“There’s nought but care on ev’ry han'”

Monday 6th February, the Excom heard many congratulatory comments on the Anniversary Dinner and the CD’s will be in big demand. Friday 10th Feb. The annual Befriending Burns Supper at the Easterbrook.  Fraser Sanderson made a genial chairman and the “Memory” was proposed with style by Alex Fergusson MSP. The toast to the Lasses was a marked improvement on last year. This is a fundraising event for a worthwhile cause and the club was well represented. PP John Caskie and Donald Shamash contributed to the excellent entertainment programme. The Clubroom Renovation Sub Committee met on 13th February and is making progress at last. The Community Payback Team has completed the de nailing of the ancient wood for the floor and David Miller, as Clerk of Works, is chasing up the plasterer and electrician. It is thought that the clubroom may be out of use during April but hopefully ready for the AGM on 10th May. Tuesday 14th, a rare visit to Palmerston for the QOS V  Aberdeen Cup Tie replay.  Honorary member Matt Sempie, an Aberdeen supporter and his wife Carol were attending. Met up with President Frank and the Sempies at Cavens for fish and chips before the match. Slightly nervous to be seated with the visiting support but soaked up the good natured banter. The anti Rangers chants from Aberdeen were a hoot. Enjoyed the match more than expected, especially the second half when Queens piled on the pressure and Aberdeen looked to be in trouble on occasions. The result could have gone either way and Aberdeen scored the winning goal in the first minute of injury time. Bloody cold and the conditions at Palmerston were basic. Missed the cup of Bovril and pie at half time. Meeting of the SSCBA Office Bearers at the Globe on 21st Feb. John Caskie as secretary has brought breath of fresh air to this dinosaur.  Discussed the agenda for the quarterly meeting at Gatehouse on 24th March. The February Club Night on the 23rd, was well attended and the speaker, James Thomson from Kilmarnock, gave a fascinating talk on the story behind “Tam O’ Shanter” stating that some of the characters in the poem were based on real people Burns knew in Kirkoswald. Friday 24th, the final of the annual Round Table Charity Pub Quiz at the Edenbank. The club team, “The Burns Unit”, achieved a cumulative score of 272 from a possible 400 and were awarded the Runners Up trophy which Ian McIntyre accepted with aplomb. This is just the start and an application has been sent to the “Eggheads” TV programme. Congratulations to the cerebral members who turned out on the Friday evenings. The Leap Year Dinner on yes, the 29th February, was first class with a superb meal and a witty and erudite toast the “The Club” from Gavin Findlay, president of Dumbarton Burns Club and an interesting reply from PP J. Scott. The entertainment was couthy. Glad to see PP Jim McAlister reprise Langley Roberts’ “D-day Dodgers” which was a blast from the past. Ian McIntyre’s “Granny” takes a bit of beating as well. Thursday 1st March, the subcommittee formed to revise the membership application form met under President Frank and a draft was finally agreed for submission to the Excom on 5th March. Saturday 3rd March, the Friends of Ellisland Coffee Morning, lovely drop scones and pancakes but cold and damp. Quite well attended. The Excom meeting on Moday 5th chucked out our draft membership app. Form and will need further consideration by the subcommittee. This could go on for years. Saturday 10th March, out to Ellisland for a very pleasant social evening as guests of Les and May Byers. Lovely meal and excellent entertainment from the company.  Also during February, managed to get out an edition of the electronic newsletter, Howff Club E- Mail Express with some hiccups due to having changed my ISP but thanks due to Neil Johnston for his input.

DS

Burns an aw’ that

Burns an aw’ that

by Secretary (DS) on Sun 05 Feb 2012 16:28 GMT

2ND January brought the news of the death of honorary member Davie Shankland. David, who proposed the “Immortal Memory” at the Anniversary Dinner in 1979, had been in failing health for some time and his passing brings an era to an end as his like will never be seen again.  A period of silence in his memory was marked at the start of the Executive Committee meeting on 9th January.  Thursday 12th, off to Kirkcudbright to Broughton House for an “Evening wi’ Burns”. This featured Leona Evans and others in a programme of music and songs in the magnificent hall with Hornel’s Japanese ladies looking down from the walls. Due to a misunderstanding, David Baird was inadvertently left at Dumfries but Gordon J. and David Miller enjoyed a night to remember. Saturday 14th, to the Crichton Memorial Kirk to David Shankland’s funeral. The church was unsurprisingly packed and the service which was almost non religious, contained tributes from William Williamson, John Glover and Ian Landles, from Hawick.  At the conclusion, the company spontaneously rose and applauded as the coffin was carried out of the church to the strains of “Auld Lang Syne”.  Time for a nibble at the Easterbrook Hall before proceeding to the Globe with Mr. McIntyre to meet Mark Zygadlo, to discuss his proposals to appear at the Anniversary Dinner as “Robert Burns”. This was agreed to be impractical but the possibility of the Jean Armour Dinner was mooted. Friday 20th, out to the Deerhunter at Sanquhar by luxury minibus for the Sanquhar Black Joan Burns Supper. This was good in parts. The return journey took forever to go round the houses before fetching up at Cargenbridge at a late hour.  The following evening, a most enjoyable Burns Supper at Friars Carse for the hotel guests. President Frank occupied the Chair and addressed the haggis. Ian McIntyre delivered a thoughtful and informative “Memory” and Gordon J. brought the house down with the “Lasses, O” ably replied to by Jean McMillan-Forster with contributions from Bill Welsh, John Lauder, David Miller, Lee McQueen and Callum Watson. The club’s 123rd Anniversary Dinner in the Globe Inn on 25th January was outstanding with a super toast from Len Murray, one of the best and most moving in years.

The guest artistes and members who contributed made for a night of pure magic which will long be remembered (for several reasons) The company numbered 90 and all credit to John Caskie for constructing a faultless seating plan.  The meal was good too and President Frank conducted the proceedings with great style and finished on time. Earlier, accompanied President Frank to the odd ceremony at Burns Statue where members of Dumfries Burns Club and others attempted to lay a wreath and school pupils recited against the noise of traffic. At the Commemorative Service at St. Michael’s Church, assisted to welcome dignitaries and joined the presidential group to the Mausoleum to place the wreath on behalf of Dumbarton Burns Club whose delegates could not be present. Much impressed with the Service, choreographed by John Caskie as secretary of the SSCBA. Friday 27th, off to Dumbarton to attend the Dumbarton Burns Club’s Burns Supper, en route, called at Hamilton to present Matt Sempie with his Honorary Membership certificate. The supper in the Masonic Temple in Alexandria, was excellent with good company, a superb meal and a memorable address from President Gavin Findlay. Frank was seated at the top table and brought fraternal greetings from the Howff Club. Overnight accommodation at Tullie Inn, Balloch was fleeting but the breakfast was all one could wish for. Missed the Dumfries Big Burns Supper but heard reports from various venues. The club’s annual Burns Supper for the residents of Charnwood Lodge was both successful and enjoyable. President Frank gave a brief but moving “Memory” and Godfrey Bedford’s toast to the “Lasses, o” was polished and witty. A highlight was Ian McIntyre’s ditties to his guitar accompaniment which was much appreciated. Last year’s decision to cut back on long orations and concentrate on songs and music seems to have paid off. Thanks are due to Bill Welsh, Dan Cook, Gordon J., Callum Watson and Lee McQueen. Thanks also to Tesco’s Stores Ltd, Dumfries, for kindly sponsoring oatcakes, shortbread and drinks. Friday 3rd February, out to the Buccleuch Centre, Langholm to “Honest Poverty”, a show by the Ideoms Theatre company from the Borders, a lively romp through the poet’s works at Mossgeil and Poosie Nancies with much hilarity and great audience participation and a meal of haggis, tatties and neeps. Privileged to accompany John Caskie and Neil and William Johnston. The following day, out at the crack of dawn to Dumfries Academy to help with the Schools Competitions. Another fantastic offering of superb singing, recitation and instrumental playing. The standard just gets higher and higher. Excellent hot soup from the ladies of the Ladies Burns Club. That night, out to Ellisland to the annual Friends of Ellisland Burns Supper. On arrival, found a power cut in progress and thanks due to the resourcefulness of Neil Johnston that portable lights were quickly set up. Before power was restored at 8.10pm, Moir Nelson from Dumbarton had managed to set fire to his programme by a candle. As there was no heating at first, it was perishingly cold but the “Immortal Memory” from Alex Fergusson MSP was first class followed by a remarkable toast to the Lasses. John Caskie raised the tone with his choice of songs and Avril Kerr proved again that she is one of the best Burns reciters in the district.

The Burns season for 2012 is about over.

DS

“THAT e’en tae name, would be unlawf’y”

“THAT e’en tae name, would be unlawf’y”

by Secretary (DS) on Wed 07 Dec 2011 13:51 GMT

Can I start by apologising to anyone who was offended in the previous blog entry as mutterings have been heard.  November 7th and 14th, two very productive sessions in the club library with William Robson, our bibliophile, who is reaching the end of the project to value the contents for insurance. The morning gatherings are entertaining and enjoyable with Gordon J. and Kenny McK. to lend a hand. 14th November, the Excom meeting to sort out arrangements for St. Andrew’s Night which looks like a cracker. Meeting was followed by a presentation from Webmaster Neil on the mysteries of cyberspace. (Sometimes there’s too much technology!!).   Saturday 19th, up at the crack of dawn for the luxury minibus to Liberton for the RBWF Quarterly Meeting. Set off at 7.30am from Brooms Road Car Park and almost forgot to collect Gordon. J. at the Five Arches but, as navigator, arrived on time and tholed the morning meeting of the Heritage Committee. Glad we were able to report positively on Burns Mausoleum but heard adverse comments from Ayrshire delegates on the Birthplace Museum and Burns Cottage. The plenary session after lunch was a trial but we escaped at 3.50pm to the considerable relief of Ted Murray who had a promise. The Renovations Committee on 21st heard reports on progress on de-nailing the ancient flooring wood but wisely decided to postpone any major works until after the Anniversary Dinner. The club’s “Question Time” event on 24th November proved to be surprisingly successful but as usual, poorly supported by club members. Chairman Peter Kormylo deserves congratulations in preventing rancour and refereeing the panel. Excellent contributions from Peter Westwood, Jim Scott, Betty Haining, John Haining, Les Byers and Ralph Coleman who presented President Frank with a collection of his archive material from the club of yesteryear.  Light relief on Saturday afternoon at the “Drambuster’s” Malt Whisky Festival at the Cairndale. Jings, 24 different tables set up with several bottles of superb malts at each.  Attended with Gordon and Neil J., had some modest samples.  Great fun and glad to report that drunkeness was avoided, I think, as our driver on the return journey suggested otherwise BUT Gordon was able to perform with his usual phizazz at Ellisland later that night.  Tuesday 29th, foregathered at the Globe with PP John Caskie to construct the seating plan for St. Andrew’s Night, nae bother.  The St. Andrew’s Night Dinner on 30th November was a magical occasion with a powerful toast to “Auld Scotia and New Scotland” from George Reid which brought a standing ovation from the company. One of the most stirring I have heard and I’ve heard a few superb toasts over the years. The supporting entertainment was worthy of the London Palladium at its best. Our young Russian singer was impressive as was Bobby Jess’s “Tam the Bike”.  Glad to see PP Stewart Tweedie receive a gesture marking the 40th anniversary of his year in office.  Our speaker was excellent company and will hopefully consider a return invitation in future.  Gavin Findlay of Dumbarton Burns Club brought respectful greetings from his members (aye, right) We’ll get our own back on Friday.  The dinner was well chaired by President Frank and thanks are due to the stewards and the team who sold raffle tickets. Although finishing on schedule at 11.30pm, it was disappointing to note the number of empty seats in spite of an appeal earlier by the president to wait till the end.  Dumbarton Burns Club’s St. Andrew’s Night in the Strathclyde Home Stadium, Dumbarton was most enjoyable with an excellent meal, an entertaining toast to “Scotland” from Colin McKay, a media type and first class entertainment. The club was represented officially by President Frank and SVP Ian, but with an entourage which included the entire Johnston family (safety in numbers)  Regret to report that an almost intact bottle of Taliskers was left in the taxi on the return journey to the upmarket hotel and the SVP has agreed to lead an enquiry into the circumstances of its loss.  Back down the road early on Saturday to attend the SSCBA meeting at 11.00am in the Globe (madness) but the meeting was constructive and well organised. John Caskie as SSCBA secretary has made a difference. Business included reports from the Federation meeting, arrangements for the St. Michaels Service in January. Jane Brown as President, reported on the SSCBA(Commemoration) Ltd meeting which has become a secret society.  Next meeting at Gatehouse in March.  Glad to escape for lunch.  The following morning, accompanied President Frank, Ian McIntyre and Ted Murray, his close protection officer, to St. Giles, Edinburgh for the annual St. Andrew’s Day Service.  It was a privilege to be conveyed in such a splendid equipage as the Presidential Porsche and your blogger, as navigator, ensured an arrival in time to enjoy a coffee and scone before the assembly at the Signet Library for marshalling into order of precedence and were joined by David Baird.  The Federation delegation was behind the Sally Army but ahead of the Band of Hope and shuffled across Parliament Square to the            Kirk.  The service was as colourful and impressive as ever with superb singing and chanting from the choir. The luncheon at Roslin was covered in the president’s blog but he omitted to record that the party of Spanish in the hotel were most interested in his kilt. Monday 5th December, the Executive Committee meeting and many expressions of delight on the St. Andrew’s Night Dinner and provisional ticket requests for the Anniversary Dinner in January.  Tuesday 6th accompanied Prersident Frank to the DGRI to see Hon. Member Alex Pool who is unwell. Alex was in good spirits and pleased to see us and accepted the bag of seedless grapes as a gift from the club.  That’s all for 2011 and hopefully better days are round the corner.

DS

“An mair o’ horrible an awful”

“An mair o’ horrible an awful”

by Secretary (DS) on Sun 06 Nov 2011 10:46 GMT

A much needed cultural uplift was achieved during the week commencing 17th October. A visit to the Easterbrook Hall on  Thursday 20th for a superb concert by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with a programme of Mozart’s Symphony No 1 followed by the Cello Concerto in D by Haydn featuring an incredible virtuoso solo by Pieter Wispelwey on the well, Cello. After the interval, an eclectic version of Beethoven’s Symphony No 6 “Pastoral”, the youthful orchestra energetically conducted by Thierry Fischer from the Netherlands. An excellent night with music lovers John Lauder and David Miller. Spotted Marshall Laing and Ted Murray in the mature audience.  Saturday 22nd.  John Caskie had organised a meal at Sino’s before the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra concert at DG One.  The auditorium was packed to capacity and thrilled to varied mix of jigs. Strathspeys and reels with solos from Dennis Haggerty, Tenor and Collette Ruddy, Mezzo Soprano. A section of the D&G Police Pipe Band appeared together with a young solo piper and highland dancers. The evening was MC’d by Jim McColl from TV’s “Beechgrove Garden” who had a great rapport with the audience. Delighted that Frank Manson and family joined us. This was Frank’s first public appearance since his surgery.  Monday 24th, the Excom meeting to finalise arrangements for the Hallowe’en Supper. The programme looks super and tickets are sold out. The meeting was followed by a presentation on the “Dumfries Big Burns Supper” to be held in January. The movers and shakers are Graham Main, Festival Director and his side kick, Simon Robertson, Producer. The mood was that the club is keen to help out in some way if the event does not interfere with the Anniversary Dinner. Will await further developments.  Thursday 27th, Bob Dalziel from Motherwell gave a talk on the history of Glasgow and the Glasgow Tobacco Barons in the 18th century. Bob knew his subject and his enthusiasm was infectious. A good night but again, poorly supported by club members.  Friday 28th, Met up with President Frank at the Globe to go over the arrangements for Hallowe’en with Jane Brown and later, with John Caskie to draw up the seating plan. John doesn’t believe in making an easy job difficult and we repaired for luncheon thereafter. The Hallowe’en Supper on 31st October was one of the most enjoyable I can remember. A witty and polished speaker in Professor David Purdie and two of the most talented musicians ever to appear at the Globe Inn. Andy Kain on the fiddle and former “Young Burnsian”, Craig Paton on the accordion who brought the company to their feet. Guest artiste was Cameron Goodall from Lasswade who did not need a mic, gave a rendition of “The Court of Equity” and later, “Death& Dr. hornbook” to great effect. I have to say that I have never heard Les Byers, John Caskie and Frank Curran in better voice and old friends Alex and David Pool from Langholm were as welcome as ever. Special thanks are due to the team who sold over £230.00 worth of raffle tickets for donation to the RNIB appeal. Glad that the silver three penny bit was not ingested this time and I had pleasure in giving Alan Caskie his half bottle on receipt of the coin for re use. Lovely meal from the new chef Steven and his staff including a cheese board to dye for. A night to remember and expertly chaired by President Frank who finished on time and with few empty seats, too.  Wednesday, 2nd November, a meeting at Burns Centre called by the Council, to discuss plans for the urgent and much needed refurbishments to the Burns Mausoleum.  Good turnout from Burns Club reps heard some reassurance that a scheme was in place and the senior architect talked it through. Hopefully, work with start no later than April, 2012 with completion by the summer. Next year’s commemorative ceremony will have to put up with the dilapidated state. Thursday 3rd November, picked up President Frank and Treasurer David Baird for the Friendship Club at Thornhill for a talk by Helen Morrison on “Jean Armour”. Helen brought a group from St. Petersburg in Russia, a teacher and two super girl students one of whom read her own essay on “Mary Queen of Scots”, to great effect. The visitors’ “English” put the native Scots to shame. President Frank accepted a copy of Burns Works in Russian as a gift to the club library. The event was organised by Thornhill Burns Club as part of their winter programme.  Friday 4th November, the Station Hotel at night for the “Drambusters” malt whisky tasting session. 8 malts of differing bouquet’s and “nose” but as the night wore on; they seemed to go down better. The club was represented by David Mackie, David Baird and Gordon Johnston. The least said the better about the results of the half time quiz. Meantime, preparing the agenda for the meeting on 14th November.  As a treat after the meeting, the Webmaster will give members a presentation on the Club Website. 

DS 

“Many a muckle”

“Many a muckle”

by Secretary (DS) on Sun 16 Oct 2011 16:10 BST

The September meeting of the SSCBA in the Globe Inn on 17th September was exceptionally well attended with folk there I haven’t seen for years. This was Jane Brown’s first as President and John Caskie’s first as secretary. The meeting was focussed and well organised and bodes well for the future. In the afternoon, met George Richardson from Aberdeen Burns Club and Steven, his son- in- law, to discuss the itinerary for their visit on 25th when they are coming mob handed.   Sunday 18th, the annual Bowling Match with Dumbarton BC AT Newall Terrace. The guys arrived on schedule in good spirits. I was told later that they had been nibbling at a bottle of malt on route. After a welcome from President Frank who managed to welcome the visitors on behalf of “Dumfries Burns Club”, (I never know when Frank is joking) and a refreshment, play commenced with a will and after 15 ends and comfort breaks, the result was declared a draw and trophies exchanged and receipted. The weather was ideal and rain stayed off until 4.15 but by that time the company was in the clubhouse. High Tea at the Globe and speeches before the visitors departed. Thanks due to Bert Hastings for jump starting their minibus with a flat battery.  Gratyeful thanks due to the officiald of Dumfries Bowling Club and Kenny Crookshanks for his patience. This year I managed to give the Tam O’ Shanter Competition a body swerve. Sorry, I just think in that format it’s a  torture.  Library Sub Committee on Monday 26th and an excellent talk from Helen Morrison on “Burns and Freemasonry” at the opening Winter Club Night on 29th. Record turnout and a lively Q&A session afterwards.  Friday 30th, off to the Standard Office to talk about the Globe Inn windows project as they plan a feature article in October then that night, a whisky tasting at the Station Hotel with Gordon Johnston, David Baird and others. Caught up with some old friends during the intervals.   The EGM and Excom on 3rd October. Got the revised Constitution passed with 10 minutes to the surprise of the President. Ticket requests for Hallowe’en are sky high as usual. Wednesday 5th October, another session with William Robson and Gordon on the library book valuation project, assisted by Ken McKinnon. Progress is now being made. Monday 10th October, the Renovations Sub Committee where arrangements were agreed for the formal “unveiling” of the facsimile window on 19th. Guests include Peter Westwood and Matt Sempie who has been given instructions how to get to the Globe avoiding Langholm.  Saturday lunchtime, met up with SVP and Hon. Treasurer to draw up the programme for Hallowe’en. Rab Wilson the original speaker can’t now come so Professor David Purdie will substitute. A treat will be a rendition of “The Court of Equity” by Cameron Goodall. Managed to avoid the Whistle Competition at Ellisland as it should have been held at Friars Carse. (Pratts)  Meanwhile, waiting for word from the Scottish Information Commissioner seeking an opinion as to whether the publication of the WRBF Club Directory in the Burns Chronicle is a “breach of the Data Protection Act” and whether a posting on the WRBF Website with access controlled by password would be allowed.  Ridiculous bureaucracy. Amused by the continuing failure of the SVP to leave a deposit on the club blog.  Its childs play after all.

DS

“The moving finger writes”

“The moving finger writes”

by Secretary (DS) on Fri 16 Sep 2011 13:34 BST

I have to say that I am shocked beyond measure at the president’s description of the hon. Sec. as “The Ayatollah”, as he is a big pussy cat at all times. Even further dismayed at the reference to the damaged spectacles during the conference, of which more later.  2 Parrots indeed. To carry on.  Monday 15th August, meeting of the Library Sub Committee. Joined by Peter Kormylo and agreed to up the profile of the Winter Club Nights next year.  Thursday, 18th, impromptu gathering in the clubroom to welcome distinguished visitors from OZ. William and Beverley Tait from Melbourne, Bev is secretary of Melbourne Burns Club. Good night of harmony and fun although William dropped off during the night and had to be prodded by his wife. One of the highlights was the hilarious rendition of “Sam the Skull” by Ian McIntyre to his own guitar accompaniment. Monday 22nd August, the Renovations Sub Committee. Cost estimates were discussed and arrangements made for the installation of the pane of glass with the copied verses. Progress now being made. Tuesday 23rd August, The Constitution Revision Sub Committee to consider the comments received. Agreed to accept some and decline others. Convenor Frank expressed thanks to all who submitted suggestions. Agreed to propose an EGM on 3rd October to ask for approval. Hopefully, this will be the last hurrah!  Thursday 25th August, annual visit to the Edinburgh Fringe. David Miller, Ted Murray Gordon and Neil Johnston and your blogger journeyed in Gordon’s plush jag to Edinburgh. As ample time was available before the first show at 3.00pm, some refreshment was taken in the Grassmarket before a leisurely stroll down the Royal Mile admiring the street performers which included a contortionist.  “An alternative Burns Supper with Talisker” at Monteiths Restaurant was interesting and consisted of a one man show by a singer and reciter before a “three course meal” of haggis, etc, which cost £17.00.  Afterwards, the party repaired to a local diner for a burger and chips before further modest refreshment. Met up with Ronnie Crichton before the next gig at the National Library. This was “The Subversive Poems”, another one man show which dealt with Burns’ verses written in Dumfries, considered by some to be anti government, which being an officer of the Crown, could have brought  him much misery at the time of continental revolution. Enjoyable but marred by the flashing lights back projection.  Ted Murray has to be congratulated on staying the course and thanks due to Gordon and Neil for expert navigation and skilful driving. Friday 26th August, out with past president Tom Johnstone to visit our former club piper and honorary member, Ian Clowe, who is a resident in Goldielea. Ian and his wife Maybeth were pleased to see us. Sunday 28th August, a small group attended the Morning Service at the Crichton Memorial Church to witness the dedication of the memorial plaque to the late Dr. George Stirling.  Spoke to Yvonne and Scott Stirling afterwards. Monday 29th August, the first Executive Committee meeting after the summer break with a mammoth agenda but got through the business which included the revised Constitution, agreed to go to the EGM on 3rd October at 7.00pm followed by an Excom meeting at .30pm.  Friday 2nd September, a very pleasant BBQ at the seaside home of Mr. & Mrs Johnston and sons. Vast amount of excellent food which included a salmon newly caught from the Solway and sensible refreshments although the slightly damp weather kept the party in the garage.  Monday, 5th September, off to Cardross with David Baird and Gordon J. to attend the funeral of Jimmy Hempstead, honorary member and former secretary and past president of Dumbarton Burns Club. Following the cremation, were invited to the home of Moir and Sheenah Nelson for a meal before the return journey. Lovely weather and an enjoyable day except for the sombre reason. That night, out to Moffat with David Miller to meet Walter Watson to discuss the strategy for the Heritage Committee report to the conference.  Friday 9th September, off to Peebles with David Miller and Les Byers for the conference. For once, the club delegation included the President’s two dogs but they were quiet and didn’t eat much and helped with hosting the pre function reception in the president and June’ room.  The Hydro looked a bit tired but the facilities were first class although we couldn’t get a drink on arrival.  The Friday night informal gathering was interesting for the variety and unsuspected talent but an excellent meal. The AGM was turgid but saw the election of Jane Brown as JVP. As a result of a mishap the previous night, was obliged to seek out an optician in the afternoon for an emergency repair to spectacles, followed by an unscheduled visit to the bar of the County Hotel for a pint and was joined by several members of the Baird family. As the visit was therefore prolonged, missed the afternoon seminar but was pleased to share Les’ bag of chips on the way back to the hotel. The Inaugural Dinner was a glittering occasion with spectacular outfits and an indifferent meal which some found tough but the company was superb. At the Presidential Investiture, Mr. Baird was conspicuously reluctant to part with the Chain but was rewarded with his past president’s badge. The toast list was forgettable. Club delegates assembled in the suite of the World president after the Friday evening and elsewhere on Saturday evening and were joined by Cameron Goodall who does not need a microphone. Managed to evade the masses of bikers taking part in the Round Britain Race on Sunday and arrived home intact. Thanks to David Miller and Les Byers for entertainment en route. Enjoyable weekend but doubt if I’ll be going next year to Harrogate.

Wednesday 14th September, the Dumfries Burns Club’s “Autumn Evening”, held appropriately at the Museum with John Caskie, David Miller, and Ted Murray. David Baird now being a member of the Dumfries Burns Club shunned our company. Heard an interesting talk by Chris Rollie on “Burns in England”. Cheap plonk but a good buffet.  Meantime, delighted that the window pane with the copied Burns’ verses has now been installed in the Burns Bedroom in the Globe.  An unveiling ceremony has been arranged for 19th October.  Friday 16th September, been told to prepare a report on the conference for the SSCBA meeting on Saturday 17th, for Gawd’s sake and still to find the runners’ up trophy for the annual bowling match with Dumbarton Burns Club on Sunday. Think I’m getting too old for this now.  (Title is from the Rubiate of Omar Khayyam, not sure of the spelling) DS

“A’ ye wha live by sowps o drink”

“A’ ye wha live by sowps o drink”

by Secretary (DS) on Fri 05 Aug 2011 23:00 BST

Saturday 16th July and the Globe Inn at 7.00pm for the 10th gathering of the Royal Dumfries Volunteers (Revived). Delighted that a detachment from the Crochallan Fencilbes, Edinburgh, were in attendance and after the formalities, and an excellent dinner served with style, the mirth and fun grew fast and furious. Numerous toasts were honoured and the Port kept coming round and round. Tuesday 19th July. The Constitution Revision Sub Committee met and agreed the final draft for consultation. The phrase, “Camel is a horse designed by a committee” springs to mind.  Wednesday 20th July, The Commemorative Service at Brow Well which SSCBA President Jane was unable to attend but her place was filled with distinction by SVP David Miller. Rev. Neil Campbell gave a reading from the King James Bible with which Burns would have been familiar and Fed. President David Baird spoke inspiringly on Burns’ final days at the Brow. The social this year held at the Cairndale was most enjoyable with some interesting turns from visitors and well MC’d by John Caskie. Thursday 21st July. Accompanied David Baird to Paisley for the wreath laying ceremony at Burns Statue at Caledonia Street. Met up with members of the Alamo Burns Club in the nearby Alamo Bar. First visit to this famous club who have a link to the historic Alamo Mission in Texas, scene of the struggle in 1832 for Texan independence from Mexico.  The walls are covered with memorabilia including a fragment of the actual Davy Crocket hat worn by Davy Crocket during the siege. After the ceremony, attended by the Provost of Inverclyde and members of Renfrewshire Burns Association, the company returned to the Alamo for a sandwich. As driver, Mr. Baird navigated the return journey diverted off the M74 to Muirkirk and Cumnock which took a bit of doing. My turn as driver on Sunday 24th to Ayr to accompany Mr. Baird to the Ayr Burns Club events. Morning Service at the Auld Kirk which is up a close off the High Street but atmospheric and historic. Lunch at the Tam O’ Shanter, a pub again after years as a museum then to Burns Statue for the wreath laying, choreographed by Margaret Morrall, which went on for ages and included a recitation in full of “Tam O’ Shanter”. Met a gent who claimed to be the great nephew, five times removed of Jean Armour. On to Leglan Wood to the Wallace/ Burns Cairn in good repair after the storm damage in 2009 for speeches, turns, prayers and hymn singing before repairing to Auchencruive House for a welcome cup of coffee prior to the return journey. That was the last of the summer commemorative events this year. Other commitments prevented attendance at Kilmarnock Cross on 31st July.  Saturday 30th July, a lovely sunny morning saw 21 members, spouses and friends set off at 7.30am for Glasgow to board the PS Waverley for a cruise “Doon the Watter” as the club outing for 2011. A VIP party in the Presidential Porsche made their own way but the luxury minibus got their before them. The Waverley weighed anchor at 10.20am and set off up the Clyde with stops at Greenock, Rothesay, Helensburgh, passing Dumbarton Rock before arriving at Tighnabruich where there is no distillery, for an hour ashore. The river traffic and scenery was fascinating as was the sights seen on board which included a Toga Party in the bar and groups of happy holidaymakers at the end of the Glasgow Fair. Seals and jellyfish were seen alongside and some undisclosed incident not involving members resulted in Strathclyde Polis waiting to welcome the Waverley back to the dock at dusk.  A quick head count ensured that the club group was intact before braving the return journey. To the amusement of sum, Ted Murray and John Lauder who were part of the presidential party were designated by the president as the Howff Club’s answer to “Jedward”. Must explain this to Ted later.  Seems that I am the only blogger left which is a shame. Come on Frank and Ian, the Webmaster will give you a password if you ask him nicely and you can leave your thoughts for posterity.  The title of this deposit is from Burns’ “On a Scotch Bard”, gone to the West Indies, written in 1786.

DS  

“In Memorium”

“In Memorium”

by Secretary (DS) on Sat 16 Jul 2011 11:31 BST

 Sunday 3rd July, warm and sunny and thrilled to be conveyed in President Frank’s hi tech Porsche to Thankerton near Lanark to attend the annual ceremony at the commemorative stone at Covington Mains Farm, marking the spot where Burns stayed overnight on his journey from Mauchline to Edinburgh in 1786 to discuss proposals for his Edinburgh Edition.  The ceremony is arranged by the Lanarkshire Association of Burns Clubs and a goodly turnout of Burnsians was there including WRBF president and a number of past presidents. The oration was delivered by Mike Duguid who missed out last year due to his accident and the customary floral tributes were placed with great ceremony.  Afterwards, the company reassembled at the nearby Tinto Hotel for a buffet and some superb entertainment from two local youngsters, winners in the local schools competition, who played and sang brilliantly. The bar prices are clearly set to keep out the riff-raff. Good day and a chance to meet up with old friends.  The 7th Jean Armour Dinner on 4th July was a success story although some hiccups within the Globe delayed the start but the meal was excellent and the cheese board was a dream. The toasts by Josie Neal and Kevin Thompson were what we would expect but the singing from Leona Evans, the 2011 “Young Burnsian” was the highlight of an enjoyable night, well chaired by President Frank. Thanks are due to the team who achieved a record result with raffle ticket sales.  Earlier, at the Jean Armour statue, Frank placed the club’s tribute and the oration was given by David Baird before the company trudged back to the Globe led by Pipe Major Callum Watson.  Tuesday 5th July, foregathered with distinguished local Burnsians at Burns Mausoleum at 2.00pm to meet with Council officials to discuss the sad state of the iconic building which has attracted numerous adverse comments of late. Peter Nelson, the Senior Architect was reassuring and promised that renovations would be put in hand before the end of the year and that the unsightly CCTV pole and disabled access ramp would be relocated. Will be able to report favourably to the next meeting of the WRBF but will watch for progress. The commemoration season continued on Sunday 10th July with the annual trip to Hawick to attend the ceremony at Wauchope Cairn.  Eleven members, spouses and guests from Dumfries Ladies Burns Club No. 1 set out by luxury minibus, driven by club member Colin Craig who got the party to the destination on schedule.  It was as well that your blogger decided that the club bus would follow the Hawick coach as on arrival at the Cairn, the coach rear wheels were couped in a ditch whilst trying to reverse. After the ceremony when the oration was delivered by David Baird, our minibus brought as many back to the Hawick Burns Club as possible before the farmer pulled the coach out of the ditch.  Slightly later than advertised, the social hour got underway with generous hospitality and a splendid buffet. Mention must be made of the contribution made to the entertainment from SVP Ian McIntyre, deputising for President Frank, whose mellifluous tones were much acclaimed.  Back home on time and intact.  Thursday 14th July.  The Club Treasure Hunt attracted a welcome turnout of 24 members and friends and were marshalled into four teams.  Setting out from the Globe at 7.15pm, the intrepid members navigated the route from clue sheets drawn up to avoid ambiguity but seemed to have failed in the minds of certain folk and your blogger, who was attached as advisor to a team had to step in to defuse an explosive situation.  Ted Murray was seen to be taking careful note of the “answers”.  Several first class malts at the “Tam” helped and back to the Globe for the calculation of the winners. This was a mistake as the four judges missed out on the pies, sausage rolls and mushy peas and got what seems to have been the left-overs.   Your blogger disagreed with the team identified as the winner. Thanks are due to Gordon Johnston and his colleagues, especially David Miller for compiling the clue sheets and creating an excellent and enjoyable night and to Kerr Little for providing the pie shells and sausage rolls. DS

“An mair o’ horrible an awful”

“An mair o’ horrible an awful”

by Secretary (DS) on Thu 30 Jun 2011 13:32 BST

6th June, a meeting of the Executive Committee chaired with panache by President Frank who is so laid back as to be almost horizontal, but very effective with it.  Agreed to check the feasibility of a trip on the PS Waverley during the summer and to take up the crumbling state of Burns Mausoleum with the authorities. Thursday 9th June, attended a pleasant gathering of Burnsians and others at the Municipal Chambers for a Civic Reception by the Council to mark the election of David Baird as president of the WRBF. Welcome from Convenor Patsy Gilroy, anodyne speeches followed by nibbles. No wine due to Council cost cutting but repaired to the Globe afterwards for modest refreshment.

Shocked on the following morning by news of the sudden death of Mrs. Rose Edgar, secretary of the SSCBA, who had been present at the reception.   Saturday 11th June, SSCBA AGM, overshadowed by the news about Rose but Jane Brown was elected president in succession to David Baird. David Miller moved up to senior VP and Michael Duguid was elected junior VP after ballot. Was unsure whether to demand a recount. John Caskie was unanimously elected secretary. Sunday 12th, Matt Sempie, our antique glazier arrived at the Globe, en famile and on time to re-etch the Burns verses on the big pane of glass. Fascinating to watch an expert at work with an electronic stylus with Burns would not have had available. Joined by David Miller, David Baird and later by John Lauder and Dan Cook who were poised to welcome a party from Newton Burns Club, Ayr.  Lunch afterwards with Matt and family when the kids kept asking questions I couldn’t answer.  Earlier, whilst waiting for Matt to arrive, was attracted to the High Street by the stirring sound of a Pipe Band when the Cornet and party, escorted by Provost Gloom and Baiile Caskie, shuffled past on their way to the Kirking of the Cornet Ceremony. Counted five club members in assorted finery and exchanged salutations. Tuesday, 14th June, attended at North West Dumfries Kirk for an appointment with Rev. Neil Campbell and David Baird to discuss arrangements for the Brow Well Service. Neil suggested a reading form the King James Bible as this was the 400th anniversary of that great piece of literature.  Mrs. Edgar’s funeral on Friday 17th. Chapel of Rest packed and the company included several Federation folk who had travelled specially. A moving tribute to Rose was delivered by David Baird. Accompanied PP Tom Johnstone to the interment at Terregles Kirkyard.  Gave Guid Nychburris a miss this year as was out with friends for dinner that night. The week commencing 20th June was a marathon. Monday night, Library Sub Committee, attended by Peter Kormylo who proposed a club debate and discussion panel in November, with invited guests. Also, a proposal to investigate the installation of a pull down screen and ceiling mounted projector. Costs to be obtained before being remitted to the Renovations Sub Committee. Tuesday, Globe Inn at 5.00pm for an SSCBA office bearers meeting to discuss arrangements for the Fed. Meeting at Georgetown on Saturday. Wednesday, 22nd June, back to the Globe for the Constitution Revision Sub Committee. Now almost in final draft and Frank hopes to present this to the Excom in August for discussion. Funny how more progress is made when half the committee is absent! Thursday 23rd. A team of four cerebral members assembled at the Globe to traverse the route of the Treasure Hunt and to compile clues. Led by David Miller and Gordon Johnston, the group visited 8 pubs (I think) and gathered clues along the route. In your blogger’s opinion, the clues became more cryptic as the night wore on but I kept being shouted down. Back to the Globe, we found we had 40, 50 or 60 clues which David Miller would refine. Saturday, 25th,   At the Globe at 8.15am to pick up a cauldron of soup, crockery, savoury scones and things to transport to Georgetown Community Centre for delegates arriving for the WRBF meeting. Narrowly avoided being scalded in the groin en route. Superb work by the Ladies Burns Club including Dan Cook in welcoming delegates and serving coffee. The morning meeting of the Heritage Subcommittee was harmonious and productive. Mixed views expressed on the Birthplace Museum and Cottage at Alloway but David Miller reported positively on steps in hand for refurbishments at the Mausoleum. After the snack lunch provided the Globe Inn, The afternoon plenary session ended at the unusually early time of 2.45pm. David Baird as chairman reported briefly that the employment of WRBF Chief Executive had been terminated and the matter was now closed. Rather surprisingly, there was no discussion on finances. The convenors’ reports were heard without much discussion and conference in 2012 would be held at the Caird Hotel, Harrogate.  That night, I had the pleasure of transporting David Baird, Ted Murray and Neil Johnston to the Buccleuch Centre at Langholm for the summer concert by “Scocha”, the Scottish Folk & Roll Band. An excellent meal on arrival and delighted to meet Alex and David Pool. The auditorium was set up in cabaret fashion and the Pools joined our table which added greatly to the jollifications.  The band was as energetic and exuberant as ever with great interaction with the Langholm audience who lapped up the programme of old favourites. As designated driver, I eschewed the sauce and got everyone home safely before midnight to avoid one of the party being turned into a pumpkin.  Monday 27th, the Excom again and pleased to note the high uptake of tickets for the Jean Armour Dinner. Sufficient members and friends are interested in the Waverley trip and that will go ahead. John Caskie has brought forward a proposal for a club umbrella and the Webmaster has found a photo of the Hon. Secretary with a cardboard cow for the Website.  Ho, hum.

DS

“Musings for May”

“Musings for May”

by Secretary (DS) on Sun 05 Jun 2011 23:00 BST

Following a request from Hon. Member Murdo Morrison, the Librarian and I met up with an Irish academic, Dr. Padraig O’Boyle who was in Scotland researching material for a treatise on Celtic poets and their memorials. Met Dr. O’Boyle at the Globe on 4th May and Gordon and I conducted him round the Globe and up to the Kirk and Mausoleum where he was thrilled to get access.  Made the long journey to Coldstream on Sunday 8th with Ian McIntyre, John Lauder and Gordon where we were warmly welcomed and shuffled along the High Street to the Bridge after the piper where Ian placed the club’s tribute with flair. The weather brightened up and the ceremony at Craw Green was impressive as usual. At the social in the British Legion which followed, a generous buffet was provided and Gordon contributed to the entertainment. As designated driver, was compelled to lay off the sauce. It is clear that the Coldstream Burns Club really appreciate our attendance each year. A ceremony of a different kind was conducted in St. Michaels Kirkyard on 10th May when a goodly turnout of volunteers raced round cleaning the 45 commemorative plagues of Burns’ contemporaries. Cleaning materials were provided and it was noted that grave No 30, supposedly occupied by David Williamson, Draper and supplier of Burns’ Volunteers uniform, was unaccounted for. Further enquiries will be made. The party repaired to the Globe Inn afterwards to regroup. Saturday 14th, back to Lockerbie Academy for the RBWF Primary Schools Competition. Surprised by the attendance of parents and supporters and the force of stewards had to manhandle hundreds of plastic chairs to the Assembly Hall for the closing ceremonies. Again, some superb performances by the kids from all over Scotland. Members of the Ladies Burns Club provided nibbles during the intervals for which much thanks is due.  The opening meeting of the new Executive Committee took place on 16th May and as is customary, members assembled at 7.00pm for the official photograph. The term “silk purse and sow’s ear” comes to mind but photographer Tom Bonnar did his best. The meeting was well conducted and productive and it is hoped that the new committee will be more supportive of activities other than social functions at the Globe.  The public bowling rink at Dock Park is now closed during the week, presumably due to council cut backs but your secretary is nothing if not persuasive and managed to arrange for the club Bowling Night to take place on the evening of Thursday 19th May. There was a merciful absence of fertiliser and midges and Bowling Marshall Bob Wilson conjured up 8 teams of two who bowled with a will!  Bob’s marking system is inscrutable but this year’s winners were announced as Ian McIntyre and David Smith who expressed incredulity but accepted the highly coveted “Draffan Cup” now in its 100th year. Coronation Chicken sandwiches, not apparently to everyone’s taste were served thereafter at the Globe.

The Renovations Sub-Committee met on 23rd May and David Miller did his best to make some progress. Matt Sempie, our antique glazier, has dispatched a sheet of safety glass which he will inscribe again with Burns’ verses but had still to materialise. Friday 26th, off to Kirkcudbright Academy with David Miller, John Lauder and David Baird to attend a concert by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in the Academy’s Cochran Hall. Packed to capacity but enjoyed a tremendous programme of Haydn, von Webber and the highlight of Beethoven’s Symphony No 3, “Eroica”, all under the baton of the young guest conductor, Jonathan Schiffer whose enthusiasm was infectious. A pint at the Royal Hotel earlier was enjoyed by some but not the driver. In my capacity as Aide de Campe to the president of the RBWF, I accompanied said personage to Mauchline for the Holy Fair on Saturday 28th May.  Damp weather soon cleared up and after the opening formalities, the streets resounded to the Pipe Band and an excellent Dixieland Jazz Band who played on an elevated stage outdoors. The Manic Street Preachers were as lugubrious as ever and Hell and Damnation was promised to the ungodly. Taking refuge in the Kirk, enjoyed a performance by Willie Stewart’s songs to old and new settings. Outside, a chapter of Hell’s Angels on Harley Davidsons were racing up and down and a Hog (pig) Roast was being cooked on the Green. In the arcade, a stand featuring 23 owls was being much admired and various craft and commercial pitches were popular. Invited to the VIP lunch which by the time of arrival had all but been consumed. The president who was resplendent in the Chain of Office attracted much attention, being mistaken several time for the Provost, but he graciously accepted the homage from the large turnout of Burnsians. Back to the Kirk where we met up with Ian and Moira McIntyre, a group of ladies known as “Ayres and Graces” sang interspersed with “turns” by members of Mauchline Burns Club which might have better been omitted, but it was their show after all.

I would have liked to tarry at the Showground Steam Engine and Fairground Organ but duty called. Sunday, 29th May, joined David Miller and David Baird to St. George’s Church for a concert by Dumfries Mail Voice Choir and the Brymbo Male Voice Choir from Wales who delighted the packed Kirk with choral favourites, old and new. Special guests were William Williamson and a lovely young soprano from Moffat, Jessica Barker, who wowed the audience with some modern numbers from the shows. In the second half, both choirs combined to produce a magical sound which resonated throughout the church bringing the audience to their feet in appreciation. The acoustics in St. George’s is much superior to that in DG One. Back to the Globe for a welcome pint. Tuesday 31st May, appointment with Adam Coutts from Nicholson Demolitions, Glasgow, to discuss the possibilities of sourcing some aged wood for the clubroom renovations. Adam was intrigued by the story of the Globe Inn and the clubroom and felt that he could find something suitable. We will see.  Saturday 3rd June, was privileged, along with David Baird, to be driven in Gordon’s new Jag, all high tech with bells and whistles, to the Buccleuch Centre at Langholm, for an “Evening with Jimmie Macgregor”, possibly best remembered from the ground breaking “Tonight” programme from the 60’s. Jimmie held the audience spellbound with his songs and stories and reminiscences from the past and publicly announced that he has been booked for an “Immortal Memory” by the “World Famous Dumfries Howff Club” (his words) in 2013. Jimmie, who celebrated his 81st birthday last year, agreed to stay alive until that date.  An excellent steak pie supper and met up with Alex Pool and his sister in law. Meantime, trying to encourage dilatory members to cough up their subs before the deadline otherwise they will be cast out. Baffled by the number who send their subs direct to me although the reminder letter makes it clear that subs should be sent to the treasurer for Gawd’s Sake!   Oh good, the sheet of glass has turned up.

DS