Primary four boys stopped wriggling and waving at their parents and started to sing. My Love is Like a Red Red Rose rang out in the school hall and it was lovely.
The boys had worked really hard on their Burns project, learning about the man and his work. Then they organised a concert for their parents – roping in most of the rest of the school to do a turn.
On the face of it, you’d think it was a special kind of Caledonian cruelty. First you get kids – many of whom don’t grow up with native Scots speakers – to study the Bard, then you stick them either in kilts or white frocks and sashes accordingly and make them Strip the Willow.
Incidentally, I wonder how many other homes in Bridge of Weir endured some interesting conversations about Gay Gordons.
The sights and sounds took me right back to the dusty gyms of my schooldays and the accordion music on the record player. Not so much an ordeal as a necessary part of the curriculum.
Anyhow, last week the Burns concert was a triumph. The children learned about an important part of their Scots culture and picked up a few skills on the way.
Mr Salmond would have been every bit as proud as those camera wielding parents.
So why then was the sight of healthy, round-faced youngsters glibly punching the air and pledging that “Liberty’s in every blow! Let us do or dee” quite so unsettling?
‘Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome tae your gory bed,
Or tae Victorie!
‘Now’s the day, and now’s the hour:
See the front o’ battle lour,
See approach proud Edward’s power –
Chains and Slaverie!
‘Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha will fill a coward’s grave?
Wha sae base as be a slave?
Let him turn and flee!
‘Wha, for Scotland’s king and law,
Freedom’s sword will strongly draw,
Freeman stand, or Freeman fa’,
Let him on wi’ me!
‘By Oppression’s woes and pains!
By your sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!
‘Lay the proud usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty’s in every blow! –
Let us do or dee!’