A tradition suspended during COVID came back on January 21st, when Tynte Lodge, Bridgwater, staged another Burns’ Night.
Some suppers are grand affairs, while others are less formal; this one, as always, was slightly less formal, even though it was a black-tie affair, with many of the Bridgwater Freemasons, guests and visitors arriving in kilts and being piped in, as is customary.
The haggis was duly piped around the dining room, followed closely by Adrian Robson carrying two bottles of whisky held in saltire, as tradition dictates. These were donated by Martin Poynter-Smith and his good lady Amanda, and were used later in the evening to raise money for charity.
The haggis was then humanely dealt with by Chris Marchmont whilst reciting the traditional address in a very convincing Scots accent. On completion of the address, everyone with a tot of whisky toasted the haggis, which was then honoured by the piper on its journey back to the kitchen.
Mr. William Russell, a true-blood Scot, recited the Selkirk Grace. Then, he interestingly informed everyone that although it is attributed to Robert Burns, a version of it was known in the 17th century as the Galloway Grace or the Covenanters’ Grace and was said in Lallans (the Lowland Scots dialect). The serious business of eating and drinking was then addressed.
The toast to the lassies, proposed by James Brown and was enthusiastically received by them. Amanda Poynter-Smith then responded on behalf of the lassies with some humour, which again was enthusiastically received by all, ending with the line that “life would be much duller without you laddies”. The toast to the Immortal Bard was proposed by Angus Russell, who was also very informative on the life of Burns.
Rod Mudge officiated ‘heads and tails’ by flipping the coin, which was to raise money for St Margaret’s Hospice when a goodly sum was raised, with many people putting in a little extra.
Undoubtedly, all present had a most enjoyable evening, which was brought to a close with everyone singing Auld Lang Syne. Then all they drifted back home, saying goodbye to friends old and new, and it was mooted by many that the whole process should be repeated next year.