Burns baby Burns
Although Robert Burns’s birthday is on the 25th, much of the last week of January in Scotland is spent celebrating his life. That was why I travelled to Alloway on Friday 21st to be present to hear Scotland’s new Makar, Liz Lochhead, eloquently open the new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. It was a great evening in a great building, a chance to see many old friends and meet one or two new, like Anne Lorne Gilles the wonderful interpreter of Burns songs.
Two days later, back in Edinburgh, I made my way to Calton Hill and the elegant Burns Monument designed by Thomas Hamilton in 1830. Every year Jim Shields, Senior Vice President of the Robert Burns World Federation, and the Edinburgh and District Burns Club Association organises a short ceremony when wreaths are laid, speeches are made and a verse or two of Burns is sung.
When the Portrait Gallery was open the ceremony took place in the Main Hall in front of Flaxman’s statue of Burns, but of course we’re shut at the moment and the Flaxman is crated up. However, next year we will be back home and our wreaths will be laid in front of the Flaxman and, once again, our song will reverberate round the Portrait Gallery.