Just Because I Forgot About Burns Night Doesn't Mean I'm Not Scottish


Yesterday, as some of you might know, was Burns Night. The one day in every year where all Scottish people dig out their tartan tablecloths, dredge up their limited knowledge of Robert Burns’ poetry[footnote]Tam O’Shanter, that one about a mouse[/footnote], and pretend to enjoy neeps. I say ‘all Scottish people’. This year I completely forgot – proof, as my more judgement friends would have it, that London has ‘gone to my head’.

I resent such painful, semi-accurate accusations. Sure I might look and sound increasingly ‘of the south’ on the outside, but at heart I’m the same bumbling Scottish ne’er-do-well who sailed forth on the Virgin West coast 5 years ago, desperately necking the free wine just in case it ran out and fretting about all the weird banknotes in my wallet.

Burns Night might have completely passed me by this year, but I find plenty of ways to honour my Scottish heritage ALL YEAR ROUND.

Par exemple:

  • Always choosing Tunnock’s branded confectionary over lesser, more English forms of biscuit (custard creams, ‘bourbons’).
  • Refusing to accept pork crackling as an edible substance that could or should be placed inside my mouth. It’s an English thing, right?
  • Making a point of using the words my English colleagues insist aren’t real (“Hogmanay”[footnote]New Year’s Eve[/footnote] , “wean”[footnote]child[/footnote], "stoat"[footnote]not the weasel[/footnote], "squint" [footnote]nothing to with eyes [/footnote])
  • Referring to concentrated fruit liquid as ‘juice’ rather than ‘squash’. ‘Squash’. I mean. Take a good long look at yourselves, Englanders.
  • Settling into longwinded daydreams about marrying Doctor-Who-converse-era-David-Tennant in every meeting. My fave is a re-write of that tragic parallel universe lines, only I’m Billie Piper, with better hair, and superpowers, when the cybermen attack I grab the nearest Tardis-lever and... you don’t need to know the details.
  • Owning a unicorn mug, unicorns of course being the national animal of Scotland ("oh my god so magical so quaint what amazeballs country would think to have a legendary made-up animal as its national animal aaaaah so amazing so literally unbelievably amazing wtffff zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz" - all 300+ identical BuzzFeed articles on Scotland)
  • Listening to In Our Time episodes about Mary Queen of Scots and remembering, simultaneously, my script as a tour guide in the church where she was christened [footnote]“To your left, the wall that used to be a door that maybe the baby Queen was once carried through. To your right, the leper’s font.”[/footnote], an ill-advised ninth pint in the Four Mary’s pub, late 2005, and a truly appalling secondary school short story I penned about David Rizzio’s murder [footnote]in which he was either gay or having a steamy, queen-based affair, shortly before being murdered. Poor David Rizzio[/footnote]. I should explain - I grew up in Scotland.
  • Hating on Wales for no particular reason, other than a vague sense of disdain for how cosily they’re nestled into England’s left bosom. Is this racist?
  • Absolutely bloody LOVING haggis, and delightedly revelling in the semi-recent discovery that I can order it via Ocado whenever i want.
  • Ps. Ocado, I have two words for you: square sausage. London's middle classes would lose. Their. Shit. And in a good way.

Happy Day After Burns Night everyone!!