Nae Haggis the Nicht?

Burns Night, the twenty fifth of January, is upon us again and Scots at home and abroad will be gathering to toast the Immortal Memory of the Ayrshire poet whom Scots have elevated as the exemplar of the national virtues…..the love of freedom, of equality and amity.

We don’t always live up to the ideals, but Burns Night, like Hogmanay is the reminder that we could do better!

So all over the world, Scots foregather to celebrate in song, poetry and whisky while awaiting the piper to lead in the national dish, that epitome of hamely fare…the haggis, accompanied by its neeps and tatties.

Haggis On A Silver Plater

Apostrophised as ‘Great Chieftain o’ the puddin’- race’, it is ritually disembowelled by the master of ceremonies and divided among the faithful, who fall to with a will.

A word of warning. If you do not know what goes to make up a haggis, do not ask. Should you do so you run the risk of being subject to a very old Scots joke involving King James IV, a miller and the Scots dialect of the time, known as ‘Wha’s intilt?’

Furthermore, if of a delicate disposition it is best you remain in ignorance.

I wrote ‘ all over the world’, but, post Brexit, the haggis can no longer penetrate the defenses of Stalag Europe – unless tinned.

France, as usual, is at the bottom of this dastardly deed.

So keen to punish the U.K. for its departure from the E.U.’s protectionist bosom that it forgets its history in respect of the Scots.

We used to have reciprocal rights of citizenship from the reign of Francois I until 1903 when the French revoked it…..we were their fifth column in their wars against Emgland….are they grateful? Non!

All that is in the past, one might say, but, anecdotally, in my time in France being a Scot gave one kudos….we were the auld alliance. How much that survives among younger French I have no idea but it is clear that it survives not at all in the mind of President Macron and his clique of macronies.

We are an obsolecence.

.So what is a Scot in France to do?

Make it yourself? Need access to sheep, goodness only knows how many regulations, inspections and forms unless ignore all of above and bugger on regardless until denounced.

Buy the French versions? Tripoux d’Auvergne? Pieds et paquets? The dreaded andouillette?

I don’t think so.

Remember the later verses of the ode to the haggis…

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect scunner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

Seems to sum up President Macron in one…who would not appreciate the song that should be the national anthem in the place if the dirge that is Flower of Scotland.


39 thoughts on “Nae Haggis the Nicht?”

  1. So…ye’d no’ have a wee haggie this Burns Night? Awee, noo!. A’ the world’s gone tapsalteerie. Mebbe a wee sausage? Black puddin’? Cheerio? No? Jings!

    Here, today, in this outpost of Empire there’s [some] celebration of a National Day. Though , increasingly, it’s being called Invasion Day.

  2. I found the tinned stuff wasn’t too bad, but then I’m no expert. 🙂 You can find it from time to time in unlikely places like Intermarché.
    I think you’re right about the young not caring about the Scots. They know very little history beyond the strict minimum they had to learn for school and that seems to be constricting as time goes on.

  3. I think it is time Scots and French were once more sharing nationality.
    Thus we could upset Boris and his gangsters and move freely about the EU, Haggis and all.
    If I played the pipes I suspect I would be evicted rather smartly by the non music lovers in this area.
    Which makes me ask, whatever happened to the ‘Dagenham Girl Pipers?’

    1. Yes, indeed! They used to be omnipresent in my young day…..
      Evicted for playing the pipes? Whatever sort of neighbours do you have? Heathens…lesser breeds without the law…
      I would like Scotland to be truly independent…of everyone…then we might see less of the one party state it has become and open debate abiout the society Scotland could and should be.

      1. I reckon that after indy that is what will happen, eventually.
        The nation will not be tied to the SNP but will choose those with whom they agree.

  4. If Scotland secedes from the Union, I’ll be first in line to request a Scottish passport, If I got one, it would be the one nice thing I would thank my Scottish grandfather for. 🙂

    1. Don’t you think that blogging and the ciontacts and information that go with it, has been a great blessing during the restrictions on normal life while this blasted bug is rampaging about?

  5. So many fine things about Burn’s Night. After years of not understanding haggis, I’m now a real convert. Took moving to France… I’d like a Scottish passport and that will be mine as soon as they issue one!

    1. A good haggis takes some beating! I started making my own when we lived in France as mail order then was almost unknown and there was no way I could have bought one locally, so I bought a sheep and off we went. Mark you, that was in the fairly unregukated days on the 80s….i suspect the process would be more complicated now.
      I’ll be jostling you in the queue when passport day comes!

  6. My daughter tells me that in Alloa supermarkets yesterday only the vegetarian variety was left on the shelves. Given that even the humble carrot is considered an exotic vegetable in Alloa the Haggis imbalance comes as no surprise.

    1. Aye, you need to be wary of those carrots…..pretend to be a vegetable and then they trick you by being sweet…
      Not totally surprised about the vegetarian haggis, seems somehow improper….agin nature…

  7. Oh the dreaded andouillette! Memories of flaccid pockets of goodness only knows what spilling out unappetisingly on to the plate! A sea of grey beige!! And then there’s tête de veau….! All the best to you both and to the animals!!

    1. I remember when caffs just said plat du jour and the price…if you opened the door and a smell like the drains of Calais in August hit you , the plat du jour was andouillette.

    1. Isn’t he just!
      I hope Scotland will declare independence, but stay that way and not join the E.U……what needs to happen is to break the one party state it has become.

        1. I find the E.U.’s quest to be a super state obnoxious and damagung to the culture – let alone the economies – of the countries which make it up while its behaviour towards developing countries stinks.

  8. Thanks for the introductory 103 seconds of aural torture. I kid, of course, the lad is quite talented on that clarinet-with-bags instrument and, as you know, the piping in of the haggis is a revered and important part of Southern California culture. We always keep a well scalded sheep’s stomach in the fridge at my place. As Google says, “As you might expect, the smell is rather earthy and pungent and that’s just how we like it!” For all that, for all that, for all that again, nobody can speak ill of plate of neeps and tatties. Still I hope to see an independent Scotland. An opportunity to it leverage its historical fire in the belly (due to haggis, probably) in matters economic will be interesting. Fun post.

  9. The read and the chat after, wonderful. That youngster on the pipes was excellent. So were the roving eyes of the gendarmes, until the last few frames, when the queen and the royal consort came into view.

  10. Nigel worked with s strong Scottish community in RSA and we celebrated Burns night annually in large numbers. The Ode to the Haggis was always left to one gentleman who had such s strong accent I could not understand him at the best of times!! Always a great gathering. The other annual celebration was St Patrick’s Day, wow did we have fun in those days.
    Take care and stay safe, both of you. Virtual hugs, Diane

  11. We were lucky to have had those days, given the current doom, gloom and political correctness!
    We you ever asked to give the address to he Laddies? That reply to the address to the Lassies could be a humdinger!
    Look after yourselves…goodness only knows what governmenst will think up next to try us!

  12. Even the Scots were unable to celebrate Burns Night this year. Queen Nic advised them to celebrate remotely.
    Macron and Stalag Europe have more important issues than haggis to think about right now.

    1. That will do nothing for her popularity!
      And the E.U. has made a complete horlicks over vaccine supply, not ordering early in order that Sanofi could come up with a vaccine…which it did not!

  13. Darling Helen,

    It has been far too long since we delighted ourselves with your writing.
    Still, reconnecting with thoughts of tinned haggis made us smile and realise how much we had missed in our absence.
    Our thoughts are also now turning to Scotland where we see ourselves somewhere on the East Neuk of Fife gazing out to sea.
    We hope that all is well as can be with you. Stay safe.

    1. I have been remiss in keeping contact…Leo has had a couple of bad years, though seems to be pulling round again lately and I have been both occupied and dog tired!
      Fife! A wonderful place!
      Look after yourselves.

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