Saturday, January 21, 1989

Burns' Night Dinner ...

I woke up at noon - much later than usual - and made my way downstairs at Dr. Morrison's house to have some breakfast and read the newspaper.

I was still sitting at the table finishing my breakfast when Dr. Morrison came down and told me he had bought me a hoagie for lunch. So, fresh from one meal, I was granted another. (Deja vu?)

I relaxed and read a bit, then watched "A Passage to India" on TV - the movie version of the book I'm supposed to read. It was well done, interesting, and a lot easier than reading the book! It was a long movie (nearly 3 hours), but still shorter than reading it.

After the movie ended I took a bath, dressed in my dinner suit (Dr. Morrison tried unsuccessfully to get me into a kilt), and later we were off to the Burns Night Dinner. It's a long standing tradition to hold these affairs to celebrate the birthday of poet Robert Burns. This year marks the 230th anniversary of his birth. This was also the 104th year that the Chester Caledonian Association, which was hosting this evening's festivities, has held their own celebration here.

We arrived at the Queen's Hotel in Chester at around 6.30 p.m., then had a few drinks before sitting down. Scotch was heartily consumed, food was devoured (naturally haggis, which I despise, was on the menu, but there were other delicacies that I quite enjoyed), poetry from Burns was recited and heralded, speakers spoke fondly of Burns, songs of the poet's poems were enthusiastically sung (Dr. Morrison's cousin Ronnie was one of the two featured singers), and jovial toasts were made. It was a decidedly male-dominated event.

Unfortunately, the kids sitting behind us were a bit rude and loud, but the dinner was nevertheless entertaining and fun. Everyone left the banquet happy (some considerably happier than others), but this was hardly the end of the evening, as wives came to pick up their husbands to take them home, or to other parties. Our destination was an afterparty at the home of the Gills (friends of Dr. Morrison. I sat at the banquet with Gavin and Ian Gill.) That was good fun as well, with more drinking, conversation, poetry reading, and singing going on here... not to mention some Scottish dancing.

It was fabulous fun, and we finally made it back to Dr. Morrison's house at around 4.30 a.m. Still wasn't quite ready to go to bed, so I read a bit more from "The Chronicles" before falling cold away asleep.

(Pictures: #1 - The front and back cover of the Burns Night program. #2 - Enjoying an evening at the Gills house party after the event. #3 - Gus sings!)

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