Gransnet forums


Volcano eruption and Robert Burns

(14 Posts)
Elegran Fri 17-Jan-14 12:29:45

Wasn't sure where to put this but culture seems the best place.

Scotland's People newsletter has a link to an interesting article on the possible influence of the massive eruption of the Laki volcano in Iceland in 1783 on Robert Burns, and how it may have contributed to his death, and even indirectly caused the French Revolution.

Stansgran Fri 17-Jan-14 16:53:56

I'm looking after the DGCs until the 27th. This article made me wonder if I could celebrate Burns night with them. Haggis probably not available in micros. I thought more on the lines of My love is like.... And making valentine cards with tartan ribbons. Cock a leekie soup for the menu but what else?
I find these suggestions about how the world is affected by volcanoes very interesting and did not mean to digress but I thought mainly scots might read this thread.

Ariadne Fri 17-Jan-14 17:30:07

Have forwarded it to Theseus who is now booked for three Burn's nights and, although he has been doing "The Immortal Memory" for at least 30 years, does love new material...

AlieOxon Fri 17-Jan-14 17:38:52

That's really interesting, I never heard of this eruption.

We were once invited to a Burns Night in London....but must have been given the wrong address, as we never found it! Didn't ever get to one during years in Scotland either, so this was very disappointing.
I love haggis.

Elegran Fri 17-Jan-14 17:50:18

You can buy packs of MacSween's "cocktail haggis" from Waitrose (and others) which are about the size of meatballs, and could be enough to give them a taste. With them serve mashed potato and mashed carrot and/or turnip/swede. Mixed carrot and swede are good. Raspberries and cream for a dessert.

Burns was fond of the lassies, so Valentine cards could be appropriate! His poem "My love is like a red red rose" would go into them nicely, and he wrote others to various ladies if you want a choice.

They might also enjoy hearing "To a Mouse, on turning over her nest with the plough" - in translation at least.
See for the "story" of that poem.

Have fun!

Here is the poem and a translation (essential for adults, never mind children!) They might not appreciate the moralising at the end. -

"Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murdering pattle.

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth born companion
An' fellow mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't.

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's win's ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turned out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld.

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still thou are blest, compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!"

Translation -
"Small, crafty, cowering, frightened beast,
O, what a panic is in your little breast!
You need not start away so hasty
With arguing chatter!
I would be loath to run and chase you,
With murdering paddle.

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
And justifies that ill opinion
Which makes you startle
At me, your poor, earth-born companion
And fellow mortal!

I doubt not, sometimes, you may thieve;
What then? Poor beastie, you must live!
An odd ear in two dozen sheaves
Is just a small request;
I will get a blessing with what is left,
And never miss it.

Your wee house, too, is all in ruin!
Its feeble walls the winds are blowing!
And nothing now, to build a new one,
Of coarse grass green!
And bleak December's winds a-coming,
Both bitter and keen!

You saw the fields laid bare and wasted,
And weary winter coming fast,
And cozy here, beneath the blast,
You thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel plough passed
Out through your cell.

That little heap of leaves and stubble,
Has cost you many a weary nibble!
Now you are turned out, for all your trouble,
Without house or holding,
To endure the winter's sleety dribble,
And hoar-frost cold.

But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

Still you are blest, compared with me!
The present only touches you:
But oh! I backward cast my eye,
On prospects drear!
And forward, though I cannot see,
I guess and fear!"

Agus Fri 17-Jan-14 18:09:38

I read this in yesterday's Herald. I had never heard anything about this volcano but it is quite a coincidence he and his brothers died so young and his crops failed during that period. Very interesting reading.

Agus Fri 17-Jan-14 18:34:50

Stansgran. Another alternative which my GDs like is Aberdeen Angus burgers from M&S with Rumbledthumps, a mixture of mashed potatoes, cabbage, chives mixed together, cover with Scottish cheddar and put under the grill 'til cheese melts. Hope you have fun with DGC grin

We had to learn a Burns' poem or song at school. Many of us received Burns Recital Certificates. Mine was for reciting Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie. Still have my certificate.

Nelliemoser Fri 17-Jan-14 19:27:33

Iceland is the biggest potential environmental hazard to Western Europe going, and there is B*** all anything anyone can do about it. There is very little warning possible. It's very scary indeed.

newist Fri 17-Jan-14 19:52:01

I often think about that, if that volcano "blows" I will be right in the path of a tsunami.

Nelliemoser Sat 18-Jan-14 11:28:36

Newist If its any comfort the Icelandic volcanos tend to flow copiously rather that blow explosively like those that produce Mount St Helens, or the destruction of Pompei.

It's all down the Chemistry of the lava. Iceland is more generally basalt, the runny sort, it gets explosive because it rises through glaciers so the hot lava rapidly melts the ice ice and causes which frantically steams and shatters the Lava to ash.

Iceland is on an opening continental plate. The really dangerous ones are in subduction zones where land is sinking under another bit of continent. Pacific Rim style.

Sorry! I cant help it. I like my geology.

newist Sat 18-Jan-14 12:23:59

Thank you for the information, the more the better smile

Aka Sat 18-Jan-14 12:55:28

I love his poetry, even as a child. There's aye a wee germ of wisdom in every one.

rosesarered Fri 07-Feb-14 17:15:25

Thank you Elegran I always loved that poem! smile I just read it twice.

Stansgran Fri 07-Feb-14 18:24:47

Thank you for the suggestions. In the end we did smoked salmon with blinis ,mince neeps and tatties and a version of cranachan(Jamie Oliver s) we did a pixilated heart with material scraps and played some bagpipes from YouTube