St Andrew’s Day Ball
Scotland’s patron saint is popular in Russia—possibly because he is also the patron saint of Russia—and well honoured by his eponymous Society. This year’s Ball welcomed 370 guests, who packed the Renaissance Hotel at Dinamo to the gunwales. We were magnificently wined and dined, with a superb salmon and seafood starter and an exquisite steak. Between them, the star of the show: by popular consent the best haggis tasted for many a day. The wee beastie had been flown over, expressly to join us, and accompanied by two magnificent pipers and his mentor, Mr Rabbie Burns (born 1759 and still going strong) who’s sprightly and impassioned address belied his advancing years, as he filled us in before filling us up.
After the meal, the dancing. Scots band, The Big Shoogle, were welcomed to Moscow with a six hour battle at DME to be allowed to get their kit off the apron. But all well worth it as the tempo ebbed and flowed with the evening’s moods. The dancing was intimate, thanks to plenty of affection and liquid succour, but also due to there being more square feet akimbo than square feet of parquet. Apologies to the many toes I twinkled over.
The whole event is not just great fun and a demonstration of Scots culture, it is in a good cause. With raffles and sporran-watering art auction prices, the Society raised a staggering Euro 200,000. For local charities Maria’s Children, Taganka Children’s Fund and Kitezh. Well done, and thank you! RDH