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Burns Blog three! by Melvyn Gibson

Dear Readers,

Autumn weather Sept 13th 2017


Jist settling doon tae ride oot Hurricane Ophelia. Ahm bidein at hame until the winds subside. Trust thir are nae pooer cuts tae interrupt my dwelling oan this epistle. A guid thocht micht cam tae fruition if the richt wis gained to name a hurricanes makin land in Alba oorsels. Crie them Hurricane Jimmy, Big Aggie, Black Dougie and sae oan. Harnessing the winds noo  – a rerr concept. Beats oany devolved pooers or as they maun be cried devoluted or dissolved or even diluted pooers as fowk predict aifter Brexit. Nary mind.  Claiming they Hurricanes for oorsels wud gie us cause to perty in old Scotia. Whit a perty tae –  wud blaw awa a the cobwebs as lang as thir still no attached tae oor hooses.


When thirs weirdings aye in the neeghborhood wha ye gonnae ca? Mayhap Richard Dawkins or yon priest oot a the Exorcist. I encountered a surrealist landscape inby the Cottage qhan I conducted the guided tours thir oan the Sabbath morn. Hud the spirits jinked in ahead o set up fir tae Halloween happenings aboot the site?   Table and chairs frae the Spence levitated tae a  odd places in the byre. A the straw sooked oot the bare barn. An empty display cabinet landed in the Spence like some wee Tardus. Nae audio visuals. The sounds ah wis makin stanin in for the kye, yowes, poultry, rattons, diels and witches – squawkin, screechin and scuttling. Man it wis monumumental. Ah wis fare jiggered. Didnae scare onybody aff  anyweis. Fowk cam by frae Bermuda, Nova Scotia, Aberdeenshire, Irvine, Troon, Ayr and Glesca amangst them a.

Heighlicht Talks

Wee reminder that Hugh Farrell is next up in the Robertson Room this Wednesday tae grab the lectern fir 3pm wi his tak on the past,present and future o oor ain Burns Monument – topical or whit? Ken hes nae likely to address trademerkin the Monument. Is he? Next week new departure fir the Heighlicht talks. No sae much a talk as a Burns or,broadened oot, Burns related karaoke o poetry and sang. Wan second ower the allocated time fir performance and you get the hook. Nae news yet oan talks in the series fir November.

The Mitchell


Anent the prospect o a visit to the Robert Burns collection at the Mitchell library in Glasgow. Thir are hunners an hunners actually thoosans and thoosans o items held there. Thanks to Ana fir passing oan the information.  Heilichts include –

oer nine hunner  editions of the works wi importantly  twa copies of the 1786 Kilmarnock edition and twa o the 1787 Edinburgh edition.

15 original manuscripts in the poet’s hand, including the only surviving letter written by  Burns

in Scots and the only copy in existence of ‘The Ordination’.

Translations of the poet’s works into more than 36 languages.

Wan complete set of The Burns Chronicle.

Please contact Ana on if interested in this proposed visit.



Oan the experience o a recent visit to The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry at Irvine Town House a lang time fan o the newsletter, Myra, writes – 5th-18th October. I took myself up to this exhibition and have to say I was blown away by the content of the embroidered panels displayed. This was a history lesson from the early days of Scots migration to every part of the world. No country could have been missed out and it was split into sections – Australasia/Africa, Americas, Baltic nations, European nations, the British Isles. It covered every part of Scottish culture and heritage from famous Kings and Queens, football, especially South America – many Scots started up football teams that developed into many famous football clubs that we know today – (Gordon Strachan may have been right about genetics after Scotland failed the World Club entry again and all the tactics/techniques had been sent out into the world in previous centuries!!) Religion, engineering, farming, textiles, botany and so much more. The nephew of Robert Burns, Rev. Thomas Burns who went to Otago was featured on one panel as was Robert Burns himself. My own favourite panels were the Asian panels full of flowers, trees and plants and one showed the famous Paisley teardrop that created an industry in Scotland and that is still used to this day. In this section too  the famous Scottish Calcutta graveyard where lots of Scots were buried who had lived and worked in the city. Not only was this a fabulous history lesson for all ages but the skill and patience displayed in the embroidery was stunning to admire.

The Tapestry is on display at Irvine until this Wednesday. Moira and Annabel also add thir approval o the exhibition. Annabel also pints oot that the Tapestry can be viewed online via The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry website.


This contribution by anither adorer o the newsletter, Maureen Bryceland, needs nae comment. Spaks fir itsel oan the mutual benefits for fowk frae volunteering

I have been guiding for seven years  and a few years ago we had a group of partially sighted people in the museum but I have never had a blind visitor in the Cottage .This a different tour  altogether as I found on Saturday . Three gents arrived. One was totally blind. I quickly realised I had to adapt my talk to a more tactile experience for this  man to appreciate what the Cottage held within. After my short intro at the door we raised our hands to touch the thatch. On feeling the depth and width sharp and jaggy ,he traced the door and the frame paying great attention to the latch.  Walking through from the Barn to the Byrne he could tell that the floor changed. He found the kerb.He churned some butter. He felt the large cheese press and Meg’s haulter. He could hear the rustle of the straw and lifted an armful of straw to smell. In the Spence he traced the size of the window and the thickness of the walls as he said he could smell the age. Again he traced the door at the kitchen opening out to the street. He felt the hinges and the lock. He was fascinated by the ironwork on the door ,the height of the ceiling at the trans wall ,and said the people must have been small. In the kitchen he sat on William’s chair while I told them about the life the Burns family would

have had. I told of the night a storm blew down the end wall,  Robert and his mother  being taken in by neighbours,with Gilbert and Robbie chiding one another about  “Rantin Ravin Robbie”.We all sang this to him. Tears in his eye he could feel the depth of the rag rug. He traced the shape of the spinning wheel. He touched the pewter and horn cups. He was so eager to find out aboot This Robbie. Sitting in the chair he told me they were from Dundee staying in Alloway for a wee break,that the young man was his son who’s twin had died 6weeks ago and he just loved Burns. So they all had to come and find oot all that this poet was aboot asin his possessions they found a lot of memorabilia  with connections to Robert Burns.  We left by the back door. When we turned round he was again tracing the wood of the door and the latch what fascinated him. We entered the kaleyard. He felt the kale. Running his hand along  he tasted it and said it tasted of his mother’s soup, On leaving he hugged me ,thanking me for showing him the life of the Burns Family. An hour later I headed to poets corner for a strong cuppa o’tea,,,,,,


This Sunday Robertson Room at 2pm Professor Gerard Carruthers of the University of Glasgow considers those who have attempted falsify the record of Robert Burns’s life and work. It looks at editorial manipulations from James Currie to the 21st Century, the bending of historical data and also physical forgery. In the latter regard, his talk particularly considers the case of Alexander Howland (‘Antique’) Smith who served a prison sentence for his manuscript forgeries during the 1890s. You micht hae seen Professor Carruthers on the telly being interviewed bi Tony Robinson at Abbotsford a aboot Walter Scott. Ither talks o interest and speakers in this series shud be notified in due course. Wan on Sunday looks like a guid stert tae the current programme.


At the Museum on Saturday 11th November Dalry Burns Club are gaen tae perform The Jolly Beggars for only £5. Bargain price for an event that deserves an audience.



An appeal frae Ally oan this. She explains that this is a Burns Museum blog site at she publishes fortnightly blog posts on. Posts should be roughly 500 words,include at least one picture and be on something related to Burns. The link may be tenuous however e.g., to do with the 18th century, poetry, Scots language. Suggested focus could be on a n object in the collection or on a particular aspect of Burns’s life. Ally would be grateful for any contribution of completed blogs to help sustain this.


Via emails relayed by Ally comes advice that Curatorial and Conservation Services are running a series of practical collections care workshops for staff and volunteers who work with collections in February 2018. The most convenient and practical venue offered for this area is Culzean on Thursday 15th February 2018. The advice is that a booking form will be widely circulated during October actually within the next two weeks. Places however are limited and as workshops are usually over-subscribed and as the aim is for a fair and wide representation of Trust roles the right is reserved not to accept all bookings. Alison’s advice however in her email addressed to volunteer guides in these linked communications and in her capacity as Volunteer Coordinator is that despite the scarce places all volunteers are supposed to do this course. Any comments or advice on this? Personally I do not know if I shall be free or not on the 15th of February. Like other volunteers I have other commitments and interests to consider.


Still time to put your name down for the lunch and viewing the contents at Pollok House next Monday from noon. Contact Moira Gemmell on


Some o oor ain seen at the first o ten Poetry and Sang Gang Thegither talks given at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow by Professor Fred Freeman on Wednesday jist bye. These talks are every Wednesday at 7pm concluding at 8.30pm.


Guid luck to abody – staff and volunteers – taking part in the upcoming Halloween events. Hae a scary successful time ain an a.


Pleased to hear from you with stories, poems, information, appeals, comments, concerns for the newsletter.


Didnae mak it in this week but’ll likely be back e’er lang.














Burns Blog two! by Melvyn Gibson

Dear Readers,


Enthralled reader Moira Gemmell invites you a’ tae jine a trip on 23rd o this month tae Pollok Hoose fir viewing and learning mair aboot the paintings hinging thir. Anent thae paintings she asserts that the collection gaithered taegether thir haes mair Spanish wans than ony ither oot o Spain. Ain caution tae consider is in the ready advice that a few o the paintings micht be withdrawn frae the display pending progress o werks at the hoose. Get taegither at Pollok House for lunch fir noon on the day. Aifter guid food feast your een oan the airt presentit fir your plaisir. Contact Moira on to tak pairt and sort oot fir her numbers to be booked fir lunch. A’  ken Sir John Stirling Maxwell o Pollok House gied a haund in stairting the  National Trust for Scotland.


Also Moira haes tickets for TAK THE FLARE on Saturday 9thDecember at the Museum. She is happy for abody interested tae jin her tae mak a table o volunteers fir this occassion. Mention her name qhan pairting wi the siller for ticket(s).


Moira brocht this up and enchanted reader Ana hae confirmit that thir micht be a chaunce tae arrange a visit tae the MITCHELL LIBRARY tae see items frae thir Burns collection. Ana needs to find oot whit support thir wud be for sic an outing.  Please contact her noo tae intimate interest on  If this visit gaes ahead it promises tae be worthwhile. The Burns Collection at the Mitchell holds oer 7000 buiks an’ artefacts.


The free series o talks – Poetry and Sang Gang Thegither –  presentit by Professor Fred Freeman stairts Wednesday 11th October at 7pm. Talks are scheduled for wan an a hauf hoors each and are being given at the Royal Conservatoire o Scotland. These talks shud be lively, entertaining and informative as abody acquaintit aready wi the style and substance o the speaker kens . Guaranteed to repay the travel. All ye are asked tae spend is time.  Siller stays in your pocket.


Myra, a leading licht in the fan club for the newsletter, writes to inform that the rag ruggers – Jackie, Lynne and hersel’ hae noo finished their summer season in the Cottage and returned tae the Education Pavilion to continue working on their current rug Monday afternoons from 2pm to 4pm. This, thir second rug aiblings hae been enhaunced wi a drawing o a mouse in the middle. They are gratefu to Pat Candlish for agreeing to draw this mouse. They reckon the rug wi the mouse will tak  a little longer tae complete than thir first wan an’ wi the centrepiece an’ a this time they are brakin’ fresh ground tae provide a talkin’ point fir visitors. The rag ruggers hae bin busy in the Cottage wi visitors frae monie pairts. Monie kent whit a rag rug was and shared memories o family werking at rag rugs.  Monie who  didnae ken afore thir visit aboot werking tae mak rag rugs waur fascinated by observing the process. It has been learnt frae fowk visiting  oe’r the summer that  in Northumberland and Yorkshire they crie rag rugs proggy or clippie rugs an’ makin’  o  rugs wisnae confined to weemen. Monie visitors expressit the wish that they haud held oan tae family rag rugs.


Lady gaiein aroon wi a tape recorder thocht tae be takin notes to remind hersel’ o her visit.Turned oot  she wis frae Irish Radio an taped an interview with oor rag ruggers.

Oan anither occasion an American loon frae Atlanta, Georgia wis observit tae pace up and doon measuring  the Spens. He disclosed that his purpose wis tae determine if the dimensions at the replica  Burns Cottage in Atlanta were the same.  Anent the Atlanta replica Cottage he spak richt that it originally also had a thatched roof but due to health and safety considerations the thatch wis removed and replaced wi a tiled roof.


As always they are looking for old fleeces, jackets, scarves etc to use in the makin’ o the rugs and if you have anything of this sort spare they would be grateful if you would please pass it into Ally in the office.


Last time oot  I revealed Rogers statistics here. Ally Beckett his noo asked masel’ to disclose her vital statistics an’ a. I am agin happy tae oblige and very exciting they are too. For frae the end o this July(syne figures hae bin kept) the volunteers demonstrating traditional skills in the Cottage hae entertained at least 639 visitors. Skills demonstratit hae includit rag rug makin’, ink makin’, darning/patching and bannock making. The total number gied for this may be an underestimate as it isnae awaes possible tae count a’ the visitors and carrie oan demonstrations at the same time. Ally advises that the official end date for activities being staged in the Cottage wis the end o September but if abodie likes to persevere and, if it’s wairm enough in the Cottage, they are more than welcome tae continue. The message from Ally is that the efforts of all the volunteers involved in the Cottage demonstrations have not been overlooked and are much appreciated.


On a related subject  in the first 6 months of the year, March – August (financial year starting in March), there his been a  grand total of 8,052 visitors guided through the Cottage and Museum by the volunteers. This total may also be an underestimate as there hae been times when the folder hisnae been located to allow fir the recording o numbers on the tours. Ally comments –“ I personally think that’s an incredible number of people who our volunteers have been able to engage with and teach more about Robert Burns, so please pass on our biggest thanks from the staff here!!” I heartily agree with what she wrote there.




You may have seen the e-mail sent out on the 3rd of this month by Claire. In case you missed it I repeat her for your attention –

We are looking for some old dark clothes and hats to make scare crows for Alloween – if you have anything lying around waiting to go the charity shop, I’d be very grateful if you could bring it in.


As Ally intimated qhan circulating the last newsletter Highlight Talks hae bin swapped. Upshot of this is that Rab Wilson’s talk oan The Mining Makars is noo being given this Wednesday 11th October. As is the norm this talk shall be frae 3pm in the Robertson Room in the Museum. Whit’s expectit? Rab has a look in detail at the legacy and tradition of working class poets in Ayrshire. Rab Wilson is kent in this parish as the Scriever for RBBM, poet, newspaper columnist in Scots and campaigner. Spare some time to hear about a fascinating subject. Aifter grab a snack in the café and head up to Glasgow for the first of the Fred talks that evening. Both talks are free remember so yir purse’ll still be jingling wi siller.

Rab  is noo followed in the Robertson Room on Wednesday the 18th by Hugh Farrell talking  oan oor Burns Monument, that yin in the Monument Gairdens wi the gold tap that thirs bin a fair stooshie aboot in recent times.  Folk for certain hae goat themsels in a state o high doh  wi the controversy generated aboot the preservation and future o the Monument.  Whit a fankle! Hugh is Chair of the Friends of RBBM and his talk will address the history and future o the structure. Nae doot his prognostications on the topic are eagerly awaited by critics, supporters an’ interested parties alike. Wan thing’s for sure – he’s naw puggled nor is he downhearted by circumstances. Micht be indulgence in flyting if thirs nae consensus. If thir is flyting micht hae to blow the fussle oan any participants.


By 5pm Monday 9th thir wis naething listed oan the RBBM website’s What’s On section for these Highlight Talks. Thir is a notice for a the October talks o this category oan Facebook page . Shud it no be Whit’s Oan anyhow? Is it no time the format o oor website wis adjusted to gie Scots a pairt in promoting the place? Acknowledgement o the Gaelic micht be nae bad thing either?


This week yir Agony Uncle taks on questions o some gravity frae the Post Bag. First a spellbound reader asks Whits the difference between Scots and Scotch? Answer – Ah’m fare scunnered by this enquiry oan account o the definitions goat frae the Dictionary I consultit oan this. Entry for Scots is fine qhan as an adjective it dubs Scots as relating to, or characteristic of Scotland, its people BUT qhan it gangs oan tae advise as weel “their English dialects” my danders up an quhan  forbye it gies noun version o Scots as “any of the English dialects spoken or written in Scotland” ah’m hoarse wi apoplexy. Ah’m splenetic wi a rerr rage. I hae calmed doon at sicht o the entry fir Scotch quhan it explains aifter reference to whisky,broth, eggs, mist, pancakes,tape, terrier that “In the North of England and Scotland, Scotch is not used outside fixed expressions such as Scotch Whisky. The use of Scotch for Scots or Scottish is otherwise felt to be incorrect esp. when applied to persons(My thocht is also to the Scots language). See Scotchman – another word for Scotsman(regarded as bad usage by the Scots). Dinna fash me agin wi daft propositions masquerading as questions. Whit thrawn chiels are discoverit!

An ither delichted reader asks Whit gaes up and doon a the time? Answer – Fowk gang up then doon oan the Brig O Doon maist days.

Send yir questions for the next edition. If you huvnae any send answers.


Put a spoonful of coffee (or however much you usually have) into a mug or cup. Add as much sugar or sweetener as you desire and add a splash of warm water. Stir together so the sugar and coffee dissolve, then top up with milk. Stir again and put in the microwave for one minute. Remove and stir, then put it for another minute or until the milk is hot enough. Milky Sugar. Comforting.


Struggling to fit in visit to the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry at Irvine Town House. Anyone been yet?  Gies yir thochts on the experience.  Fortified on Sunday by sample dram of the 12 year old malt at Glengoyne Distillery. A wheen o ither distilleries are available to visit. Guid listening at recent performances by the Genovia Quartet, Scots/Spanish bassoon quintet, in the Merchants Hall, Glasgow and at Ayr Town Hall Organ recital by Morley Whitehead. Merchant Hall features concerts every second Wednesday. Ayr Town Hall Organ Concerts are every Monday at noon. This week -The Glasgow Cathedral Music Festival, Junior International Football tournament in Glasgow(Scotland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man), round pound coin ceases to be accepted. Tuesday ah’m guide oan Glasgow Bus. Saturday Waverley cruise. Sunday ah’m back at the Cottage for morning tours. Looking ahead on 10th November I shall be strutting my stuff to That Swing Sensation Swing Band at the Fenwick Jazz Night in the Church Hall.


Still efter ony anecdotes and news guid or bad. Guid responses this week. Keep chipping in wi yer ain. It his bin fair heartening to learn o guid werks accomplished by volunteers an pass on acknowledgement o the contributions made.

Anent recognition you shud hae received an email frae ain o our oan, Alison Wilson,  commenting on the deserved thank you recently organised for her at Ellisland Farm. Alison’s werk for RBBM and the volunteers his been phenomenal an happily although takin a step back she will still be aroon for us. Thanks also tae the fowk who organised this Ellisland trip.

Enjoy your volunteering this week and for a yir hard werk JAM TARTS A ROON. Stay safe, healthy and warm.



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.


Paintings Raffle

Burns Cottage by William Hillen
Burns Cottage by William Hillen
Burns Monument, Alloway by William Hillen
Burns Cottage by William Hillen

At 12.30 today, we had the draw for the Burns Monument Raffle. There were two prizes in the form of works of art that were donated by William Hillen, a local artist who has donated a great number of works of art for charity.


Robert Wisecup from Georgia, USA, drawing the winning ticket.
Robert Wisecup from Georgia, USA, drawing the winning ticket.

Hugh Farrell, Chairman of the Friends of RBBM invited the first person to enter the museum after 12.25, to draw the winning tickets. This was Robert Wisecup who was on holiday from Georgia, USA, and whose birthday matches that of Robert Burns.
The winners were John Rattenbury of Ayr who chose the very atmospheric picture of Burns Cottage and John McCormick of Stonehouse, Lanarkshire who took the oil painting of Burns Monument.

John Rattenbury, right, receiving the first prize from Hugh Farrell, Chairman of Friends of RBBM
John Rattenbury, right, receiving the first prize from Hugh Farrell, Chairman of Friends of RBBM

The raffle has made a valuable contribution to the Burns Monument Refurbishment fund, and our thanks go to William for his generous donation of the pictures, and of course, to all who bought raffle tickets.

Closure of our shop, Ayrshire Gifts an’ a’ That:

After an extraordinary year, our High Street gift shop has been closed. We opened it as a pop-up shop at the end of August 2014, for the sale of Robert Burns related National Trust for Scotland stock and a dazzling array of crafts from our talented Ayrshire crafters. It was unique on the High Street, and with almost 50 crafters displaying their carefully created wares, there was lots for visitors and residents of Ayr to choose from. It was staffed by a wonderfully dedicated team of volunteers, who painted, managed, staffed and maintained the shop as one of the most attractive in town.

Why close it? Well, it actually stayed open longer than was intended, and there were a whole range of reasons why it was time to bring the project to a close. So many thanks to our volunteers, the many staff from Robert Burns Museum who gave so much help, support and guidance, and of course to the many customers who visited the shop and made it a success.

Our volunteers at a team meeting in January 2015.
Our volunteers at a team meeting in January 2015.