Archive for January, 2008

The Loch Ness Monster pops up in the strangest places….

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

In my daily web trawl for all things Loch Ness I come accross some odd places where our beloved Loch Ness monster pops up.

The latest incarnation seems to be as an omelet in Las Vegas. Thier self named ‘Loch Ness Monster’ is a exciting concotion of Gulf shrimp, avocado, cheddar cheese and …wait for it….6 eggs! I’m not quite sure why this combination leads to it being named after our most famous resident (the shores of Loch Ness are not known to be groaning under the weight of avocado trees, and it ‘s not the eggs – all of this place’s 41 types of omelets are made with 6 eggs!). Still – when one of our local hoteliers takes his holiday to the casinos of Las Vegas shortly – Ill know where to send him! (Ah heck – see the menu here )

Keeping to the theme of eggs… The Waterhorse: Legend of the deep will be released in UK cinemas on Feb 8th 2008. As of Jan 29th it has taken $39,580,173 at the US box office.

And now for something completley different.

The AA has included Loch Ness in one of its top 10 drives around the UK

10. Highland Scotland From the shores of Loch Ness to the west coast fishing communities of Wester Ross

Route: Inverness-Drumnadrochit-Invermoriston-( <the Loch Ness Route) Dundreggan-Eilean Donan Castle-Stromeferry-Strathcarron Station-Lochcarron-Applecross-Fearnmore-Shieldaig-Torridon-Gairloch-Inverewe Garden-Gruinard Bay-Ardessie-Garve-Contin-Strathpeffer-Moniack Castle-Reelig Glen-Inverness.

Details of all 10 drives are contained in the book The AA Best Drives Britain, £11.99.

Robert Burns, the Burns Supper and more!

Monday, January 7th, 2008

It’s coming up to January 25th: the Birthday of Robbie Burns, and the time of year when arguably Scotland’s most famous poet is celebrated. So set yourself the challenge of learning ALL the words of Auld Lang Syne and read on to find out more. (Note – Burns Night Events will be happening all around the Loch Ness Area – go to the events page of www.visitlochness.com to find out where)

Robbie Burns

Born in Alloway, Ayrshire, in 1759 to William Burness, a poor tenant farmer, and Agnes Broun, Robert Burns was the eldest of seven. He spent his youth working his father’s farm, but in spite of his poverty he was extremely well read – at the insistence of his father, who employed a tutor for Robert and younger brother Gilbert. At 15 Robert was the principal worker on the farm and this prompted him to start writing in an attempt to find “some kind of counterpoise for his circumstances.” It was at this tender age that Burns penned his first verse, “My Handsome Nell”, which was an ode to the other subjects that dominated his life, namely scotch and women.

The last years of Burns’ life were devoted to penning great poetic masterpieces such as The Lea Rig, Tam O’Shanter and a Red, Red Rose. He died aged 37 of heart disease exacerbated by the hard manual work he undertook when he was young. His death occurred on the same day as his wife Jean gave birth to his last son, Maxwell.

On the day of his burial more than 10,000 people came to watch and pay their respects. However, his popularity then was nothing compared to the heights it has reached since.

On the anniversary of his birth, Scots both at home and abroad celebrate Robert Burns with a supper, where they address the haggis, the ladies and whisky. A celebration which would undoubtedly make him proud.

Burns Suppers have been part of Scottish culture for about 200 years as a means of commemorating our best loved bard. And when Burns immortalised haggis in verse he created a central link that is maintained to this day.

The ritual was started by close friends of Burns a few years after his death in 1796 as a tribute to his memory. The basic format for the evening has remained unchanged since that time and begins when the chairman invites the company to receive the haggis……but whatever happens you are guaranteed an evening of good verse, a full belly and a dram, or several!

The format of a Burns supper is usually as follows:
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Chairperson’s opening address A few welcoming words start the evening and the meal commences with the Selkirk Grace:

Some hae meat and cannot eat.
Some cannot eat that want it:
But we hae meat and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.

Everyone is then asked to stand to receive the haggis. A piper then leads the chef, carrying the haggis to the top table, while the guests accompany them with a slow handclap. The chairman or invited guest then recites Burns’ famous poem To A Haggis (see below). When he reaches the line ‘an cut you up wi’ ready slight’, he cuts open the haggis with a sharp knife.

Address to a Haggis.

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
‘Bethankit’ hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect sconner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit:
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld

Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!

It’s customary for the company to applaud the speaker then stand and toast the haggis with a glass of whisky.

An invited guest is then asked to give a short speech on Burns. There are many different types of Immortal Memory speeches, from light-hearted to literary, but the aim is the same – to outline the greatness and relevance of the poet today. Then comes the Toast To The Lasses: a more light-hearted address to the women in the audience. Originally this was a thank you to the ladies for preparing the food and a time to toast the ‘lasses’ in Burns’ life. The tone should be witty, but never offensive, and should always end on a concilliatory note. As men NEVER get the last word….the Lasses respond, usually detailing men’s foibles. Again, it should be humorous but not (overly!) insulting.

Once the speeches are complete the evening continues with songs and poems. These should be a good variety to fully show the different moods of Burns muse. Favourites for recitations are Tam O’ Shanter, Address to the Unco Guid, To A Mouse and Holy Willie’s Prayer.

The evening ends with the company linking hands and singing Auld Lang Syne

Auld Lang Syne.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

Chorus: For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I’ll be mine,
And we’ll tak a cup o kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou’d the gowans fine,
But we’ve wander’d monie a weary fit,
Sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn
Frae morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand my trusty fiere,
And gie’s a hand o thine,
And we’ll tak a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.

Waaaaaaaaaaay….’Beyond Loch Ness’

Friday, January 4th, 2008

Coming to the Sci Fi Channel in the USA on Saturday January 5th 2008, this film is the antithesis of the recent release of the family film The Water Horse.

No cuddly Kelpies here! Previously called ‘Loch Ness Terror’ (scroll down to a previous post to see an ace cheesy trailer ) ‘Beyond Loch Ness’ is American TV’s 2008 contribution to the B-movie horror fare for lake monsters.

The ‘Plot’ : As far as we can tell – Nessie has relocated to Canada, possibly after an internet romance, has shacked up with Champ and has bred lots of little monsters. This happy family unit then appears to try and eat everyone in sight – which they kind of deserve as the main character is out to kill them after his dad was allegedly munched by Nessie 20 years earlier. Probably in retribution for really bad acting.

Screenings in Scotland may have to wait until after we can sort out Nessie’s repatriation and give her counselling to work through the trauma of being involved in such scurrilous activities . It is yet unclear if Champ & the kids will be moving back with her.

To our American cousins – Happy Viewing!

Beyond Loch Ness