Cymbeline Lodge Burns Night; picture the scene if you will, a braw, bricht, moonlicht nicht…. Thursday 28th January 2016, it’s 18.00 hours and a hush descends over the Stewart Village Hall, Little Kimble.
For one night, and one night only, the venue for the Cymbeline Lodge annual ritual slaughter of the wee timorous beastie also known as THE HAGGIS!
Prior to the “Mudderin”/ Burns Night festivities, the Guests are all ensconced in the Executive Boudoir (AKA the robing room at Kimble Village Hall), glasses in hand filled, with trepidation and wonderment – not at the fate of the Haggis but in case the grog runs out and will there be enough grub for seconds?
Meanwhile in the main hall bedecked with the Scottish Saltire, multiple Brethren and Visitors adorned with varying degrees of scrambled egg file in having had their passports stamped and set foot upon the newly annexed shire of Kimbledoon. Trews akimbo and aprons fully trossacked they prepare to take on the latest Guinness Book of Records challenge, the Fastest Meeting in Bucks Province.
With high speed gavelling akin to automatic gunfire, perambulations performed in a two foot square area between wine crates at a rate to make the Kings Rifle Regiment envious marshalled by the Stanley Unwinesque DC’s manic ramblings, the room rises and falls with the alacrity of a meeting of Jack in the Box Anonymous.
Sixteen minutes later all is done, brows damp and sporrans a-wringing!!
Let the festivities begin.
The Cymbeline Lodge Burns night was fortunate to be graced with three esteemed guests two splendidly bedecked in skirts, Nichola Dixon the Mayor of Thame and the Radio 2 legend disc jockey Ken Bruce, no prizes for guessing which of the two had the better legs! We were equally graced with the presence of Stevyn Colgan, the brains behind the questions for the hit television show QI and Debbie La-Haye head of Horses Helping People http://horseshelpingpeople.co.uk/ a charity close to the heart of Ken Bruce.
No sooner were all the guests seated, napkins in collars, spittoons to the right and a wee dram of the Highland Elixir in their hands when there came such a wailing and caterwauling………….. The Master Phil Harrison had spilt his whiskey! Add to this a splendidly bedecked Piper in full tune accompanied by our esteemed Chef bearing a tray with the Wee Beastie prostrated and trussed for slaughter, the dreadful deed drew nearer.
Executioner for the night, Charles Mc Noxon then spoke the ritual words (most excellently) raised the claymore and split the poor wee beastie from base to apex following which all drained their glasses (those that didn’t risked the Mine Sweeping Stewards).
The ensuing traditional Rabbie Burns Grace was eloquently performed by Ken Bruce, translation courtesy of dyslexics anonymous, following which all present fell upon the Festive Board with much gusto. It wasn’t long before the bowls of steaming broth, heaps of Neeps, Tatties and Haggis and yes, for those worrying guests, plenty for seconds as well, were demolished. The same fate awaited the cheese and biscuits and the unbelievable Port & Stilton provided by long standing Cymbeline stalwart, ferret rustler and helicopter salesman, Jack Surridge.
The author would like to clarify for the benefit of several Brethren attending the evening, it was only Port & Stilton in Jacks’ magic pudding bowl and the Home Office Forensic Service has since confirmed the total absence of toenail scrapings / Jimmy Cranky.
After all had been sufficiently fed, watered and had their pockets fleeced, (not an easy thing to do on Burns Night), the raffle prizes were distributed amongst all to the delight of many and the tears of a few.
I am pleased to report the Raffle raised £360 for Ken Bruce’s nominated charity, Horses Helping People, which was magnanimously enhanced by the Worshipful Master Phil Harrison and Past Master Colin Cummins to make a grand total of £600. A donation of £150 was also made to Lady Mayor Nichola Dixon for her chosen charity.
Finally, the speeches finished and the whiskey fumes abating, all present left / decanted into the mystic mists… except for 6 poor souls who had to wait 30 minutes for their cab to turn up. Apparently Kimbledoon wasn’t on the satnav!!
Special thanks to all our guests for joining us, to “Young Wee David Mc Brazier” for organising a fantastic Festive Board, to the poor souls who had to face the wrath of the “Dog Whisperer” when returning to wash the 300 odd glasses the following morning and many others young and not so young for making a truly memorable evening and a truly lingering hangover!
Photo shows Lodge Master Phil Harrison, Lady Mayor Nichola Dixon and Ken Bruce.