Ramsar British dinner and Highlands haggis hunt, October 2001
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Ramsar British dinner and grand Highlands haggis hunt
In the grand tradition of Ramsar Bureau cultural excesses, the superb Catalan evening of April 2001 was followed by a dinner fetched straight out of Wales, the north of England, and the Scottish Highlands, complete with dishes that needed name tags on them and the hunting of the haggis.
At the cozy home in Signy of Chris and Sandra Hails (long thought just to be a "Brit" but now, as it turns out, Scottish), Ramsar staff members Paulette Kennedy, Carlos Villalba, Najam Khurshid, and Tobias Salathé tire of small talk and line up for food.
Elena Blasco, Mrs Villalba, Dwight's visiting daughter Dr Alison Peck, and Paulette Kennedy cast good-natured glances all about and wonder when the food is coming.
Ah! The food arrives, all Welsh, English, and Highland specialties, all neatly labeled (which should be ominous). Let's eat!!
But wait, what's this?!?!
Alison, Paulette, and Carlos are startled by the leaping in upon us of a Scottish Haggis Hunter.
The Haggis Hunter. In bloom.
The Haggis Hunter recites the obligatory ritual haggis poem by Robbie Burns, whilst Chris Hails (WWF International) tries to stand guard over the shrubberies.
The Traditional Haggis Hunter completes the Robbie Burns poem and wields the awful knife, whilst the poor haggis (arrow) cower in their hiding-place, praying for a late haggis-miracle, but . . .
to no avail. Three fewer haggises walk the earth today. And Ramsar staff are all the richer for it.
Not much sympathy to be found for poor haggisi here.
Then, as the more timid citizens scurry to get out of the way, serious Ramsar eating ensues -- Najam Khurshid (extreme left), Annette Keller, Valerie Higgins expressing doubts about something, Keith Kennedy, Monsieur le Secrétaire général.
No jostling in the line please, there's plenty for everyone (and for all the pets in the village for the next week): Ramsar's Ibrahim Shaame, Najam Khurshid, and Tobias Salathé, and Ramsar spouse Keith Kennedy.
Wig and Tam o' Shanter off, the Haggis Hunter appears much less threatening. To Ramsar staff, anyway, if not to haggises.
As the evening draws to a close, with still more vigorous eating, Mr and Mrs Riera-Costello or Costello-Riera and Mr and Mrs Villalba ensure that there will be no leftovers.
Next on the culinary agenda: the Ramsar Swiss evening and general pig-out, June 2002.