Saturday, 12 January 2013

Burns Night

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Source for this image here.

Friday 25th January is Burns Night, the day on which people in Scotland and in many other parts of the British Isles (and further afield too!) celebrate the birthday of Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns.  Burns wrote many poems and song lyrics including the very well known New Year's Eve song, "Auld Lang Syne" (otherwise translated as "old long since").   

Now we aren't Scottish (though I was born and grew up very close to the border of England and Scotland, and whenever we needed to visit a big town for shopping or other important trips, we went to Edinburgh, Scotland's capital city rather than Newcastle, our next nearest town), but we do celebrate Burns Night - because it happens also to be the birthday our son, Cubby Bear (whose name of course isn't really Cubby, but something a little bit closer to the famous poet who shares his birthday!) and this year we're delighted that it actually falls on a Friday, so we are going to have a special celebration!

Generally the meal that is traditionally eaten on Burns Night consists of a "supper", when haggis is usually served along with mashed turnip (called "neeps") and potato ("tatties").  We've had haggis before, but none of us are super-keen on it (haggis is basically a large sausage of sheep's innards, oatmeal or rusk, and spices - it is an acquired taste!).  So instead of the haggis I usually make a cottage pie, which uses minced (ground) lamb and is topped with mashed potato.  To make it even more authentic I usually add some turnip as well (we love turnips!).  Normally on a Friday, we'd eat fish of course - so on 25th, we'll have fish and chips for our dinner (midday meal) - while we are out celebrating Cubby's birthday!  He'll also have a cake, of course - more about that later.

When Cubby has his birthday he will then be the same age as Little Bear, until it's time for her birthday, in April!  Yes we will have two children who are the same age, but not twins.  Cubby was born prematurely and even though he and Little Bear would still have been born very close together, we weren't expecting them to be quite so close in age.  Cubby Bear has a twin brother, born asleep.  On his birthday, we remember his brother, but we don't dwell on our loss.  It's Cubby's day, for celebrating his birth and his life, and all the beautiful, wonderful years we have been blessed to treasure with him.  We will always miss the wee boy who we never got to meet, but for us, his memory is alive in his happy, healthy, hearty brother, who has enough life in him for them both.  He's a very precious and special young man, and we're looking forward to our first celebration of 2013 with his birthday!

Whenever we visit Cubby's wee brother at our family resting-place in Newcastle, we always place some red roses for him, and I like to think of the special link our twins have with the famous poet Robert Burns, who wrote this beautiful poem about love.

O my Luve's like a red, red rose, 
That's newly sprung in June: 
O my Luve's like the melodie, 
That's sweetly play'd in tune. 

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass, 
So deep in luve am I; 
And I will luve thee still, my dear, 
Till a' the seas gang dry. 

Till all the seas gang dry, my dear, 
And the rocks melt wi' the sun; 
And I will luve thee still, my dear, 
While the sands o' life shall run. 

And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve! 
And fare-thee-weel, a while! 
And I will come again, my Luve, 
Tho' twere ten thousand mile!

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