RDG asked what a 'Burns Supper' was. I thought I would quickly inform you to please her and avoid going out in the rain. Rain is something to avoid when there are holes in the shoes. Many years ago some fans of Robert Burns, indeed some people who had in fact known him, devised a 'supper' where they could remember him and toast his memory. This is not a new fad, the Romans did this in the catacombs to remember their dead, and indeed Christians do the same in most churches. Since that time it developed rapidly in Scotland the idea of getting together on the long, cold winters night to remember Scotland's favourite Bard and eat and drink, in some cases mostly drink!
Basically a Haggis is brought in, following a Piper in more formal settings, and a member of the congregation will read, or quote from memory, Burns ode, 'Address to a Haggis!'
"Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!"
Then the pudding is toasted with whisky and served with 'neeps and tatties,' (Mashed turnip and potatoes.) As Burns himself died in 1796 few people today actually met him. However a speech in his 'Immortal Memory' recording some of Burns doings will be made by a knowledgeable member of the assembly, usually amusing, usually short enough to stop the locals finishing the whisky too early. Toasts will be made to the cook, the piper, various members of the dining fraternity and readings of Burns massive output of poems will be given, and possibly his many songs sung.
A good time is had by all, and the local constabulary will arrive to remove the bodies in the wee small hours.
There is a lot to admire in Robert Burns. Hard working farmer as well as a born poet, almost self educated, popular with the ladies, yet not to keen on the 'literati set' in Edinburgh, though he got on well with the ladies! After his time in Edinburgh he returned to the farm but times were hard so he became an exciseman possibly with the idea of 'set a thief to catch a thief! Smuggling being popular work in those days. We were told as kids that he died from overwork on the farm. However it is also alleged that while his health was failing, and his lifestyle possibly catching up with him, he fell asleep on the grass verge in the rain while heading home from the pub and woke up 'deid! Take your pick as to what you believe!