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.
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.