We played two Burns’ nights this year. The first was at a Cambridgeshire RAF station officers’ mess. Once we’d got through security (passports, driving licences, bus passes) we set up in a room some distance from the actual supper. We then had a long wait, pleasant enough as we played through bits of our repertoire. Punctuated by slightly embarrassed officers explaining that the speeches were taking longer than expected; and by Gary the piper looking hot and bothered and divesting himself of pipes and bonnet. On one appearance he rather alarmingly pulled out his sgian dubh and inspected the point. Apparently it had been used over-enthusiastically to stab the haggis, and had gone straight through into the ceremonial mess silver platter …
When the guests appeared, we squeezed as much of the set as we could into the hour that remained, so it was a condensed, frenetic but very enjoyable mini-ceilidh.

The second one was our longstanding gig at the Genome campus at Hinxton Hall, now a sizeable and very space age research centre. As always, lots of enthusiastic dancing – possibly the biggest circle for Lucky Sevens we’ve ever had; and a vigorous Eightsome reel. John the piper did a great address to the haggis, involving a humorous escalation of knife sizes from his belt. And we sold a CD. Here’s to Scotland’s national Bard, and to next year ( and thanks to Neil for organising the last few …).



About Andrew Burn

University College London Gower Street London WC1E 6BT
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