TALKING of haggis, the rotundness of The Raider has been added to over the past few weeks, during the Burns Supper season.

Outstanding in its field so far is that Mogerleys’ haggis consumed at the Black Joan Burns Supper, in downtown Sanquhar, though that served up at Ballathie, near Perth, last week, for the Guild of Agricultural Journalists’ Burns Supper, was running it close for the league title.

However, Ballathie leapt into the lead with a fantastic main course of a sirloin of beef, supplied by ABP, via Frank Ross and superbly cooked by the Ballathie kitchen staff for the scribes and guests.

The other thing to come out of the latter ‘supper’ was that, without doubt, the grain trade’s funster, Jim Brown, is agriculture’s best after dinner speaker by far. He delivered an Immortal Memory with hilarity, sadness, pathos and insight into our national bard. Some man him. What a great antidote to Veganuary it was and so, next year, what about Hagganuary? Just a thought.

Trump blocks haggis

MORE haggis news! Apparently, the Trump administration in the US is frustrating plans to send haggis there by using delaying tactics.

If memory serves me correct, the US administration said two years ago that it was opening up its market to Scotland’s national dish. Two years down the line and we hear that it could be another two years before all the regulatory processes can be sorted out.

Scotland’s most famous haggis maker, MacSweens has said it is losing out on £2m worth of sales each year because of the delay.

However, I think most farmers out there would rather not send haggis across the pond if, in return, the Yanks were denied access to our red meat markets. I suspect there are bigger fish to fry out there, if you pardon the mixed metaphors!

Chicken saviours

I see that the humble chicken is being hailed as a major source of cheaper anti-cancer drugs and it is brilliant that this is being done at the world-famous Roslin Institute, which is part of Edinburgh University.

It is also a wake-up call for the anti-GM stance of the Scottish Government as these chickens have been modified to produce human proteins in the albumen of their eggs.

Scotland is a world leader in such research and it is something that should be encouraged financially and politically.

The latest study shows that chickens are commercially viable for drug discovery studies and other biotechnological applications. I wonder where vegans stand on this one?

Rude awakening

News is just filtering through from Islay about the aftermath of the annual Islay Farmers’ Dinner, which was this year held within the walls of the excellent new Machrie Hotel, near the airport, a couple of weekends ago.

The reason for this late news being carried back is obvious, given that the island’s distillers compete with each other to sponsor the event so some of the brain cells might just be beginning to go into recall. However, The Raider understands that some had been rudely awoken from their reverie by a very loud musical interlude.

Chateau Currie, in Port Ellen, was the after dinner retiral venue for the post-mortem of the dinner and we understand that the hilarity continued well into the following morning. King Currie, mine host Gordon, was sleeping off his over-indulgence when Mod singing gold medallist, Alastair Currie, and Neil ‘Tiree’ MacLean, on the squeezebox, crept into the ‘bull pen’ to act as his early morning alarm. The response to this merry jape was, as you would expect, unrepeatable!