The sun was shining on Easter Monday and so I took the opportunity to drive south to Alloway – to celebrate national poetry month by visiting the birth place of Robert Burns and the recently opened Robert Burns birthplace museum.

We’ll start this tour at the beginning, in the cottage where Robert Burns was born.

Let’s get even closer.  Here’s the bed he and his siblings were born in.

Eerie, isn’t it?  Still not as spooky as that famous poem Tam O’Shanter.  Walking from the cottage to the museum through the village of Alloway and the memorial gardens, you can replay the narrative.

It all starts with a domestic ….

Tam flees into the inn where he and Souter Johnnie settle into a serious drinking session.

At the end of which Tam drunkenly mounts his patient horse, Meg

and begins the ride home.  Past the old haunted kirk …..

where his curiosity gets the better of him and he peeps in on the devilish goings-on.  Once spotted he must flee and so begins the chase, nay the race to reach the Brig O’ Doon (the bridge over the River Doon) because wicked spirits cannot pass over water (according to the poem at least).

Thankfully for Tam he makes it but poor Meg must pay the price.  Just before they reach the bridge, a sprite grabs her tail and suddenly Meg is not the mare she once was …

The new museum is well worth a visit.  Full of artefacts, interactive displays and poetry recitals that can be listened to on demand.  My favourite artefact?  Robert Burn’s desk – 21 drawers and compartments if I count correctly. 

My favourite display?  The Robert Burn Jukebox.  Who knew that he composed punk songs?

The exhibition of new portraits of Burns by Douglas Howson was interesting, even though I wasn’t altogether convinced by his vision.  I do like this one though. 

Most interesting fact? Burns died at the age of 36 due to endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart valves, cured today by administering penicillin. Pencillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming, and, as my route would have it, I drove through his home town of Darvel on my way home.`

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