Thursday, January 26, 2017

Burns Night at Tonbridge Auld Fire Station....

Last night I had the great honour of saying grace, addressing the haggis, and reading, nae performing, some Robbie Burns poetry at the Auld Fire Station. Not once did anyone mention the obvious joke about burns at a fire station. At least they'd have been able to put it out quickly!
If you've never been to a Burns supper then you should take the opportunity as they are increasingly common even as far south of the Border as Kent. Chef Russell, of Kitchen of Kent,did us proud with a four course meal of Scottish fayre. What a feast it was with the highlight, of course, being the Haggis & neeps. The "great chieftain of the puddin' race" was ceremoniously carried in by the chef on a silver tray and I, an unworthy Sassanach surely, was given the honour of addressing it and hacking it wi' a knife. Whilst this would have almost certainly been a lynching offence in Glasgow I really did give it my best shot and hopefully would've made even the great man, Robert Burns, himself proud. I have a confession though as I did cheat a little by performing a hybrid of the real version and the Anglicised translation. I think I just about got away with it even among the kilt-wearing, diehard Scots of which there were several present. For one night only I thoroughly enjoyed being Markie McBooks. You can tak' ma books but you'll never tak' ma freedom! Ladies and Gentleman, both Scots and Sassanachs: The Haggis!

Addressing the Haggis (Markie McBooks Version!)

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 worthy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there you fill,
Your buttocks like a distant hill,
Your pin would help to mend a mill
In time of need,
While through your pores the dews distill
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour wipe,
And cut you up with ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like any ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm reekin, rich!

Then spoon for spoon, the stretch and strive:
Devil take the hindmost, on they drive,
Till all their well swollen bellies by-and-by
Are bent like drums;
Then old guidman, most like to burst,
Be-thank-it hums.

Is there that over his French ragout,
Or olio that would sicken a sow,
Or fricassee would make her spew
Wi' perfect scunner,
Looks down with sneering, scornful view
On such a dinner?

Poor devil! see him over his trash,
As feeble as a withered rush,
His thin legs a good whip-lash,
His fist a nut;
Through bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit.

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his ample fist a blade,
He'll make it whistle;
And legs, and arms, and heads will sned
Like taps o' thistle.

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 grateful prayer,
Gie her a Haggis

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Let's have more sculptures like this one around Tonbridge....

Without wishing to go all arty on you all, I love the way the morning sun accentuates the colours in this glass sculpture at the entrance to Botany captured, if I say so myself, quite perfectly in this photo taken last week. It'd be great to see more sculptures around the town such as on the roundabouts as you enter Tonbridge. Guy Portelli are you reading this??Suggestions please....

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Tonbridge Picture of the day....

See if you can guess the time of day this photo was taken!...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Judd School Head retiring....

I hear that Robert Masters, Head of Judd School for many years is stepping down. According to a report in the Kent and Sussex Courier recently he seems to have gone soft in his old age as well. The school, it would seem, has relaxed its policy of chucking out poorly performing sixth formers when they don't make the grade in their AS-level exams as many other schools still do, often leaving them high and dry with very little option of where to study next. What an old softy eh! What next? Will they start allowing more students who pass the Kent Test/11+ who live in the town of Tonbridge to attend the only boys grammar in the town? Don't be ridiculous. Now that would be just going too far wouldn't it?..

The new performance area?

Happy New Year everyone. Being a bookshop owner I'm naturally drawn to the arts in general. In particular it would be good to see more live art in the town. Could we utilize the central library for this? Or even this space in the heart of the High Street? I'm not sure what the street planners were thinking of when they built this little cluster of benches but they seem perfect for use as a small performance area. Almost like a mini Covent Garden! Poetry, street dancing, book readings, acoustic guitar players, folk singers and more. It's be great to see in that little corner of Botany....