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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Eleven Plus Help

We need to start planning now for New Year’s Eve. We know that the New Year does not really start on January the 1st. We know too that many resolutions will be made only to be broken.

But New Years Eve is a time for haggis.

There is only one person who can describe a haggis with any great authority.

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great Chieftain ‘o the Pudding-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe of thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The great Robbie Burns lived between 1759 and 1796 and he wrote a poem: `To the Haggis’.

Now the Scots do not `Do the Eleven Plus’. But I am sure that they would be proud to donate one of their most famous recipes to the general well being of English children preparing for Eleven Plus children.

There are lots of sheep in Scotland. A few years ago we had a wonderful weekend staying with Peter and Anne Clarke in Argyle. The meals were wonderful – rich and diverse. Anne has the ability to marry flowers into stunning bouquets. Peter has not only been a shepherd all his life but he has also shown his sheep dogs in trials all over Scotland.

Peter and Anne gave us a lecture on haggis. Apparently some of the Scots are thrifty folk and they have found a way to turn meat that would otherwise be wasted in delicious savoury food.

`Take a sheep’s stomach and fill it with liver and heart. Add mutton, oatmeal, suet and onions. Any impurities pass out the wind pipe as the haggis is boiled for an hour and a half. You then prick the haggis all over to avoid the sheep’s stomach bursting – and then boil steadily for 3 – 4 hours.’ This then is the `Great Chieftain of Pudding’. By tradition in many households the haggis is the first thing eaten in the New Year.

The Scots also believe that they need a tall dark haired man to bring coal over the thresh hold in order for the household to have good luck.

The Scots also express a great need to drink lots of whiskey to lubricate the New Year.

So this New Year why not adopt our great and traditional `Eleven Plus Good Luck System’.

Take the heart of sheep and sew it into a sheep’s stomach. Rub a little coal over your child’s face. Hold your child’s nose and pour some aged whiskey down. Read some wild Scottish poetry aloud and then explain to your child why his or her father is wearing a skirt.

You never know. This might just help!

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