Ian Landles at Burns Howff Clubroom

Lecture by Ian Landles
Burns’ Border Tour no 2 – Ian Landles
On the 26th March 2015, a full house, welcomed retired History Teacher Ian Landles from Hawick, to the club room. Well known ‘Borderer’ Ian, giving the second and much anticipated lecture on Burns’ Borders Tour brought Burns’ travels to life in a most informative and amusing fashion. Punctuated with photographs and other illustrations he infused the lecture with his own highly original sense of humour including a lengthy and hilarious song on the virtues of eating ‘Caldwell’s Ice Cream ‘ a much sought after delicacy from Innerleithen. To rapturous applause Ian’s lecture concluded a most enjoyable series of well attended lectures.

Visit to Devil’s Porridge
The last away day trip in the club’s programme is the visit arranged on Thursday 30th April 2015 to the Devil’s Porridge Museum (wartime munitions factory)at Eastriggs. Details of this will be issued shortly and numbers taken at the pre AGM meeting held on 13th April 2015.

President’s Blog March 2015

Lecture By Colin H McQueen 2015

President’s Blog – March 2015 – Club Lectures

Would Burns have made a good Vet? – Colin Hunter McQueen
At the recent library night (organised by our intrepid Hon. Librarian), Gordon Johnstone introduced Colin Hunter McQueen from Glasgow who presented to the club an impressive display of Burns related letters, relics and artefacts from his own private collection. Reading from a thesis by scholar Prof Sharpe, he gave a lecture on Burns’ veterinary skills which gave positive credence to the question whether Burns could have pursued a career as a Vet. A most enjoyable lecture from a very knowledgeable gentleman and avid Burnsian.

Ellisland Soiree Feb 2015 Presentation to Les Byers

Les Byers receives a portrait from President John Clark

On Saturday 28th Feb 2015 a fine body of men gathered to pay homage to one of the Burns Howff Club’s most popular members. It was remarked that Les was well kent as a ‘Global entertainer of some distinction ‘ Les was presented with an original drawing, mug and fine bottle of Malt whisky in appreciation of all the work he has done over the years for the club and in respect of his pending retirement from Ellisland Farm. A tasty supper of soup was followed by Haggis/Chicken pie ceremoniously piped in with due aplomb by Calum Watson and addressed with a special poem created for the evening. Mushy peas were added and a sumptuous cheese board was washed down with copious amounts of wine and whisky which kick started the singing. Fine accordion playing and piping was provided by Lee McQueen and Calum McQueen. Recitations were given by Gordon Johnston and singing was provided by Les, David Miller, Colin Gibson, Danny Cook and myself. A most ambient evening was enjoyed by all present and compliments must go to the hosts Les and May for providing such a tasty supper. Jokes were provided by Bert Hastings, Calum and David Smith (the famous Lions joke)!!
A braw night in good company.Best wishes to Les who still has quite a few miles left in the tank yet!!

Tae a ‘Haggis’ Pie
Now some wad boast o high cuisine
pheasant , quail wi whisky cream
I hear them sigh
let’s no forget the pleasures guid
and virtues o that simple feed
the haggis pie.

Wee crusty Haggis Pie
I look at you and fondly sigh
when I’ve been hunger’d.
Hoo many times ye’ve got me by
when I’ve been
weel an truly scunnered.

Hoo clever is that tasty crust?
frae pastry lid, it upwards thrusts
tae tempt an tease-
leavin a receptacle , purpose built
tae harness delicacies, such as pickles
chips,(wae HP sauce) and mushy peas!

There was a time, some smugly state
ye wer’nae worthy o’ a plate
It’s sad but true- Some toffs remark
that such a piece o meat
A mongrel dog wad loathe tae eat
In fact its presence
wad barely make it in a stew.

But frae Scotia’s deepest past
when hunger pangs, lang months wad last
an’ death, frae malnutrition loomed
necessity decreed that each wee scrap o meat
ere cut frae hoof, or tap o heid
wad be consumed.

An’ frae the darkness o depression
‘necessity’, the mother o’ invention did quietly form
an’ so it was, through process of progression
and sadly, centuries o’ indigestion
the simple haggis pie……..was born!

An tho’ its simple ‘saunsy’ face
on royal tables rarely grace
it’s nae surprise, tae be informed……………..
thanks tae Kerr Little’s skilful hands
this simple pie, wi chicken twists
and floury wrists
has been transformed!!!

So thanks must go tae Les and May
for their hospitality
so cronies, rise!
and raise oor glasses in a toast
tae sing the praises of oor hosts
in paying homage tae the haggis……
King O’ Mealy Pies!!

John Clark

President’s Blog

Elaine Kennedy Report 2015
Elaine Kennedy Feb 2015 Winter Lecture 0n ‘Maria Riddell’.
On Thursday 26th of Feb 2015 about 26 members and guests were thoroughly entertained with an engrossing lecture on Maria Riddell – close friend of Robert Burns. Elaine gave a thought provoking account of Maria’s life not just during Burns’ life but after his death. She touched on how difficult it was in Burns’ day for even highly intelligent women to be accepted professionally, academically and intellectually on the same level as men. As well as covering interesting correspondence between Burns, the Riddell family and the well documented falling out between Riddell and Burns, Elaine delved into the travels of a young woman who did not shy away from adventure giving accounts of skirmishes with pirates and white slavers off the coast of Africa on route to the West Indies. Of Burns’ attraction to members of the fairer sex and their attraction to him it’s understandable why the relationship between Burns and Maria Riddell was perceived in later years by some to be more than platonic. From portraits taken, she was certainly a most beautiful and sophisticated young woman who warmed to his attentions. It is easy to understand how Burns would have been captivated by her many charms. Elaine Kennedy, former curator of Dumfries Museum and the Robert Burns Centre currently works as an editor and historian gave a most interesting and enjoyable lecture on an influential figure in Burns’ life.

The winter lectures this year without exception have been enjoyable and stimulating. The club looks forward to the next and final lecture in the programme on the 26th March up in the clubroom 7.30pm when Ian Landles gives us what promises to be a fun filled evening with his Burns Border Tour Part 2. One not to be missed.

Elaine Kennedy and John Clark
(President Burns Howff Club)