Tuesday, November 29, 2005

St Andrew's Day Is A Good Excuse To Chase Rabbits, But Is There Really Anything To Celebrate In Our Funny Wee Country?

Unaccustomed as I am to pleasure, it was with a heavy heart that I agreed to give the toast at a St Andrew's Day dinner in Peebles tomorrow night. To be honest, I have always been unsure about St Andrew, based on my general suspicion of any practice that is based on the worship of bones.
My feelings of queasiness about Andrew and the symbolism of the saltire were multiplied a few years ago, when the Daily Record ran on its front page the image of a peculiarly-shaped cloud (or possibly two jet-streams). The white cross on a blue sky was said to be a good portent for the nation, just as it was when Angus won a battle in Athelstaneford in 831 AD having observed a lucky cross in the sky. (I have been to Athelstaneford on numerous occasions, and I understand that hallucinations are not uncommon there, especially amongst those who have sampled the turnip wine).
I am told that St Andrew's Day used to be a day of feasting. St Andra'ing, apparently, was a day on which rural people chases rabbits and drank, before settling down to a tasty dinner of singed sheep's heid. Now, of course, they do that all the time, without any excuse.
My speech is supposed to be an uplifting and optimistic look at Scotland. For four days now, I have been staring at a blank sheet of paper. This morning, I wrote "Tunnock's Teacakes" on my pad. This afternoon, I added: "Miss Deborah Kerr, beautiful daughter of Helensburgh". (I recently attended a screening of Mr Michael Powell's Black Narcissus, and I have been having peculiar thoughts about ladies-in-wimples ever since).
It is not such a bad haul. Religions have been founded on less. But on this freezing November night, I wonder: is there anything contemporary to celebrate about Scotland?

7 comments:

dearieme said...

Healthy Life biscuits, Nairn's oatcakes, Aberdeen butteries.
That oatmeal-wrapped highland cheese that tastes awful in Edinburgh but is wonderfully good in Tain. (Unless over the last 20 years they have accepted that it's better to sell it fresh in Edinburgh.)
Whisky, shortbread, bridies, fish (various), potato scones.

Learson said...

Scotland today is Toad Hall under occupation by the stoats and weasels.

Anonymous said...

We should celebrate Ivor Cutler while he's still around.

Little Plum said...

What about Oor Wullie, and Dudley D Watkins in general?

Gordon Vineyard said...

It's a bit nostalgic, but what about the way Archie MacPherson says "wooooooooooooooooooof!" when somebody scores a goal?
Arthur Montford's checked jaiket was quite good too.

Anonymous said...

What about the total takeover of the Westminster ruling left liberal elite. They own the labour party, and more especially the cabinet. Through the "Greet Broon" they own the entire income of England and can send a big part North. They run the Lib-Dems and by next week will run the Left-lib Conservative party.They have a greater representation in Westminster than their numbers can justify, and maintain the Barnett formula as an insult to fairness and logic. Most of all they have the English MPs as vassals, what the Norwegians used to call Quislings.

El Despiole said...

What about The Scotsman?