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Weekend Weather

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We'd like to kick off your weekend weather forecast with these immortal lines from one of the greatest poems in the history of, um, poems: "Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face/Great chieftain o' the puddin' race!"

If you are not familiar with that snippet of genius, we are extremely disappointed in you. It is taken from Address to a Haggis, arguably the most famous poem ever written by Robbie Burns, the legendary Scottish poet whose birthday we are celebrating today despite the fact he is currently dead.

Yes, today is Robbie Burns Day, the sacred day when Scottish persons around the world gather together to read poems about their national dish -- which is technically a "pudding" but is more like a mutant sausage shaped like a garden slug -- and complain about the weather.

Speaking of complaining about the weather (that's what we call a segue), you'll be able to do a lot of that this weekend because, after a brief reprieve on Friday, the polar vortex tightens its vise-like grip today and Sunday.

As my buddy Dale Marciski from Environment Canada recently explained, we are in the storm track now, a chilling roller-coaster ride wherein low-pressure systems develop over northern Alberta and slide down to the southeast bringing us more snow, then we warm up for a day until another low-pressure system slides down and... well, you get the picture.

The weather office says we are looking at periods of light snow today, with a high of -17 C, compared with the normal high of -12 C at this time of year. On Sunday, we are talking a bracing high of -23 C, high winds and a 60 per cent chance of more flurries. If you are like me, you are running out of places to put the snow and your driveway is starting to resemble the Grand Canyon.

It should be sunny and cold for most of next week, with the mercury rising to near-normal temperatures by Thursday, assuming we can all survive until then.

Speaking of survival (that's another segue), you can do it in style this weekend by getting funky (assuming that's something hip people still do) at Big Fun Fest, Winnipeg's third annual indie music festival. It's being held at various venues around the city. Get ticket and schedule information at www.bigfunfestival.com.

You can feed your stomach and your soul today from 1-4 p.m. at centre court at The Forks during the Chinese New Year Celebration, wherein you can welcome the Year of the Horse with lion and folk dancing, martial arts displays, cooking demonstrations and musical performance.

And as we might have already mentioned, today is also Robbie Burns Day, which is typically celebrated with a traditional dinner where people in kilts recite his poetry and voluntarily eat haggis, which is essentially the things you find inside a sheep -- heart, liver, lungs, windpipe -- mixed with onions and oatmeal and stuffed into a sheep's stomach, then boiled.

There are a lot of Burns Suppers taking place in Winnipeg over the next little while, so maybe we could get together at one and do a haggis taste test.

What with being an exceptionally polite person of Scottish heritage, I'll let you go first.

Thenk ye!

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 25, 2014 A2

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