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Scotland's Lucky Charm

10th Jan 2013
Scotland's Lucky Charm

It's a colourful life at Mercat Tours. There can be unusual days, when I can be walking round the castle in a lovely frock carrying a couple of 11th century helmets, or it can be an apron and a dirty mob cap at the Mining Museum, or I can be prancing up the Royal Mile with a red hatand veil describing 'Sin in the City'. And of course there are ordinary days when I just get into my cloak and my purple hat (there is definitely a hat motif in all this) and do a ghost tour. Can you think of a better way of spending one's retirement?

But it's January again, and a chance to to take part in an evening to introduce visitors from abroad and locals to the great man Robert Burns.

At the end of John Ford's classic Western 'The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance' the reporter says, 'When the legend conflicts with the truth, print the legend.' The same could be said to have happened to the story of Robert Burns. This is a pity, because the truth is surely interesting enough.

Why do we continue to celebrate him? It's not just the poetry, although that is funny, and wise and inspiring - it is the man himself - the farmer, the lover, the drinker, the poet, the rebel the excise man.

He speaks for all of us who value kindness and friendship and love. Of course he is a mass of contradictions and and his behaviour, especially towards the women, can be reprehensible. But he was a fine companion and a deep thinker. Scotland is lucky to have him.

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