St Andrew’s Night Globe Inn 1st Dec 2014

St Andrews night report 2014

President’s Blog on the St Andrew’s Night held in the Globe Inn on Monday 1st Dec 2014.

A packed house squeezed into the Globe Inn on Monday 1st Dec 2014 to enjoy one of the most memorable St. Andrew’s night Suppers for many a year. After formal introductions and housekeeping it was a great pleasure to present past president Marshall Laing with a certificate conferring on him honorary membership of the Howff Club at the ripe old age of 91. Once Hon President Dan Cook read ‘grace before dinner’ the Company tucked into a rather tasty steak pie supper followed by a superlative cheeseboard. Once the loyal toast was over, the evening’s entertainment kicked off with some fine accordion music by the very talented James Coutts who kept our toes a-tapping throughout the evening. Keeping up the tempo, William Williamson, gave a fine performance of Scottish Airts in rousing ‘Andy Stewart’ fashion. Later in the evening he had the whole company up on its feet with a rousing sing – along of well kent Scottish Ballads. We were even treated to an impromptu Highland Fling – not the easiest of feats in the rather cramped confines of a packed Globe full of thirsty howffers! Thankfully no beer was spilled by his whirling kilt. We were then entertained with the fine singing voice of David Pool from the muckle toon of Langholm. David gave a further two songs later in the programme which added to the enjoyment of a highly entertaining programme.

Much anticipated was the toast ‘tae Auld Scotia’ given by the irrepressible Dave Scott from Duns. David did not disappoint and we were treated to one of the finest toasts ‘tae auld Scotia’ given at the Howff Club for many a year. A roller-coaster of a toast, Dave kept us hugely entertained with comedy, sincerity, poignancy and a wealth of information on the Scottish persona, history and Border Lore. Delivered in the warm dulcet tones of a true borderer his passion for his homeland was evident. He closed to rapturous applause and a standing ovation which kept the company smiling for some minutes. David was visibly moved by the whole experience. After a presentation of a tankard to David for his contribution delegates George Dunwoody and John Wallace from Dumbarton BC were welcomed to the club. President George gave a most eloquent response. Present too were our good friends, delegates (President) Arthur Milton and Peter Kormylo (SVP) from the Dumfries Burns Club who were warmly welcomed. Arthur Milton gave a courteous reply and the night continued on schedule. Further songs followed by W Williamson and D Pool and our own Gordon Johnston gave us a recitation which was warmly received.

It was nice to see John Melrose in his usual perch, looking a little chirpier and thankfully sitting the right way up!! Good to see you back John! After the raffle which raised £233 and the collection for the staff of the Globe Inn Staff which raised aprox £82 James Coutts again had the company enthralled with a fine selection of tunes from his accordion. As the evening drew to a close William Williamson and David Pool along with James Coutts had the whole company singing like linties. A comprehensive vote of thanks was then given by JVP William Johnston

Les Byers, after an earlier centre stage recitation (delivered in wistful highland/Island dialogue) led the evening to a close with Auld Lang Syne. In Les the club has an all round entertainer who can captivate an audience with his considerable repertoire of recitations, songs and laid back repartee. Could he make a bob or two as a Ronnie Barker look a like? The jury’s out on that one? Well done Les!

Judging by the warmth of the company I think the evening was one of the best St Andrews Suppers seen at the Globe for many years. Well done to all the speakers, entertainers – not forgetting the senior ex-committee and all those who helped to make the night such a rip roaring success!!!! In closing I would like to wish all members a very happy Christmas and a Guid New Year. Look forward to seeing you at the Anniversary Supper!

John Clark

Dumbarton Burns Club St Andrew’s Night

St Andrews night report 2014St Andrews Night report 2014

President’s Report Dumbarton St Andrew’s Night 28th Nov 2014

On 24th November a mixed company of 13 travelled to Dumbarton Burns Club to enjoy a terrific meal and entertainment, in the fine surroundings of the Alexandria Masonic Temple a few miles north of Dumbarton. The magnificent interior, reminiscent of a scene from Harry Potter’s ‘Hogwarts Castle’ proved a very fitting setting, with oak panelling, fine murals, stage and minstrel gallery.

We were warmly welcomed by George Dunwoody (an excellent host and MC throughout) and the executive committee of the DBC who showed our party unreserved hospitality. After a terrific, animated ‘toast tae the haggis’  from Gavin Finlay we were entertained by an excellent ensemble of gifted singers and speakers. The entertainment was first class,notably Robert Ryan (vice president) who sang and played guitar on his own, very moving, version of Caledonia as a tribute to those who perished in the Clutha Inn disaster. We were also entertained by Kirsten Easdale a most accomplished folk singer and accompanying accordionist. Excellent readings followed from Bill Kean and Scot Rorison.

The lengthy toast ‘tae Auld Scotia was delivered in scholarly fashion by Professor Gerard Carruthers, an academic of note who covered the Scottish persona down the centuries with mind blowing intellectual precision. The toast ‘tae the lassies’ by Martin Walker although amusing to start with, fell a little flat when he targeted ladies in the audience with a stream of sexist jokes. Unfortunately jokes about dumb blondes were not truly appreciated by the numerous ladies present (especially the two highly intelligent blondes sitting either side of me).

The reply from the lassies by Jenny McIntyre was, conversely, well delivered, short and sweet! John Young then took centre stage and sang a stirring version of ‘Piper of Dumbarton’ to rapturous applause! The evenings entertainment closed with a comprehensive and amusing vote of thanks from DBC Vice president Robert Ryan.

All in all a fabulous night in excellent company. After a goodnight tipple we retired well fed, well looked after and slightly intoxicated. An evening of dreamless sleep was rudely interrupted by the early morning sound of thunderous Glasgow commuter trains. Combined with several hundred tonnes of articulated lorries whizzing by on the dual carriageway and the odd Aeroplane from Glasgow Airport this must surely qualify for the noisiest hotel on the planet but at £28 per room it was a price worth paying. Congratulations to Gordon for securing the hotel and D Smith for organising the taxis with military precision.

I have duplicated a copy of a poetic address recited on the evening. This was presented to President George Dunwoody as a token of the esteem each club holds for the other. A great night out was had by all!!

John Clark

Address tae the Dumbarton Burns Club (Nov 2014)

Dear, President George -a few lines I’ve composed

in respect o’ the cronies, that drink in the Globe

oors seats hard as paint pots, oor plates free o’ design

oor meal washed doon wi’ whisky, in preference tae wine


Like the boys frae Dumbarton, we take it in turns

wi social pursuits and oor passion for Burns

tae reciprocate pleasures, we cut quite a dash

If there’s yin thing in common …. we’re aye up for a laugh


’cause there’s big Gordon Johnston, he’s braw on a bike

Pipe Major Calum’s sublime on the pipes

If ye like lobster cooked on a B.B.Q. fire

ye might want tae converse wi’ the bold McIntyre


Les Byers he’s a singer and reciter supreme

for accordion music, (look nae further) than wee Lee McQueen

Frank Manson will help ye tae tally yer books

Bert Hastings spins stories o’ ghosties and spooks!!!


If ye’re keen on green bowling Ken Crookshank’s – ‘the king’

Davie Smith, well – he’s a Club Legend and master o’ spin

Frae Manhattan, tae Sydney, Moscow tae Dubai

whether kilted or suited wi’ dickie bow tie


It’s nae where ye come frae or what tartan ye wear

religion or money or the length o’ yer hair.

It’s mair aboot freenship and faith that in time

we can a’ staun together for the sake o’ lang syne


Brought together in kinship by poems, sweet, sublime

created by genius perfected by time….

May we aye be contented in wartime or peace

Brithers here in Dumbarton – as we are in Dumfries!



John Clark


President’s Comments November Winter Lecture

John Fergusson Nov 2014 Report

Continuing the successful series of Winter Lectures a near capacity clubroom enjoyed a most enjoyable talk on the Orkney’s through the eyes of former BBC broadcaster John Fergusson. Using colourful imagery, John gave us a most entertaining hour of life in the Orkney Islands during his time there as Radio Presenter with Radio Orkney. Most interesting was his descriptions of Scap Flow during the wear years and the famous world heritage sites, including Scara Brae. His talk was most comprehensive and it was interesting to see the difference in technology in Island Radio Broadcasting over twenty years. He was resident broadcaster in the Islands when the scurrilous accusations of witchcraft desolated a significant proportion of the population. He also had the honour of interviewing Henry Cooper amongst others.

To conclude the talk he recalled some humorous stories whilst working abroad notably in the South Pacific and Brazil where he stumbled into working as an extra on a Hollywood film set in Santa Monica. After answering questions the evening was wound up with a cuppa and some further interchange with the audience. A most interesting insight into Island life. Orkney is a place definitely worth putting on my ‘bucket list’ of must see places!!

John Clark