“Gie her a haggis!” (object 13)

For Burns Night, here’s another work of art from my Uncle John. This etching of Burns is addressed to my parents and may have been a wedding present. My dad was a great admirer of Burns and could recite many of his poems by heart, with great gusto, even the long ones. When we studied Tam O’Shanter for “O”level English (English?!) I proudly took in a cassette tape of Dad’s recital so my London classmates could hear it spoken properly. I don’t think they were bothered, but we still have the tape somewhere.
Burns Night was always an event in our house, one of the very few occasions (along with Hogmanay and the odd birthday) when I saw Dad drink enough whisky to get slightly merry. He would always address the haggis with real passion. As I turned vegetarian at 12, however, I usually had my own offal-free offering.
Dad was also, as I have mentioned, something of a poet in his own right. My birthday, as it happens, is on St Andrew’s Day, and one year my partner and I invited my parents over to our flat for a dinner of vegan haggis. Dad addressed it with this special verse he had composed for the occasion:

On St. Andrew’s Eve did [daughter] nag us
To come and taste a vegan haggis;
From sic a sin would Rabbie drag us
And rant and scorn
That belly pains wid dunt and jag us
The mornin’s morn.

Dad's Vegan Haggis poem
Dad’s Vegan Haggis poem, complete with glossary of unfamiliar Scots words!

I miss him.

Dad with whisky

Dad, whisky in hand, addresses a Haggis


About Hoarder of Babylon

A chartered librarian and curator of my family archives.
This entry was posted in Dad, Glasgow family, Paintings and sketches. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to “Gie her a haggis!” (object 13)

  1. Sarah says:

    I remember the tape 🙂

  2. Lisa Randall says:

    This sounds very much like the kind of thing my Dad would have written!

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