Upadte August 2014

Presidents Blog August Update 2

September is the month Scotland vote either ‘aye or nae!’ to independence. I’ve a feeling the vote will be a lot closer than people think. How would Robert Burns have voted if he were alive today? Perhaps the lyrics of Scots Wha Hae might answer that or maybe Burns’ view would have changed with the centuries. Politics in Burns’ day was very different to the political freedoms we enjoy today. In Burns’ day the right to vote was granted only to the privileged, with women completely ignored! Would a 21st Century Burns have embraced the Union or been a champion of independence? Would he have entered into politics and stood as an MSP??? He would certainly have made a charismatic politician with his charm, sharp wit and social conscience. It could be argued the presence of Robert Burns in any 21st century political party would be a vote clincher. I’ve a feeling he would have penned a suitable and damning poem on recent expenses and banking scandals. Would you vote for Robert Burns…………….. damn right!!

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The Draffan Cup 19th August
Scotland has been in the press lately for many great sporting events. Commonwealth games, the coming Ryder Cup to name but two. Aft overlooked and older than both of these events the Draffan Cup is competed for every year by Howff Club members and guests in a prestigious green bowling competition held in Dumfries. No great skill is demanded from participants in fact it is commonly thought the less skill you have the better chance you have of winning. It is thought bad luck to clean the cup and so it passes year in year out to the winners in a state of wanton neglect. Although it is dull and morbidly grey to look at, it does bring a smile to all those who compete for it. So it was, that 20 hardy souls took to the greens at Newall Terrace in Dumfries for the annual competition. In a closely fought competition where the occasional stray bool headed for the wrong jack ( apologies to those serious bowlers out there) a tense final was played out as the sun set low in the West, between none other than David Smith (the silver fox) Frank Manson and the eventual winners Gavin Finley (Dumbarton) and Gordon McKerrow. Thanks to Kenny Crookshanks for hosting the event and keeping us suitably refreshed at the bar!!

Disaster was averted by the wily D Smith when at the prize giving (held at the Globe Inn) the Draffan cup could not be found! A suitable replacement was procured by David and was presented. Even though the substitute cup came in two distinct broken pieces it was gratefully accepted by the jubilant winners until the priceless Draffan was eventually located! G Templeton offered to glue the broken cup and this was unanimously accepted. The evening was a resounding success with a tasty supper of pies and peas provided by Ma Broon! (Yum!) By chance the evening coincided with the 70th birthday of our Hon Sec. David Smith who was presented with a cake, a fine bottle of Malt Whiskey and a card. Lang may yer Lum Reek David!!


Presidents Blog Aug 2 2014

President’s Blog Update 20/08/2014

Since the last blog I am pleased to report I’m am now firing on all 4 cylinders and raring to go. Much as happened in the last month. Glorious weather made the Brow Well annual tribute a truly memorable event and ensured a exceptionally good turn out. David Miller (current president of the SSCBA) presided over the ceremony eloquently and Jane Brown, as ceding president of the RBWF gave a stirring oration to the bard. The Rev Gerald Moule led the devotions and Pipe Major Calum Watson (in full highland dress) played the pipes magnificently ’neath the swirling saltires and added a touch of class to the occasion. SVP, Mike Duguid, of the SSCBA gave the vote of thanks to conclude the ceremony. I was given the honour of chaperoning a couple of visiting Burnsians from New Zealand to the event and gave them an impromptu tour of Glencaple, Kingholm Harbour and the Whitesands on the way to a sumptuous buffet at the Cairndale Hotel. They were a lovely couple who enjoyed themselves immensely and even contributed to the evening’s entertainment with a rather delightful poem. The evening was hosted by John Caskie who kept things running smoothly. The entertainment was braw with contributions by John Caskie, Bill Welsh, Ian McIntyre, Sandy Mclelland, Lee McQueen, Avril Kerr and others whose names I know but just for the moment can’t remember!!

Outing to Transport Museum and Kelvingrove Art Gallery Glasgow Sunday 16th August
On the 16th August a hardy bunch of howffers headed up the M74 to a windswept and rather sodden Glasgow to experience the delights of two of the best museums in the UK. The award winning transport museum was simply outstanding and my first impression was that of standing in a giant toy shop built specifically for adults. Trams, buses, steam trains, cars, bikes, ships and boats….. held up on giants plinths, screwed to the floor, bolted to the wall, some four deep -phew!! Combined with a free guided tour and culminating in possibly the nicest haggis pie I have ever tasted in my life it was an absolute joy! The only disappointment was not being able to board the (clipper) tall masted ship (moored at the ‘Quay’) due to a wedding party. A good reason to revisit the museum again? – definitely! There were some interesting Kodak Moments during our visit and I’m sure, in time, photographic evidence will materialise on the web of a wonderful day out.

After lunch we headed onwards and upwards covering the short distance to Kelvingrove Art Gallery which holds one of the most diverse art collections in the world. The building itself is rather grand and does not disappoint with its exhibits. The gallery is not solely for fine art lovers. Each gallery within the main building holds a separate themed exhibition with Dinosaurs to stuffed Elephants, there’s even a full size Spitfire hanging from the ceiling. The fine art exhibits that do hang are simply fabulous. From Glasgow Boys to impressionists, grand masters to surrealists there is an eclectic mix of wonderful paintings. The famous and surprisingly small Naysmith portrait of Robert Burns is almost lost amid a host of mighty Raeburns and other notable portrait painters. Again, we were taken on a guided tour by a very knowledgeable lady guide who kept us engaged without ever boring us with irrelevant data. Difficult to pick out a favourite amongst so many beauties but Salvador Dali’s ‘Christ of St John on the Cross’ and Rembrandt’s Roman Soldier were breathtaking! After liquid refreshment we headed South to Moffat where we sampled the culinary delights of a local chippie. Sheltering from the rain in a bus shelter we mused on what a great day out it was and merrily headed off home. Thanks must go to one David Smith for organising the event and booking the guided tours which added much intellectual value to the proceedings!

John Clark 24/08/14