Cock up your beaver!

This may be my last entry…

My kilt has arrived and it looks great. It’s a perfect fit and it’s going to keep me looking all tarty and smart over the course of the festival. I’m sure there will be comments and looks but buggrum – I’ll be sartorially comfortable if not socially. I’m still waiting for the sporran to arrive but as long as it gets here before I leave on Wednesday it’ll be fine. Without a sporran, as Mrs CthuIu and Modulor Dave pointed out, the kilt looks a little gymslipesque.

For those that are not in the know, the title of this blog is not as disgusting as you may think. I am referring to a poem by celebrated Scots Bard Rab C Nesbitt Robert Burns. It’s one of a baby’s handful of poems I know off by heart because I learnt it for a Burns Night my brother hosted in the 90’s. It’s a bit of a rebel-rouser and the title never fails to get a laugh.

It’s essentially a call to arms to the men of Scotland to teach the English and their monarchy a hard lesson. Importantly, the beaver it refers to is a style of hat and ‘cock up your beaver’ may mean ‘straighten your hat’, ‘put a feather in your cap’, ‘lift your spirit’ or a myriad other things. ‘fu’ sprush’ just means  ‘spruce up’ or ‘make it look good:

When first my brave Johnie lad came to this town,
He had a blue bonnet that wanted the crown,
But now he has gotten a hat and a feather –
Hey, brave Johnie lad, cock up your beaver!

Cock up your beaver, and cock it fu’ sprush!
We’ll over the border and gie them a brush:
There’s somebody there we’ll teach better behavior –
Hey, brave Johnie lad, cock up your beaver!

Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796)

It’s a short and easy poem to memorise and it raises eyebrows but it’s all good for a laugh.

Thanks for reading, now, brave Johnie lad, cock up your beaver!

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