Burn's Night 2017
... the skirl of the bagpipes, the swing of a kilt, a twirl of a tartan sash, the thrust of a knife as the fragrant smells of a haggis rise - are we back at Culloden? No, in fact, a Burn's Night at Husthwaite Village Hall.
As newcomers to the full and varied social calendar in Husthwaite, we were looking forward to another event and it didn't disappoint. On entering the village hall the atmosphere was firmly established with the rousing greeting from the piper, Michael Almond, the fluttering of the red and gold of the Lion Rampant and the blue and white of the Saltires, echoed in the blue and white of the table decor.
A seating plan- with the theme this year based on the Scottish comic strips of D C Thomas, allowed us to find our seats for the meal.
There was an immediately friendly welcome as we had to race to fill our dance cards, allowing us to introduce ourselves to complete strangers, many of whom had come from villages we had never even heard of - such is the reputation of the event.
Traditions were observed with the solemnity of the piping in of the haggis and the dramatic address to it - a wonderful piece of Scottish theatre, delivered in style by Brain Watt. This was followed by The Selkirk Grace & Loyal Toast by Will Mowatt. We then tucked in to the traditional " haggis and neeps" - prepared and cooked by Elaine Watt and Sheila Mowatt, followed by a wonderful contribution buffet.
There was much anticipation for yet another tradition -a fine one for us ladies- The Toast to the Lasses and The Reply on their behalf.
The first was given by Lawrie Hill, and we waited with bated breath to see if ALL the 50 best Middlesbrough players were to be named before we had our praises sung, but no, he gallantly moved on to give us our due, and Mel Casling cleverly fashioned her reply in a poem worthy of the bard himself.
When the laughter and clapping had died down and the tables and chairs been efficiently moved, Brian then called the dances for us, firmly but with much needed patience and humour. I personally was thrilled to dance my first Eightsome Reel.
My parents met in Lossiemouth, Morayshire in 1944 over an Eightsome Reel - my mother always claiming she had never seen anything so funny as my English father attempting it. No doubt my attempt would have made her chuckle too!
A wonderful evening-slickly and efficiently organised-thanks to all concerned.
Top Tips for newcomers next year:
-The "haggis and neeps" is just the starter! (save room for the buffet)
-Bring your flat dancing shoes ladies
-Do some serious cardio workout the week before.
Pictures Jan Janiurek: Featured Hamish McSeaman