President’s Blog – February


We end February with ‘winds baith snell and keen’.  As I write this month’s blog, we find the country in the midst of a weather front which has been described by the press as ‘the beast from the east’. Snow falls and lies in Kirkcudbright, something very unusual and very rare.

I write to MSP’s at the beginning of the month to thank them for their warm welcome and hospitality afforded when I attended their Parliamentary Burns Club Supper.  Ever the opportunist, I enclose Membership Application forms in the correspondence.  I have distributed these new forms at every gathering I attend.  The eye catching design by Marc Sherland is popular and often the topic of some discussion. I propose the Immortal Memory at Sanquhar Masonic Burns Club.  My auld pal Wullie Dick, revered Burnsian, is in the chair.  The following night sees me in my home town, speaking at the Bowling Club Burns Supper.  These ‘home spun’ suppers are surely the type the Bard himself would have approved of.

I have been corresponding with a gentleman in New Zealand, Ewen Burness, a direct descendant of the Bard.  The world is a small place thanks to the power of the internet.  Moira and I now have our travel plans in place for our trip to Philadelphia in April for the RBANA Conference.  We plan a few days in Nashville before Conference.  We are looking forward to meeting old friends and making new ones at Conference.  My good friend Henry Cairney, originally from Irvine, will be there.  He has undergone a major operation recently and I look forward to buying him a dram when we reacquaint.

I send greetings to the Cape Town Burns Supper, they are not yet members but I am confident we will get club and a few individual memberships from my connection with them.

Inclement weather forced a cancellation of a meeting of the Office Bearers on 12th February.  The winter has been at time deceivingly mild at times, interspersed by cold blasts, it has led to meetings and gatherings being cancelled or postponed.

Marc Sherland, always on the lookout for an opportunity, has secured the use of The Good Shop  in Buchanan Galleries to promote writers workshops, informal chats and space for RBWF membership recruitment.  This will be at the end of March, details will be posted by the RBWF office.  Marc has also produced a short membership promotion video.  Marc has also produced new pop up banners to help promote the membership drive.  Mair power to your elbow my friend!

I attend the Dumfries and Galloway Schools Competition at Dumfries Academy on 17th March.  The standard of competitor seems to increase year on year!  Sanquhar and Lockerbie schools scoop a good number of trophies.  Next up, the nationals!

I travel to Kilmarnock on the 19th February to visit the finished premises and watch the handover process with Margaretann, Bev and the contractors.  A historic moment sees me sign the lease for the building.  We will move in on 7th March and have our Board meeting there on 9th March followed later in the month by the Quarterly Meeting.

I help run a ‘Late, Late Burns’ Supper’ for the Incorporated Trades in Kirkcudbright. We hold this on 24th February. Amongst the entertainers and performers were Ben Durham, Junior winner of the Address the Haggis competition, Amber Fraser, a young singer and Coll Marshall, a young piper to celebrate and promote the Year of the Young Person.  I present Ben with RBWF Membership and put up a year’s Membership as a raffle prize.  The winner was David Waite from York.

We have had a number of Membership forms returned from people wishing to join us. This is encouraging, but we need to keep the memento of the membership drive up for the whole year.

Once again, my job has been made much more easy with the support of Bev and Margaretann.  It is good to see Bev back to normal after a protracted illness.