Uncategorized

Learn How to… At Home Easter Crafts

Posted on Updated on

Happy Easter Everyone!  

Our blog post today, shares some different Easter crafts you can do at home.

In these uncertain times, now more than ever we need different activities to battle the boredom and amuse the bairns. So, hopefully learning how to make spin drums, bunny bunting and hand puppets will do just that!

You might have seen our social media posts on Facebook (@RobertBurnsBirthplaceMuseum), Twitter (@RobertBurnsNTS) and Instagram (@robertburnsnts)? Well, this blog provides the written instructions for our craft videos and some photos of the end products.

Spin Drums

First up, how to make a spin drum!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cardboard
  • Paper
  • Coloured Pens/Pencils or Crayons
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • A Hole Punch
  • String
  • Two beads
  • Straws

You need to decide what type of animal, you’d like to make (have a good think- maybe an Easter chick, bunny, pig, cow, sheep? – there’s lots of options!).

To begin:

  1. Cut-out two cardboard circles, trace these templates onto coloured paper and glue in place.
  2. Use a hole punch to make two holes each side of the two templates.

These steps makes the base for your face!

  1. Next, cut paper to make eyes, ears and a nose.
  2. Glue these features onto one of your cardboard templates.
  3. Use a pen to add details, like whiskers and a mouth.

Next, it’s time to make the drum!

  1. Glue a straw stick (or three taped together to make thicker) onto the back of the face you’ve just created.
  2. Attach the other cardboard template onto the back.
  3. Thread string through one of the templates’ holes and attach a bead – don’t forget to tie it tight!
  4. Repeat the previous step on the opposite side.

It should look something like this…

Finally, spin your drum to make some noise!

Bunny Bunting

Next, let’s learn how to make some bunny bunting to really get into the Easter spirit- you can hang this craft around your whole house!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Paper
  • Coloured Pens/Pencils or Crayons
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • String
  • Cotton Wool

To begin:

  1. Draw a bunny to make a template (you can trace circular objects like, baking cutters- to make it a bit easier!).
  2. Next, use the template to cut-out more bunnies.
  3. Glue on the cotton wool to make a tail.
  4. Glue the bunnies onto the ribbon.
  5. As an extra step, you can colour-in the bunnies with different patterns and designs.

Here’s our example!

And finally, hang your bunny bunting front and centre for everyone to see!

Easter Puppets

Finally, let’s see how to make an Easter hand puppet!

For this, you’ll need:

  • A4 Paper
  • Coloured Pens/Pencils or Crayons
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Again, like the spin drums, you’ll need to decide what type of animal to make!

Once you’ve decide, we need to fold a sheet of A4 paper first:

  1. Fold a sheet of landscape paper into 2/3’s.
  2. Fold over and glue down the remaining flap.
  3. Turn the paper portrait and fold again long-ways.
  4. Fold each side in half again.
  5. Now you have your basic hand puppet, try it out!

Checkout the pictures below, to see each step.

Next, we need to decorate our puppet.

  1. Cut paper to make eyes, ears, teeth and a nose.
  2. Glue onto the puppet.
  3. Cut paper to make a tongue.
  4. Glue onto the inside of the puppet.
  5. Use a pen to add details, like whiskers.

These were our finished puppets…

And don’t forget to show off your new puppet!

Enjoy a relaxing afternoon, evening or morning of crafting with these three Easter crafts and get yourself into the Easter spirit at home this year!

Remember and share your creations with us on social media, using #BurnsBirthplace

Happy Easter Everyone!

Fragments

Posted on Updated on

Two memorialising students from the University of Glasgow Scottish Literature department visited the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum recently to do research and blog-writing as part of their course. The following blog was researched and written by Struan McCorrisken.

Two objects in particular represent a curious facet of the cult of Burns, that is the accumulation and preservation of any and all tangible aspects of the Bards’ life. A fragment, no more than the size of a matchbox, of Jean Armour and Robert Burns’ marital bed, is encased in a large wooden discus and visible beneath a glass plate. The other is a small board containing two strips of material roughly large enough to make a small sock out of. The black silk is merely silk; and the piece of wood, just wood. What truly matters is the association these objects possess; an aspect so powerful it has driven them to be curated and displayed despite being only tiny fragments of the original whole.

Fragment of wood from Robert Burns and Jean Burns’s bed frame. This object is displayed at the National Trust for Scotland’s Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.
Fragment of black silk from Jean Burns’s wedding dress. Displayed at the National Trust for Scotland’s Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.

This sort of collecting exemplifies precisely why these objects are valuable. Not the objects themselves, but the connection to the past they offer, the prospect of tangibility that they represent. The type of collecting and commemoration that Burns undergoes is similar almost to that of a medieval saint. This sort of fervent reverence began very soon after Burns’ death, and we may well consider it a sign that Calvinist Scotland, devoid of pomp and pageantry through the stifling presence of the Kirk and the absence of the king, was looking for something to fill the gap. This perhaps was a search for joyful veneration of a figure beyond the austere auspices of the Kirk. Burns’ own rebellious stance against much of the Kirk’s posturing may have added to that attraction. While the comparison of Burns to a saint may sound fanciful, but it’s worth considering how saints are venerated. They are commemorated with talismans, awards and honours are given in their names, statues are erected at places they had a connection to, and they have specific symbols and icons associated with them. Some have specific days they are venerated on, or specific shrines dedicated to them. We certainly manufacture talismans of Burns, as any glance around a Scottish gift shop reveals. There are awards in his name, such as the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award, and a multitude of organisations associated with him. Scotland is replete with statues and plaques of Burns, miniature shrines almost, at places associated with his life and the lives of those associated with him. Images such as the mouse, the plough and the rose are associated with Burns, arguably his very own attributes. He certainly has his own day, and the proposed desire for ritual in the Scots certainly comes to the fore here, reinforced heartily by Walter Scott’s own contributions to images of Scottish culture (tartan, kilts etc). We eat food associated with Burns and toast his “immortal memory”. Items from his life, however fragmentary, are collected and displayed in museums. A new form of reliquary perhaps?

Indeed, it may be postulated that Burns is a new form of saint for a modern, more secular, Scotland. A person of great achievement whom we admire, commemorate, and attempt to emulate. A part of this commemoration is undoubtedly the use of objects, in any condition, to help us connect with the man, long since passed.

Handmade Parchment for Valentine’s Day

Posted on Updated on

Robert Burns is widely known for writing romantic poems and songs, and his original pages – now faded and delicate – have a nostalgic, romantic quality themselves. So to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the spirit of the Bard, we’re going to show you how you can make your own ‘parchment’ to write a letter on, or wrap your Valentine’s Day gifts in.

Auld Lang Syne Manuscript, Robert Burns, National Trust for Scotland

To start, write a letter on a piece of white printer paper.

Put two teabags of regular black tea in a cup and fill with boiled water. Put the sheet of paper onto a baking sheet. Once the tea has cooled, use the teabags to stain the paper.

Preheat an oven to 200 C (180 fan), and bake the paper for about 5 minutes to dry it.

You should now have a piece of parchment ready to use! If you want to add an authentic touch roll up the paper and use a lighter to CAREFULLY burn the edges slightly.

If you want to add a thoughtful touch to your Valentine’s Day gift you can use the parchment in various ways. Here are some ideas below!

At the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum we have been developing our interpretation, and have a team of wonderful volunteers in charge of traditional, interpretative activities that they do in the Burns Cottage. This includes making ink from natural materials, bannock baking, rag-rug making and weaving, as well as dyeing.

Our rag-rug volunteers are in the Education Pavilion building nearly every Monday afternoon (if you want to stop by for a chat, usual admission prices apply) and we will have the other activities running over the Easter holidays. Keep up-to-date with our events and activities by following us on Facebook (Robert Burns Birthplace Museum), Twitter (@robertburnsnts) or Instagram (@robertburnsnts) and checking our website (https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/robert-burns-birthplace-museum).

Kirsty Reid, Learning Trainee

The First Burns Supper and Beyond!

Posted on

With Burns Night approaching, let’s delve in to the origins of the very first Burns Supper in Alloway, and how this grew into the global Burns Suppers held today!

The first Burns Supper was held in July 1801 at the Burns Cottage in Alloway, five years after Burns’ death. Led by Freemason Reverend Hamilton Paul, it was an informal affair between a small gathering of his fellow freemasons. Burns was also part of the Freemasons at Tarbolton, which allowed him to form a large network of friends and acquaintances, and the nine men present at the first Burns Supper were closely connected with him. This first supper was a toast to Burns’ life, and the men recited his most lively works to symbolise his exciting and accomplished legacy as a bard. They considered the first supper a huge success, and arranged to hold a second Burns Supper for his birthday in January. From this the tradition of the Burns Supper began.

Burns Cottage, 1805

At this time Clubs, where (usually) men met regularly to eat, drink and socialise, were well established, and so the format of the Burns Supper lent itself well to this popular style of social gathering in Scotland. At the first Burns Supper ‘To a Haggis’ was read before the haggis was eaten and several rounds of toasts were given; these key rituals have remained the integral components of Burns Suppers throughout the years. Hamilton Paul’s interpretation of these most important elements of Burns’ work and life allowed for the supper format to be easily adapted to other sites out-with the Burns Cottage.

Reverend Hamilton Paul’s Ode ‘Immortal Memory’ at the first Burns Supper.

According to writer Clark McGinn the Burns Supper evolved through two phases; the charismatic period and the traditional period. The charismatic period began from the first Burns Supper, and includes the more informal suppers between those directly connected to Burns, or Ayrshire. These were taken on by members of literary clubs in particular.

In Burns’ Day, the literary scene was close-knit and active in meeting at clubs and other occasions. This must have greatly accelerated the popularity of Burns Suppers as these passionate literary fans and writers were proactive in gathering regularly, spreading the idea across Scotland. Spontaneous Burns Suppers began to be held across Ayrshire, and eventually in other parts of Scotland.

Although informal to begin with, they gradually became more regulated and standardised, with stricter rules regarding the format as those outside of Burns’ circles and even Ayrshire circles became involved. The first Burns Supper held in Edinburgh in 1815 was alike to the informal suppers held in clubs across Ayrshire, however the supper for the following year was presented as a formal public dinner, to be held every three years. Attended by Sir Walter Scott, the 1816 Burns Supper pledged to give Robert Burns the honorary tribute he deserved, and so magnificence and splendour were at the forefront of the event. This marked the transition into the traditional period of the Burns Supper format.

What had started out as a Burns Supper had grown into bigger and grander events, which helped Burns’ popularity all over the country intensify. Burns Suppers held in London in the early 1800s introduced the idea to a wider audience, and they were also appearing in India, Australia and America. The traditional period continued throughout the Victorian era, which saw the Burns Festival Procession of 1844 in Alloway and the Burns Federation established in 1885. The Burns Federation sought to unite all of the Burns Clubs across the world, and still exists today as a common link for Burns fans globally.

The Burns Monument and the 1844 Burns Festival Procession; The National Trust for Scotland, Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

Today Burns Supper celebrations continue all over the world, from the Cottage where the first Supper was held, all the way to Canada and New Zealand. The toast to the haggis is still a key feature of the Burns Supper, and all of the traditions of the first Supper have remained important throughout the years. For Burns Night 2020 we have lots of exciting events on the 25th and 26th of January at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, we hope to see you there!

By Kirsty Reid, Learning Trainee

Further Reading: ‘The Burns Supper: A Comprehensive History’, by Clark McGinn

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot?

Posted on Updated on

Sung at Hogmanay (Scots for New Years Eve) the world over, ‘Auld Lang Syne’ is arguably the most recognisable and the most performed of all Robert Burns’s songs, but how much do you actually know about this iconic song?

The song we are so familiar with is actually a reworking of earlier Scottish songs, and therefore exemplifies the process by which Burns collected and reworked pre-existing material. Burns read either one or both of Robert Aytoun’s (b.1570 but published in 1711 in volume 3 of Watson’s Choice Collection of Comic and Serious Scots Poems) and Allan Ramsay’s (published 1720) texts which have similar lines like “on old long syne” and “as they did lang syne”. These texts differ in theme; Aytoun’s is about lovers and then Ramsay’s is about love, war and comrades. Burns is inspired by these but he retains very little from earlier versions save the famous opening line ‘Should auld acquaintance be forgot’; he adapts the lyric to make it a more universal song, suitable to the late eighteenth-century, with a theme of friendship. Moreover, the tune with which we are familiar was not the only one available…

In Burns’s ‘Auld Lang Syne’, note the familiar ‘objects in nature’ he mentions like “braes” or hillsides covered in “gowans” or daisies/buttercups and “burns” or streams in which one might paddle. Burns was very inspired by nature and this is reflected in all his works including ‘Auld Lang Syne’!

Robert Burns sent his first draft of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ to a very important woman before it was even published! Frances Dunlop was a wealthy heiress almost thirty years older than Burns and they became friends because she contacted Burns after reading his ‘Kilmarnock Edition’ book of poetry. She enjoyed it so much, it roused her out of a long period of depression and she wrote to Burns for more copies, which resulted in a long friendship which lasted till Burns’s death. The Bard sought advice and guidance from Frances, who was a maternal figure in his life, and he clearly valued her opinion.

Engraving of Mrs Frances Dunlop part of National Trust for Scotland’s
collection at Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, in Alloway, Scotland.

This handwritten copy of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ ISN’T an original by Robert Burns – although it has convinced some in the past…

Forgery by Alexander “Antique” Howland Smith part of the National Trust for
Scotland’s collection at Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, in Alloway, Scotland.

It is in fact a forgery by the prolific Alexander Howland Smith – also known as ‘Antique Smith’. Smith was an Edinburgh law clerk who produced a large quantity of forgeries during the 1880s and early 1890s. He forged documents from a number of high profile figures, including Burns, Mary Queen of Scots, James VI, Oliver Cromwell, William Wordsworth, Walter Scott and many others! He was exposed in 1892, when an Edinburgh newspaper published one of his forgeries and an acquaintance recognised his handwriting. Smith was brought to trial in 1893 (not for forgery, but instead for selling forgeries) and was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.

Did you know that in 2009 a special edition ‘Auld Lang Syne’ £2 coin was released? The special edition celebrated the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns’s birth (25 January 1759). Although not the rarest of the £2 coins, it’s not very common either. Next time you get your change, have a wee look for it!

Image from The Royal Mint.

Burns’s famous song has made it into popular culture too! Remember Harry declaring his love for Sally to the sound of Burns in When Harry Met Sally (1989)? Did you catch Bob’s serenade to a rat in Minions (2015)?

(Image: ‘When Harry Met Sally’. Directed by Rob Reiner. Performances by Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. Castle Rock Entertainment in association with Nelson Entertainment, 1989.)

You can also hear the song in the Sex and the City Movie (2008), Elf (2003) – as well as in the classic films The Gold Rush (1925), Wee Willie Winkie (1937) and It’s a Wonderful Life (1946).

Most recently, did anyone notice in Netflix’s TV programme The Crown, season 3 (2019), episode 5 entitled “Coup”, a large group singing it to say farewell to Lord Mountbatten as he retired from a long-standing post?

Furthermore, countless recording artists have also covered the song throughout this time, including performers as diverse as Bing Crosby, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, B.B. King, The Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, John Travolta and Olivia Newton John, Rod Stewart, and Mariah Carey, to name only a few. Such widespread interest in the song has largely been driven by its association with the festive period.

UNITED KINGDOM – FEBRUARY 24: ROYAL ALBERT HALL Photo of Jimi HENDRIX, performing live onstage, playing white Fender Stratocaster guitar (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns).
Listen to a cover of the version here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqtkDU72yrg

It has connections with countries across globe – and not just countries historically where a lot of Scottish people emigrated. Two countries have used the tune most commonly associated with ‘Auld Lang Syne’ for their national anthem: the Maldives and, from 1901 until the middle of the last century, Korea. A version of the tune with new lyrics related to graduation, ‘Hotaru no Kikari’, has been sung in Japan since the late nineteenth century and is used also in some Japanese stores to signal closing-time.

The song is connected to war history as well! It was frequently played by regimental bands of the Union army in the time of the American Civil War during the 1860s. Apparently, with its associations of parting and absence from home, its tugging on the heartstrings was thought to be bad for morale and it was consequently banned. However, on accepting the surrender terms of the Confederacy in 1865, General Ulysses S. Grant of the victorious union side apparently ordered the tune to be played as a concession to his troops.

Again in the theatre of war, during the famous World War I Christmas truce of 1914, British and German soldiers joined together to sing the song (among several others). A poignant reminder of the power of the song; to imagine it drifting across ‘no man’s land’ is tragic indeed.

“No Man’s Land”, WW1.

So, why is it so famous nowadays anyway? Well, Burns’s song was transmitted across the generations and is now claimed by communities far broader than expatriate Scots around the world, because a Canadian dance band, the Guy Lombardo Band, became a feature of New York’s 1st January celebrations from 1929 at the Roosevelt Hotel in the city. Over the next thirty years the band’s choice of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ as a signature part of their Hogmanay performance made the song a world-wide phenomenon, and a recording of the Lombardo version is still heard today in Times Square, New York, as the New Year is brought in.

Image of Hogmanay in Edinburgh.

Final fun fact to conclude: ‘Auld Lang Syne’ is the most frequently performed song after ‘Happy Birthday’. We hope you listen to, sing and join hands to one of Burns’s most precious gifts to the world this Hogmanay.

English Poems Owerset intae Scots Leid!

Posted on Updated on

Parris Joyce, Learning Officer fur the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, as pairt o Tracy Harvey’s recent Scots leid wirkshoaps, hus been owersettin some poetry intae Scots.

Owersettin is a gey gid way o engagin wae the leid an makin ye think haird aboot wit wirds wirk best. It’s a useful way o usin wirds ye already ken but micht o forgotten as weel as lairnin new yins tae.

Here is twa poems she owersit intae Scots. Enjoy!

The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll

(or The Muckle Flabby Selch an the Jiner)

The sin wis beekin oan the sey,

Beekin wae aw his micht!

He did his gey best tae mak

Tha billows sleekit an bricht –

An this wis unco, cause it wis

The middle o the nicht.

The muin wis beekin fungily,

Cause she thoucht tha sin

Hud goat nae business tae be thir

Efter tha day wis done –

‘It’s gey misbehadden o him’, she said,

‘Tae cum an tash the fun!’

The sey wis wet as wet cud be

The saunds were dry as dry.

Ye cuddnae see a clud, cause

Nae clud wis in the sky:

Nae burds wir fleein owerheid –

Thir wir nae burds tae fly.

The Muckle Flabby Selch an the Jiner

Wir daunerin nar at haun:

They gret lich ownyhing tae sei

Such quantities o saund:

‘If this wur only red oot’,

They said, ‘it wid be graund!’

If seeven lassies wae seeven besoms

Sweeped it fir hauf a year,

Dae ye reckin, the Muckle Flabby Selch spaikit,

‘Thit they cud git it red clear?’

‘I doot it’ said the Jiner,

An shed a wersh tear.

‘O Oysters, cum an dauner wae us!’

The Muckle Flabby Selch did fleetch.

‘A bonnie dauner, a braw blether,

Alang the briny beach:

We cannae dae wae mair thin fower,

Tae gee a haun tae each.’

The auldest Oyster luiked at hum,

But never a wird he said:

The auldest Oyster winked his ee,

And shoogled his heavy heid –

Meaning tae say he didnae choose

To leave the oyster-bed.

But fower wee Oysters scrambled up,

Aw buzzin fir the treat:

Their jaikets were brushed, their faces washed,

Their shoes were clean and neat –

And this wis unco, cause, ye ken,

They hudnae any feet.

Fower ither Oysters follaeed thum,

An yit anither fower;

An thick an fast they came at last,

An mair, an mair, an mair –

Aw hoppin through the frothy waves,

And scrambling tae the shore.

The Muckle Flabby Selch an the Jiner

Daunered oan a mile or so,

An then they rested oan a rock

Conveniently low:

An aw the wee Oysters stood

An waited in a row.

The time has come, the Muckle Flabby Selch said,

To spaikit o mony hings:

O shoes – an ships – an sealing-wax –

O cabbages – an kings –

An why the sea is bilin hoat –

An whether sows hae wings.

But wait the noo, the Oysters gret,

Afore we huv oor chat:

Fir sum o us are oot o breath,

An aw o us are fat!

Nae rush! Said the Jiner.

They thanked him much fir that.

A loaf o breed, the Muckle Flabby Selch said,

Is wit we chiefly need:

Pepper an vinegar besides

Are gey guid indeed –

Now if yer ready, Oysters dear,

We cun stairt tae feed.

But naw oan us! The Oysters gret,

Turning a wee bit blue.

After such kindness, thit wid be,

A rotten hing tae do!

The nicht is braw, the Muckle Flabby Selch spaikit.

Do you admire the view?

It wis so kind of ye tae cum!

An ye are awfy nice!

The Jiner said nowt but

Cut us inither slice:

I wish ye werenae quite so deef –

I’ve had tae ask ye twice!

It seems a shame, the Muckle Flabby Selch spaikit,

To play them such a trick,

After we’ve broucht them oot so far,

An made them trot so quick!

The Jiner said nowt but

The butter’s spread too thick!

I greet fir ye, the Muckle Flabby Selch spaikit:

I deeply sympathize.

Wae sobs and tears he sorted oot

Those o the mucklest size,

Haudin his hanky

Afore his greetin eyes.

O Oysters, said the Jiner,

Ye’ve had a bonnie run!

Shall we be trotting hame again?

But reply came there nane –

An this was scarely unco, cause

They’d scoffed every yin!

Twas The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

(or Twis The Nicht Afore Yule)

Twas the nicht afore Yule,

when aw throu the hoose

Nae a beastie wis steerin,

nae e’en a moose;

The stockings were hung

by the lum wae care,

In houps thit St. Nic

soon wid be thir.

The weans were cooried

aw snog in their beeds,

While veesions o sugarplums

birled in thir heids;

An Maw in her mutch

an a in ma cap,

Had juist corried doon

fir a lang winter’s nap –

When oot oan the gairdin

there heaved such a clatter,

A boonced fae ma beed

to luik wit wis the matter.

Awa tae the windae

a fleed like a flash,

Teared open the shutters

an chucked up the sash.

The muin on the breist

o the new-fawen snaw,

Gave a lustre o twaloors

tae objeects ablow.

When, wit tae ma ferlie een

Shood kythe,

But a wee sleigh

An aucht wee Yule deer,

Wae a wee auld driver

so swippert an quick,

A kent in a blink

it must be St. Nick.

Mair fest than aigles

his coursers they came,

An he fussled, an rousted,

an cried them by name –

“Noo, Dasher! Noo, Dancer!

Noo, Prancer an Vixen!

Oan, Comet! Oan, Cupid!

Oan, Donder an Blitzen!

Tae the tap o the entry,

tae the tap o the wa!

Noo, hurl awa! Hurl awa!

Hurl awa aw!”

As dry leaves afore

the gallus hurricane flicht,

When they meet wae an obstacle

rise tae the lift,

So up tae the hoosetap

the coursers they fleed away,

Wae sleigh fu o thingamajigs –

an St. Nicholas tae;

An then in a glenting,

a heard oan the roof

The linkin an luifin

o each wee huif.

As a drew in ma heid

an wis birlin aroon,

Doon the lum St. Nicholas

came wae a boond.

He wis set-on aw in fur

fae his heid to his fut,

And his claes were aw tarnished

wae ashes and suit.

A haunfie o thingamajigs

he hud chucked oan his back,

An he luiked lik a peddler

juist opening his pack.

His een hoo they twinkled!

His dimples hoo mirkie!

His chowks were lik roses,

his neb lik a cherry!

His unco wee mou

wis drawn up lik a bow,

An the baird oan his chin

wis as fite as the snaw!

The stock o a gun

He held ticht in his teeth,

An the reek it encircled

his heid lik a wreath.

He hud a braid face

an a wee roon belly

Thit shoogled when he buckled

lik a bowlie fu o jelly.

He wis pluffie an sonsie –

a richt gawsie auld elf,

an a keckled when a saw him,

in maugre o masel.

A glimmer o his een

an a skew o his heid,

Soon gave me tae ken

A hud nowt tae dreid.

He spaikit nae a wird,

but when straucht tae his wirk,

An fillt aw the stockings

then birled wae a yerk,

An pittin his pinkie

aside o his neb,

An geein a nod,

Up the lum he fled.

He legged it tae his sleigh,

tae his fleeto gave a whustle,

An awa they aw flew

like the doon o a thrissel.

But a harked him goller

as he hurled oot o sicht,

“Joco Yule tae aw

an tae aw a gid nicht!”

A Blether Aboot the Scots Leid!

Posted on

Fir twa hours oan Saturday 19th Oct masel an hawf a dozen ithir fowk wi a birr fir the Scots tongue speirt awa aboot oor language, or leid, in the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum biggin.

We blethert aboot hoo we feel whin we hear fowk yaisin Scots words, yon sense o connection that we feel an hoo the leid taks us back tae guid memories o whin we wir weans. It’s aa aboot hoo oor brains are wired an hoo certain pathways in oor harns licht up whin we hear language that we ken. The Scriever fir Scotland, Michael Dempster, explains this in a Ted Talk oan You-Rube, which is weel worth a wee swatch.

Gien that this is the International Year o Indigenous Languages, we jaloused aboot hoo maist linguists gree that Scots is a leid in its ain richt an hoo Scots is kent by oor ain government an the European Commission as wan o the 3 indigenous leids o Scotland, alang wi English an Gaelic.

We luiked at hoo Scots language hus evolved owre the centuries wi Brythonic, Anglo-Saxon, Norwegian an Scandinavian, French an Auld English influences as weel as fae the Celts an the Picts. An hoo, it’s kent as a Germanic leid wi close ties tae Auld English.

We speirt aboot hoo oor Scots leid hus maistly been a spoken leid, due tae hoo historic documents wir aften scrievit in Latin an French. Poetry hooivver hus aye buin scrievit in Scots, stertin wi the magneeficent poem BRUS scrievit aboot Robert the Bruce by John Barbour in the 1370’s.

We spaik aboot hoo, eftir the union o Scotland an England, the nabbery stertit tae learn tae read an scrieve in English, we jaloused that mibbe they thocht this wuid be beneficial tae them in terms o trade, status an siller. White’er thaur thochts wir, the ootcome wis a dingin doon o the Scots leid an the stairt o a penchant tae tell fowk speikin Scots tae “speik properly”. 

We spaik o the Scottish enlightenment in the 18th century whin makars sic as Allan Ramsay, Robert Fergusson an Robert Burns hud the smeddum tae scrieve in Scots tae mak siccar the Scots Leid wis uphaudit tae this day. We jaloused that aiblins oor bonnie leid wid hae bin lost itherwise. We spaik o hoo, nooadays, wi the world gaun the way its gaun at the meenit, we are hell bent oan preserving oor leid, itherwise, wi media influences we micht aa end up wi transatlantic accents!! We got yokit in aboot this, speirin aboot hoo oor weans are sayin words lik “Trick or Treating” insteid o “gaun guisin”!! 

We spaik aboot hoo literature, parteecularly fir weans, is being scrievit an owerset intae Scots mair an mair an hoo this is a gey guid way o airtin fir the future.

We aa hud different life experiences and thochts but we aa agreed that we want tae preserve oor rich an descriptive Scots leid an pass it oan tae oor weans an granweans.

A wheen o Scots words hae been dinged doon as bein “slang” an we luiked at some examples an whaur they micht originate fae;

  • “A WEE STOATER” – meanin “first class” or a fine example o somehin, eg, a “stoater” o a goal, or a wee smasher. Nae doot related tae  STOTTIT – BOUNCED and mibbe even tae STOT – an auld Scots word for a bullock.
  •  “UP THE SKYTE” – meanin pregnant. KYTE wis originally the Scots word fir belly. So if somebody’s “skyted” their belly hus gotten big, they are pregnant. Also the medical term for fluid in the abdomen is ASCITES (latin) from ASKITES (Greek).
  • SCUNNERT – as in “ocht ah’m fair scunnert the day, ah cannae get oot ma ain road”, auld Scots an Northern English word, Robert Fergusson an Robert Burns baith yaisd it in their poetry. Literal meanin wis originally tae flinch / tae shrink back. Noo means “fed up.” Comes fae the 14TH century Norse word SKONERON.
  • BLETHER – meanin tae chat, “hae a wee blether” or someone who is “a wee blether”, wee chatterbox, Originated fae the auld Norse word blathra or blaora.
  • HUNKERS– ie “doon oan yir hunkers”, meanin squattin doon – Dutch or German in origin.
  • WINTER DYKES – clothes horse – in the summer fowk yaist tae pit thaur claes owre stane dykes tae dry, as they hud nae washin lines, so in the winter they wuid dry the claes in the hoos, in front o the fire owre a wuiden frame, which they caad the “winter dykes”.
  • SMEEKIT – nooadays meanin steamin fu’, intoxicated. Originates fae auld Scots word SMEEK meanin smoke or fumes so, in the case o the modern yis o SMEEKIT, the fumes comin fae somebody intoxicated wi alcohol.
  • GUISIN – comes fae Scots an North England meanin “disguised as”. Swipperly bein taen owre by “Trick or Treating”.
  • OXTER – armpit. Norse in origin – Dutch word is Oksel.
  • REDD UP – as in “awa an redd up yir room”, yaisd in Scotland an Northern England, comin fae the word “rid”, “get rid of”.
  • BARE SCUDDIE – goes back tae the 18 hunners, meanin nooadays naked, but originally meanin a wee fledgling burd that’s no got oany feathers.

We then brainstormed some mair Scottish words an phrases lik:

  • TUMMLE THE CRAN(forward roll)
  • FANKLE(mixed up), eg, Ah wuid get intae a fankle if ah tried tae dae a tummle the cran!
  • GRUMPHIE (pig)
  • PUNTIE UP (help tae sclim up)
  • HUNTIGOWK (April fools day)
  • BOAK (be sick)
  • BRACE (mantelpiece)
  • OWRE THE THRAPPLE (doon the throat), we hud a guid laugh mindin oor granny’s gien us butterbaas tae cure a sair throat! Gadz!

Eftir that we compared some scrievins in Scots Leid, yin lass read a poem scrievit in Doric fae Lallans Scots leid journal, an this lead tae a blether aboot Sheena Blackhall’s braw Doric poetry, sic as “The Check Oot Quine’s Lament.” Anither lass hud owreset Wordsworth’s “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge” intae Scots an anither lass hud us heehawin an laffin at some o her social media posts in Scots.

We hud a wee laugh at hoo a few o us in the group hud been threatened wi elocution lessons as weans. We also speirt aboot hoo Scots words vary fae airt tae airt an hoo we can get crabbit an frustrated aboot hoo tae spell Scots words, gien we huv never buin tocht this an are self tocht. This is whaur guid scrievins come intae thaur ain an we hud a luik at James Andrew Begg’s buik “The Man’s The Gowd for a that”, which ah hae read recently an it baith brocht back words ah hud forgotten aa aboot an tocht me new wans tae. As Scots Scriever Michael Dempster telt us in his Ted Talk “it fair lit up the pathways in ma harns.”

We read a cutty extract fae chapter 9, “The Killie Fleshers” pages 108 – 109, based oan a fictional blether set in Kilmarnock in 1786, atween a fermer chiel an the printer o the Kilmarnock First Edition, Johnie Wilson, wha is speirin aboot “this Rob the Rhymer” an hoo “at the stert ah wis sweirt tae tak it on, fir his verses are aa in the Scotch tung…since aa thaim that can afford tae buy buiks are learnin tae speak in English”. We felt this extract wis relevant tae the pynt we wir makin earlier aboot hoo Burns wis instrumental in preservin the Scots Leid an hoo he mak’d siccar it wisnae gauntae be dinged doon. No on his shift. An we are fair gled that Wilson did “tak it oan”.

At the hinneren oor tungs taiglt us that much that we didnae dae oany scrievin!! Hoo an ever, we greed that it hud been an awfy guid blether an we’ll dae it again at the neist Scots Leid wirkshoap oan Setturday 09.11.19 1pm tae 3pm in the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum biggin.

Aabody welcome. Aefaulds .

Tracy Harvey, Resident Scots Scriever fir Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

October Week 2019 at #BurnsBirthplace

Posted on

We had a fantoosh October week during the school holidays this year with numerous weans and their family members joining us for Halloween themed Cantrip Crafts. We also had a Haunted Horror Hunt on offer that was site wide meaning families were encouraged to explore not only our Museum but our play-park, Burns Monument, Brig o’ Doon, Alloway Auld Kirk, Poet’s Path and Burns Cottage to hunt for clues!

We had seven different crafts on from Monday 14th – Sunday 20th October. They were:

  1. a pumpkin wreath
  2. a warlock/witch hat
  3. creepy sun-catchers
  4. jam jar lanterns
  5. toilet roll characters
  6. a thaumatrope toy
  7. frichtfu’ finger puppet pals

These crafts were very popular with the weans (and their parents, siblings, carers and grandparents! Our Learning Officer joked that it was inter-generational family-fun, just as much for the adults as the weans, but it seriously is) and so, we thought we’d share some of these crafts instructions with you in case you’d like to try them at home as a family. You don’t need a lot of specialist equipment – most of this you’ll most likely have already or be able to buy out of budget stores like Pound Land, Wilko or large supermarkets. Also, these can easily be tweaked to make them themed around another holiday other than Halloween. Happy crafting!!

Jam Jar Lanterns: this is a creative craft that looks great when finished and you put your candle in it in the dark! It uses up jars that would be going into the recycling bin anyway so it doesn’t require you to buy anything made of glass in especially for it.

What you need:

  • A selection of old jars
  • Different coloured tissue paper
  • Black card, scissors, pen/pencils
  • PVA glue, pot & brush
  • Googly eyes
  • LED or wax candles

Instructions:

  • Choose which design you want to do: a pumpkin, haunted house, spooky forest, spiders and their webs, Frankenstein, a mummy?
  • Tear up small strips of tissue paper in your chosen colour and paste them onto the glass jar with PVA glue. Apply enough to cover the jar but not so that the light will not be able to shine through.*
  • Next, use scissors to cut a spooky design out of black card i.e. pumpkin face shapes, Frankenstein face shapes or owls and trees.
  • Then stick it to your jam jar with PVA glue; applying an extra layer of glue over the whole thing to give it a nice finish.
  • Leave it to dry – ideally overnight or at least for a few hours.
  • Finally, pop in a candle and watch your lanterns glow!  Just remember to never leave an open flame unattended.

*Do not put tissue paper inside the lantern – just on the outside – as that is a dangerous fire hazard!

Thaumatrope Toy: this is a 19th century scientific toy that is an optical illusion. You put two separate images on either side of your circles and when you spin it, it combines them together! Cool, huh?

What you need:

  • Straws
  • Paper and card
  • Scissors
  • Glue or Sello-tape
  • Pens

Instructions:

  • Cut out two identical circles on plain white paper (using something to draw around is easiest).
  • Cut out two identical circles on card.
  • On your paper, draw something to put on either side, for example: a spider’s web and a spider hanging down, a cage and a bird, a house then the moon and stars.
  • Draw them onto your circles as if they were to be combined they’d match up to each other i.e. draw the moon around the house.
  • Glue your paper circles onto your card circles.
  • Get a straw and glue them securely to either side of it – now spin it and see if your optical illusion toy works!

Creepy Sun-catcher Decoration: this requires a bit of planning and develops problem-solving skills in the weans as they need to map out where their going to cut and size their “windows” appropriately.

What you need:

  • Black card
  • Scissors
  • Pens
  • Glue or Sello-tape
  • Various colours of tissue paper

Instructions:

  • Take an A4 piece of black card and draw a window outline then draw shapes inside the window like smaller window panes. You can try to draw a pumpkin, spider, bat or ghost if your up for the challenge.
  • Double up your lines up leaving a decent amount of space and make sure you can see your pen marks clearly as you’ll need to cut along these.
  • Using your scissors, very carefully pierce a hole in the middle of the parts you’ll need to cut out i.e. where the “glass” will go in the windows.
  • Once you’ve cut all of them out, pick different colours of tissue paper and arrange where they’ll go, then cut them to size.
  • When you are ready to glue, flip the card over and glue the back of it and then place your tissue into the right place.
  • Continue to do this until all gaps are filled.
  • Stick it up on a window and watch as the sunlight shines through you creepy sun-catcher!

Scots words used in this blog:

  • Fantoosh = flashy, ultra-fashionable
  • Weans = children
  • Cantrip = magic
  • Auld = old
  • Kirk = church
  • Frichtfu’ = frightful

Take Over Day 2019: Museum Objects

Posted on Updated on

In the last week of June 2019 RBBM was Taken Over by Primary 6 pupils (now Primary 7) from Alloway Primary! Takeover Day is a nation-wide initiative established by Kids in Museums, which encourages young people to take over jobs normally done by adults in the museum sector.

Before they became Learning Assistants, Visitor Services Assistants and Social Media Managers; Primary 6 accompanied our Learning Team on a tour of the Museum space and familiarised themselves with the collection. Then they wrote stories and poems inspired by what they saw and learned on their visit. They also made posters advertising the Takeover!

The poems and stories in this final post were all inspired by objects in our collection. They’re all so creative and different – we hope you love reading them as much as we did!

Contents:

  1. Bloody Skulls – Rebecca Hannah
  2. Fiddle – Evan Rolfe
  3. The Magic Cups – Douglas Hagen
  4. Book in Space – an Unknown Writer in P6W
  5. Robert Burns!!!!!!! – Charlie Thomson
  6. Robert Burns’ Socks! – Katie
  7. The Midget Burns Book – “Robert Burns”
  8. The Space Book – Ivy
  9. Toaster – Aston Ferguson
  10. What Should I Carve? – Jack St

Bloody Skulls – by Rebecca Hannah (P6CM)

A plaster cast of Robert Burns’ skull – dating from 1834.

S – Skulls are the most important part of our body

K – Keeping our brain and everything together

U – Unfortunately for Rabbie his is in a case

L – Locked away but in full view

L – Looked at and viewed.


Fiddle – by Evan Rolfe (P6CM)

When Robert attended dancing lessons in Tarbolton his coach William Gregg played this fiddle while Robert learned the steps.

The fiddle used by Robert Burns’ dance teacher – William Gregg.

Pair of Glasses belonging to Anges McLehose (Clarinda)

The Magic Cups – by Douglas Hagen (P6CM)

Who’s drank them

Who’s drank them with dinner

Where have they been

What have they been used for


Book in Space – by an Unknown Writer (P6W)

After Robert Burns died he became very famous.  An astronaut named Nicholas Patrick thought it would be fun to take a tiny copy of Roberts’s poems with him so that’s what he did. Now Robert Burns’ poems have been in space! Who knows in the year 2036 the book could be on Mars?

‘The Book that Went to Space’ – a small collection of Burns poems and songs which accompanied astronaut Nicholas J M Patrick aboard NASA’s STS 130 Endeavour spacecraft.

Robert Burns!!!!!!! – by Charlie Thomson (P6W)

R – Robert burns is a very famous poem writer.

O – One day an astronaut took a poem book in space.

B – Books are usually bigger than your hand,

E – Even though this book was bigger than your finger,

R – Rockets can’t hold lots of luggage, only some .

T – The tiny book went out of earth…


Robert Burns’ Socks! – by Katie (P6W)

One dark dingy night I was wondering around my local ancient church when I discovered a thick looking sock. I pulled it out from under the pew. And I saw it had the initials RB. The next day I took it the local shop in Alloway to see if anybody new the initials. I handed it over to the cashier and I was surprise to hear that he knew so quickly – he said the initials stood for Robert Burns. That night I decided to investigate more on Robert Burns and I found out that is socks where a size 8 and he is very famous in Alloway – and all over the world. I was shocked that I had such a precious artefact so I decided to hand it in to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum and it is now a very famous sock.

Robert Burns’ sock – initialled ‘R.B.’

The Midget Burns Book – by “Robert Burns” (P6W)

Rabbie Burns’ books were just tae long,

The wouldn’t fit inside ma pocket,

But the problem was between you and me,

That was I’m going into space!  

I looked high and low,

Back and forth tryna find that book,

I needed to find a book that was midget,

I needed a midget Burns book!

Until alas,

I found the book!

In a little shop doon the road,

It was small,

It was midget,

It was ma midget Burns book.

I took it on aboard the rocket, and kept it right by me,

I used a magnifying glass to read the tiny text, It read ‘the midget Burns book’


The Space Book – by Ivy (P6W)

One day I was a empty book, then I got picked up by this person called Robert Burns. A few hours later Robert Burns was writing little stories in me, one called Willie Wastle and one called Tae a Moose, there was lots of stories and poems written me. 1000 years later I got put in someone’s pocket and I went up to this land called SPACE. There was lots of planets and stars – it was so cool  then after I was in space I got put in a glass cupboard and lots of schools, laddies and lassies come to look at me now in the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.


Toaster – by Aston Ferguson (P6W)

On the toaster JB was engraved on it because it was a gift that Robert gave to his wife Jean Burns that’s why the initials JB was put onto the toaster. Also on the toaster was 1788 that’s the date they got married. They didn’t actually use it to make toast they put oat cakes in the toaster instead.

A Bannock Toaster gifted to Jean Armour on her Wedding Day to Robert Burns in 1788.

What Should I Carve? – by Jack St (P6W)

Sitting at my desk,

 I don’t know what to carve,

And if I don’t carve something,

I will starve,

I’ll have no money,

I’ll be homeless too,

Wait a second,

I know what to do!

I should carve a poem,

A Robert Burns poem will be great,

And hopefully,

It won’t get hate,

But which one shall I choose,

A dramatic one with not too much banter,

I’ve got it!

Tam o Shanter,

It’s a great idea,

It will be great!

Let’s get to work,

Before it’s too late.

Detail from ‘Maggie’s Mettle’ – one in a series of four wood carvings showing the tale of Tam O Shanter. Carved by Thomas H. Tweedy c.1860. On display in the Museum.

Takeover Day 2019 – Poetry from P6W

Posted on

Maybe you already heard, but in the last week of June 2019 RBBM was Taken Over by Primary 6 pupils (now Primary 7) from Alloway Primary! Takeover Day is a nation-wide initiative established by Kids in Museums, which encourages young people to take over jobs normally done by adults in the museum sector.

Before they became Learning Assistants, Visitor Services Assistants and Social Media Managers; Primary 6 accompanied our Learning Team on a tour of the Museum space and familiarised themselves with the collection. Then they wrote stories and poems inspired by what they saw and learned on their visit. They also made posters advertising the Takeover!

Alloway Primary are masters of Acrostic Poems! Read some of the poetic musings of P6W below. And stay tuned for our final instalment – Museum Objects!

Contents:

  1. Back in the Bar – Findlay Andrew
  2. Burns Bible – Finley
  3. Acrostic Poem – Carter Jackson
  4. Bible – Jack Dillon
  5. Acrostic Poem – Kaiba
  6. Burns – Madeleine
  7. NO!!!!!!! – Alfie
  8. Skull – Paige
  9. Burns – an Unidentified Poet
By Alfie

Back in the Bar – by Findlay Andrew

B– Back in the bar

A– At the old kirk

R– Robert Burns wrote about a

D– Drunk cheating sod


By Finley D

Burns Bible – by Finley D

B– Burns was a poet,

I– Incredible at writing,

B– Beautiful,

L– Loving as a man,

E– Enormous feet.


Acrostic Poem – by Carter Jackson

B– Burns socks are in the Robert burns birthplace museum.

U– Until now Robert burns is celebrated every year in different countries

R– Robert burns was born in Alloway  in 1759 on the 25th January

N– Nannie was the witch who pulled Maggie the horse’s tail off in Tam O’Shanter

By Carter Jackson

S– Souter Johnnie was his drinking partner


Bible – by Jack Dillon

B– Bard of Scotland

I– Incredible he is

B– Burns liked the fiddle

L– Liked a lot of girls

E– Excellent Burns poetry


Acrostic Poem – by Kaiba

B– Book went to space

U– Under the roof of his house he wrote poem’s

R– Rainy days he wrote songs with a quill

N– Never gave up

S– So amazing !


Burns – by Madeleine

By Madeleine

B– Burns was born on the 25th January 1759

U– United Burns was born in Alloway

R– Rainy days Robert Burns wrote his poems 

N– Never gave up

S– Some people read his poems.


NO!!!!!!! – by Alfie

R– Running fae the witches

O– Oot and aboot in toon

B– Back at the bar wae Souter Johnny

E– Even though his wife said NO!

R– Ridiculous amount of alcohol

T– Though his wife said NO!


Skull – by Paige

By Lucy

S– Socks are shown to us in the first area.

K– Kilmarnock version available.

U– Ugly and old socks they were.

❤️🖤

L– Loved he was by many hated by few.

L– Like our modern toaster – he has one – not like our toaster at all though.


Burns – by an Unidentified Poet

B– Book went to space.

U– Under the roof of his house he wrote poems.

R– Rainy days he wrote poems with a quill.

N– Never gave up.

S– Sold his books