Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Toast to Scotland's Bard - Robert Burns
And no rule should apply when honoring the author of Auld Lang Syne - Robert Burns. Born January 25, 1759 in Alloway, Ayrshire, "Rabbie" Burns only lived 37 years before succumbing to heart disease. Yet in his short life, he inspired national pride through his poems written in Scots. From the National Trust for Scotland's Robert Burns Birthplace Museum:
The Ayrshire ploughman, who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the world’s best known poets, Robert Burns has become an international icon. His national pride, fierce egalitarianism, and quick wit have become synonymous with the Scottish character itself.
Caledonia Societies around the world will celebrate Burns Supper tonight with haggis, whiskey, toasts, and dancing. My husband and I attended two Burns Suppers hosted by the UK Delegation during his NATO assignment. Although I chose the vegetarian entree, I felt great pride for Alba as Scottish soldiers recited Burns' works. In honor of Burns' birthday, I invited a Scottish reader, Georgian, to share her thoughts about her country and their Bard.
Kim: Where do you live and what makes it special to you?
Georgina: I live on the island of Colonsay, in the Inner Hebrides, and it is a beautiful place with few more than 100 human inhabitants. Even on the gloomiest of days, we always get a few moments of sunlight, and, the sea is changing all the time. I am in a wheelchair, so the view from my front window is very important to me. The other side of the water are mountains known as 'The Paps of Jura' and the clouds and sunlight change on them hourly as well.
I have lived here off and on for most of my life and before I got MS, I worked on the farm and had a fishing boat, so the sea and the wildlife are all important.
In the past, more than a thousand people lived here and there are ancient ruins all over...from prehistoric and pre Christian, through medieval and 19th century to the present.
I attached a picture of a standing stone erected in honour of my 50th Birthday [Georgina's Stone].
Kim: Do you have a favorite historical site?
Georgina: My favourite historical site, is the 'Priory' in Oransay, which is the smaller island attached to this one, when the tide is out. A copy of an 18th Century engraving of it is also attached. Not much has changed, except that now it has an encircling wall and one building has been roofed in order to store and preserve the ancient and cleverly carved gravestones. Oransay is reputed to have been first chosen as the site of a Christian settlement by St Columba; then he discovered that you could still see his native Ireland, which he had forsworn, so he moved on and founded a new Monastery on IONA.
Kim: Do you have a favorite Burns' poem?
Mahalo, Georgina, for sharing your corner of Scotland with us! In honor of Georgina's visit, I am giving away a $10 Borders gift card to one randomly selected winner to purchase a book of his/her choice. A compilation of Burns' poetry? A travel guide to Scotland? A romance book about a time traveling Highlander?
As second and third place prizes, I am giving away books from a modern day Scottish author - Alexander McCall Smith's
- No. 1 Ladie's Detective Agency
- The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday
To enter the giveaway,
1. Leave a comment about your favorite place in Scotland, your favorite Burns' poem, and/or if you are brave enough to eat haggis at a Burns Supper.
2. The giveaway is open only to US residents but ...
... I welcome comments from all readers - whether or not you are entering the contest.
3. Comments are open through Saturday, January 29, to enter the giveaway.
4. If you are an international reader, I am happy to share Aloha with you - send your mailing address to email@example.com to receive a Hawaiian treat.
Join us tomorrow for as we celebrate Australia Day with romance author Margaret Tanner.
Kim in Hawaii
I leave you with the remainder of Georgina's gorgeous pictures .... aren't you glad there is Rule No. 1?!?!