A Dundee man serving as the UK’s Ambassador to Bahrain will lead the lifting of a glass to the bard at a massive virtual Burns Supper for colleagues around the globe.
Roddy Drummond is to address the huge Teams meeting to which more than 17,000 Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office staff around the world have been invited for Monday’s Burns celebration.
And he will be joined in the virtual event by Courier country colleagues serving in Embassies from Iceland to Peru.
Scots working for the UK Government in countries including Bahrain, Chile, China, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Pakistan, Peru, Tunisia, and Turkey are among those participating in the virtual Burns Supper.
Roddy, who joined the Foreign Office in 1985, said: “Burns Night is usually pretty busy.
“There’s a big Caledonian Society here in Bahrain and we do the full thing with lots of poetry and maybe a bit of singing.
“Last year we held a special dinner for some Bahraini friends, who are very fond of Scotland.
“This year will be a quieter affair online – with maybe a wee dram.”
Colin Gray, from Perth is deputy head of mission at the British Embassy in Peru.
He said: “I’m really sorry that I’ll be missing out on the Caledonian Society’s Peruvian twist on haggis, neeps and tatties this year, but we can still all raise a glass to the Bard and hopefully get together in person again very soon.”
Vital ingredient off the menu in Iceland
Lisa Waugh, from Glenrothes, the UK’s Deputy High Commissioner in Reykjavik, Iceland, said: “There’s a strong Scottish connection here in Iceland.
“Because of Covid, this year’s Burns celebrations will be a more muted affair.
“But I’ll be commemorating the great man with a wee dram and a read of my favourite poem Tam O’Shanter.
One vital ingredient to the Icelandic celebration will, however, be missing,
“I’ll not be having any haggis because it’s not something that’s readily available here, despite everything else Icelanders tend to eat,” said Lisa.
“So I’ll be having that other great Scottish favourite, mince ‘n’ tatties.”
Fifer Neil will be joining in from Chile
Fifer Neil Morrison, from Aberdour, works at the UK Embassy in Santiago, Chile.
He said: “Burns Night will be a bit different from previous years.
“There will be no ceilidh, and we will be spending it at home, staying safe, looking after ourselves and others.”
Foreign Office Minister Wendy Morton said: “Scots are at the very heart of helping FCDO be a force for good around the world and staff were keen to pay tribute to Robert Burns despite Covid-19.
“Lockdown restrictions might mean that the many Burns Suppers our Embassies usually organise around the world to help showcase Scotland cannot happen this year, but that isn’t stopping us from celebrating.
“Robert Burns was very much an internationalist, so I’m sure he would have approved of the UK government bringing the COP26 climate change summit to Glasgow, and our work promoting human rights and helping the world’s poorest countries.”