The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley.’

I was reminded last week, by a former Chieftain, about this line from To A Mouse. Had everything gone to plan, I would be sending you this message on the back of two successful Burns Suppers and on a night when many of you would be heading out to raise a glass to the Bard on the occasion of his birthday.

Sadly, these were not to  be. The restrictions that have been introduced by the Government to combat the latest outbreak of Covid-19 in the City have meant that we will have to toast Burns in our own, small groups – rather than together as a Society.

While this is definitely a blow, I have been absolutely delighted with the events that we have held since I became Chieftain – and by the way that all of you have rallied round to support the Society. Times have been tough and we do have a long road ahead of us to fully recover from the difficulties of the past few years, but our collective strength, our dedication to our Society and, of course, our Scottish determination to succeed leave me in no doubt that we will continue to flourish – regardless of whatever challenges may come our way.

On this day where we celebrate Burns, I know that many of you will be re-reading his works and talking with family and friends about your favourite poems, songs and letters. He was so prolific a writer during his, relatively, short career that you can always find a passage from Burns that perfectly captures every situation, every occasion.

This short excerpt from Tam O’Shanter – arguably the greatest of all of Burns’ works – reminds me simultaneously of the great friendship that sits at the heart of our Society and the fact that all things eventually change. These may be uncertain times but, like the snow that melts in the river, they will end – and our camaraderie, like the seeds of a poppy, will soon be spreading once again.

‘But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flow’r, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white—then melts forever;’

A very Happy Burns Night to you and yours.

Kind Regards,
Jenna Fitzgerald
St Andrew’s Society