Click on the Medical Society Logo to return to the Newsletter Index Page
the scroll button on your mouse or click on the navigation bar
on the right of your screen to navigate your way down the newsletter.
Alternatively, Click on the bookmark of the article of choice and go straight to it.
Bookmark index 2009
Please click on your choice and you will be taken directly to the article
A fantastic evening's fun was had by all when 60 plus Med Soc members - whose interpretation of “informal dress” varied from full Highland regalia, including bagpipes, to really casual – gathered at Rock Village Hall. The new eco- award winning building was superb – once found in the cold dark wet lanes – and the extra jumpers worn by the cautious were rapidly shed.
A traditional format was enthusiastically followed. After Sam Williams gave the “Selkirk Grace”, a kilted Bob Inglis paraded the haggis to a bagpipe accompaniment (almost drowned out by the foot stomping, hand clapping crowd – and that was even before the free bottle of whisky for each table was opened) for Alysson McClung to declaim the “Toast to the Haggis” (I think) in incomprehensible Scottish dialect. After a delicious meal – though “tatties & neeps” had been replaced by more varied vegetables , with steak & mushroom supplementing the very tasty haggis – Alan Bennett gave the “Immortal Memory” speech. He looked just the part in his kilt for the 250th anniversary celebration, and spoke with sincerity about Rabbie Burns – the man and his verse – in a soft enough accent for us all to learn much. Graham James “Toast to the Lassies” reverted to the comic mood, followed by a witty “Response” from Hilary Boyle.
The superb ceilidh band and caller ensured a full and frantic dance floor (revealing hidden talents from unexpected quarters!) until midnight, and – with all the words thoughtfully provided – a complete works version of “Auld Lang Syne”.
Many thanks to Paul Williams for the organisation – can we do it again next year please?
What makes Robbie Burns so special that his memory should live on for 250 years
This part of the proceedings is called the Immortal Memory – and is meant to throw some light on the reasons why this particular man is remembered each year.
Some speakers who give the Immortal Memory Address will tell of Burns the Great Preserver of our Scots Heritage
whose songs and poetry transport the wandering Scotsman back to
Some talk of Burns the Man – but truth to tell it is the ladies who want to hear about that – he was quite the ladies’ man as some of you will know …and in the end had a fair number of illegitimate children to prove it. But who can resist ….
I see her in the dewy
Like me, you may be asking why I have been given the honour of proposing the toast to the lassies this evening. Well you can hold Allyson responsible - 6 months ago she took advantage of my male ego with her flattery and with her irresistible charm she sweet-talked me into it.
I did try to convince her that I am not the best person for proposing this toast. Giving speeches is not my forte, I’m not particularly witty, I’m really not good at telling jokes and am more familiar with the words and works of Rab C Nesbitt that Rabbie Burns. The only qualifications I have for this evening apart from being male of course, is that half of my blood is Scottish.
Allyson was not put off by this initially and there were no set criteria or boundaries, however 2 weeks ago she asked me to keep it short – yesterday she added keep it inoffensive – no bad language or crude remarks!
As if I would?!!!
For those of you who are not familiar with the Burns supper which included me until recently - originally the Burns supper was for men only – no lassies – why? - because they were in the kitchen of course preparing the meal. The toast to the lassies was in their absence and so uncensored. Oh how life has changed – life was so much simpler then!!
Anyway, thankfully the internet came to the rescue and doing a Google search produced around 6000 links with a host of information and ideas - many struggling with striking the balance between being funny but inoffensive.
So: 1 minute on Burns and women
As well as being a renowned romantic poet and I am sure we are familiar with his famous romantic verses:
O my Luve’s
like a red, red rose,
swears the lovely dears
Robert Burns was reputed to be very fond of the lasses – not just his wife with whom he had 9 children:
hours that e’er I spent
And of his servant girl who bore Burns his first illegitimate daughter Bess he wrote:
downcast eye by chance did spy
Some things never change!
Alan Johnson’s hospital visit.
Alan, being somewhat confused
grins and moves on to the next patient and greets him. He replies:
The third starts rattling off as
Alan turns to the doctor
accompanying him and asks what sort of ward this is. A mental ward?
A Scotsman was shipwrecked and finally washed ashore on a small island. As he regains consciousness on the beach, he sees a beautiful scantily clad woman standing over him. She asks ‘would you like some food?’
The Scot hoarsely croaks, ‘Yes, please, I haven’t eaten a bite of food for a week and I am very hungry!’
She disappears into the woods and quickly comes back with a basket of food. When he has choked it down she asks ‘would you like something to drink?’
‘Oh yes, that food has made me very thirsty’
She goes off into the woods and returns with a bottle of 75 year old single malt Scotch whiskey.
The Scotsman is beginning to think that he is in heaven when the woman leans closer and says ‘would you like to play around?’
He can’t believe his luck and says – you beautiful woman, don’t tell me you’ve got a golf course as well!’
A Toast to the Lassies
Thank you Graham for your “kind” words.
I'm honoured to have been asked to reply.
Unfortunately - 250th anniversary or no - this means it falls to me to be something of a party pooper as I have to reveal to you all that the true originator of many of the works celebrated this evening was actually Rabbie's second sister, Robina.
There can be no doubt about it.
Those of you who listened to Radio 4 this morning, estimating the commercial value of Burns at £159 million, will not be surprised at the suppression of this discovery.
However my recent retirement has allowed me time for research into the Burns' family archives & my privileged access through the Birmingham University library, to Glasgow's Burns department research facilities leaves no doubt about it.
Robina – kept secret inside the rarified academic world - was clearly the far superior poet. Her brother himself tacitly acknowledged her skill by extensively plagiarising and bowdlerising some of her best work - the classic example being of course her “My love has got a big red nose”
Robina certainly didn't match Robert's sexual proclivities nor his tally of 15 children but she did have two husbands. The first, William, died young. Sexual inadequate, he was a sore disappointment to her. You will doubtless be familiar with her description of his dysfunctional member - “wee sleekit cow'rin tim'rous beastie”.
She even resorted to pious entreaty, with her famous “O thou that in the heavens do dwell” - otherwise known as “Floppy Willies Prayer “. That it failed can be surmised from the epitaph she inscribed on his headstone - “stiff at last”.
Her second marriage was successful a short while, after which she sadly ceased writing & became seriously overweight. The observation that single women are generally slim and married women are not has an excellent – albeit anachronistic - modern explanation:
single women come home, look in the fridge & go to bed;
married women come home, look in the bed & go to the fridge.
But “a man's a man for all that” & we drink to you all
with the Lassies Prayer.......
I pray for Wisdom to
understand my man;
with apologies for stating the obvious!
1) Plan ahead . Opening a pension fund with your first pay packet is a good start! A bit nearer retirement , say two years beforehand - although your contract may stipulate longer – start negotiations with your partners. If you all get on well, agree a convenient time for QOF, accounting year, sabbaticals and so on. If you don't, this is your chance to get even with them.
2) However fond of your terminal patients you are, hand over early all who are going to last longer than your job.
3) Do not feel guilty about leaving a sinking ship – remember our generation worked I in 2 rotas with no locum cover for holidays or illness, so have notched up more hours than 3 “normal “ working lives.
4) Try & have a spell of part-time work before finally quitting. Use this to develop new & broaden existing interests. Try out as much as possible and dare to abandon any long held ambitions which do not meet expectation.
5) Slob out for the first three months – it is called “recharging the batteries”
6) Find the right balance - for you – between intellectual, physical, creative & social pursuits
7) Find the right balance – for you- between achievement & enjoyment
8) Find the right balance – for you & partner – between mutual & solo activities (“I married you for better & for worse – not for lunch every day”)
9) Ensure you repeatedly tell all your still working medic friends what an absolutely wonderful time you are now having.
10) Write an article for the Medical Society newsletter
Click on the Medical Society Logo to return to the Newsletter Index Page
Click here to go to the top of this page