Stonehaven Fatherland Burns Club toast the Bard

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“The best-laid plans o’ mice and men, gang aft.........a’ richt!” So the Bard wrote (well, almost!), yet few of the 80 folk who packed out the beautiful Carron Restaurant for the latest Stonehaven Fatherland Burns Club Supper on January 23, were aware of the drama which had been unfolding behind the scenes that day as principal guest Professor David Purdie fought to overcome flight cancellations at snowbound Heathrow to get there at all that night.

In the event, David’s taxi arrived in Stonehive through the sna’ frae ABZ with less than an hour to spare, yet he effortlessly delivered a truly memorable powerpoint-backed ‘Immortal Memory’ which befitted his status as a world-class exponent of this particular art. A 50-inch flat-screen monitor hired from local firm Soundsburrilient, added pictorial pleasure to a stunning presentation.

But home-bred talent was not to be outdone, with Scott Begbie‘s ‘Toast to the Lasses’ bringing a tear of laughter cum tenderness to the ‘een, while Celia Craig’s beautifully-crafted response was punctuated with effortless recitation and just a wee hint of raunchiness.

Gwynne Stewart acted as narrator as Douglas Galloway and Douglas Samways barked and sniffed their way through ‘The Twa Dogs’ (now forever known as the “Twa Dugs”!).

Joan Robertson, who is probably better known to a slightly older generation as WPC Joan Nicol, a local Ury quine who was one of the first presenters of Police News on the telly, gave us a wonderfully warm, witty and uniform-slanted toast to “Scotland Yet” including a fine rendition of ‘The Deil’s awa’ wi’ th’ Exciseman.’

Russell Adams then rounded off the formalities with a typically well composed poetic appreciation of the main guests.

All this, of course, had been preceded by the hauderin’-in of the haggis by the evergreen Jimmy McAllan in his 37th consecutive year in this role, with Gibby McNaught providing the skirl of the pipes.

Club president Dave MacDonald duly slaughtered the ‘‘beastie’’ wi’ flashing knife and Pam McFadden delivered the Selkirk Grace.

A faultless meal plus entertainment intermissions provided by the soaring voices of Peter and Jean Webster singing four classic Burns songs and leading the company in ‘A Man’s a Man,’ ‘The Star o’ Rabbie Burns’ and ‘Auld Lang Syne’ completed a grand night for all concerned and the proceedings finished at the very acceptable midweek hour of 11.35pm.

A retiring collection in aid of the Stonehaven Flood Relief Appeal, raised a fine three-figure sum.

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