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Happy New Year - well, that’s another Christmas and festive season done and dusted, waistbands have no doubt expanded, wallets and purses are considerably lighter, New Year’s resolutions have been made (and probably already broken), Easter eggs are in the shops, and a new year with all its possibilities is ready and waiting for us!

Despite the arrival of the chocolate eggs, bunnies, chicks etc. in all our retail establishments - and Hot Cross Buns now seem to be a year-round item too, not that I’m complaining - Easter is still a long way off, and we have the rest of the Winter months to negotiate.

Why not see off the Winter blues by partaking in a Burns Night celebration?  Taking place on 25th January, these are enjoyed by many particularly around the Corby area, renowned for its strong Scottish heritage.

The Burns Supper is a celebration of the life and poetry of Robert Burns, widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland, and is celebrated on the anniversary of his birth every year.

At most organised events you can expect to see pipers piping in the Haggis, and people eating it with neeps and tatties (mashed turnip and potatoes for the unintiated), accompanied with drams of the finest Scotch whisky.

Poetry readings are usually made, with The Selkirk Grace being said to usher in the meal, and the traditional Address to the Haggis - ‘Great Chieftain o the puddin’-race’ - being made as it is ceremonially cut open.

The meal is followed by the Immortal Memory toast, in which a speech is made in honour of the great poet, and the evening ends with a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne, which turns out isn’t just a New Year’s Eve song.

You could, of course, organise your own - Haggis is sold in many supermarkets, but the BBC Good Food website is full of other Scottish delicacies to tempt the palate if Haggis isn’t quite your thing.  Donning traditional dress (i.e. a kilt) is also entirely your choice; however, remember that it may be a little chilly at the end of January!  

 Our Corner of Northamptonshire by Helen Bach  January 2018