Category Archives: haggis

Here’s tae the Scottish Bard, Robbie Burns

What better place to celebrate the life of Scottish Bard, Robbie Burns, than in a tartan chair in front of a crackling, wood fire.

I’m remiss this year in getting an online Burns Day celebration together. Shame on me. But, I have a valid excuse. I’ve had my head down working on my next novella. If you go by word length, it does qualify as a full-fledged novel, but that’s neither here nor there.

celebration
January 25, 1759 – July 21, 1796

It’s Robbie Burns Day. Will you celebrate the bard today with haggis, champit tatties and bashed neeps?

Here at The House of King, we celebrated last Saturday (Jan 19th). My idea of a small haggis (about 1 pound), went straight out the window when the smallest one I could get this year weighed in at almost 3 pounds!

So tonight, I’ll have some leftover haggis, sans tatties and neeps as there aren’t any leftover, with whatever else I make for supper. With Burns Day falling on a Friday, it also means it’s grocery night for this gal. A hearty Scotch broth? Fish and chips? Maybe shortbread or sticky toffee pudding for dessert? Decisions, decisions.

celebration
The “Guest of Honour”

Address To A Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn,
they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve,
Are bent lyke drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
“Bethankit!” ‘hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
Gie her a haggis!

And a wee bit of light reading for ‘after the feastie’.

 Enjoy your Robbie Burns celebrations no matter how/where your celebrate.

It’s Robbie Burns Day – House of King style

I’m remiss this year in getting an online Burns Day celebration together. Shame on me. But, I have a valid excuse. I’ve had my head down working on my next novella. If you go by word length, it does qualify as a full-fledged novel, but that’s neither here nor there.

celebration
January 25, 1759 – July 21, 1796

It’s Robbie Burns Day. Will you celebrate the bard today with haggis, champit tatties and bashed neeps?

Here at The House of King, we’ll be having a toned down version of previous Burns Night celebrations. Although I don’t have a wee haggis, I do have some frozen sliced haggis (great with a Scottish breakfast) so it will do, especially since I’m the only one who truly enjoys eating it here. I made Cock-a-leekie soup shortly after Christmas and it’s in the freezer and for the toasts to the lads and lassies afterwards, I have a bottles of 18-year old Glenlivet and Cardhu.

celebration
The “Guest of Honour”

Address To A Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn,
they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve,
Are bent lyke drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
“Bethankit!” ‘hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
Gie her a haggis!

And a wee bit of light reading for ‘after the feastie’.

 Enjoy your Robbie Burns celebrations no matter how/where your celebrate.

#BurnsSupper with my guest Bob Atkinson

#BurnsSupper

January 25, 1759-July 21, 1796

Once again, it’s time for a Burns Supper celebration. This year my special guest is all the way from Fort William, author, Robert Atkinson.

Before we get started, do you prefer Robert or Bob?

First of all, I prefer Bob rather than Robert.

#BurnsSupperWelcome to Celtic Connexions, Bob! Do sit down and make yourself comfortable. 

Thanks for hosting me on your Burns Supper Celebration.

Let’s start by getting to know you better. Can you tell us about yourself?

I was born in a village outside Fort William, in the Western Highlands. I left the area to join the British army when I was seventeen, and came home fifteen years later with a lovely Irish wife and three Irish children. My wife and I met while I was serving in Northern Ireland. We like to see our story as one of the blessings to come out of the terrible days of the Irish troubles.

I’m now a retired civil servant, whose aging legs don’t carry him into the hills and remote glens as often as they used to. Still, the imagination remains free to wander.

We have a mutual friend, Julie Jordan, who writes as Dayna Leigh Cheser. How did you come to meet her?

I came to know Julie Jordan via Twitter. She contacted me one day to ask if I’d ever been to Lochbuie on the Isle of Mull. In her latest novel her main character was born in a castle which Julie had pictured on an island which lies off Lochbuie. I’d only been to Mull once, and never to Lochbuie. Still, I love camping in the wilds with my family, and on my next trip my brother and I took the ferry to Mull and visited Julie’s island. Alas, the only inhabitants are a few sheep and rabbits, but Julie didn’t seem to mind. In fact I think it pleased her that no one had ever lived there.

In addition to our mutual friend, we also have something else in common. We’re both fans of Runrig. Let me put one of their songs on softly in the background while we chat. This is one of my favourites.

Have you been to Canada?

I’m sorry to say I’ve never been to Canada. My wife and I have been to the U.S. half a dozen times. She’s a sun worshipper, so we invariably head for California, usually San Diego.

I would love to follow the trail taken by many of the Highland emigrants who sailed to Canada during the dark days of the Highland clearances. So many of our glens lie desolate and empty, with only a scatter of ruins to tell that people had ever lived there.

In nearby Glen Pean, for instance, sixty men by the name of Macmillan rallied to Prince Charlie’s banner in 1745. Within seventy years, nothing remained but the wind and the heather. I remember watching a documentary about the Highland diaspora, and listening to an elderly Canadian talk of his Scottish heritage. His name was Macmillan and his people came from Glen Pean.

Can I get you a drink? I have a small selection of whiskies if you’d like a dram before we eat. Or we can always have something else.

A drink? Any Hebridean malt would be very welcome, thank you, although my favourite dram is Talisker, the only whisky distilled on the Isle of Skye. They still use peat and sea wrack to dry the barley, which adds a wonderful smoky flavour to the whisky.

haggis
By Chris huh (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
You’re in luck. I happen to have a bottle of Talisker. I prefer the Speyside Malts, particularly 18 year old Cardhu (which you can’t buy in Canada) and 18 year old Glenlivet. They’re both very smooth.

Well, while we wait for our meal to be ready, let’s chat about your writing. The Last Sunset was your debut novel, if I’m not mistaken. Can you tell us what it is about?

The Last Sunset was my debut novel. It’s a time travel adventure set in a glen reputed to be haunted, following a massacre by redcoat soldiers in 1746. In a land where the boundaries between past and future events are blurred, a series of coincidences sees three sets of characters from different time periods drawn back in time to the scene of that original massacre. All respond to the atrocities taking place around them, each in their own way altering the course of events.

My chef, Donald, announces the meal is ready.

#BurnsSupper

We’ll start with The Selkirk Grace.

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some would eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.

My cock-a-leekie soup isn’t made in the traditional way. I’m not a fan of prunes so I leave them out.

haggis
By Laurel F (originally posted to Flickr as Cock-a-leekie Soup) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The skirl of the pipes announces the presentation of the haggis. I’m pleased to say that we have Harry MacFayden addressing the chieftain o’ the puddin’ race this evening.

#BurnsSupper

haggis
By Biology Big Brother [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I hope you’re enjoying your virtual “Canadian” Robbie Burns night, Bob.

I understand you’ve completed the sequel to The Last Sunset. Can you tell us anything about it?

My second novel, Red Sky In The Morning, concludes the story begun in The Last Sunset, taking the tale into the realms of alternate history.

Both books were inspired by the yearning to see the graves of Culloden emptied of their Highland dead, and our glens untouched by the Highland clearances.

I’ve been to Fort William a few times (stayed overnight and rode the Jacobite to Mallaig once and the other time drove out to walk under the viaduct and visit the Glenfinnan Monument). Do you have a favourite place you like to go to?

I hope you enjoyed your visits to Fort William. In particular I hope the weather behaved itself while you were here. I have this urge to apologise whenever I see tourists who have become victims of our unpredictable weather.

A favourite place? There are so many: from hidden white sand beaches, to remote hill lochs. In every direction there are castles, ancient hill forts, ruined sheilings, deep and myserious lochs, many with their own legendary water beast. Loch Morar, for instance, on the journey from Fort William to Mallaig, has seen almost as many sightings of strange creatures as has Loch Ness. Do they contain creatures unknown to science? Perhaps. There are a lot of locals who’ve seen things they can’t explain, but are reluctant to discuss it for fear of ridicule.

My favourite place of all is probably the Isle Of Skye, where I love to search for fossils of ancient creatures which are known to science. It’s extremely unlikely that Loch Ness and Loch Morar are inhabited by any survivors from the Jurassic period, but the dinosaurs certainly did roam what would one day become the Hebrides.

Do you have any more writing projects in the works? Another WIP perhaps?

My work in progress is the story of four young children who are in the throes of losing their mother to cancer. In the midst of this trauma they begin to experience supernatural activity in their home. With my love of history, there are of course links to something ancient and mysterious. The story, to a large extent, is autobiographical.

We have trifle for dessert. I hope you like it.

haggis
By Benjah-bmm27 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
When we’re finished eating, we’ll take our coffee and some shortbread into the lounge and listen to more Scottish music and talk a bit more.

Where can your books be purchased?

amazon.com | amazon.co.uk | Greyhart Press

Here’s one of the Runrig songs you provided.


And your author links? Where can folks find you?

https://www.facebook.com/Bob-Atkinson-1039921642785934/?skip_nax_wizard=true

http://www.bobatkinsonauthor.com/

https://greyhartpress.com/meet-our-authors/bob-atkinson/

Once again, Melanie, thanks for having me on your blog. I hope the night goes well for you.

Thank you for coming, Bob. It’s been a pleasure hosting you here at Celtic Connexions and I’ve enjoyed getting to know you better.

 

 

Haggis, Tatties and Neeps, Oh My!

haggis

January 25, 1759-July 21, 1796

Once again, it’s time for a Burns Supper celebration. This year my special guest is all the way from Edinburgh, author, Janice Cairns.

haggis
Welcome to Celtic Connexions, Janice! Do sit down and make yourself comfortable. 

Let’s start by getting to know you better. Can you tell us about yourself?

Born in Ayrshire and educated at Ayr academy, I’ve had an assortment of jobs – child care, law, insurance, media and creative writing. I live in Edinburgh now; the city has been my home for the last thirty years. It is here, my dream of becoming a published author, has come true.

My life could be described as a happy mix of marketing for my first book, and writing her sequel. I find time in my busy schedule to enjoy walks at the Botanic gardens, or by the sea, or in the beautiful city of Edinburgh. I’ve always considered my walks as importantr, as I think these activate my creative thoughts and actually inspire me to write.

I didn’t realize you’re an Ayrshire girl – born and raised in Burns Country. Have you been to Canada?

No, I haven’t, but it is a country I would love to visit.

Can I get you a drink? I have a small selection of whiskies if you’d like a dram before we eat. Or we can always have something else.

haggis
By Chris huh (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Well, while we wait for our meal to be ready, Janice, let’s chat about your writing. Forgiving Nancy was your debut novel, if I’m not mistaken. Can you tell us what it is about?

haggisYes, indeed, Forgiving Nancy is my debut novel. It is love story, which is set in Edinburgh, in the 1980s. The story opens with Nancy Campbell, down in her luck. She meets a wealthy bachelor, Maxwell Elliot, and soon becomes married to him. It is an unlikely marriage, which crosses the barriers, of age, culture, and class. Within a short time, the marriage is crumbling, and Nancy, who is young and beautiful, is enticed away from her slightly eccentric, millionaire husband. She becomes involved with Callum Macduff, who is obsessed, with running his circus, and who is only interested in sex. This affair does not last either as Maxwell finds out. The story then turns into a journey, both poignant and heartbreaking, for Nancy. After a lot of soul-searching, she finds herself in a homeless shelter, but then she finds her way back to Maxwell, who eventually forgives, the mistakes she has made. Through the main plot is also weaved the story of Stella Golding’s unreciprocated love. At one time Stella, had been Maxwell’s housekeeper, and had hoped to marry him. Nevertheless, it all turns out okay, for Stella too. This fashion conscious lady, of a certain, age goes on to find true love, unexpectedly, after experiencing heartache over Maxwell.

The novel’s backdrop, is the beautiful city of Edinburgh, and in many of the chapters, real streets are referred to, so a reader can get a real feel, for what the city is all about, even if they have not been there before.

My chef, Donald, announces the meal is ready.

We’ll start with The Selkirk Grace.

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some would eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.

My cock-a-leekie soup isn’t made in the traditional way. I’m not a fan of prunes so I leave them out.

haggis
By Laurel F (originally posted to Flickr as Cock-a-leekie Soup) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The skirl of the pipes announces the presentation of the haggis. I’m pleased to say that we have Harry MacFayden addressing the chieftain o’ the puddin’ race this evening.
haggis

 

haggis
By Biology Big Brother [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I hope you’re enjoying your virtual “Canadian” Robbie Burns night, Janice.

I understand you’ve completed the sequel to Forgiving Nancy. Can you tell us anything about it?

I am so excited about the sequel, and first I’d like to say, the atmosphere and the mood of All the way from America, is so different from Forgiving Nancy, yet, I am still writing about so many of the original characters. In the sequel, Maxwell Elliot, has reinvented himself, and is launching into a new creative life. He sets out to become an artist, but it is not plain sailing for him. Maxwell’s past creeps in, and causes havoc for him, as he begins to receive, letters from a former love, in America. Also, he gets entangled in an afternoon of erotic pleasure with a friend’s daughter. The afternoon becomes his guilty secret, as he returns to the straight and narrow path of his creative goals. In the sequel, Nancy Elliot inhabits a different world too. She takes up the opportunity of becoming a model in a fashion show. However, what should have been a wonderful and fun evening, for Nancy, is also thwarted by shadows of the past. The main characters of Nancy and Maxwell, are putting their best foot forward, but destiny is determined to spoil their plans. Yet, in the end, everything turns out fine for the Elliot’s, as it does for Stella, who decides the best thing for her, is to return to London, after her marriage to Vincent did not turn out, as hoped. The only similarity the sequel has to Forgiving Nancy is that Callum Macduff, is in the same place as he was before, he does not seem to grow with further experiences of love.

What made you choose the titles for your two novels?

As far as Forgiving Nancy is concerned, way back, I had thought of calling it An Edinburgh Love Story, but as time went on, I began to think, this was too general a title, and not specific enough. So, I then thought West End Intrigue, would be a good title, as much of the setting was at the West End of Edinburgh, and because there was a lot of intrigue, in the book. But, then, I thought more deeply about it, and it occurred to me, one of main themes in the book, ‘forgiveness’, could be used in the title. Since Nancy was the main female character in the book, I then felt absolutely certain, I should call the book Forgiving Nancy.

At the moment, the working title, for the sequel is All the way from America. The reason I have chosen this is because it describes one of the most poignant moments, of the sequel; that moment, when Favia comes all the way from America, with high hopes of rekindling love with Maxwell, only to find Maxwell has no romantic interest in her. After all those years, coming all the way on the plane, only to be disappointed.

I’ve been to Edinburgh a few times. I love the photographs you share of the city on Facebook. Do you have a favourite place you like to go to?

Yes, Melanie, I love to go up to Edinburgh Castle, I love spending time there. Often, I will take myself there and spend a few hours exploring. There are always lots of visitors up there too, no matter the time of year, and I love mingling with the visitors. It’s also a great place to take photos of Edinburgh. Wonderful views of the city, can be seen from the castle. I love to saunter all the way down The Royal Mile too, after being at the castle. I love all the wonderful closes of The Royal Mile, I love to take photos of the closes, which have so much history, attached to them. I am so fascinated by The Royal Mile and the closes, actually, that these aspects of the city are mentioned in the sequel. I know your question asks me to mention one favourite place, Melanie, but loving Edinburgh, as I do, I have to say, there are a great many favourite places that are so very special to me – the Grassmarket, for example and the lovely Victoria Street, then places like Cockburn Street. I love nothing nicer than having lunch in Cockburn street on a summer’s day. Then, of course, there is being by Duddingston loch in the summer, and having a picnic there. I love watching the swans on the river there.

Do you have any more writing projects in the works? Another WIP perhaps?

Yes, I am delighted to say, I have more writing projects up my sleeve, rather than in the works. I am beginning to formulate ideas, for the writing of a third book, but this book will be worlds away, from the first two, with completely different characters, and themes. A new stage is being set, as it were. So far, I have been filling notebooks, with ideas for a third book. As yet, I have not considered the plot, and who the characters will be, in it. All I can say, so far, is this is a book I must write.

We have trifle for dessert. I hope you like it.

haggis
By Benjah-bmm27 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
When we’re finished eating, we’ll take our coffee and some shortbread into the lounge and listen to some Scottish music and talk a bit more.

Where can you purchase copies of Forgiving Nancy?

amazon.com | amazon.co.uk | Safkhet Publishing

And your author links? Where can folks find you?

Facebook | Blog | Twitter

Thank you so much, Melanie, for inviting me here, for the Robbie Burns Celebration.

Thank you for coming, Janice. It’s been a pleasure hosting you here at Celtic Connexions and I’ve enjoyed getting to know you better.

 

 

Robbie Burns Night with Janice Horton

Robbie Burns Night Celebrations with Janice Horton

Robbie Burns

I’m so glad you were able to work me into your busy schedule, Janice. You’ve been snap-gapping all over the place of late so I’m thrilled to have you here at Celtic Connexions. You’re looking very “Scottish” today, all decked out in your tartan. Janice Burns Night1

I take it you’re ready for a good old-fashioned ceilidh – Canadian style.

Here, come sit by the fire Robbie Burns take the chill off (escorts my esteemed guest to one of the tartan wing-back chairs facing the crackling fire ).

 

 

Robbie Burns
photo from Flickr

I’ll summon my manservant, Donald (the Red) , to bring us some refreshments. Robbie BurnsWould you care for a wee dram? Perhaps Glengoyne – Scotland’s only un-peated single malt? (rings bell and gives manservant instructions)

I think you’ll like what I have in store for you at the ceilidh tonight. I tried to get the Old Blind Dogs but they weren’t available. That’s okay as I do have a vast collection of Scottish music on CDs – Old Blind Dogs, The Corries, Runrig and the list goes on.

(swish of swinging door as the manservant returns with a tray carrying a decanter of whisky – 18 year old Glenlivet no less, two glasses and water). “Your whisky, my lady,” he says as he places it on the table.

“Thank you.”

As the manservant straightens to leave, I cry out… “Donald, where’s your trousers?” because so unlike him, he’s wearing a kilt!

Overcome by the shock of seeing him dressed in that fashion, it takes me a moment to regain my composure. (fans self with copy of Leopard Magazine).

Well, while we wait for our meal to be ready, Janice, let’s chat about your novel. I’m really interested to find out more about it and your creative process. You spent three months on the Island of Utila researching and writing Castaway in the Caribbean. Can you tell me more?

Yes, I had the most amazing time in 2014 visiting, researching and writing in the Caribbean. While there I spent a lot of time in boats (as one features in my new novel) and even got to sail off Tortola in the British Virgin Islands in a schooner used in the making of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie! After visiting lots of islands, my husband and I settled down to island life for a stay of three months on Utila, a tiny Caribbean island off mainland Honduras. This is where I wrote the first draft of ‘Castaway in the Caribbean’.

When do you expect to release it?

April 2015. I have promotional online book tours organised for April and May.

What made you choose that title?

I feel the title suits the story line perfectly. The premise of the book is that the two main characters, a surly boat captain who hates tourists and a girl holidaying in the Caribbean who desperately needs to get to a neighbouring island, end up castaway together on a remote island. It’s a fun, fast paced romantic adventure novel that I hope will be the perfect beach read for 2015!

The manservant returns and tells us that dinner is served… so we pick up our drinks and at the first skirl of the pipes, Robbie Burns wait for him to enter the room and we get piped in to the formal dining room (I wish I had one of them, too) to the strains of The Bonnie Lass of Fyvie for a traditional Robbie Burns feast.

Once everyone is around the table, we begin with The Selkirk Grace.

Some hae meat and canna eat,  And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,  Sae let the Lord be thankit.

Our first course is Cock-a-leekie soup.

Robbie Burns
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

Not strictly traditional as I don’t put prunes in it.

You mentioned (or did I pick up on it) something about the names of your characters. Was there a particular reason why you used those names? If so, can you share it?

I wrote the first draft with my husband’s name, Travis, as the romantic hero’s name and the heroine of the story is called Janey (which is kind of like my name, Janice). I fully intended on changing the names in the second draft but for some reason ended up not doing so. The characters of Castaway in the Caribbean are Travis and Janey in their own right – they are not meant to be me and my husband – and the story is definitely a work of fiction!

The soup course is cleared away and the skirl of the pipes begins again. The door opens and the haggis is brought into the room with great pomp and circumstance.

Address to the Haggis

 

Robbie Burns
a wee dram for the haggis
Robbie Burns
Haggis, champit tatties and bashed neeps

We’ll have a bit of a musical interlude courtesy of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers before we carry on with the rest of the evening’s festivities.

What’s your next project? Do you have another novel started?

I have a few ideas in mind for new projects. I’m travelling again this year and I’d like to continue the theme of writing romantic adventure novels set in places that inspire me.

Now that we’ve talked about your WIP (work in progress for those not accustomed to author-speak and abbreviations), tell us more about you and how the readers of Celtic Connexions can follow you?

Thank you, Melanie. I really enjoy connecting with people. I’m a keen blogger. I’m always on Facebook and I love to Twitter too. So here’s my links:

My Author Blog

Follow me on Twitter: @JaniceHorton

Friend me on Facebook Page

Link to my Amazon Author Page

Check out my page on Goodreads

My LLm Bookshelf

Associate Editor at: Loveahappyending Lifestyle Mag

Janice Horton writes contemporary romantic fiction with a dash of humour and a sense of adventure. Look out for Janice’s new release for 2015Castaway in the Caribbean

Robbie Burns

and her Amazon Kindle bestselling booksBagpipes and Bullshot

Robbie Burns

andReaching for the Stars

Robbie Burns

and her fun ‘Voodoo Romance’ series of novellas.

Robbie Burns

Her nonfiction guide to online promotion ‘How To Party Online
Robbie Burns
is recommended reading for all authors and writers by publishers. Janice is a regular blogger from her website at janicehorton.co.uk and you’ll also find her on Facebook and Twitter. She is also associate editor at the award winning online magazine Loveahappyending Lifestyle Magazine where she produces her monthly ‘The Bookshelf’ feature and her seasonal ‘Snap Gap Travel’ features.

Thank you so much for coming to my “un”conventional Robbie Burns Night. I hope you won’t have a sair heid tomorrow. I see the chairs have been rearranged in the front room so shall we move the party in there and let the ceilidh begin?

Gay Gordons, anyone?

 

#AtoZChallenge – H is for Haggis

Haggis

The Haggis
The “Guest of Honour”

How to make haggis…

Ingredients:

Set of sheep’s heart, lungs and liver (cleaned by a butcher)
One beef bung (intestine) or sheep’s stomach
3 cups finely chopped suet
One cup medium ground oatmeal
Two medium onions, finely chopped
One cup beef stock
One teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
One teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon mace

Trim off any excess fat and sinew from the sheep’s offal (heart, lungs and liver) Place in a large pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for an hour or possibly longer to ensure that they are all tender. Drain and cool.

Finely chop the meat (or put through a meat grinder) and combine with the suet, oatmeal, finely chopped onions, beef stock, salt, pepper, nutmeg and mace in a large bowl. Make sure the ingredients are mixed well. Stuff the meat and spices mixture into the beef bung which should be over half full. Then press out the air and tie the open ends tightly with string. Make sure that you leave room for the mixture to expand or else it may burst while cooking. If it looks as though it may do that, prick with a sharp needle to reduce the pressure.

Haggis is traditionally served at Burns’ Suppers along with champit tatties and bashit neeps (mashed potatoes and turnips).

 

It’s Robbie Burns Day – House of King style

It’s Robbie Burns Day. Will you celebrate the bard today with haggis, champit tatties and bashed neeps?

Here at The House of King, we’ll be having a toned down version of previous Burns Night celebrations. Although I don’t have a wee haggis, I do have some frozen sliced haggis (great with a Scottish breakfast) so it will do, especially since I’m the only one who truly enjoys eating it here. I made Cock-a-leekie soup shortly after Christmas and it’s in the freezer and for the toasts to the lads and lassies afterwards, I have a bottle of 18-year old Glenlivet.

The Haggis
The “Guest of Honour”

Address To A Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn,
they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve,
Are bent lyke drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
“Bethankit!” ‘hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
Gie her a haggis!

 Enjoy your Robbie Burns celebrations no matter how/where your celebrate.

 

Happy St Andrew’s Day!

It’s St Andrew’s Day!

To all my Scottish friends and family whether you’re in the Auld Country or scattered to the wind around the world, I wish you a happy St Andrew’s Day!

How do you celebrate? Will you eat haggis? Will you go to The Scotsman’s Haggis Hunt and see if you can “bag” a few there? Have a dram or two? Or just spend a quiet evening in front of the fire?

Now, I’m turning things over to my Scottish-born author friend, Ali Bacon, to share what St Andrews Day means to her.

Take it away, Ali…

What St. Andrew did for me…

Well actually, I don’t know that St. Andrew and I have had much of a connection over the years. We did call our second son Andrew, but more because I thought it was a good ‘match’ for our firstborn Stephen (both names of Greek derivation) than for patriotic reasons. And even in my Scottish childhood, St Andrew was far less of a cultural icon than Rabbie Burns, Sir Walter Scott or Billy Connolly!

But hang on a minute. I did spend four of the best years of my life at St. Andrews University (600 years old this year) where I also met my husband to be – I think that means quite a lot!

castle(Ed note… I’ve been to both St Andrews Castle and Cathedral and remember this dramatic view)

kkdaySt. Andrews these days is best known for being the place where the Prince William met his princess and in the year they married (I knew we were starting a trend!) I started a blog of my own reminiscences of a place (town and university) which is totally unique in so many ways. I only add to it from time to time but if you are interested it’s here.

Surprisingly I don’t remember St. Andrew was celebrated much in the university that bears his name, but there were all kinds of other traditions, some, like Raisin Monday (Ed note… I saw those pics on BBC and it looked like everyone had great fun getting covered in foam) madder than others. Kate Kennedy Day, named after an apocryphal Bishop’s daughter, is a slightly more serious affair with a procession of historical figures which takes place in the spring. I’m glad to say St. Andrew does get to appear, so here he is in his 1970s guise.

Of course it’s many a year since I was in St. Andrews but the town did creep into my novel A Kettle of Fish which is set in my home county of Fife (I just couldn’t leave it out) and in a weird way it has turned up in the novel I’m writing now which is about (amongst other things) the development of photography in Victorian times. (Ed note… I love the Victorian times and use that era extensively in my writing) What does that have to do with St Andrews?  You’re going to have to wait to find out, but I think you’ll be surprised.

Thanks Melanie for having me here while my own website software is having a meltdown – and I hope I can repay the favour some time soon. (Ed note… having issues on this side of the pond with my stats/publicity plugin so I can understand your angst)

About Ali:

Ali BaconAli Bacon was born in Dunfermline in Scotland and graduated from St Andrews University. She now lives near Bristol. Her writing has been published in Scribble, The Yellow Room and a number of online magazines as well as the Unchained Anthology.

A Kettle of FishA Kettle of Fish (Scottish Contemporary Fiction) and are both available in paperback and e-book formats via major online retailers.

A Kettle of Fish on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/#!/AKettleOfFish

Website and blog: http://alibacon.com

Unchained Anthology http://writersunchained.wordpress.com

Twitter @AliBacon

 

 

Robbie Burns Day

burns portrait
Scots around the world celebrate the country’s national bard today. Celebrations include a feast of soup (cock-a-leekie – fancy name for chicken and leek), haggis, mashed potatoes, turnips and trifle. Of course most is washed down with Scotland’s national drink – whisky!

For those who take part in The Scotsman’s annual Haggis Hunt, the season ends today (sniff…)

The Haggis

Today, I’m celebrating Robbie Burns Day with Scottish author, Ali Bacon, over at her blog.

It promises to be great fun so drop over and celebrate with us.

Suggested tweets:

#burnsnight with @alibacon and @RobertsoKing http://ow.ly/h7B5Y Traditional Burns celebration in the virtual world. Haste ye back!

Traditional Burns celebration in the virtual world with @alibacon & @RobertsoKing http://ow.ly/h7B5Y Haste ye back! #burnsnight #lahe