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A Century of Tradition

Eric Simpson


Eric Simpson was born in Barrhead on 2 September 1940. From Barrhead High he went to Camphill (Paisley) Senior Secondary then on to Paisley University.

Eric was a lifetime employee of Coats, “Linhas Corrente” in Brazil, specialising in colour technology and the application of dyes.

He remembers shortly after his arrival in São Paulo, being invited to attend the St Andrew`s Picnic at Santo Amaro, where he was duly enlisted into the Society – and indeed onto the Committee. Thereafter followed 13 years of continuous service as dogsbody, secretary, vice president and finally President in 1988.

In his early years on the Committee he lived in Ipiranga on a street called Rua Jorge Moreira where the houses had been built by Linhas Corrente and occupied for many years by expat Scots. He invited the then President of the Society and his wife for drinks at home. Three hours after the set time – just as Eric was about to retire to bed – the doorbell rang and there stood a rather shame-faced President. He had been cruising around the `bairro` enquiring at local shops and cafes, “Conhece o Haggis Row?” He had remembered the number of the house, but only the popular Society reference to the street name!

Each year the Society ran the major celebrations of Ladies Night and the Banquet – events that could normally attract 100 to 120 revellers, who appreciated the Atholl Brose served up as part of the festive fare. This delectable brew was lovingly prepared in a large stainless-steel container, encased in a wooden barrel filled with dry ice, by paddle wielding committee members at lunchtime on the day. The whole process meticulously followed a traditional recipe and preparation procedure, handed down through generations of Society officers. Eric had served his apprenticeship in the art with Willie Steel and considered himself to be a master of the craft. In Eric`s year, the Committee decided that Atholl Brose should be included on the menu of the Burns Night celebration. This was a lower profile event, expected to attract half the numbers who went to the major events. So, all the ingredients of the famous brew had to be scaled down in proportion to the quantities needed. The necessary adjustments were made for the lunchtime preparation session, which went perfectly. Alas, on returning to SPAC for the evening`s function and on checking the brew was nicely chilled … DISASTER! The Atholl Brose was frozen solid because the standard quantity of dry ice had been used with half quantities of ingredients! Well, it took several hours of patient stirring and thawing out in the back kitchen to recuperate the beastie.

Eric was married to Corry who sadly died suddenly. They had 2 children. Eric is now retired, remarried and living in Scotland.

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