Some members of the Burns Club of Abernethy are also members of the Kinross Jolly Beggars Burns club, and although their Burns Supper was cancelled they held a Zoom Burns Supper last week. Abernethy Beggars were prominent with Jim Calderwood proposing the immortal Memory and Jim Aitken reciting Tam O` Shanter. The Kinross Jolly Beggars club was formed in 1888 when Robert Burns Begg, a Kinross solicitor and a great nephew of the Bard, invited twelve of his friends to a dinner in the Green Hotel, Kinross to celebrate the life of his great uncle. The invites were sent out in rhyme and he asked his friends to reply in similar vein. This custom has continued until the present day and at the annual dinner the best ones are read out and then the Chieftain of the Year picks out the best one and presents the winner with the John Kidd Rosebowl. This year Abernethy members’ poems were prominent with Jim Calderwood, Jimmy Swan and lan Bett all having their poems read and the Chieftain chose the poem below written by lan Bett. Both Jimmys claim to have been second but who remembers who was second !!
Beggars Reply - 2022
The Beggars have been meeting and toasting the Bard, since Echteen Echty Echt
Apart frae when needed by their country, a war tae gang and fecht
They cam back victorious, well maist o` them did, but many fell and lie far awa’.
Widows were left, lovers bereft and some bairns their fathers never saw.
It’s a Covid war we are fighting now, so auld rules dinnae apply,
Nae big guns firing frae miles far awa’, nae bombs drappin oot o` the sky.
Nae trachlin through mud tae yer knees in a trench, or scorched in the deserts burning sand.
The enemy is close, it could be your best freend, the fighting is more hand to hand.
When l was a lad it was polio and TB, aye and chickenpox, measles and mumps,
But we a` got oor jabs and if we do now, science will again come up trumps.
Things will be better next year l am sure, and once again Brother Beggars will meet,
Again we will pen our rhyming replies and haggis, tatties and neeps we will eat.
A silent toast will be drunk, tae them that`s awa`, then his pipes Bob Hamilton will blaw,
A lament for those whose presence we miss, the sound slowly driftin’ awa’.
We`re lucky tae have him a piper so good, nae better frae Wick tae the border,
He kens a’ the tunes, plays a` the richt notes, but no necessarily aye in the richt order.
We will sing Auld Lang Syne as we have aye done before, as a circle is made round the fioor,
But mind Hamish MacLarens warning I say, it’s the third verse before your hands should reach o`er.
The Chieftain will Tryst us to meet once again next year, his duties for the night now complete,
The Beggars are back, the wind`s in oor sails and the Bastard Covid we`ve beat!