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Haddington Twinning Association Bulletin Board

Robert Burns Day – 25th January – 2020

Uncategorised Posted on Sat, January 18, 2020 13:01:42

Did Robert Burns ever visit East Lothian?

The question remains unanswered, but we know for sure that his brother, mother and sister came to this part of Scotland and never left.

Robert Burns.

Gilbert Burns was born in 1760, the second child of William Burnes (the e was dropped later) and Agnes Broun. Robert was their oldest child and as there were only twenty months between the brothers they probably remained close friends all their lives. The brothers were schooled together from a young age, went on to work together as tenant farmers, and Gilbert helped Robert with his book sales. Robert died in 1796 and in 1800 Gilbert moved from Ayrshire, with his large family, to Morham in East Lothian. He worked as the estate manager to Captain John Dunlop. Presumably the position was given to Gilbert because Robert was an acquaintance of the captain’s mother, Frances Dunlop of Dunlop in Ayrshire. In 1804 Gilbert was then appointed as factor to the Lennoxlove estate in Haddington by Lord Blantyre. His annual salary was £140. He moved into a two storey thatched house at Grant’s Brae on the Haddington to Bolton road with his wife Jean Breckenridge, with whom he had eleven children. It was a busy house as his widowed mother and sister Annabella also lived there! Their house is no longer there, a monument now stands in its place.

Gilbert Burns – Brother.

Gilbert Burns was a well-known figure around Haddington and in 1808 he became an elder of St Mary’s Church in Haddington. He died on 8th April 1827 aged 67 and is buried in Bolton churchyard, East Lothian. He erected a tombstone in this graveyard to the memory of some of his children, his mother and his sister. His son Gilbert left money in his will that was to be used to enclose and maintain his father’s burial place.

Burn’s Family Grave in Bolton Kirkyard.

Visitors from Aubigny visit Bolton Kirkyard – August 2019….. with John MacMillan Provost.

Singing Burn’s song to Commerorate this special visit.
Agnes Burns – Robert and Gilbert’s Mother.

The Well ………near Haddington. {Grant’s Braes ]

Photographs – Irene Higgenbotham – Material – John Gray Centre – Haddington.

Photographs of trip to Haddington from Aubigny – Tour City Chambers, Edinburgh – August 2019

Uncategorised Posted on Sat, January 11, 2020 15:59:14

All photographs by Christian Couture -[ Aubigny ]. With thanks.

Sunday 6th January 2020 – The Epiphany of our Lord.

Uncategorised Posted on Sat, January 04, 2020 16:11:32

Arrival of Three Kings + Camel to Nativity, or in this case outside – Old Bakehouse Tearoom – Aberlady.

Photo – Irene Higgenbotham.

Aubigny sur Nere Twinning visits Haddington – August 2019

Uncategorised Posted on Fri, January 03, 2020 16:29:32
Haddington Pipe Band welcomes visitors from Aubigny.
Meeting old friends again. – Christian Couture & Fraser Wilkinson [ Pipe Major ]
Visit to Edinburgh – Scott Monument & Princes St. gardens.
Art Gallery – The Mound- Princes St. Gardens. Edinburgh.
General Assembly Church of Scotland – the Mound- Edinburgh

St. Giles Kirk – Royal Mile Edinburgh –

These images were taken by Christian Couture – on the visit to Haddington in August 2019. I shall be posting many more of them during 2020 – so keep looking you might even be in them !

The Loony Dook – North Berwick – 1st January 2020

Uncategorised Posted on Wed, January 01, 2020 20:12:58

The “Loony Dook “, is an annual event held on New Years’ Day in which people dive into freezing waters in the Firth of Forth, often in fancy dress, this practice started in South Queensferry, but now has travelled into East Lothian’s seaside towns.

This event was conceived in 1986 as a joking suggestion by three locals for a New Years’ Day hangover cure. The following year it was decided to repeat the event for charity.

After a few years of only local significance, the event gradually grew in 1990’s, both in popularity and number of participants, The event was started to be mentioned in the official Edinburgh Hogmany publicity material and got a boost when the Millennium edition was broadcast live by the BBC.

In 2011 a registration fee of originally £6 was raised to £10 in 2016, the proceeds of which benefit RNLI and local charities.

The event has inspired similar, though smaller in scale, annual Loony Dooks, such as in North Berwick in East Lothian, Dalgety Bay, Portobello and Kirkcaldy in Fife, which are also on the Firth of Forth.

North Berwick beach today, which is busier than in summertime.

The name Loony Dook, a Scots term meaning “dip” or ” bathe”

Photos supplied by Mr. Iain Burrell – with many thanks – I.H.

Auld Lang Syne

Uncategorised Posted on Sat, December 28, 2019 13:58:50

Auld Lang Syne is a song which thrilled the soul of Robert Burns in the 1780s, and today has become an anthem sung the world over at New Year.

In 1788 the Robert Burns sent the poem ‘Auld Lang Syne’ to the Scots Musical Museum, indicating that it was an ancient song but that he’d been the first to record it on paper. The phrase ‘auld lang syne’ roughly translates as ‘for old times’ sake’, and the song is all about preserving old friendships and looking back over the events of the year.

It is sung all over the world, evoking a sense of belonging and fellowship, tinged with nostalgia.

It has long been a much-loved Scottish tradition to sing the song just before midnight. Everyone stands in a circle holding hands, then at the beginning of the final verse (‘And there’s a hand my trusty friend’) they cross their arms across their bodies so that their left hand is holding the hand of the person on their right, and their right hand holds that of the person on their left. When the song ends, everyone rushes to the middle, still holding hands, and probably giggling.

Most Scots know the first verse and the chorus but if you don’t, here’s the full version:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne,

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.


We twa hae run about the braes
And pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot
Sin auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
Frae mornin’ sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right guid willy waught,
For auld lang syne.


Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And long, long ago.


And for long, long ago, my dear
For long, long ago,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For long, long ago
And surely youll buy your pint-jug!
And surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For long, long ago.


We two have run about the hills
And pulled the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered manys the weary foot
Since long, long ago.


We two have paddled in the stream,
From morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
Since long, long ago.


And there’s a hand, my trusty friend!
And give us a hand of yours!
And we’ll take a deep draught of good-will
For long, long ago.

For All Twinning Organisations the world over – Lang Mie Yir Lum Reek !!

The Real Father Christmas

Uncategorised Posted on Sat, December 21, 2019 16:19:21

The most famous story about St. Nicholas tells how the custom of hanging up stockings to put presents in first started ! It goes like this :-

There was a poor man who had three daughters. The man was so poor that he did not have enough money for a dowry, so his daughters couldn’t get married. [ A dowry is a sum of money paid to the bridegroom by the brides parents on the wedding day . This still hapens in some countries, even today ] One night, Nicholas secretly dropped a bag of gold down the chimney and into the house [ This meant that the oldest daughter was then able to be married ] The bag fell into a stocking that had been hung by the fire to dry! This was repeated with the second daughter . Finally, determined to discover the person who had given him the money, the father secretly hid by the fire every evening until he caught Nicholas dropping in a bag of gold. Nicholas begged the man not to tell anyone what he had done, because he did not want to bring attention to himself. But soon the news got out and when anyone received a secret gift, it was thought that it was from Nicholas.

Because of his kindness Nicholas was made a saint. Saint Nicholas is not only the sain of children but the saint of sailors! One story tells of him helping some sailors that were caught in a dreadful storm off the coast of Turkey. The storm was raging around them and all the men were terrified that their ship would sink beneath the giant waves. They prayed to Saint Nicholas to help them , suddenly he was standing on the deck before them. He ordered the sea to be calm , the storm died away, and they were able to sail their ship safely to port.

In the 16th Century in northern Europe, after the Reformation, the stories and traditions about St. Nicholas became unpopular. But someone had to deliver presents to children at Christmas, so in Great Britain , particularly in England, he became Father Christmas or old Man Christmas, an old character from stories and plays during the middle ages in Great Britain and parts of northern Europe. In France, he was then known as Pere Noel .

In some countries including parts of Austria and Germany, present giver became the ” Christkind ” a golden haired baby, with wings, who symbolizes the newborn baby Jesus.

In the early USA, his name was Kris Kringle [ from the Christkind ] Later, Dutch settlers in the USA took the old stories of St. Nicholas became Sinterklaas or as we now say Santa Claus !

Many countries especially ones in Europe, celebrate St. Nicholas day on 6th December. In the Netherlands and some other European countries, children leave their clogs or shoes out on the 5th December to be filled with presents. They also believe that if they leave some hay and carrots in their shoes for Sinterklaas’s horse, they will be left some sweets.

St. Nicholas became popular again in the Victorian era when writers, poets and artists rediscovered the old stories.

In 1823 the famous poem ” A visit from St. Nicholas or ‘Twas the Night before Christmas ” , was published Dr. Clement Clarke Moore later claimed he had written it for his children. [ Some scholars now believe it was actually written by Henry Livingston, Jr. who was a distant relative of Dr. Moore’s wife. ] The poem describes St. Nicholas with 8 reindeer and gives them their names, they became really wel known in the song ” Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer, written in 1949……… and did you know that all of Santas’ reindeer might well be all girls, Only female reindeer keep their antlers throughtout the winter. Some people say that Santa lives at the North Pole. In Finland, they say he lives in the north part of their country called Lapland. But everyone agrees that he travels through the sky on a sledge that is pulled by reindeer, that he comes into houses down the chimny at night and places for the children in socks or bags by their beds, in front of the family Christmas tree, or by the fireplace.

Haddington Twinning wishes all near and far a Very Merry Christmas –

with much love – Irene Higgenbotham.

Merry Christmas to friends near and far – from Haddington Twinning.

Uncategorised Posted on Tue, December 10, 2019 13:49:27

Photo – Irene Higgenbotham

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