Wednesday 7 April 2010
Kay Park Burns Monument Centre was the setting for the annual ‘Clootie Dumpling’ Lecture organised by the Howff Burns Club, Kilmarnock. [Photograph courtesy of Ewan McDougal Photography]
The lecture, with the intriguing title of ‘In and Out of Tam O’Shanter,’ was delivered by Jim Thomson, President of the Ayrshire Association of Burns Clubs.
With the clootie dumpling centre stage and in front of an expectant full house in the delightful circular auditorium, Jim wove a fascinating series of strands into a comprehensive, informative and thought-provoking study of Burns’ great narrative tale. Basing his research on anecdotal evidence, previously published works and years of observing performances of the poem, Jim has amassed sufficient material for a book which he intends publishing in the very near future. Based on what I heard at the lecture, this promises to be a volume worthy of a place on the bookshelves of all serious Burnsians who want to learn more about Burns' masterpiece. Dozing off during the lecture wasn’t an option as Jim fired questions at the audience to test their knowledge of some of the less-understood words in the poem. Following my vote of thanks, Howff Club President, Lorrie Headley, invited the audience to sample the tempting array of clootie dumplings prepared by members of the club.