Sunday, January 26, 2014

A celebration of Scottishness, we Celts have to stick together

We've a chum called Gerry, he's the landlord of the excellent Inn@WestEnd, a delightful hostelry about one village over which serves fine food ale and wine at (he assures me) very reasonable prices.

Each year, on or around the 25th of Jan,traditional celebration evening of Scotland's premier poet, Robbie Burns, Gerry hosts a Burns night. 

They normally manage to include all the traditional elements, a piper, smoked salmon, haggis, venison and cranachan, neeps, tatties,  wine, whisky, women and song, whimsical poetry dedicated to cooked offal and a little speechifying from some of the guests. 

We, Mrs Stuffy and I, have attended for the last few years and always enjoyed the evening, (any excuse for me to break out the kilt) and this year we found ourselves booking and hosting a table for twelve. It would appear we'd made it sound very appealing to some of our chums. 

After we'd made the reservation I received  a text from Gerry asking me if I'd be prepared to deliver the toast to the lassies, a teasing but appreciative paean of praise to the fairer sex. 

How could I decline? I sat down and sketched out a couple of pages and Cha, as a professional actress, coached me with delivery and "that's not funny" feedback.

Steve, Dean and Glenn, in various stages of inebriation and varying degrees of fake Scottishness.

It went well, it was a fun evening and in response to a host of requests I agreed to post the speech here, enjoy, or not, as you wish.

To the lassies

It was very brave of Gerry when looking for a warm-hearted Scottish chap, able and willing to speak well of womanhood, to choose instead to recruit a grumpy,semi-articulate Welsh misogynist...

...but who am I to challenge his judgement?

Maybe he was thinking " we need someone with lots of experience of the fairer sex" but, as my dear old mum said at my wedding " he could have had any woman he pleased, sadly he never pleased any of them".

Maybe he was thinking of my technology background, the Scots are of course an engineering nation but that's traditionally the Scottish men, and today, according to the (Scottish) (male) Minister for technology apparently we're now entering a period of rapidly moving forward, which can only be good news for the fairer sex, who some might say have never really got the hang of reversing. 

Some might say that, not me, obviously. 

Indeed when we're talking of exemplary women, many folk apparently see Margaret Thatcher’s " the lady is not for turning" speech as less of a statement of political intent, more a lament for a lack of parking skills.

Oh yes,  it's all too easy when talking of the ladies to take the easy route and criticise women drivers, but that's not for me …

...because I'm pretty sure there's many a lady here who has, this evening, mysteriously found herself in sudden possession of the car keys as Gerry's notorious generosity with the wine bottle starts to kick in.

Here's today's made up fact, The kilt, as we see it so beautifully modelled here was an invention of a Manchester cotton mill owner, intended to use up surplus cloth. 

But for all that, there's no doubt that the Scottish male has adopted the kilt, they're a proud nation, but I can't help thinking it's an unconscious admission that it's very rarely the man of the house that truly wears the trousers. 

In the last few decades our society has evolved enormously in terms of equality for the working woman but we still hear, all too often, of the barriers to their advancement, we hear of “the glass ceiling:, seen by many woman as an insurmountable obstacle to career advancement but, to be honest, a glass ceiling is equally threatening to a man in a kilt. 

Particularly to those of us who practice the "true Scotsman" approach to underwear.

I mentioned the lack of woman engineers but women, of course, have invented many things, the concept of re-washing up, the curious ritual of re-getting dressed to go out, and of course they excel in the realms of philosophy. 
Many male philosophers have spent years trying to comprehend the level of abstract thought required to come up with " I shouldn't have to tell you what's wrong, if you loved me you would know what I imagine you meant when I invented the conversation you didn't have with someone I don't like" 

or indeed,  the awesome simplicity and genius innate in the philosophical concept of the totally unanswerable question, 
" does this dress make me look fat?" 

But it's their ability to accommodate our tiny little flaws, that offers the true picture of womanhood, and in the real world we should not classify the ladies by reference to so-called female role models whether  they be Margaret, Miley or the blessed Nigella. 

We should look around this room, at the wives and the girlfriends, (may they never meet)  the mothers, the sisters, the grans, the daughters, it's the lassies that complete us, that torment us, that make, and break, our hearts.

For, as Rabbie Burns said

But to see her was to love her; 
Love but her, and love for ever. 
Had we never lov'd sae kindly, 
Had we never lov'd sae blindly, 
Never met-or never parted, 
We had ne'er been broken-hearted.

Gentlemen, to the lassies.


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At 2:41 am, Blogger IzinSing said...

Nice arse!


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