Monday, January 28, 2008

Snowboarding @ Crotched Mountain

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This is a great mountain. It's small but they make their own snow on all their trails and and have great night skiing. We bought lift passes for 1pm-9pm so we could get some day and night boarding.
(click for larger photos)
Jen's first run with her new snowboard.... and she made it down the bunny slope in one pieceUp on the mountain Jen got ready to develop her skills.

After 8 hours of snowboarding we were tired. Jen was pretty good at the end of the day. She was able to transition between the back edge and toe edge. We'll probably need a couple of weeks to recover.

Burns Night in New Hampshire

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On the 25th January 1759 just outside Ayr, Scotland, Robert Burns, the great poet was born. Since then Scots all over the world have celebrated his birth by holding Burns suppers. These are formal events where traditional Scottish dress is worn, haggis is eaten, Burns poetry is read and songs are sung.
We were planning to drive up to New Hampshire for snowboarding and managed to find this event happening at a Scottish/Irish pub close to Keene, where we were staying.
The night started with the The Selkirk Grace and Cock-a-Leekie soup was served.

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit. Everyone stands as the main course of haggis is brought in on a large dish. It is brought in by the cook, and a piper played 'A man's a man for aw that' on the bagpipes.It turned out that there was a Scottish couple there (that's them to the right in the photo above). Bernard owns the local Scottish store in town had had the privilege of reciting the Address To a Haggis

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o' need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn,
they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve,
Are bent lyke drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
"Bethankit!" 'hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro' bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs an' arms, an' heads will sned,
Like taps o' thrissle.

Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
Gie her a haggis!
This is the first haggis that I've seen presented in a clear plastic bag - no sheep's stomach here. It actually tasted really good and was served with mashed potatoes and peas. After dinner everyone was welcomed to take the floor and read Burns poems. This couple read a couple of poems and Jen stood up and read one of her favourite poems 'To a Mouse' (On turning her up in her nest with the plough)

Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murdering pattle.

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth born companion
An' fellow mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't.

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's win's ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turned out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld.

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still thou are blest, compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

Some locals also sang songs. (That's the pub owner on the right below). The night ended with one of Robert Burns's best known poems/songs 'Auld Lang Syne'. We had a great night and we headed back to the hotel to rest up for snowboarding the next day.