The beautiful Walbrook Grill of the London Capital Club was filled to capacity for the 2017 Burns Night celebrations on Wednesday 25th January. The Master and the Middle Warden were resplendent in ancestral tartans, whereas the Clerk (with no pretensions to a Scots heritage) made do with his tweed trousers and hoped he had done enough!
This event brought together socially Freemen Entrepreneurs and Club Members, and for many, this was their first experience of the traditional Burns observances. The guests’ spirits were lifted from the very start by some formidable piping and the freely-flowing whisky, and, following a nourishing starter of Cullen skink, the haggis was piped in.
“Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin’-race!…”
Thus began a compelling (and authentically rustic) rendition of Burns’s Address to a Haggis – complete with theatrical stabbing, stirring and sniffing – with only occasional prompting from the Burns scholars amongst the guests. The haggis, with its traditional accompaniments, was served and consumed with evident relish. Most, if not all, of the diners had clearly done their homework, and not too many awkward questions were posed as to the composition of the dish.
Venison followed, and the Club’s cranachan to finish – all washed down with “guid auld Scotch drink”.
The Club’s Russell Dalgleish roused the menfolk from their seats with a mischievous (and mildly flattering) toast to the lassies. It was then the turn of the Master Entrepreneur, Ms Kate Jolly, to respond. The Master, with her characteristic eloquence, expounded thoroughly on Burns’s affections in a teasing speech that prompted laughter, two ovations and concluded with a toast to Rabbie himself.
A light poetry interlude rounded off the evening’s formalities, and, following a lusty rendition of Auld Lang Syne, the guests repaired to the Members’ Bar for a stirrup cup to refresh them for their homeward journeys.
The Guild and the LCC is already looking forward assuredly and with great anticipation to Burns Night 2018. Tickets will be available at the start of December.