Burns Blog one! by Melvyn Gibson


It was again evident on Saurday jist goan by that excitement and interest is still being generated by the werks at New Gairdens by the Cottage and the Scots Wa-Hey Adventure Playground. I got many comments of approval and support for both. Again café wis daeing a roaring trade quhan I gied it a visit in the morning. Fair chuffed wis able tae point oot tae a mither and bairns the deer in the corner near tae the watter feature in New Gairdens. Does the hert guid tae hae observed the creatures still visiting. Bairns were well pleased. Thir mither wis pretty thrilled wi the sicht of the deer in the dappled sunshine.

I wis guide at the Auld Clay Biggin in the aifternoon. Amang visitors I spak wi thir was Russians. They were rushin tae as they had tae mak thir coach departing. Wae mair time however there wis a lady frae the dairy State o Wisconsin, Canadians, a Portugese couple, yinds frae Sussex, and twa frae Lichfield – Dr Johnson, Lichfield Cathedral an Erasmus Darwin a got a mention. Sweden, Australia an mair Americans waur representit also. Wi the Russians thir wis wan Italian. I dinae hae time tae find oot the reason for the Italian buddying up wi the Russian group. To balance oot the overseas visitors thir was fouk frae Dailly, Airdrie and Glesca amangst ithers frae Alba. Masel and yin from Airdrie both remembered Sam Hastings as a player from the 1960s for the Bully Wee and the Accies. Pass oan details of the visitors you encounter frae far and near and any questions or occurrences that micht be of interest or humourous. I can always get them rounded up and related fir the plaisir of a’.

Still in the Cottage unless I hae picked up on this wrang I understand that the folder for the recording of tour numbers is in the cupboard in the Cottage kitchen. If ah’m nae wrang on that score is aebody else gaeing thru the same problems I hae encounterit wi this. Either the cupboard door his been locked or jammed shut or opens sae far fir masel and nae further. Ah’m feart to attempt tae prise or wiggle it open in case any damage results. Sae the damn thing has resolutely yin way or anither refused tae allow me anywhaur near the said folder. Ah’m emailing ma numbers in instead of recording them.



Although I gied it a mention afore jist a wee reminder that oor Sean(), lad o this parish, is due to deliver a Highlight Talk on Clouts an’ Claes at the usual time of 3pm on Wednesday 4th October.  Gang alang and Shang Alang in appreciation by lending yir lugs to his expertise quhan he spaks aboot this. I suppose talk mibbe in the Robertson Room at the Museum but could be in the Temporary Exhibition Gallery a roon and aboot the Clouts an’ Claes. Mair apologies frae me as I will miss out on the bending o lugs by Sean. I am at a concert in the Merchants House in Glasgow that day and thir is naw prospect of me making it doon in time frae there to hear Sean.

Sean kicks aff a full programme o Highlight Talks oan Wednesdays in October at 3pm in the Roberson Room. He is followed on the 11th by Hugh Farrell on oor Burns Monument, that yin in the Monument Gairdens wi the gold tap, on the 18th by Rab Wilson oan The Mining Makars an oan the 25th thirs an Open Mic Session for performers prepared tae render a Burns or Burns related poem or song. Max time for waxing poetic or gieing us a sang is five minutes. All welcome to tak pairt. Thanks to oor correspondent/international observer in Spain or Catalonia for forwarding the October programme fir this regular event in the RBBM colander.

Wan o oor ain his triumphed at the recent Wigtown Book Festival. Bill Boyd was highly commended in the Scots Prize section for his poem Hogmanay. Understaun he his goan awa oot an bought a lot o bling tae wear wae the siller he expects tae flow frae this. Hae a luik at they medallions tastefully displayed on the bare chest. In Bill’s absence Matthew Flitt, National Scots Language Development Officer,published Scots Poet and Novellist and Competition Judge, read the poem at the prize giving oan Saturday. Bill wisnae thir tae accept and deliver his poem as he wis awa on holiday. Ah’m no gaing to keep you in suspense. Ah’m nae sure if Ah’ve got consent or not but here is Bill’s poem unveiled fir your delight. You may recognise the setting.


As I walked out on Hogmanay, towards the kirk at Alloway,

I heard a fracas in the dell, ahint the wa’ in old Rozelle.

A rustlin’ sound amang the trees, came driftin’ o’er in the breeze,

And turnin’ round with dreadfu’ fright, wow I saw an unco sight.

A Boxer dug, big, grim and broad, stood in the middle o’ the road,

And through the eerie silence bode an eldritch voice, crying ‘Oh my God!’

The dug it stood like ane transfixed, afore decidin’ what came next,

When sudden fae its dwam was jolted, off up the road the creature bolted.

Some ancient prehistoric de’ils, put life and mettle in its heels.

Above the wa’ there next appeared, the owner who looked maist afeared,

A harassed jade, peroxide blond, fae whom the cur it did abscond.

Her plea was simple, curt and comely, ‘Haw pal, gonnae grab him, will ye?’

Now gentle dames, I must confess, wi’ love o’dugs I am not bless’d,

And lacking bold John Barleycorn, the danger I could hardly scorn.

I let the dug pursue its path, incurred the irate wifey’s wrath.

She hotch’d and blew wi’ micht and main, and uttered language quite profane.

The mutt meanwhile had turned around, and for me quickly made up ground,

But quickly steppin’ tae the side, I let it pass ere I maun ride

It bounded, fearsome, fast and true, t’wards auld Ayr Toon it quickly flew,

Where honest men or bonnie lasses, would have a fit gin that thing passes.

But ere the toon gate it could make, I heard the screech and squeal o’ brake,

A white van man had pulled up quick, and pulled off a heroic trick.

He claught the mongrel by the rump, and trimmed the sails o’ yon big lump.

Then liftin’ up the pantin’ tyke, he passed him up and o’er the dyke.

The owner she was blythe and tearfu’, gave the canine quite an earfu’.

But turnin’ tae our hero bold, wha’d handed back her crock o’ gold,

In praise o’ him was maist effusive, tae land a capture sae elusive.

She promised him that she’d repay, wi’ secret favours one fine day.

Her language it was maist demure, as fragrant as a mountain flow’r.

Now, wha this tale o’ truth shall read, ilk man, and mother’s son, take heed.

If ever you’re harangued by burds, remember noble Hamlet’s words,

The sickly cast o’ deeper thocht, oft brings our good intents tae nocht.

Whene’er confronted by a choice, and listenin’ tae yer inner voice,

To jump right in or walk awa’? Conscience makes cowards o’ us a’.

Tak yir cue frae Bill and submit yir ain short poems or shirt poems. Aye we could hae a series o poems oan the theme o shirts.  Ah’ll include them in the newsletter unless they are offensive. No judgement exercised. Go oan hae a go. If you dinnae choose to write them yersels suggest some favourits.


I gied a shout oot for the Buggy Team last week. Syne then Roger hae asked me to reveal his vital statistics and ah’m happy tae oblige. The Buggy Team to date this year hae raised around £1200 in donations and carried 6500 visitors up and down the Poet’s Path. Splendid statistics. The Buggy service stops officially mid October. Roger advises that the team shall keep the wheels turning and maintained over the winter as well as helping out at RBBM in ither ways. He adds that matters are now being organised for the annual sale of Christmas wreaths and trees. The regular buggy drivers – Sandy, Lynne, Ronnie, Ana, Robert, David, George hae bin augmented by twa fresh recruits, Tom and Margaret. Mibbes an idea to get them a tighter for a framed photo to go in the foyer of the Museum. Jist as an aifter thought Roger did comment that a thir passengers were happy. Anent that he also wrote that ma second newsletter had caused his brain to explode. Glad ah’m no the cleaner at your hoose Roger. Pretty messy picture.

Anithir big fan o this communication his alertit masel to the news that the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry can be seen at the Town House in Irvine from 5th to 18th October. Perhaps some o oor number could meet up for a visit tae view the Tapestry. It is open Monday to Friday and Saturday 10am to 4pm with late night Tuesday 6pm to 8pm. Thanks for the heids up on that wan Annabel.

Whats Up? Service

A reader asks which side or way round should you approach Burns Monument? Answer – It a depends which direction you are coming from at the time. Another reader asks are a the vegetables lifted  frae the kailyard gairden individually numbered prior to delivery oan to the café kitchen for ingredients in the meals oan the menu tae ensure traceability and transparency? Lang question reader. Nae chance to draw breath on that one. Answer is supposition that they may be counted but no necessarily numbered. Wheelbarras to hurl them doon organically friendly in some way. Think that is enough to reassure ony yin. Get your questions in early for the next edition.

Saturday 7th the Alloway Guid Fayre Market 10am to 3pm returns to the Museum. Scottish Food and Crafts.

I know thir wis or is tae be ain surprise happening and shud be grateful for any feedback oan that fir inclusion here.

Finally I’d jist like to comment that milk is very important generally and tae maself particularly. That’s the sole comment on milk this week. Milk Monitor is exonerated. Who is the Milk Monitor this week? That is something for you all to work oot.

Have a good week or weekend of enjoyable volunteering. Remember it’s cold outside but not as cold yet as has been predicted. So, in light of these observations, wrap up warm or not as may be the case or not and as ever is possibly or probably.


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