Toast Hume’s birthday with special brew

Philosopher David Hume aka Alan Knowles enjoys a think and a drink with a pint of Enlightenment, a new beer launched for the David Hume philosophy festival
Philosopher David Hume aka Alan Knowles enjoys a think and a drink with a pint of Enlightenment, a new beer launched for the David Hume philosophy festival

by Sandy Neil

HAS the warm weather whetted your appetite for a sip of a refreshing and ‘Enlightening’ new tipple?

Well if you’re passing through Chirnside and the surrounding area over the Easter period you might want to sample a new David Hume beer brewed by Hadrian and Border for the Berwickshire philosopher’s tercentenary celebrations next week.

The 4.0% light amber ale aptly named ‘Enlightenment’, and flavoured with celeia and cascade hops, will be available in Chirnside’s Red Lion and Waterloo Arms, and in the nearby Allanton Inn and The Craw in Auchencrow, during Chirnside’s Philosophy Festival and Paxton House’s Enlightenment Evening on Saturday, April 30.

The two free events, organised by Chirnside Common Good Association to honour Britain’s greatest philosopher who grew up at Ninewells Farm, aim to make the subjects of David Hume, philosophy and Scotland’s Enlightenment accessible to all ages of villagers and visitors.

And you can get your chops round some of the food David might well have tucked into while he was deep in thought as The Red Lion and Waterloo Arms will also be serving Georgian lunches and suppers during the day, including roast pork in claret sauce, beef pie with suet crust, regency chicken fricassee and sticky toffee sundae.

‘Enlightened’ drinkers can also take home Hume’s words of wisdom on free beer-mats with his philosophy quotes, such as: “When men are the most sure and arrogant, they are commonly the most mistaken.”

People can ponder these thoughts and also walk off their dinner on the new David Hume Walk from Ninewells to Auchencrow, one of five new Border Brains Walks exploring the lives and ideas of Berwickshire’s great minds, such as James Hutton, Duns Scotus, James Small and Alexander Dow, as well as the landscape that gave them birth.

Funding from Awards For All and Scottish Borders Council has also made possible a new plaque and information panel permanently marking Chirnside’s connection to the philosopher, which will be unveiled by the council’s chief executive. And he’s the perfect man for the job, as he shares the same name as the famous philosopher.

The Enlightenment beer and beer-mats are owed to the hard work of Chirnside resident Carol Jefferson Davies, who is also sponsoring the new David Hume Essay Prize for Border high schools, due to be awarded on Saturday, by France’s Consul General, to the pupil with the best argumentative skills. A tough competition is expected.

Children are natural phil-osophers they say, so 30 pupils at Chirnside Primary School will also be performing a philosophy play on Saturday morning called ‘Unanswerable Questions,’ co-written by them and their drama teacher Eloner Crawford.

David Hume’s story is being told at an exhibition in Chirnside Community Centre entitled ‘The Life and Times of David Hume 1711-1776’, which opens on Hume’s birthday on Tuesday, April 26, until Saturday’s Philosophy Festival, when Roderick Graham, author of Hume’s biography ‘The Great Infidel’, will reveal the man and his life.

“I wish I’d met him,” explains Linda Gray, manager of Chirnside Co-op, who with fellow villager Annette Scobie curated the exhibition.

“He just seemed like such a good man. It makes you proud Chirnside produced this great mind.”

Annette added: “The exhibition is really a way of getting the message about David Hume across to members of the public. It’s an introduction to his life and his connection to Chirnside.

‘‘We hope it will be an easy read about the life and works so people can understand what it was like to be a philosopher at that time in the 1700s.

“He was challenging traditional beliefs and ideas, and that took him on quite a journey. He wasn’t particularly accepted by the powers that be!

“We hope people will come and find out more because he’s not as well recognised in his own homeland as he is in other countries.”

Philosophers Dr Alasdair Rich-mond of Edinburgh University and Dr Peter Millican of Oxford University will be on hand at the Philosophy Festival to explain Hume’s thinking in the wood-panelled saloon of Chirnside’s Red Lion pub, where the subject is sure to be anything but dry.

A free programme, including a venue map and a list of the local places to eat and walk, can be picked up during the day at the exhibition in Chirnside Community Centre.

But in the meantime, you can see and download the pro- gramme of free events at Chirnside’s Philosophy Festival and Paxton House’s Enlightenment Evening from www.chirnside.