But Mousie, thou art no thy lane, In proving foresight may be vain

Last night was a fine night to be a McC-------, with warm walls between me and the winter's sleety dribble an' cranreuch cauld, and declamatory toasts to the wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie who lives in Farfara's kitchen walls

My grandmother, when telephoned this Burns Day, did take the opportunity to declare herself "wildly opposed" to my plan to get D a welcome-home kilt for his Nova Scotian future. She seems to feel that a massive investment in a scratchy, patterned skirt may be unwise if the man himself isn't keen on wearing it. Ach, the best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley.

 Sheltering from the hoarfrost

Sheltering from the hoarfrost

"Ach," said a friend to me yesterday, getting into the spirit of things, "so Fangs didna end the tim'rous beastie?"

Indeed, unmindful of Burns's caution that the beastie was my poor, earth-born companion an' fellow mortal who (after all) maun live, I had borrowed a very angry cat from a friend before the holidays, keen on asserting man's dominion and breaking Nature's social union.  Look, it may have been ungenerous, but it was all in the name of preserving my kitchen from pestilential droppings. Fangs, for so my furry warrior was fatefully called, was highly skeptical of man's dominion, but proved his feline mettle by banishing all trace of the sleekit creature.  No mousy remains appeared, however, so I assumed the wee beastie had merely, and wisely, decamped. In the weeks that followed Fangs's departure, however, the panic in its breastie seems to have subsided, and it grows bolder day by day.

"Well, truth be told, Fangs made the beastie considerably more tim'rous and cow'rin," I replied, "But he didna end him. All the better, for I wad be laith to rin an' chase him, wi' murdering pattle, er, by which I mean, [cough], heat-resistant spoonula."

I may, however, drive him off by sheer force of Scottish heritage.