"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Friday, 25 January 2013

a man's a man for that...

I have not had time for much this week but while waiting for a takeaway pizza, I had a quick look on Facebook only to see messages from Siobhan about Robbie Burns night.  It was quite ironic because this evening was the first time that I have sat down to watch television with Michael in ages.  He had just settled down to watch the cricket (Who wants to watch the cricket when you know the South African team have already lost the series? What is the point?).  So I hijacked the remote and started looking at what we had recorded.  Dalene had told me about the Graham Norton show that was on DSTV last Friday. It was a great show especially since we are trying very hard to get the whole family together to see Les Miserables but it is proving more difficult than putting a marshmallow into a money box.  Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean) was a guest (along with Tom Cruise and Billy Crystal). I can't wait to see this movie (and if Dalene and Gareth have sneaked off without me there is going to be trouble!!).  The two of them are the ultimate Les Mis fans and they both know every word of every song. It is a special musical in our family.

Sorry, I get sidetracked.  As gorgeous and entertaining as Hugh Jackman was, the star of the show to me was the Scottish comedian, John Bishop.  Michael and I really had a good laugh watching the show and now while I wait (very hungrily) for the pizza to arrive, I thought I should share this little bit of Burns magic.  

"A Man's a Man for That" has always been one of my favourite poems.  I remember my English teacher translating it for us and explaining, quite simply that a man is a man, rich or poor and that we are all equal.  Wealth and social class is not a measure for a person's worth and honesty is worth more than fancy clothes (tinsel).  I had forgotten and had to look up what a "birkie" was (cool young guy) and I remembered that a coof was a fool.

Is there for honest Poverty 
That hings his head, an' a' that; 
The coward slave-we pass him by, 
We dare be poor for a' that! 
For a' that, an' a' that. 
Our toils obscure an' a' that, 
The rank is but the guinea's stamp, 
The Man's the gowd for a' that. 

What though on hamely fare we dine, 
Wear hoddin grey, an' a that; 
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine; 
A Man's a Man for a' that: 
For a' that, and a' that, 
Their tinsel show, an' a' that; 
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor, 
Is king o' men for a' that. 

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord, 
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that; 
Tho' hundreds worship at his word, 
He's but a coof for a' that: 
For a' that, an' a' that, 
His ribband, star, an' a' that: 
The man o' independent mind 
He looks an' laughs at a' that. 

A prince can mak a belted knight, 
A marquis, duke, an' a' that; 
But an honest man's abon his might, 
Gude faith, he maunna fa' that! 
For a' that, an' a' that, 
Their dignities an' a' that; 
The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth, 
Are higher rank than a' that. 

Then let us pray that come it may, 
(As come it will for a' that,) 
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth, 
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that. 
For a' that, an' a' that, 
It's coming yet for a' that, 
That Man to Man, the world o'er, 
Shall brothers be for a' that.

My apologies to the Scottish family (and Aunty Alice) for any misinterpretation.  Colette and Siobhan I know will love Paolo Nutini's version of this poem.  

Victoria has told me that she is having haggis, tatties and neeps for dinner and I wish you all a wonderful evening.  I am off to have some pizza (which has finally arrived) followed by a "wee dram" (with all the Scottish whisky* in our house, that never gets drunk, it would be silly to let an occasion like tonight pass me by).

*Did you know what "whisky" is for the Scottish variety and "whiskey" is Irish?  The Scottish take umbrage to inserting an "e" in their "whisky".

I have been waiting for so long to find the right time and place to use the words "take umbrage".  Such a lovely expression.

Therein ends the lesson.


  1. Oh, Jen, just done my juststuff catch up. Thank for sharing. Have just been dancing a jig to your Paulo in my lounge and thinking of my Meggie who introduced him to me.xxx

  2. Hey "Unknown" - Thanks for the comment - Didn't take too long to work out who "unknown" really is - the "Meggie" part gave me a small clue ;). But you would have been on my short list of friends "dancing a jig to Paolo". Lots of love