It is the 25 January and tonight Scotland celebrates the birth of its national poet in 1759, Robert Burns. In 1787 Burns wrote a poem called Address to the Haggis, to be recited over the serving of the traditional Scottish food. It endures to this day and haggis producers the world over owe it's success in the main to Robert Burns poem.
He is regarded as the pioneer of the Romantic movement and is the best known poet to have written in the Scots language. His poem Auld Lang Syne is often sung around the world at New Year, or Hogmanay, as we would call it in Scotland.
Burns was the eldest of 7 children born to a tenant farmer. It wasn't until 1786 that his poems were first published in Edinburgh. In his latter years he was a strong sympathiser of the French revolution and by expressing his views openly and freely, alienated most of his friends.
He only lived to 37 years old, but by his death he had achieved much success. He died of complications after a dental extraction in July 1796.
This Saturday I am attending traditional Burns Night Supper and will wear my kilt for the occasion of course. Haggis is served with mashed potatoes and turnip (called swede in certain countries) and a shot of whisky. I have been asked to recite Burns Address to the Haggis, the first time I have ever done so.
To say I'm nervous is an understatement.
I'm not a whisky drinker but maybe it might help!