“Musings for May”
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.