Rockin' Roy and I were early (for once) because I thought it started half an hour earlier than it actually did. Cue us tearing down Princes Street in all our smart gear only to realise we were the first ones to arrive from our party of 12. We were suitably dishevelled as we were greeted by a piper at the entrance.
The Cafe is a lovely venue but I was sad I couldn't slip into the gallery at night and grab a swatch o' the Rembrants and Botticellis in the caliginous evening chambers.
The banquet was served ahead of the ceilidh with a menu of Cullen skink to start (traditional Scottish haddock, potato and onion soup), followed by a main of haggis (yum!) neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes) with a whisky sauce. For desert we had Crananchan (whipped cream, whiskey, honey, oats and raspberries). I couldn't finish mine though as I was too full from the haggis. As befitted the occasion we were treated to a stirring rendition of Address to a Haggis, complete with dramatic swishing sabre.
Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy 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 slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
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 like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect scunner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?
Poor devil! see him owre 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 make 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"
by Robert Burns
I did years of Scottish country dancing at school and I still love a good ceilidh. Sloans bar in Glasgow has a ceilidh on every Friday so I'm hoping we'll be able to rally the dancing troops at some point this year to try it out. Strip the Willow is my favourite dance. It's an excellent dance for making sure everyone gets introduced to everyone else! If you've never been to a Scottish ceilidh and have the opportunity to - do it! The band calls the dances so you don't need to know all the steps beforehand. Even if you've been dancing for years there's times you forget a step or two.