Most of course are somewhere in-between, thus here I show an example, of the type you may find in a medium sized hotel or club.

The itinerary or order of ceremony would be as follows

The host may introduce and welcome people, as they gather and mingle, drink Whisky and chat normally to each other.

Meal and Welcome Grace

The party are called to the table; the Host says the opening grace, by tradition The Selkirk Grace. And the soup course is served.

Some have meat and canna eat,
And some would eat that want it;
But we have meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit

Parade of the Haggis

Image found on Google
This is the height of the evening (and my favourite bit). The Chef enters the dining room carrying the haggis, followed by the Piper, usually playing Brose and Butter. The Chef presents the Haggis to the Chairman (or Host) at the top table.


Address to a Haggis

A Senior Reciter reads the poem, Address to a Haggis   over the haggis.

Fair fa` your honest sonsie face,
Great chieftain o` the pudding-race!
Aboon them a` yet tak your place,
Painch tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o`a grace,
As long`s my arm.
Image found on Google
A good Whisky is offered to the Piper, Chef and Reciter and then ceremoniously  the Haggis is cut open, traditionally with a Scottish `Dirk` although any sharp knife will do. The  

Haggis is served with nips and tatties (Mashed swede and mashed potatoes) much Whisky and Ale is drunk.


After the meal a brief interval allows the table to be cleared or people may move into another room.
Where no doubt more Whisky and Ale will be drunk.

Song, Toasts, Readings, Music & Dance
Should still consist of

The Immortal Memory

A long speech given by the Host ending in a toast to “The immortal memory of the Bard of Ayr” ~ (Robert Burns)

Toast to the Lassies (Young Ladies)
Reply from the Lassies

Tam o` Shanter

It would not be a burns night without a recitation of the great narrative poem.
First verse only below

When chapman billies leave the street,
And drouthy neibors, neibors, meet;
As market days are wearing late,
And folk begin to tak the gate,
While we sit bousing at the nappy,
An' getting fou and unco happy,
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps and stiles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Where sits our sulky, sullen dame,
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

Finally (If you`re still standing after all that Whisky)

Closing Remarks from The Chairman
Who should thank the guests etc. And in return one of whom will return the thanks and offer a toast to the Host, Chairman, Chef and Piper.

Auld Lang Syne
The traditional end to any Burns Night

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Needless to say bar for the copyright law ALL POEMS ARE BY ROBERT BURNS

For more info go to

Tomorrow I hope to post pictures, words and recipes of my Burns Supper

Saturday, 19 January 2013

A Birthday Toast to Edgar Allan Poe.

Edgar Allan Poe Image from Google 

As most of you will no doubt know today, January 19th marks the birthday of Edgar Allan Poe. To a lot of people the life, death and mystery that surrounds him is as much a lure to Poe as his works are. I think this was elegantly captured in March 1934 by the Ambassador of Chile (M. Frucco) in his message; partly quoted here from Wikipedia and many other places.

“Edgar Allan Poe was born one year prior to the Declaration of Chilean Independence. Like those who wrote our historic document, Poe was of mortal clay, and passed on into the great unknown. But about his name there glows the halo of immortal genius that illuminates all his creations, and makes them live on wherever there are eyes to read, and minds capable of grasping the delicate beauty of his art. What he has done is timeless and changeless.”

Image of the Poe Toaster from Google 
 I particularly find great fascination in the mysterious anonymous person or persons who every year, on his birthday “Toast” him at his grave, (and although according to the American press this event has not happened for the last few years, most likely due to the press and others intrusion turning it into a media spectacle.) I find great solace in remembering people at their graveside or at over special places or times.

For more on this, I post a quick link to Wikipedia here  

Sight see-ers image from Google 
And so tonight I would like to think that, no matter where we are, or what the time is around the world we could, be it on our own or with like-minded friends make our own Toast weather with Cognac or not to “Edgar Allan Poe” and thank him for the works we love so much.

I include here the first verse of one of my favourite of his poems Dreamland;


By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have reached these lands but newly
From an ultimate dim Thule-
From a wild clime that lieth, sublime,
Out of SPACE- out of TIME.

And so please raise your glasses
“To Edgar Allan Poe,   Thank you for what you have brought in to our lives.” 

Friday, 18 January 2013

My New NOSTALGIA Tee Shirt came today

I think I may ware this at our camping groups AGM in February, most of the people who will be there still think things should coat the same as in 1983 !  

 If you can`t made out the words, it says “I went to Whitby, to a club set in 1983. Am I mad, in a coma, or just at NOSTALGIA Fire up the Cointreau!”

Now it appears that some expiration is needed so
a)   I went to Whitby ~  I did for the Gothic Weekend
b)   to a club set in 1983 ~  Hypothetically, but that’s a matter of mind
c)   Am I mad, in a coma, or just at  ~  Taken from the opening titles of Ashes to Ashes (The UK TV cop show)
d)   NOSTALGIA ~  Name of the Club Night.
e)   Fire up the Cointreau A French liqueur, re-popularized in the `80s made from oranges and used in Crêpe suzette

A couple of links;

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Snow and Haw Frost in the Yorkshire Dales

This morning, too cold to work, No I mean it I tried cutting a hedge but it was to frozen to cut !

Near Fewston Reservoir
 On way back home stopped at Fewston Reservoir and took these photos

Near Fewston Reservoir
Near Fewston Reservoir
Near Fewston Reservoir
  Even the fungi has snow on it !
Near Fewston Reservoir
 I know it`s not the Rockies, but just to give some idea of the height of the trees
Timble near Fewston 

Monday, 14 January 2013

Night out at The Last Lucifer Lounge

Last night I went to The Last Lucifer Lounge in Leeds. Before I left home snow had already started to fall, but as where I live is quite a way out of the city centre and about 200 feet higher I was not worried. I don’t like to take the car into Leeds and I was glad that the bus came bang on time. All our buses are nice and warm these days, and the city centre always seems warmer than at home so I arrived at the club ready to party.
The room we have is upstairs, but the only bar open is downstairs so I got my first drink and waited for the club to open. In a few minutes one of the DJs came down and invited us up. As always the DJs asked if we had any requests and the music began. 

Pic from Sheepish Leeds,Thanks 
That`s me far right!
 Sundays are always quite in pubs and clubs but downstairs was deserted! I was forced to wonder if `we` got the upstairs room free because the bar was quite, or if the bar was quite because of the Goths upstairs?
Pic from Sheepish Leeds,Thanks 
Now it is no secret that I am no longer in the first flush of youth and with my ankle still sore, my knees not good and of course my vertigo I do not dance. That was a pity as that may have kept me warm, for as the evening went on and the cool bear went down I became quite cold. I could also see the snow was falling heavier now and fearing I may need to be out and working very early in the morning I decided to reluctantly leave early and head home. Still a great night and just because we are not using that venue again does not mean there`s not more club-nights to look forward to in Leeds soon. 

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Happy Birthday to App`y Talk.

So I have now been Blogging for one year.
I`ve had fun, made some mistakes, leaned a lot, forgot a lot more but most importantly made `friends` with some really great, interesting people along the way.
Too the people who have and especially those who still are following me I say “Thank you”.

Trigger and Holly 
 Although the original idea was to use the Blog as a way of archiving my `column` in our camping groups newsletter, Spen `n` Ink, it very soon outgrow that and I started writing for the Blog, and just ‘copy and pasted’ the highlights to the Newsletter.

So here are some total unrelated pictures, just for the fun of it.
Green Man

Camping in the Dales

Whitby Abbey

Finally (and I`ve used this one before) should I log off and get a live ?....NO.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Knot before Christmas

I have been having a bit of writers block just of late, and not knowing what to post about. Then I read Gabriel at Invizible Kidz blog called The Christmas Inverter about people turning their Christmas Trees upside down.
That reminded me of a chap that I used to work with at the Garden Centre. I`ll call him John, it seems fair his Mother did. Now John was a fairly decent type of man, honest, hardworking, but he seemed to `Go at life` at 90° to the rest of us. 

Pic from Google 
This was never more apparent than at Christmas with the Christmas Trees, the Garden Centre we worked at did not have one of those big tube things used to put Christmas trees in nets so we had to tie them the old fastened way with strong string.
Now to tell this right, I`ll first say how it SHOULD be done!
1.    Cut off enough string, about a yard for every one foot height of tree.
2.   Lay the tree on the ground, tie one end of the string to the base (root end) of the tree.
3.    Standing over that end, with your back to the top of the tree, grip the lowest branches between your legs as tight as possible and reach under with both hands on the string to make a loop.
4.   Pull the string though and move up keeping the branches as tight as possible with your legs.
5.    Repeat as if you were tying a parcel or piece of meat,
6.   When you reach the top about 5 or 6 loops, if you`ve cut the string to about the right length tie the free end to near the top of the tree.
Simple, but not for John !!!

I showed him at least 3 times, the boss showed him 3 or 4 times as well. In the end we thought he had got-it.

One day the boss and I had to go out for more trees, when we returned we found John, on the floor, tied to a Christmas tree with a small group of customers surrounding him, trying to undo him.
I just wish I had photos 


Got my appointment for a Gastroscopy at LGI Friday 4.00pm Chris is away, so cannot have a general. Can`t eat/drink from 8.00 am. Ha...