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Burns also matters to me in highly personal way. He wrote a song titled The Lass O’ Ecclefechan (The Girl from Ecclefechan). My mother was an Ecclefechan lass: it is where the Muir family, my family, come from.

(The Muir clan came to Scotland, probably from Northern Ireland in about 500 BCE. It rose to play a major role in the formation of royal families north and south of the England – Scotland border. The turning point was in 1263 when Gilcrhrist Muir saw off a Norwegian invasion of Scotland. King Alexander III knighted Gilchrist. Amongst Gilchrist Muir’s descendants was the first in the line of Stuart kings of Scotland, who also became kings of England.)

My mother passed away in 2013, a few weeks before her 96th birthday. While my wife and I were clearing my mother’s flat, we came across an exquisite little book of Burns’s poems.

It seems that, unbeknown to me, Robert Burns mattered to my dear mother too.

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