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