January 2017 and it’s Burns season. I have been asked to play at many Burns Suppers, and for me all are very enjoyable.
I was asked to play at the St Monan’s Community Council Burns Supper in the East Neuk of Fife being held in the Mayview Hotel.
The East Neuk, if you have never been, is one of the hidden gems of Scotland. ‘Neuk’ is an old Scots word meaning corner and runs around the East Peninsular of Fife. The East Neuk comprises of fishing villages along its coast such as Crail, Anstruther, Pittenweem and Elie. However, the village that is never thought about is St Monan’s. Its home to the 13th century Kirk that looks onto the Bass Rock and the Isle of May and is also the site of a major battle between the Scots and the English in the 16th century!
But enough about the History, that’s for you to explore!
The night started off in rather a quiet fashion. I was asked to go through to the bar and wait to be called through. It turned out that crews from a couple of fishing boats had come in for a very well-earned night off. Before the official night began, I was asked to play some tunes in the bar. So started a very impromptu Ceilidh! Nobody really minded that a ‘Gay Gordons’ and one team ‘Dashing White Sergeant’ around the pool table are not really supposed to mix, but nobody minded.
What seemed like seconds later, I was called through to the entrance of the function room. The atmosphere was exciting. I was introduced to the 2017 May Queen who was going to be carrying in the haggis. I could hear the thump of the gavel on the table and I knew that was my cue. I struck the pipes and led in a very handsome looking haggis to ‘A Man’s a Man for aw that’ and ‘Rantin’, Roving Robin.’
These are both famous poems put to music By the Bard Robbie Burns. Very appropriate for the occasion.
I decided to play ‘Scotland the Brave’ as I made my way out of the function suite along the corridor straight back into the bar. What I did not realise was that the Ceilidh was still in full swing and I was more than happy to help it along!!
It was a very special night that will not be forgotten for a long while.
'It was a great pleasure to have Alan playing at our Burns Supper. He added a real touch of Scotland to our event and I’m sure it’s not just the community council that will be looking forward to having him back in our village again.'
Monica Ramsey, St Monans Community Council