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I mustn’t look back now that I have re-located to Suttonford.  I can

hardly believe that it is almost Burns’ Night.  Wonder what my ex,

Murgatroyd, is doing?  Probably having a ceilidh in his converted Pele

Tower in the Borders.  No, don’t go there..

Called in to meet another of Sonia’s friends last night.  She was quite

an eccentric old lady in her nineties and, although it was very early in

the evening, she insisted on pouring us very large measures of

something hideously like fire-water, which she referred to as Dewlap’s

Gin for the Discerning Grandmother.  There was very little tonic in it.

There followed a monologue about the decline in juniper plants in the

South of England.  Apparently rabbits are eating them and No. 3

London Gin is subsidising the protection of the few remaining bushes in

Sussex.  They seem to be succumbing to a disease called Phytophora

austro-something or other- the plants, not the rabbits.  The old dear

was quite distraught at the thought of her little tipple being affected.

Not so little, actually!

We were talking about the PTA Burns’ Supper and Ginevra, for that

was the old biddy’s name, was surprisingly informative about where

Gus could hire a kilt and all the gear.  She used to live in Scotland too,

nearly a century ago.

Apparently there is a place in Southampton that sends the whole outfit

out, if you book it on-line.

The Health and Safety Officer at school has vetoed the skean dhus,

though.  Says they could be construed as dangerous and menacing


I e-mailed Gus later from Ginevra’s, to pass on the information and to

say that I would come along as his guest.  Ginevra is quite au fait with

the internet and so on and even showed me her latest e-book!  It

seemed fairly racy.

She called it Broilerlit and, when I queried the term, she explained that after

chicklit came henlit, and finally, broilerlit, written by authors of the Third Age.

Much later, when we finally dragged ourselves away, so that Magda, the old

lady’s carer could put her to bed, Gus actually phoned me on my mobile.

He told me that there is to be a band and caller and the School Secretary has

organised an auction, with prizes, such as a day’s trout fishing with tuition

which will tickle the gills of any budding Izaak Walton.

She- The School Secretary-I don’t recall her name-had already ordered

ghillie brogues, a Prince Charlie jacket and Heavyweight kilt in the Presley

tartan for him, seeing as Gus has no clan connections.  So, she must be

quite efficient, after all.

However, he didn’t fancy the Elvis theme, in spite of the Presleys being

genuinely originally from Aberdeenshire.  So she swapped the cloth to

Flower of Scotland, which certainly sounds more traditional, though it may

be universally worn, with no affiliation required.

Sonia is going to lend me her long, bottle green satin dress and a tartan

stole, if the moths haven’t got into it.

I’m a little worried about Gus’ legs and I can’t bear to speculate as to

whether he will, or won’t be wearing anything underneath.

Let’s just hope that it is not a windy night, in any sense of the adjective.

I’m glad he opted for the Heavyweight!

Cheerio for now, as they say!