Robert Burns – 'Bobby Burrns' to Scottish people, is Scotland's favourite poet and best known celebrity. He is known throughout the world and his songs are sung with enthusiasm in places as diverse as Tokyo and New York. Wherever there are some Scottish people or any lovers of his poetry, of whatever nationality, there is a Burns Night on his birthday, the 25th of January.
Picture a large room somewhere in Japan, with an old painting of a stag by a Scottish loch on the dark, woodlined wall. The long refectory table is covered with a Royal Stuart tartan cloth and set with green plates, horn-handled cutlery, and silver candlesticks and goblets, with some crystal bowls of purple heather. In the centre of the table is a Georgian vase with a single, freshly-cut rose – dark red, deliciously perfumed, and just opening.