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Nearly 100 members and their guests gathered on the top floor of the Warsaw Trade Tower on Wednesday 27 January to enjoy Robert Burns’ poetry, whisky, haggis – and spectacular views of Warsaw by night.
After the welcome by Her Majesty’s Ambassador, Robin Barnett and the BPCC’s vice-chairman Nicholas Richardson, Martyn O’Reilly introduced Robert Burns with a brief biography of the poet. Despite his humble background, Rabbie Burns had a classical education – unusual for 18th Century Scotland, said Mr O’Reilly.
The anticipation having been raised, the moment everyone was waiting for arrived. Escorted by two pipers from the Częstochowa Pipes & Drums, a huge haggis was ceremonially brought into the room. Iain Leyden addressed it with Burns’s Address to a Haggis, before plunging his skean-dhu [dagger] into the “great chieftain o’ the puddin’ race”.
A traditional Scottish prayer, the Selkirk Grace, was read in Scots English and Polish, by Martyn O’Reilly and Lucyna Baca-Lonn, after which haggis and whisky were served. Then the pipers accompanied a Scottish dancer (also from Częstochowa!) performing the sword dance.
Robert Burns’ famous poem My Love is Like a Red Red Rose was read in Scots English and Polish, again by Mr O’Reilly and Ms Baca-Lonn, after which Nicholas Richardson raised a side-splittingly hilarious Toast to the Lassies, followed by – judging by the laughter – even funnier Reply to the Laddies, by BPCC board member Barbara Stachowiak-Kowalska.
A toast was then drunk to the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns, finally the pipers exited the hall to the sound of Auld Lang Syne. There then followed networking and exchange of business cards, and more whisky tasting courtesy of Elgin Group. The event, supported by Savills, was judged to have been a great success and did much to bring Scottish culture to the attention of a mostly Polish audience.