trystguy and lilioan dancejohn and terry playdavid dobson entyertainsharburn long view

Harburn Village Hall - Burns Club 2015 & 2016





















































































































A packed Hall assembled to hear Master of Ceremonies, David, utter the phrase “Order, Order” to begin the evening’s festivities and celebrations of the 257th Anniversary of the birth of The Bard, and a high tempo launch it proved to be.

The Hall was colourfully garbed in its Burns mantle, a motley array of things Burnsian gathered over the years. The tables were adorned with colourful displays of the handwork of Joanna Pearce, to whom our thanks as she was in absentia on the evening

The “Chieftain Haggis” was borne in on high by Steven Durham, escorted by Piper David at full volume, and was Addressed with great enthusiasm by David Dobson; The Dumpling was then swiftly despatched by Moira Nichol with an assured lightness of touch, but despatched it was.

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Joe Ross then found himself at the centre of an “extra item” when an impromptu Birthday Dumpling bearing “Sixty Symbolical Candles” was piped in much to his surprise. It WAS actually Joe’s big day.
Normality restored, Andrew Maclaughlan delivered a well honed Selkirk Grace, before the purvey was served. A technical hitch in the kitchen meant that of the traditional dish, Haggis Neeps and Tatties, the Neep was in scarce supply. However the overflowing cheese board was very favourably received
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Cornish born, adopted Scot, Colin Mitchell, presented a very polished, thoughtful and provocative Immortal Memory, where as well as acknowledging and extolling the Bard’s many attributes he questioned his almost irresponsible and delinquent behaviour in his private life and pondering how such behaviour would be received today. The address was well received by the company. Piper David Brown then completed his final task for the evening by delivering a very emotional Lament for the Bard.

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Thereafter we had the annual joust as Allan Maclaughlan delivered a very light hearted -- not so much -- “Toast Tae The Lasses” as a “Toasting of Wives” drawing on some of Burns' less complimentary comments of the “species”. The reply which should have been given by his own wife Mary was delivered instead by Isobel McChesney, Mary having taken unwell earlier in the day. Isobel’s delivery was word perfect and more than upheld the Lasses honour. So yet another score draw, onwards to next year’s event.

Poetically we were well served by Sandra Dobson’s excellent rendition of To A Mouse and an exemplary performance of Tam O’Shanter by the inimitable Wull Kirk; a man in his 89th year and currently the Scottish (World) Champion for Addressing The Haggis, a title he won last summer. His audience sat spellbound as they lived and experienced every action and inflection of his delivery. Musicality came in three formats; Joan Le Lievre delivered a perfect John Anderson My Jo.
burns band

Harburn’s own rascally Boy Band Cairnpapple, better known as Richard, Joe and John, contributed a rustic three song set before Ian McArthur brought the evening to a rousing crescendo with his renditions of Dainty Davie (a tribute to our MC); Killiecrankie as well as a very emotive WW1 song, Willie McBride.

The Harburn Toast was delivered by our resident New Hampshire Yankee, Claire Duncan. Claire’s contrasts and comparisons of her native stateside home and her adoptive abode here in Harburn came from the heart and served to remind all how fortunate we are to live in such a fine place with such a great sense of community and belonging ……… despite the tendency towards precipitation.

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The evening was brought to a very tidy close by Alastair Hutson who offered an all encompassing Vote of Thanks to all who had made the evening go with such a swing. A very pleasing aspect of the evening was the number of new members of our community who are attending the Supper and are now taking a role either as performers or organisers. Since these Suppers resumed earlier this century they have exclusively been Wilkie / Wanlung productions on behalf of HAMERUIN. This year’s event was a Wilkie / Wanlung – NewBies Inc co-production. The winds of change are blowing in Harburn; are Allan & John devising a succession planning strategy, time will tell.

Thanks to go the those stalwart members of HAMERUIN (or their reps) who assembled in the early hours (10.30am .. early enough after a long night) of Sunday morning to restore the Hall to good order. Tables and chairs stacked; the "mess" removed; the stage reinstated and the glasses put through the dishwasher, it was as if it had never happened .... only we have the memories and the photographs to prove otherwise!!

programme cartoons

Hameruin excels with Burns' entertainment!

It’s a bit of a poisoned chalice to be asked to write a review of an event where your friends and neighbours have organised and entertained you so I thank all the gods that the 2015 Hameruin Burns night was such a fantastic evening.  Can I just cover it with ‘outstanding’?  No, Norry would like more than fifty words and he's already sent chaser emails so I’d better keep typing!

the pipes dave

The men of Harburn rallied together and the hall was transformed into a tribute to our national bard, with pretty floral displays, tartan touches and posters of previous artworks.  This year's programme, although tardy arriving, featured haggis-bearer Guy in a Wilkie-special caricature, perfectly captured as always and including a blood dripping dirk, or maybe it was a scalpel!?

The aforementioned Mr Vernham statuesquely bore in the haggis to be addressed by Matt Pearce (not a Cornishman!), and then the dumpling to be addressed by myself.  Matt made a rare job of the Bard's words, and I managed to get all the words out in the right order.  The handsome form of Iain Gillesbuig then spouted the Selkirk grace with fervour as we all fell on the generously proportioned dinner provided by Bobby Grindley’s team, not forgetting the delicious dumplings lovingly cooked by Anne Rennie and Mary MacLaughlan.

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And then it was on to the entertainment – a veritable melting pot of poetry, words and music.  David McDonald as always kept the evening flowing with charm, energy and random jokes to the very end and the event would not be the same without him.

wilkie piping in

Despite having being neighbours for over a year I’d yet to hear Heather sing with Tryst, and both of their sets were treat – tight harmonies with great variety.  The Three Wise monkeys won the prize for novelty wardrobe – thankfully their music was in much better taste!  The Tunesome Twosome delighted with American/Scots tunes, and Ian MacArthur provided some polished belters as the last musical performer.

Last year I loved Wull Kirk's rendition of Tam o'shanter, but he trumped himself with the  Address tae the De’il this year - what a showman! Sandra Dobson was next in turn and performed two poems, the second penned by her own fair hand and certainly my favourite of the two, sorry Rabbie!  Happy couple Duncan and Margaret Collin shared something of their long marriage - 44 years, or was it 45?!  - with their respective Toast and Reply to/from the Lassies which added much humour.

John Wilkinson took to the stage for the first of his 27 turns for his take on the Immortal Memory.  Seated comfortably he weaved a delightfully meandering tale, with my favourite quote relating to the Bard's supposed thoughts on the A70 'Lang wang, Lang wang, bloody Lang wang'!

wullie clutching the prompts
If this is a proper review then it should have a star performer, and mine would be Colin Mitchell, delivering his own poem, 'a word in yer lug, dear rabbie' - originally, witty and performed superbly.

Alistair Hutson, as one of the newer members of the community, put into words what so many of us feel, and heartily and thankfully toasted the community that he and so many of us have come to love.  Andrew Maclaughlan spent a large part of the evening scribbling on post-it notes in order to properly toast and thank all the artistes involved - a long list and well done.  He may even have remembered to thank Jennie Tuffs for the table decorations and David Brown for his most excellent piping but I can't remember and I'd put down my notebook by that point!


'Twas near the witching hour when Auld Lang Syne was sung, and folks trooped home to bed or  for another wee whisky. I know I'm not the only one to be feel lucky to live in a true community of lovely folk - and the talents and spirit on show tonight are an added bonus.   Roll on 2016!

Words from Kirsty G; photos from Guy