Montreal Star, 12 November 1956
Heather and Haggis Exports
Glasgow- As another St Andrew’s Day draws near, Scottish exiles from Melbourne to Montreal are preparing to celebrate their national heritage once again. All the signs are that Scotland’s great day will be marked on an even bigger scale in countries overseas.
Throughout Canada the societies are gathering their resources for the Auld Lang Syne night of the year.
White heather, haggis and tartan, traditional emblems of Scotland will be to the fore in cities from Vancouver to Johanesburg. Export shops at home are working overtime to cope with the quite sensational demand. A leading Glasgow florist answered his telephone the other night, and found a caller talking to him across the Atlantic from Detroit.
He was quite staggered by the request. “Will you please send on 8000 sprays of white heather?” said the man across the ocean. “We want them for our big Scottish convention.”
Growers of white heather were contacted in various parts of Scotland. The florist took out his car, and motored round many of them, picking up supplies.
Two nights later, neatly sorted into sprays and packed into bundles, $300 worth of lucky white heather was on a plane bound for New York and Detroit.
Florists all over Scotland find the demand for white heather particularly strong at this time of the year. Scottish societies clubs and groups regard it as a must for their winter social activities.
Haggis for Export
Haggis is also in demand more than ever, and Scotland’s haggis makers are also working round the clock.
Canned haggis is growing in popularity. One Scottish firm sends thousands of haggis abroad this way.
Reports suggest that haggis is now more in demand as an all-year round dish. Its consumption is no longer confined merely to Christmas, New Year and Burns night.
A great deal of haggis is also shipped over to American servicemen in Germany, who appear to have a special taste for it.
Scots people still make jokes about the haggis, and the visiting American is still encountered who fondly imagines it means some wild bird roaming over the highland hills!
Haggis is composed of sheep’s heart, liver, oatmeal, and seasoning of various kinds. It is usually sewn up in a genuine sheep’s stomach.
Leisure time happiness is finding an increasingly large place in Scotland’s planners for the future. That’s why Britain’s greatest recreation centre, a project costing over $400 000 is being set up at Largs, a bracing holiday town on the south-west coast.
It is to be opened next summer and its playing fields will be in full use by 1958.
A mansion-house hotel is to be the hub of this vast new “get-fit-and-well” centre. It will have all the latest facilities, both indoors and out of doors. A huge indoor running track will be provided as well as the necessary facilities for sports like volley ball, tennis, badminton and netball.
The organizers say their aim is to introduce as many people as possible, and of all ages, to some form of physical recreation. Archery, canoeing and pony trekking will be encouraged.
The general feeling is that not enough people in Scotland are finding satisfaction in games and sports. A fitter and happier nation is likely to emerge as a result of the new plan.
Just how small this modern world is becoming was shown the other night in the busy steel-making town of Motherwell near Glasgow.
Sixty-five wedding guests sat down at a reception and solemnly lifted their glasses in a toast to a bride and a bridegroom they couldn’t see.
The reason? At that very moment they happy young couple were being married in Toronto, more than 3000 miles away.
An hour later the two wedding receptions were linked. A transatlantic telephone call did the trick, and the father and mother of the bride wished their daughter and son in law the best of good luck.
The Scottish family had no idea their wedding reception would swell to such large numbers. They originally planned just a quiet tea-party but so many friends and neighbours wanted to join in that a hall had to be hired.
A good instance of the hands across the sea spirit in this modern age of speed and first rate communication.
One of the world’s most romantic places, Craigdarroch house, the south of Scotland home of Bonnie Annie Laurie, is undergoing repair.
It serves to remind us of the famous Scottish girl round whom so many legends have been built up. The song about her is probably the world’s most famous love song.
Legends are about the beautiful Annie are legion. Many people, quite wrongly, will tell you she was a friend of the poet Robert Burns. Others give her a romantic link with Bonnie Prince Charlie. Both stories are wrong.
The initials of Bonnie Annie and those of her husband are carved on a wall of the mansion. Lovers of song and story will rejoice the Britain’s Ministry of Works has seen fit to recommend a grant for the repair of the house.
Another romantic note from Scotland is that the old Blacksmith’s shop at Gretna Green, where so many runaway weddings have taken place, is drawing a record number of visitors. In one recent week no fewer than fifty different nationalities travelled to the England-Scotland Border to see through it.
Love still flourishes and makes the world go round!