(Subs: Two lines of verse above intro, from "The deil …" to "… Exciseman …" Then eight lines of verse in Sarita Mathur piece from "Life is …" to "… misplaced.")
YES, it was Burns Nicht last Friday and I was in my best tartan Y-fronts where a crowd had foregathered at Royal Natal Yacht Club to honour the immortal Bard of Scotland.
Everything very traditional, of course – led into dinner by a piper; the time-honoured Address to the Haggis; much skirling of the bagpipes.
But then a bit of a change. A keyboard, guitar and vocal group taking over the music as we dined. And a marathon raffle to raise funds for the Highway Hospice.
Bottles of scotch, ranging from 30-year-old to relatively youthful 12-year-olds, being knocked down for astonishing prices; a framed tapestry; the flowers on the tables - some amazing arrangements of roses - though definitely not the vases!
Rising frenzy as the total raised approached R20 000. What next to auction? The tablecloths? No, they were in the same category as the vases.
Ah yes, flags displayed to mark the occasion – St Andrew's Cross (the white on blue Saltire) and the red on black Lion Rampant of Scotland. They went for a few grand. The R20 000 was breached. Cheers all round!
Er, one small problem. The flags were on loan from the Durban Caledonian Society. They weren't there to be auctioned. Yes, the deil had cam fiddlin' thro' the town all right.
What next? High court action? Durban Caledonian Society versus Royal Natal Yacht Club Burns Nicht Dinner?
Watch this space!
KNIFE-EDGE balances. Whither democracy?
In Britain, Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg (the haunted Victorian pencil) warns that Queen Elizabeth might have to dissolve parliament to stop MPs frustrating Brexit.
In the US, President Donald Trump says he might adopt emergency powers in three weeks, by-passing Congress, if it continues to deny him funding for his Great Wall of Mexico.
This is astonishing stuff. A double with the bookies becomes enticing – Queen Elizabeth dissolving parliament, coupled with Donald Trump adopting emergency powers in defiance of Congress.
Yet one counsels caution. Queen Elizabeth is likely to leave her phone off the hook on this one. Emergency presidential powers in the US are reserved for things like earthquakes and invasions by aliens from outer space.
This double is far from a certainty. But the outside possibility does illustrate what extraordinary times we are living in.
DURBAN poet Sarita Mathur tells us to put a smile on the dial.
Life is full if happiness ,
Life is full if fun.
Enjoy today and every day,
Until each day is done.
Let your mouth stretch from side to side,
A smile is in place.
Remember to do it more often,
So that the smile doesn't get misplaced.
INVESTMENT analyst Dr James Greener notes in his latest grumpy newsletter that President Ramaphosa has been in India for chinwags.
"One idly wonders if the name 'Gupta' ever comes up in these meetings?
"After all, this was the family that saw to it that SAA closed down its route to India in favour of an Indian airline in which Zuma's pals had an interest."
A FELLOW goes into a lingerie shop and says he's looking for a fancy bra for his wife.
"What size is she?" asks the saleslady.
"Seven and a half."
"Seven and a half? Where do you get a size like that?"
"I measured with me 'at."
Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace.