Retrospective: Burns Night

Since my blog is still less than a week old, it goes without saying that I really have no idea what I’m doing. I was sorting through pictures on my computer, and realised (unsurprisingly) that I have had rather a lot of blog-worthy experiences. If we define ‘blog-worthy’ as I had fun and took some pictures. Of course, ‘blog-worthy’ could also be defined in terms of my audience. What’s interesting to read about? I really have no idea. In high school, I remember being taught that memoir writing is really less about self reflection, and more about writing something interesting. I’m not sure how this relates to blogging. Hopefully the more I write the more clearly defined my ‘purpose’ will be.

Anyway, I’ve decided to post about something that happened two weeks ago. If I’m violating some kind of blog-world maxim, well… whoops.

So, the 25th of January is Burns Night, a celebration of the Scottish poet Robert Burns. I’m not sure how I’ve managed not to notice this yet, but this year my attention was drawn by the Haggis on offer in Sainsbury’s, displayed underneath a giant Scottish flag.

Trinity has formal hall for BAs (grads/4th years, i.e. Me) every Friday, which is a nicer formal dinner, served after regular hall. Gowns, wait staff, wine, port etc. And chocolate mints! (An essential) Two weeks ago BA Formal was a special ‘Burns Night’ formal (despite not being on the actual day). I didn’t manage to get a ticket, but at the last minute one of my friends couldn’t make it, so I got to go after all.

I met my friends in the bar, including my friend Aaron, who is very Scottish. The bar was crammed, so we lurked on the fringe, but soon realised that the guy standing near us wearing a kilt was not just another random Scot, but was carrying bagpipes.. I nearly collapsed (I love bagpipes!) and it soon transpired that we were meant to follow him around Great Court in procession while he played. Surreal.

Aaron and his kilt swishing through Great Court. Bagpiper can be seen in the distance.

Bagpiper approaching hall

And a slightly better view

We went into hall and sat down, and I started looking forward to the food. First up… haggis! I had mixed feelings about this, knowing what was in it (I’ve watched too much travel channel) but Aaron had spent the last three days talking about how good it was, so I was actually kind of excited to get the chance to try it. The catering department decided it was rather too risky to serve haggis as the main course, so we got it for the starter. Still, a hearty portion..

Rather a miserable photo..

The main course was a little more standard, medallions of beef or something, and dessert was also something vaguely Scottish, but I have no idea what it was. I think it was meant to have whiskey.. Anyway, it was tasty!

After the meal the BA Society (like the student union, just for grads) began the Burns Night program, starting with Address to a Haggis. This is definitely not in English, and we spent a fair bit of time trying to figure out why we couldn’t understand what was being said. I attributed it to the thick Scottish accent the girl reading it put on.. Following the address was a ‘toast to the lassies,’ and then the response ‘a toast to the laddies.’

Thus, at the end of the night, I can now said I have toasted to haggis, lassies, and laddies.. All in all, a rather awesome evening.

Standard shot of hall, and good old Henry VIII

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