Last night was Burns Night and for the first time ever I went to a Burns Supper. I was very much in need of the entertainment as my life seems to have been completely dominated by illness this last few weeks. On top of Nick’s problems, I developed a stinking cold and then my dad had a slight stroke. So with Nick back home, back to driving and doing well on his rehabilitation course, I was dragging myself back to the hospital again every day with a gruesome cold and feeling completely drained. It never rains but what it pours.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, Dad is doing fine, having apparently had a minor subdural haematoma and is back home and even back to driving himself at the time of writing this. Please let this be the end of all our troubles.
Anyway, I never thought I would grateful to Robbie Burns for coming to the rescue, but the evening was indeed just what I needed and great fun. It was fairly low key compared to many Burns Suppers held up and down the country I’m sure but it was just right for us. I’m not sure we could cope with too much excitement at the moment.
It was held in a very old hotel in Matlock, one dating back to the early days of coaching inns. When I was young it was called The Old English and had a bit of a reputation for being rather a dive. I haven’t been in it for probably forty years or more and during that time it has been through several incarnations, possibly even being closed for a while I think. Anyway, it is now known as The Remarkable Hare and the new owners are doing a great job of putting on a programme of musical evenings and other entertainment, having done the place up and turned it into a very pleasant place in a rustic sort of way.
For our first course we chose cullen skink, a soup made from cream and smoked fish. Absolutely delicious it was too. After that the Haggis was piped in and addressed in the traditional fashion by a local gent who allegedly goes by the name of Hamish McGregor. Personally I didn’t believe that for a minute but he did indeed have a wonderful Scottish accent which lent authenticity to the mystery of the almost unintelligible verse.
We had the traditional dish of haggis, neeps and tatties for main course – no choice was offered and none was necessary or expected. Personally I enjoy haggis and remember buying and cooking it for the very first time in my little bedsit in Leeds in the 70’s. I bought it from the food hall of Lewis’s in Leeds, which was on the lower ground floor of their building and was old fashioned in the extreme with a black and white tiled floor. It’s funny the things you remember especially when food brings it all back.
Before the dessert of cranachan, Mr McGregor read out another poem by Robbie Burns called “To a mouse”. I had quite forgotten that Scottish is almost a foreign language. I used to live in Scotland, for a couple of years, as a youngster. My parents told me that I had trouble understanding Scottish in the local school and that when we returned to Derbyshire and I went to school here, the other kids had difficulty understanding me as I spoke with a Scottish accent.
After dessert there was singing, ending up with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne in the original version as written by the baird himself.
We had a wonderful time. Well done to the Remarkable Hare for pitching the whole evening just right and I’m sure we’ll be going back for more of their food and special evenings.
Now for something completely different. A conundrum. These wineglasses had been for sale in a local charity shop since before Christmas. I looked at them several times but if anything is certain, one thing we do not need is more wine glasses. But in the end I weakened and could resist them no longer. At £2 for four of them it was hardly a big deal, space to keep them is more of a problem. BUT……what does the logo “GENETE” mean? It’s presumably some kind of drink and a bit of Googling suggests a mixture of champagne perry and gin but nothing specific. Also possibly dating back to the 1960’s .
The only champagne perry I have ever heard of is Babycham, which seems, as far as I know, uniquely sold in the UK, especially in the 60’s and 70’s. Because the glasses have the logo “Genete” I think that suggests a ready made apéritif or cocktail of some kind, rather than one you would mix yourself.
If anyone has any idea what Genete is or was, I would love to hear about it!