Last night marked my second go at addressing the haggis at a local Burns Supper. I’d been called upon by Crazy Uncle John a few weeks back to perform the duty again, after he’d been asked to recite a couple of poems at the Colgrain Bowling Club.
The 12th of February is a little bit late for a Burns Supper, but it did give me few weeks to brush up. I was actually surprised that it only took me an hour or so of going through the poem in my head before I could do it from memory again. Considering it had been a year since I really thought about it I can only marvel at the capacity of the human brain for deep learning through repetition!
Even so, I printed the words out and kept them under my monitor on my desk at work, just to make sure I wasn’t being cavalier in my approach. I did, after all, miss a line out when I addressed the haggis at the Rosslea Hall Hotel last year, so I was mindful that I couldn’t practice enough.
Back in August we were treated to a day out on the Waverley by Crazy Uncle John. I’d wanted to go back on the paddle steamer for what seems like the best part of twenty years, but it isn’t the cheapest thing to do and there was always that nagging thought that if the novelty wore off all too quick then you’re pretty much stuck there for the duration.
Still, I was quietly excited about being back onboard just for the sheer nostalgia of it. A school trip on the Waverley was one of the highlight’s of my childhood, and it’s hard not to be impressed by what is a marvelous feat of engineering whatever your age.
It had been late on Friday evening, whilst I was fairly merry at the Helensburgh Real Ale festival, when Crazy Uncle John called to ask for my assistance in launching his boat the following morning. I’d been told of the comedy events that punctuated their early attempts at launching the boat when it first became sea-worthy in August last year. And, as recently as that afternoon, Aunty Helen had said that most everything involved with launching or venturing out on The Living Spark was a barrel of laughs.
Which is why I’d said yes, of course I’d drag myself out of bed on a Saturday morning to help. Crazy Uncle John said that the boat must – must be in the water by 10:15 or else the tide would be too low. I understood the issue and said I’d be there at 09:15 so we had a good hour.
“No, no – just be at Brian’s at about quarter to ten.” He said, “We’ve got it down to a fine art now and we can get it in the water in no time.”
I didn’t think that 30 minutes was much margin for error, but I could hardly have anticipated just how much error lay in store for me.