It could have got out of hand
And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right gude-willie waught,
for auld lang syne.
YES, it was Burns Nicht at Royal Natal Yacht Club the other night – piping in the haggis, neeps an' tatties soup; Dumfriesshire tatties; hot whisky and marmalade puddin' with Drambuie custard; aye and a dram or twa.
They auctioned a bottle of 30-year-old Glenbrynth scotch for R15 000, in aid of the Cancer Association. Actually they auctioned it several times because each time the successful bidder would give it back again. (Very mean, these Scots). Eventually it was knocked down to somebody bidding on behalf of a fellow working the other side of the world, and he wasn't on hand to give it back – otherwise we'd still be there.
Alistair Mackenzie, of the Caledonian Society, gave a stirring rendition of the Address to the Haggis. Proposing the toast to Immortal Memory, Fellow-Caledonian Alex Coutts spoke on Burns's poetry and his qualities as a compassionate man. Also that he had been a bit of a lad with the ladies, which is of course true. The Merry Muses of Caledonia is decidedly raunchy. Many also attribute to Burns The Ball of Kirriemuir, sung lustily in rugby clubs around the world.
Just as well Alex steered clear of that. It could have given ideas to these yachties – things could so easily have got out of hand.
HERE'S an odd thing. Donald Trump and Theresa May were shown on TV posing with the bust of Winston Churchill, restored to the Oval Office after Barack Obama had removed it. The special relationship thrives once more.
Theresa May can't wait to get out of the European Union. Trump is rah-rah-rah about Brexit.
Yet it was Churchill who, at the end of World War II, first suggested a union of all the nations of Europe.
GREAT excitement at Vetch's beach the other evening. It was one of those perfect settings, a calm on the sea, people walking and playing with their dogs on the beach, the clubhouse lawn filling up with people for the evening nosh.
Well-known nurseryman, landscaper and yachtsman Frank Edwards was on the beach with his ever so lively wire-haired terrier, Taffy. He has a plastic cricket ball which he throws for her. It floats. He threw it into the surf.
Taffy was after it like a flash. But once she'd swum out, she couldn't get her mouth round the ball. She snatched at it a few times but couldn't get a grip. So she gave up in disgust, turned round and swam back. The ball was left bobbing out there on the oggin.
Undismayed, Frank took off his shirt and shorts and waded out to retrieve it in his bright blue Y-fronts. A fine figure of manhood. The gals were positively swooning.
Later he demolished a huge plate of prawns at one of the outside tables, the damp Y-fronts neatly folded on the table beside him.
Most decorous. Vetch's beach is always worth a visit.
LATER the same evening I find myself at a Florida Road establishment, the House of Curries. I notice that the beard of manager Lee Middlemas is somewhat out of shape. It transpires that this is because he has left part of it in the tar of Florida Road.
Lee hails from Swaziland, a place where they revel in off-road biking and that sort of thing. Lee is of that rough-riding breed. That same day he took delivery of a new motor scooter, then came off it in Florida Road, not an hour after taking delivery and about 100m from House of Curries.
He is not in good shape. Stitches here and there, vast patches of roastie. But the scooter is OK, he says, it landed on top of him.
It is a most sorrowful gathering, Lee's patrons crying into their beer - with laughter as he tells his sad tale.
THIS fellow answers a knock at his front door. Standing there is a 2m ladybird which headbutts him, kicks him in the crotch and stamps on his head.
He wakes up in hospital, where he describes his ordeal to the doctor.
"You're the sixth case like this we've had today. There's a rather nasty bug going about."
Maybe this world is another planet's hell.