It was to be a sombre affair this year
With all the current restrictions in place, even the Persabus haggi seem to have been hiding away from this dreadful virus.
On the farm, whilst those sheep and cows seem oblivious to current guidelines, not adhering to social distancing rules at all, a little haggis told me that the haggi population of the Inner Hebrides are taking the guidelines very seriously indeed.
The Happy Farmer cut a lonely figure striding out across the hillside in search of his favourite haggis.
Gone were the usual pre-hunt antics and high jinks of the annual Persabus haggis hunt
There were no customary pies flowing from the infamous Aga. No pre-hunt drams of Islay’s finest malts. Such was the Happy Farmer’s sorrow at contemplating the thought of a haggis hunt without his usual farming contingent, he had no appetite for pies or whisky.
With Burn’s night almost upon us it was to be an incredibly lonely mission.
He set off in the dead of night, with just the moonlight for company
The first hurdle was the electric fence, which to circumnavigate in the darkness, with some ever so slightly ‘tippled’ farmers would usually prove to be something of an obstacle. Not every farmer has been blessed with the mighty long legs of the Happy Farmer or indeed the Handsome Young Farmer. It was probably a huge relief to the Happy Farmer at this point that his usual cohort were not present. With some proving to be terribly ‘clickety clackety’ in the gait these days. Some with wee chunky legs that are simply not quite long enough to straddle an electric fence, with bog and ditch on either side.
The thought of a sharp tweak in the ‘oxters’ and the game would have definitely been a bogey
On previous haggis hunts the Happy Farmer, at this point, together with the help of the Handsome Farmer, would usually lead proceedings with old fashioned ‘coalie backs’. This allowed the ‘lesser legged’ members of the contingent to be hoisted safely over the treacherous wire.
The memory of that particular hunt brought a smile to the Happy Farmer’s face.
He recalled the time when the shortest farmer in the party could not quite manage to hoist himself up on to the Handsome Farmer’s back. Several attempts, and then a run and a jump, and the said farmer had positively leap frogged high into the air, somersaulting straight over the Handsome Farmer’s back, across the fence, before landing face down and feet up in a peaty bog.
Thankfully, the night was saved by the copious amounts of ‘amber nectar’ brought along for such emergencies.
Before they knew it, all the farmers could be found face down in whisky and feet up in the peaty bog
Their chortling as they became even more stuck could be heard far and wide. The farmers, completely oblivious to the attention they were drawing, had by this point, due to the huge quantity of medicinal drams, quite forgotten the mission and purpose of their evening. Hearty stories were recounted from the depths of that bog. Their luck was in however, as on hearing the antics of those farmers, and being ever so nosy little creatures, the haggi began to creep from their burrows. Scurrying closer, they could just smell that whisky. A twitch of the whiskers and they could tell it was a good, aged Islay malt. After a long winter spent in the depths of a burrow, the temptation proved to be just too much. Before those farmers knew it, haggi were positively bounding and leaping into the peaty bog to join in the party.
That particular year proved to be one of the most successful hunts to date.
This year however, it was just the Happy Farmer heaving himself up the hillside. Well, he heaved himself to the base of the hill at any rate. I am not so sure he would have gone as far as quite making it up the hillside such was his sombre mood.
All alone in the moonlight. Nothing seemed to be doing
Defeated, the Happy Farmer turned and began to make his way back to the farmhouse. He was completely oblivious to the curious whiskers that were beginning to pop out of the burrows, watching his every move. Saddened that there was no whisky bath to leap into this year. Saddened there had not been so much as a drop of ‘amber nectar’ to enjoy.
That is until one of those brave little haggis could bear it no longer
Taking a flying leap, he jumped high into the air before skilfully landing snuggly in the pocket of the Happy Farmer’s jacket. He was swiftly followed by a second, landing in another pocket, and a third. By the time the Happy Farmer reached the farmhouse and came to take off his jacket his pockets were full of haggi.
If you have ever wondered why there are so many pockets to a farmer’s jacket now you know the answer. In the current climate you will be pleased to hear those haggi were all happily socially distanced, one to each pocket.
The Happy Farmer’s annual haggis hunt has yet again provided another plentiful supply of this gorgeous delicacy to be enjoyed on Burn’s night and beyond.
Which just leaves me to wish you a Happy Burn’s night from all of us at Persabus. Slainte.
Until next time…