Man walks and talks in honour of Burns

Margaret Ferns, formerly of this parish, recalls a memorable 2020 Burns Supper.

Friday 24 January saw 196 people witness an astonishing sight--a man walked and talked at the same time in honour of Scottish poet Robert Burns. The Reimerwee restaurant was the venue for this remarkable feat by Neil Sheridan, who simultaneously managed to carry a microphone while waving a pair of lacy women’s knickers in the air.

Burns Night takes place across the world every year on or around the 25th January to mark the birth of Scotland’s most beloved poet. It is the occasion to celebrate Burns’ life and works with speeches, toasts and recitations, as well as haggis and whisky.  The waving of ladies’ undergarments is a recent addition to this traditional Scottish event, and it remains to be seen if it will become a permanent fixture.  

The panties in question were purple (perhaps to mimic the colour of the bonnie purple heather, or perhaps the only pair he could sneak out of the house) and were brandished by Neil Sheridan as he delivered the Toast to the Lassies in order to make a very good point.  Sadly, said point has been completely forgotten as the entire room was too busy wondering when his wife was going to murder him, as he also admitted that the lacy numbers were not hers. Neil has not been seen since.

The Reply from the Lassies was ably given by Claire Egan who was in no way impressed by Neil’s multitasking, arguing that it was only possible because God created women in the first place in order to stop men standing around scratching their heads (actually she didn’t say heads, but another part of male anatomy, but we there may be children reading…) and wondering what to do with themselves.  In order to keep up with the times, she also translated one of Burns’ most famous love sonnets “Ae fond kiss” into emoji speak. The result is definitely worth googling.

A fascinating Immortal Memory was given by guest speaker Neil MacGillivray, from the Robert Burns Guild of Speakers, who talked knowledgably of Burns’ life, times and work, enlightening participants as to why Scots are continually banging on about a man who died more than 200 years ago. Later in the evening Neil performed a masterful recitation of Burns’ longest poem “Tam O Shanter”, a hair-raising story of boozing too much and its ghostly consequences.

The night’s Sangs an’ Clatter (music) was provided by On the Wagon, the Selkirk Grace by Dennis Robertson, the Piping-in of the Haggis by Anthony Orr and the Address to the Haggis by Neil Ross. The entire evening was chaired by Barbara Thomson in whose capable hands the programme moved along smoothly.

The organising committee also thanked Laurent Perquin and his team at the Reimerwee for their impeccable service and welcome.