• Simon O'Donovan

Scotland - Burns Night 25 January 2020

“I feel a sort of reverence in going over these scenes in this most beautiful country, which I am proud to call my own, where there was such devoted loyalty to the family of my ancestors – for Stuart blood is in my veins.” Queen Victoria, journal entry in 1873 'Burns Night' is annually celebrated in Scotland on or around January 25. It commemorates the life of the bard (poet) Robert Burns, who was born on January 25, 1759. The day also celebrates Burns' contribution to Scottish culture. His best known work is 'Auld Lang Syne'.

'St. Andrew's Day' is 30th November. It is considered Scotland's National Day and was made a Bank Holiday by the Scottish Parliament in 2006. Ask members what they like about Scotland and Scottish people? Has anyone visited or lived there? What are the things that remind us of Scotland? Begin to make a list.

Things to include:

- The beautiful scenery

- The lochs and mountains

- The islands

- The beaches

- The clean air

- Beautiful cities

- The weather???

- The whisky!

- Haggis?

SCOTTISH PROVERBS Ask members if they have ever heard these saying, and ask them to take a guess at their meanings. "Mony a mickle maks a muckle." - Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves. “Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time deid.” - Don't take life too seriously. Don't sweat the small stuff or waste time on things that make you unhappy, as life is too short. “Time and tide for nae man bide.” - Even the rich and powerful cannot escape the laws of nature and everyone should take the opportunity to better themselves while they can. "He that keeks through a keyhole may see what will vex him." - Those who eavesdrop may hear something they would rather not have. In other words, ignorance can be bliss. “If ye like the nut, crack it.” - If you like the idea of a reward, then you must accept the effort involved to achieve it. “The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn.” (David Russell, 1953-present) - Deciding the best course of action can often be the hardest part in life. “To be kind to all, to like many and love a few, to be needed and wanted by those we love, is certainly the nearest we can come to happiness.” (Mary Queen Of Scots, 1542-87) - It's the simpler things in life we should appreciate. “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” (Sir Walter Scott, 1771 – 1832) - How complicated life becomes when people start lying to each other. “Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. " (J.M. Barrie, 1860 – 1937) - What you reap you sow. When we make other people happy, we often find happiness ourselves. "People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents." (Andrew Carnegie, 1835-1919) - Aim for the highest, do your best and you will be rewarded.

SCOTTISH WORDS AND PHRASES "A nod's as good as a wink tae a blind horse." - Explain yourself properly and make your meaning crystal clear. "Hock I the noo." - Oh yes, just now. "I'll gie ye a skelpit lug!" - I'll give you a slap on the ear. "Whit's fur ye'll no go by ye!" - What's meant to happen will happen. "Skinny Malinky Longlegs!" - A tall thin person. "Lang may yer lum reek!" - May you live long and stay well. "Speak o' the Devil!" - When you talk about someone they usually appear. "Black as the Earl of Hell's waistcoat." - Pitch black. "Failing means yer playin!" - At least you are trying. "Keep the heid!" - Stay calm, don't get upset. "We're a' Jock Tamson's bairns!" - We're all God's children "Dinnae teach yer Granny tae suck eggs!" - Don't try and teach someone something they already know. . "Is the cat deid?" - Your trousers are short, like a mast flying at half mast. "The baw's on the slates." - Game over. If the ball landed on the roof, the game of football is over. "Noo jist haud on!" - Now just hold on, slow down. Take your time. "Hell slap it intae ye!" - It's your own fault. "I'm fair plucked." - I'm short of breath. "Do yer dinger." - Loudly express disapproval. "Gie it laidly," - Do something with gusto. "Ah dinnae ken." - I don't know. "Haste Ye Back!" - Farewell, come back soon. "It's a dreich day." - Days that are dull and drab. "Blether." - Chat away. "Haud yer wheesht." - Shut up.. "Scran." - Food. "Aye right!" - An expression of disbelief. "Reeking." - Intoxicated. "Rank." - Disgusting. "Munter." - A not so beautiful person. "At dis ma nut it," - That annoys me. "Yer bum's oot the windae." - You're talking rubbish. "Am pure done in." - Feeling very tired. "Ma heid's mine!" - I'm a bit mixed up about things. "Yer oot yer face!" - You're very drunk.

SCOTTISH QUIZ Print out some pictures of famous Scottish faces, landmarks and cultural emblems to help the following quiz flow. As a name or thing is mentioned, ask members to hold up the relevant picture. Country What is the flag of Scotland called?

THE SALTIRE OR ST ANDREW’S CROSS (White x-shaped cross on a navy blue background) What is the national flower of Scotland?

THISTLE When is Scotland’s official national day?

ST ANDREW’S DAY, HELD ON 30TH NOVEMBER What is the Queen’s main Scottish residence?

BALMORAL What is the name of the thoroughfare which runs between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace?

THE ROYAL MILE Geography What is Scotland’s longest river?

THE TAY (120 MILES) And it's highest mountain?

BEN NEVIS - ELEVATION 4413FT (HIGHEST IN BRITISH ISLES ) Which body of water in Scotland contains more water than all the English and Welsh lakes put together?

LOCH LOMOND TRUE OR FALSE. Hadrian's Wall lies entirely within England and has never formed the Anglo-Scottish border? TRUE Which Scottish town is famous as a venue for runaway marriages?

GRETNA GREEN What is a Scottish church called?

A KIRK Where is the leading Scottish tourist attraction 'Royal Yacht Britannia' docked?

EDINBURGH A nautical exploration ship recently had to be renamed ‘The Sir David Attenborough’. What did the public originally vote to call it?

BOATY MCBOATFACE Where is the terminus of the East Coast main railway line?

EDINBURGH WAVERLEY STATION What was the first steam engine to pass the 100 miles per hour speed barrier on 30th November 1934?

THE FLYING SCOTSMAN Culture What patterned fabric is a kilt made out of?

TARTAN What is the name of the Pouch worn in front of a kilt?

A SPORRAN Where would you find a chanter and a drone?

ON A SET OF BAGPIPES (Who likes the sound of Bagpipes playing? We have some in the music round later!) What is the annual Scottish comedy festival called?

THE EDINBURGH FRINGE When was the first recorded sighting of the fabled Loch Ness Monster (nearest guess)?

The EARLIEST RECORDED SIGHTING WAS 22ND AUGUST 565 AD when it was written that a type of sea creature had attempted to gulp down a local farmer, before being banished back into the water by St Columba - the man responsible for introducing Christianity to Scotland. (Is anyone a believer?) What is a Tam-o-shanter?

TRADITIONAL SCOTTISH BONNET WORD BY MEN What percentage of Scottish people have ginger hair?

13% Food and drink What Scottish foodstuff did Robert Burns address as the Great Chieftain o’ the puddin’ race? HAGGIS What are the ingredients of a haggis?

SHEEPS 'PLUCK' (heart, liver and lungs), ground with ONION, OATMEAL, SUET, SPICES & SALT, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal's stomach and boiled What is haggis traditionally served with?

NEEPS (swede) & TATTIES (potatoes), with a dram of single malt whisky What is Cullen Skink?

SCOTTISH SOUP, MADE OF SMOKED HADDOCK, POTATO & ONION Scott’s Porridge Oats, first produced 120 years ago by brothers A& R Scott, was taken over by which company in 1982?

QUAKERS What are some of the top selling brands of Scotch Whisky?

JOHNNY WALKER, BALLANTINES, GRANTS, CHIVAS REGAL, J&B, BELLS, DEWARS (Does anyone enjoy a tipple?) For those who prefer a low alcohol or soft drink, what is the leading brand of Scottish Ginger Beer?

CRABBIES What Scottish drink has recently changed it's recipe, much to the discontent of people who drink it?

IRN BRU What does the Scottish word Sláinte mean?

CHEERS ( literally ‘Health’ or ‘Good health’) Famous people in history What did Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) discover?

PENICILLIN What did John Logie Baird (1888-1946) invent?

TELEVISION What was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle famous for?

WRITING SHERLOCK HOLMES DETECTIVE STORIES What did Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) invent?

TELEPHONE Which Scottish author wrote 'Kidnapped' and 'Treasure Island'?

ROBERT LOUIS STEPHENSON Politics Where is the Scottish Parliament located?

HOLYROOD Who is the First Minister?

NICOLA STURGEON Who was the first First Minister?

DONALD DEWAR (17TH MAY 1999-11th OCTOBER 2000) Which Scottish Labour politician was UK Prime Minister from June 2007-May 2010?

GORDON BROWN TV and film Who was the Scottish schoolteacher created by Muriel Spark?

MISS JEAN BRODIE (PLAYED BY MAGGIE SMITH IN THE 1969 FILM 'THE PRIME OF...') Which ‘Dad’s Army’ character used to say, “We're all doomed?”

PRIVATE FRAZIER Who was the Scottish chef in the TV soap ‘Crossroads’?

SHUGHIE MCFEE Which Scottish TV personality was one of the original presenters of GMTV, starting in 1993?

LORRAINE KELLY Who starred as the medieval Scottish patriot William Wallace in the 1995 film 'Braveheart'?

MEL GIBSON What film about drug taking culture in Edinburgh released in 1996 starred Ewan McGregor?

TRAINSPOTTING Which TV actor starred in the comedy mystery-drama Hamish Macbeth?

ROBERT CARLYLE. (He also starred in the 1997 film ‘The Full Monty'.) What was the first British television reality programme, featuring Ben Fogle and filmed on the Island of Taransay in The Outer Hebrides called?

CASTAWAY Who played ‘The Queen’ in the 2006 film of the same name?

HELEN MIRREN What is the comedian Billy Connolly's nickname?

THE BIG YIN Which James Bond was Scottish, and which films did he star in?


ROUGH COLLIE Who starred in the role of 'Dr Kildare' in the TV drama series of the same name?

RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN Who starred as Mr Hudson in the TV drama series 'Upstairs Downstairs'?

GORDON JACKSON Sports Which Highland Game involves throwing a tree trunk as far as you can?

TOSSING THE CABER Who is the most capped Scottish footballer of all time?

KENNY DALGLISH Which Scottish sportsman won the 'BBC Personality Of The Year Award' in 2013, 2015 & 2016?

ANDY MURRAY Which Scottish cyclist won six Olympic Games gold medals in his magnificent career, which ended in 2013 when he retired?

CHRIS HOY Which football team did Sir Alex Ferguson manage from 1986-2013?


Please let me know if you think of any other quiz questions to add x

MUSIC QUIZ QUESTIONS Playlist link here Donald Where's Yer Troosers? - Andy Stewart What do men in Scotland wear under their kilt?

NOTHING! Have a vote. Which men in the room would brave it? I’m Gonna Be (500 miles) - The Proclaimers How far is it from Lands End to John O Groats (nearest guess)?

874 MILES BY ROAD Love Is All Around - Wet Wet Wet What item of clothing for the inclement weather was designed in Scotland?

MACKINTOSH (first sold in 1824) Which American company makes the Macintosh computer?

APPLE Why? - Annie Lennox What group was Annie Lennox in with Dave Stewart?

THE EURYTHMICS Which 1981 film did lead singer Clare Grogan star in alongside Gordon Sinclair?

GREGORY'S GIRL Smalltown Boy - Bronski Beat Which TV reverend previously formed The Communards with Jimmy Somerville?

REV RICHARD COLES (recently appeared in BBC’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’; also anchor of BBC Radio 4 ‘Saturday Live’) Vienna - Ultravox Which country is Vienna the capital city of?

AUSTRIA What was the name of the lead singer?

MIDGE URE The Whole Of The Moon - The Waterboys

Who were the first two men to step onto the moon?


What date was the Apollo 11 moon landing?

20TH JULY 1969 ("THE EAGLE HAS LANDED.") Maggie May - Rod Stewart What age is Rod Stewart (nearest guess)?

77 - BORN 10TH JANUARY 1943 Morning Train - Sheena Easton What James Bond film did Sheena Easton sing the title song for?

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY To Sir With Love - Lulu Who starred in the 1967 film with Lulu?

SIDNEY POITIER I Dreamed A Dream - Susan Boyle Who beat Susan Boyle in the final of the 2009 ‘Britain's Got Talent’?

DIVERSITY Ma, He's Making Eyes At Me - Lena Zavaroni What year did Lena Zavaroni win Opportunity Knocks?

1974 How old was she?

TEN Shang A Lang - Bay City Rollers The Bay City Rollers were 'The Tartan Teen sensations' from where?

EDINBURGH If It Was Nae For Your Wellies - Billy Connolly Who is Billy Connolly married to?

PAMELA STEPHENSON OF ‘NOT THE NINE O CLOCK NEWS’ FAME Mull Of Kintyre - Wings What year was this song Christmas number 1? 1977 Linda McCartney products are still available. What are they? VEGETARIAN MEAT SUBSTITUTE FOODS The Bonnie Bonnie Banks Of Loch Lomond - Ina Miller What is the national 'animal' of Scotland (appears on many flags, badges etc)?

UNICORN The Skye Boat Song - Ina Miller Which group of islands is Skye the largest of?

THE INNER HEBRIDES Scotland The Brave - The Scottish Highlands Pipes What are bagpipes made from? Classic European bagpipes are made from the SKIN OF A SMALL GOAT OR SHEEP, with the natural openings in the skin for the legs being used to attach the pipes. Flower Of Scotland - The First Fifteen Choir Where do Scotland Rugby Union play their home games?

MURRAYFIELD Amazing Grace - Isla StClair What programme did Isla StClair host with Larry Grayson?

THE GENERATION GAME Auld Lang Syne - Andy Stewart Who wrote the poem Auld Lang Syne?

RABBIE BURNS Finally, listen to Rabbie Burns 'Address To A Haggis'. If anyone is brave enough to have a taster round (you can also get vegan haggis!), now would be a good time. 'Gay Gordons' bagpipes music follows...

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES Perhaps one of the group's facilitators could demonstrate the Highland Fling? Using coloured pens and white card, ask members to create their own special new tartan pattern. Maybe vote for the best one. Print outline images of thistles, highland deer and red squirrel for members to colour in. Make Loch Ness Monsters out of modelling clay. Make some shortbread. Recipe from BBC GOOD FOOD: Ingredients: 300g Plain Flour 200g Softened Butter 100g Granulated Sugar 1tsp Vanilla Extract Method Preheat an oven to 160'C, 325'F or gas mark 3. Then line a baking tray with baking paper and grease using butter. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until pale, light and fluffy. Sift the flour into the bowl, add your vanilla extract. Mix well until the ingredients form a dough. Roll out the dough on a smooth surface to a thickness of 2 mm. Cut out 10-15 shapes using biscuit cutters. Put the cut out shapes on your prepared baking tray, leave them in a fridge to chill for 20 mins. Take the tray out the fridge and bake in oven for 15-20 mins, or until golden brown. When ready leave to chill on tray for 20 mins. Enjoy the shortbread!

REFRESHMENTS Ginger Beer or Irn Bru tasting, maybe with home made (or brought) Scottish shortbread.

Or, you could try some haggis? (Vegan options are available.)

About Me

Simon O’Donovan MBE has worked in NHS Wales for most of his adult life, supporting people with dementia, their carers and families and developing and improving services to benefit this client group. 

He recently retired from working as a Community Mental Health Nurse within a Young Onset Dementia Service and continues to contribute to weekly CST 'Friendship Group' sessions as a volunteer co-facilitator.


He has been keeping a weekly 'Young Dementia CST Blog' to share and archive tried and tested activities resources, with the ultimate aim of providing an 'off the shelf' resource library of weekly themed CST sessions which can be used on rotation throughout the year. 


The main aim of this website is to share experience and resources freely, in order that others can dip in and out and use some or all of the materials provided in their own CST work. Thus it is hoped, facilitating and supporting the provision of uplifting and enjoyable sessions that optimise people with dementia's quality of life.

This site is not owned by or affiliated to any organisation. It’s a personal commitment, a not for profit exchange of ideas and a resource library which aims to enable more widespread use of CST approaches for people with dementia. 

To this end, 'Guest Blogs' are VERY welcome, but bearing in mind that no images of clients are to be used without their express written informed consent.

Please note that some images are reproduced on this blog from the internet under the 'fair use copyright' principle, in that they will only be used for educational purposes with disability groups and in no way will be linked to profit making activities.


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