Our friends Cam and Sarah invited us along to the Robbie Burns Dinner and Céilidh on Saturday. Cam is a piper in the Highland Pipe Band, and they have this dinner annually to raise money.
The MC was a bit of a clown, and not very Scots, but I admired the way he had read up on the whole thing on Wikipedia and was happy to read bits out to the gathering. He also revealed that the City of Hobart Highland Pipe Band wear the Brodie tartan. I assumed this would be on account of its patron or founder being a Brodie. He went on to say that in fact a job lot of Brodie tartan had fallen off a truck some time back in the seventies. Excellent.
There was a great deal of kilt action, a few swords and plenty of dancing. The haggis was piped in, then Burns' Address to a Haggis was declaimed, during which the haggis was stabbed and sliced with a dagger. According to the menu, the entree was "Haggis warm reeking, rich wi' Champit Tatties, Bashed Neeps". I'd never had haggis before but I really enjoyed it - I am a big fan of sausages and meatloafs and I suppose its a distant cousin of such things. The main was basically roast everything with a tiny space left on the plate for beans. The whole night was very enjoyable - we even got out on the floor for the Eightsome Reel. We didn't stick around long, as we actually had to get to the supermarket on the way home, to get a few things for Michael's birthday party the next day.
I can honestly say I love the sound of a good pipe band. There was a lot of talk last night of how the pipes were banned by the English as a "weapon of war" - everyone is very proud of that. They certainly do get your blood up - I would have happily fixed bayonets and gone over the top, after a few tunes.