THIS PAGE IS CURRENTLY BEING UPDATED
Born 8th October 1929 at Currievale Farm
Died 1st January 2015 in Edinburgh, aged 85
Proposer of the Toast “The Lasses” 1974, 1977
Proposer of the Toast “Let it Blaw – the Balerno Burns Club” 1975, 2003
Proposer of the Toast “The Immortal Memory of Robert Burns” 1976
Recited “Tam o’ Shanter” 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1998, 2009
Proposer of the Toast “Our Hosts” or “The Landlord – Landlady” 1982, 2007
Reply to the Toast “The Lasses” 1985
Recited the Address “To a Haggis” 1989
Reply to the Toast “The Artistes” 1990
Proposer of the Toast “Chairman & Croupiers” 1994
One of Let it Blaw’s “Jolly Beggars” 1999, 2003
The Empty Chair
My cronies, I staun’ here the nicht
An ask ye for yer patience
Tae tell ma tale and keep ye bricht
Wi mair o’ my orations
I had prepared some stumblin’ lines
Wi thoughts o’ referendum
But news on Ne’erday change my mind
Caused me tae amend them.
For mair years than a can recall,
Wi’ humour, sangs an’ clatter
I’ve sat amangst ye in this hall
Though Januar’ winds might batter
But this time roon’ it’s no the same,
A feelin’ hard tae capture
An empty chair that bears his name
Wha’ held us a’ in rapture.
I wis a pair benighted chanter
Wha hadnae played for ages.
When, tae the folk club I did saunter.
Tae try the Kestrel’s stages
An wha was I tae be sae bold
It could hae been a blunder
Ma knees were shakin’ truth be told
The strain that I was under.
Ma e’en then lichted on a man
Wha seemed tae hae some mettle
He walkit up an shook my hand
At once my hert did settle
“Ye are a singer.” he declaimed
“Well that’ll suit me fairly.”
“Whaur de ye cam frae? Whit’s yer name?
I’ll pit ye on quite early.”
What I didnae quite ken then
At that unsought encounter
That Jack McCaig wid cam my friend
An’ be a guide and mentor.
A count me lucky by a mile
Twas me he took a shine to
Cos he could be a richt thrawn chiel
Wha said whit he’d a mind to.
He’d work on fairms, he’d ploughed the riggs
O’ mony a fairmer worthy.
And then at nicht he rest his legs
Doon in the ploughman’s bothy.
An there he said he learned the sangs
Frae men wha worked wi’ horses
Wi’ tales o’ woe and richts an’ wrangs
In thae cornkister verses
Mony a day sat at his knee
Regaled wi tales an’ stories.
The things he dae, the things he’d see
While drivin’ on the lorries.
A big wheel man wha roped an’ happed
The cargo that he carried.
Wi’ coal an’ steel an’ a’ sic trap
That folk a’ needed ferried.
Balerno was his life lang hame
He’d kent it since was wee.
The Laird o’ Glenbrook he became
In his hoose beneath the tree.
An’ if ye took the time tae go
Oot tae that stately pile.
An’ chappit at the the door ye’d know
He’d greet ye wi a smile.
An’ evr’y Januar’ at oor meets
He’ mak his contribution
That had us rollin’ in oor seats
Wi muckle laughs an’ hootin’
An t’ward the end efter the turns
As we a’ kent he must do
Tae gie “The Star o’ Rabbie Burns”
Roared oot wi’ usual gusto.
But sickness breaks the strongest herts
As e’en oor Rob would find.
The haughty laird, the lad o’ pairts
Still find themselves enchained
An though he faucht it lang and hard
Wi’ a’ his strenght resist it.
Like oor Robin, Scotland’s bard
That mortal coil he slip’t it.
We’ve paid respect tae absent friends
An’ Jack he got a mention
But here his story doesnae end
And I’ll hear nae dissension
For though we hae an empty chair
That nane o’ us can ‘herit
I for ane still see him there,
The least that he should merit.
So fareweel then tae my pal Jack
I liked tae cry him Faither,
An’ though my muse the pow’r may lack
Tae ‘scribe him as I’d raither.
Ah’ll ne’er forget a man like him
I’m glad our paths did mingle.
I wish him noo a hearty dram
An’ a warm seat by the ingle.