It’s long been true that before people meet me for the first time they are half expecting to greet a kilted ginger haired man with a caber casually held over his shoulder - I don’t think names get much more Scottish than Hamish Catanach.
This weekend, while finally getting all the festive decorations back up into the loft, I stumbled on the hand written, now fading, Catanach family tree. My daughter was rather concerned that the family line appeared to stop at me and my sister (Fiona) – my 8 year old is of course used to the digital age of instant gratification so the fact a hand written document hadn’t been ‘updated’ just didn’t add up, but we could see that the Catanachs certainly date back to 1841 and hail from Aberdeen.
For a good run of about 5 consecutive years in the time BC (“Before Children”) we’d always hold Burns nights – and they remained a key January gathering for my friends - some were even genuine Scots! Each year the event gained more momentum, more people and more haggis.
Our makeshift band got tighter each year (we’d start rehearsing in the 1st week of January), and in the inevitable musical world of ‘one-upmanship’ I’ve seen the haggis ‘piped in’ (as it should be) but on one gathering in Harborne I have seen the haggis ‘double bass-ed’ into the lounge by a guy only known to me as ‘Smudge’.
So, Burns night 2013 – if you fancy hosting your own event, the band should by now be well rehearsed, guitars and pipes tuned, the swedes and potatoes should have been selected and maybe it’s time to buck the trend and match some wine to drink with haggis! A quick check with Meirion (the Yapp Shop Manager) got a great list of wines for us to try on January 25th this year. We both acknowledge that whisky is the standard match to haggis but we’re trying big and bold reds – and we’ve lined up Rasteau Côtes du Rhône Villages: Saint Gayan 2009, Bandol: Mas de la Rouvière Rouge 2007 and one of the Wines of the Month - Pic Saint-Loup: Mas Bruguière l’Arbouse 2011.
Just don’t forget the Selkirk Grace before you start proceedings!