Flower Of Scotland - A Celebration Of A Special Scot

At the risk of triggering some snowflakes by using the name Trump without an accompanying 20,000  word hate fest, I decided it would be appropriate to rehash this old post which I have been using for ten to twelve years on this special day in the Scottish cultural calendar, simply inserting the name of the incumbent US President and updating a few details.


On a visit to a military hospital where soldiers wounded in action in Syria and elsewhere were recovering from their injuries Donald Trump  told the medics that he wanted to meet all the patients. Despite being warned it might not be possible due to the seriousness of some patients condition, when the tour party came to a ward with a sign on the door that read: Absolutely No Entry except to specialist medical staff the President said he wanted to go in.


"That really is not wise Mr. President," the senior doctor warned him, "these men have a rare and terrible condition, its best they remain quiet, the slightest excitement might upset them."


"Nonsense, everybody is uplifted by my plan to Make America Great Again," the President insisted.


In that case, as you are their Commander - in Chief I cant refuse but want it noted I'm letting you in only under duress, the Doctor said.


They went in. Everything seemed normal, the patients lay quietly on beds, read or watched TV.

Then Obama approached the man in the first bed and said, Hi buddy, how're you feeling. I've heard hospital food can sometimes be sub - standard. Are they feeding you well?


The man sat bolt upright, his eyes widened and his nostrils flared as he began to declaim:


Fairrr fa your honest sonsie face
great cheiftain o the pudding race,
aboon them a ye tak your place,
painch tipe and thairm.
Well worthy are ye o a grace
as lang's my arm.


"Oh jeez, I feel so bigly for the poor man," the President said to the Doctor." I wish I had listened to you now. Still I must greet all the men now I'm here."


With that he headed for the next bed.


How you doin' soldier, I guess you are all suffering from some extreme kind of post traumatic stress disorder. My personal shrink tells me a lot of people with similar conditions find it helps to keep a pet. Can I ask how do you feel about having a pet, a small animal that could stay by your bed?
Again the man's demeanour changed as he began to recite:


Wee cowrin sleekit timrous beastie
oh what a panics in they breastie,
why wad ye run awa sae hastie
wi blethrin brattle.
I wad be laithe to run and chase thee
wi murdrn pattle.


"Wow this really is terrible, is there any hope for these guys?" Trump asked the Doctor who sadly shook his head as they approached the next bed.


Well, said the president, maybe they'd respond better if I let them know how much they're appreciated.

They came to the next bed where the President said to the occupant, "Son, I want you to know America is so proud of you and your comrades in arms. Your Yuuuuge sacrifice will never be forgotten. Have you a message for the boys and girls still out there protecting liberty and American values."


And the soldier replied:


Scots wha hae when Wallace bled,
Scots who Bruce has aftimes led,

Onward tae yer gory bed,

Or tae victorie.

Wha fae Scotland's king and law,

Freedom's sword will strongly draw.

Free men stand and free men fa'

Let him follow me.


"I'm sorry Doctor, we have to leave now, I cant take any more of this said Trump, What is wrong with these men, is it some terrible psychiatric affliction.

The Doctor said, "No Mr President, its the Burns unit."


Tonight is of course Burns night, the anniversary of poet Robert Burns, when Scots gather to share a feast of haggis, tatties and neeps (turnips) washed down with Ouisce Beath (water of life aka Whisky,) and celebrate the life and work of a national hero.


You can find the poems Address To A Haggis, To A Mouse, and Robert Bruce's Address Before Bannockburn and the rest of Burn's works HERE.

Another Scottish poet who is not so celebrated as Burns perhaps deserves a mention. William McGonagall, reputedly the worst poet ever published in the English language deserves to be remembered if only for his ability to be unintentionally hilarious. Read my Tribute To McGonagall and a poem in the master's style, Ode To Porridge

Learn more about McGonagall

McGonagall online - poems, plays, biography


Dave Volek Added Jan 25, 2018 - 12:34pm
Nice story!
I should have known where it was going.
Tom C. Purcell Added Jan 25, 2018 - 12:35pm
I enjoyed this.  It's fresh for me in a sense.  I watched Braveheart in full just recently. 
Ari Silverstein Added Jan 25, 2018 - 1:41pm
Kindly share the link where you used this "joke" one other time.  
Ian Thorpe Added Jan 25, 2018 - 2:40pm
Dave, thanks, just a bit of fluff after my previous, rather heavy post.
Flying Junior Added Jan 25, 2018 - 2:44pm
My all-time favorite has to be The Twa Dogs, Caesar and Luath.
The tither was a ploughman's collie--
A rhyming, ranting, raving billie...
He was a gash an' faithfu' tyke,
As ever lap a sheugh or dyke.
His honest, sonsie, bawsn't face
Ay gat him friends in ilka place;
His breast was white, his tousie back
Weel clad wi' coat o' glossy black;
His gawsie tail, wi' upward curl,
Hung owre his hurdies wi' a swirl.
Another enjoyable one is The Auld Farmer's New-Year Morning Salutation to his Auld Mare, Maggie.  There are so many, my Jo.  I consider him the greatest poet of the ages.  Irish poetry is so serious.  Wordsworth once visited his grave.
Happy Burn's Night, Ian.  Beware the Whistle.
Ian Thorpe Added Jan 25, 2018 - 2:53pm
Tom, Braveheart is a good piece of entertainment and enjoyable enough to be watched several times. There are some major historic inaccuracies however, mainly that they shift thirteenth century Scotland back to the Iron Age. William Wallace was actually an educated man, the son of a landowner, and grew up in a stone built manor house rather than a Celtic roundhouse. At that time Scotland was probably more civilised than England.
And the storyline of the queen who gets pregnant by a commoner has some basis (not in fact but in persistent rumour) but did not happen until about 150 years later.
Ian Thorpe Added Jan 25, 2018 - 2:59pm
Ari, what a strange request, why would I do that? Were I to link to older versions, this one would be flagged as duplicate content (the replacement of Obama or Bush with Trump would not fool search engines) and this post would attract little traffic. As it is my multiple postings of this and many articles are far enough apart to avoid being flagged.
Tom C. Purcell Added Jan 25, 2018 - 3:04pm
Lol.  I'm aware of the inaccuracies in Hollywood movies!  I don't consider Braveheart to be an historically accurate feature by any means.  There was a lot I disagreed with too, when it came to Wallace and the aristocratic happenings in the movie.  Mostly, I watched it for the castle imagery.  Trim Castle!  ;)
Ian Thorpe Added Jan 25, 2018 - 4:01pm
Flying Junior, there are many pubs in the borders and south west Scotland called The Twa Dugs, and while many pubs have been named after poets, this must be the only poem to lends its name to drinking places. How appropriate given Rab's fondness for booze.

One of my favourites is "Sich A Parcel O' Rogues"

Substitute 'corporate' for 'English' and he could have been talking about modern leaders. For those who don't know the poem here's the final stanza.

O would, or I had seen the day
That Treason thus could sell us,
My auld grey head had lien in clay,
Wi' Bruce and loyal Wallace!
But pith and power, till my last hour,
I'll mak this declaration;
We're bought and sold for English gold-
Sich a parcel of rogues in a nation!
Ian Thorpe Added Jan 25, 2018 - 4:03pm
Tom, the whole picture is visually excellent (except maybe for the bit where Wallace's army show their arses.)
Tom C. Purcell Added Jan 25, 2018 - 8:10pm
I'm glad we agree on that particular scene.  One of those unnecessary comic reliefs that Hollywood forces upon us...like Jar Jar Binks.  
Flying Junior Added Jan 26, 2018 - 2:55am
I agree that the testimony of the dogs is timeless.
Remember Steeleye Span and Maddie?
This was my introduction to a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation.
The Burghal Hidage Added Jan 26, 2018 - 4:41am
Aye! T'is a bonnie bi' o' it!
Thanks Ian!
Neil Lock Added Jan 26, 2018 - 9:17am
The irony, it Burns!
Thanks from me too, Ian.
Even A Broken Clock Added Jan 26, 2018 - 10:04am
Ian, thanks for the laugh. Almost made me wish I had some haggis. Almost.
Mircea Negres Added Jan 26, 2018 - 10:24am
Ian, taking a pot shot at snowflakes and working Donald Trump into it had me laughing in stitches as well as some dazed confusion, because I find it easier to understand the spoken Scottish accent than its written representation. Good one!
Ian Thorpe Added Jan 26, 2018 - 1:15pm
Flying Junior,
Lovely Maddie, I remember her. What a voice! Saw Steeleye several times way back, I was always something of a folk fan. When my son was playing gigs with the likes of Peter Hook and Noel Gallagher he used to mock my tastes in music, but he's forty three now and works the folk and blues circuit himself.
(And my old records keep disappearing ...)
Ian Thorpe Added Jan 26, 2018 - 1:17pm
TBH and Neil,
You're welcome
Ian Thorpe Added Jan 26, 2018 - 1:20pm
EABC, in Scotland these days you can get haggis dipped in batter and deep fried, as well as deep fried pizza (a pizza crunch according to menus) and even deep fried Mars Bar.
No prizes for guessing Glasgow is the heart attack capital of Europe.
Ian Thorpe Added Jan 26, 2018 - 1:26pm
Mircea, you haven't been to the right part of Scotland. On my last consultancy assignment before I was struck down, we were testing a speech to text system for Nordphone in Sweden. It was a multinational team but English was the common language. The software quickly adapted to our English regional accents, the Swedish accent, French, Spanish, Finns and German users, and even Scots guys from Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee but it could never cope with our Glasgow bampot. He was very offended.
Mircea Negres Added Jan 26, 2018 - 1:41pm
He he!!! Ian, I've never been to Scotland, period- though it is one of my top three retirement destinations (mountainous regions of US and Canada precede) if I ever win the lottery or the book I'm working on ever gets finished, published, optioned and turned into a money-making Hollywood epic along with fashionable series...
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 26, 2018 - 4:30pm
Yes, I saw a few other historical inaccuracies, but a good movie. Hollywood has to dramatize wars, because, um, wars don't have enough drama? Like, um, death, and dismemberment?
Pardero Added Mar 21, 2018 - 8:16pm
Ian Thorpe,
Fine article.
I have an interesting CD, Eddie Reader Sings The Songs Of Robrt Burns. 
Probably before your time, but I was a fanatical Big Country fan.
I have only been fortunate to have met a few Scots. They are polite and highly intelligent. They are patient and tolerant of micro-aggressions such as being asked dozens of questions 
Please give my regards to the lovely and talented Amy McDonald when you see her.
Pardero Added Mar 22, 2018 - 5:37pm
Oops, that is a typo not total ignorance. The Old Man did teach me that Micks are Irish, Macs are Scots. 
I remarked to a friend, once, that he had a fine Irish name but he corrected me and said he was a Scottish Kennedy. 

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