Thursday, 25 January 2018

To #Robert Burns!

It’s Burns Day! Happy Burns Day wishes to you!

I’ve tried to post something slightly different each Burns Day 25th January since I started this blog—here’s what I have today. Unfortunately, the images are likely to be a bit repetitive, my collection being limited. 

The Scottish poet Robert Burns died in 1796 aged 37. Many of his friends mourned his passing and in 1801, five years after his death, some friends of Burns decided to meet together in honour of their friend. They chose to meet at the cottage in Alloway, Ayrshire, where Burns was born. However, the day they congregated there was the 21st July, the 21st July being the day on which he had died.   

That same year of 1801 the Greenock Burns Club, the first ‘Burns Club’, was formed by people who had known Burns and admired his work. Unfortunately, when they decided their gathering would honour his birth and not his death they got the date of the first meeting wrong. They met in Alloway on the 29th January 1802. Someone queried the date and someone was dispatched to check the Church Parish Records, their being no official government Birth and Death Records at that time. It was verified that indeed Robert Burns had been born on the 25th January.

family heirloom plate Burns Cottage Alloway c1905 
Henceforth all celebrations in honour of the birth of Robert Burns have been on the 25th January (though practicalities often mean the celebrations now take place many days before/or many days after that date, the rarities being when 25th actually falls at the weekend!)

It’s comforting to know that the Greenock Burns Club held their celebration in 1803 on the correct date regardless of which day the 25th fell on.

I will be eating my haggis, neeps, n’ tatties tonight but I also eat haggis throughout the year because I love it. My favourite kind is from the Edinburgh firm Macsweens but that’s because I like mine moist, others prefer a more peppery one.
Family heirloom Burns as in Naysmith version plate c. 1905 
Here's another of my favourite poems by Rabbie Burns, though it's true I have many favourites! 

The Steeleye Span version of this song (click below to hear it) was played over and over during the 1970s  since they were one of my favourite bands at the time. I still have the vinyl album in one of my cupboards. 

The two ancient Burns commemorative plates are on my kitchen wall and have been there for decades. When I was growing up in Glasgow some of my friends might remember those plates were on the hall wall above the frieze i.e. above my father's favourite tartan wallpaper. And no, tartan wallpaper on walls was not common in Drumchapel during 1960s and 1970s. 

Enjoy the music, the sentiments of the poem/ song are poignant for me and many people of my ilk in Scotland. 

The version below has been copied from my Souvenir Edition of Burns.

A Parcel of Rogues In A Nation

Fareweel to a’ our Scottish fame,
Fareweel our ancient glory!
Fareweel ev'n to the Scottish name,
Sae fam'd in martial story!
Now Sark rins over Solway sands,
An’ Tweed rins to the ocean,
To mark where England's province stands—
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

What force or guile could not subdue
Thro' many warlike ages
Is wrought now by a coward few
For hireling traitor's wages.
The English steel we could disdain,
Secure in valour's station;
But English gold has been our bane—
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

O, would, or I had seen the day
That Treason thus could sell us,
My auld grey head had lien in clay
Wi’ Bruce and loyal Wallace!
But pith and power, till my last hour,
I'll mak this declaration:—
‘We're bought and sold for English gold’—
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

Now I'll go and check up on the progress of The Taexali Game,  my time travel historical set in Roman Scotland, since the promotion only has a few hours left to run on Amazon (23rd -25th Jan) organised in honour of Robert Burns. 

Last I looked it was #1 on the US site for Time Travel, keeping fabulous company with H. G. Wells - a fact that would have delighted my dad, I 'm sure, because he loved to read H.G. Wells. It certainly delights me and if it was the Paid site then I'd really be doing the happy dance! 

This time around my promotion is to gain exposure for the novel and it's worked! I'm also hoping for some reviews from the FREE downloads since they really help with Amazon algorithms- visibility of genuine reviews helps that process. 

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