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Weekly Mailing List Archives
1st August 2008

Alastair McIntyreElectric Scotland's Weekly Email Newsletter

Electric Scotland - The No.1 Scottish History Site Aois - The Celtic Community
The Electric Scotland Article Service

Dear Friend

It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning the weekend is nearly here :-)

You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at and you can unsubscribe to this newsletter by clicking on the link at the foot of this newsletter.

See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world at

Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
Clan and Family Information
Poetry and Stories
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Book of Scottish Story
The Industries of Scotland, their Rise, Progress and Present Condition
Scottish Gardens
The Life of John Duncan
Chronicles of Stratheden
History of Glasgow (New Book)
MacIntyre Gathering Pictures
Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
The Scots Gard'ner (New Book)
25 years of Village Cricket, 1983-2008, in Gargunnock, Stirling Scotland.

I'm going to be at the Fergus Highland Games on Saturday 8th August so might see you there if you're going yourselves. My intention this year is to see if I can't get a collection of videos from some of the clan tent folk. I tried this out at the Chatham Games and it worked out not too bad. It was clear that if the Pipes were close and the person didn't speak up then it wasn't too good so will have to see how it works out at Fergus.


Things seem to be rather slow on the site right now so please be patient. As you know when we eventually get to Michigan we'll be doubling our bandwidth which will eliminate this problem. I note also that some of our arcade games are slow to load but once loaded they do work just fine.


This week have made a start at the "History of Glasgow" for which more below.


As we now have a number of adobe pdf files on the site I'd recommend that rather than clicking on the link to bring it up in your browser that you instead right click on the link and select to "save target as..." which will allow you to save it to your local hard disk. I find that seems to be a much quicker way of downloading it.

Some of the stories in here are just parts of a larger story so do check out the site for the full versions. You can always find the link in our "What's New" section at the link at the top of this newsletter or on our site menu.

This weeks Flag is compiled by Jim Lynch in which as usual he has lots of interesting stories for us to read. In this issue of course there is a lot of information on the stunning win of the by election. I also note in this issue they have loads of links to International news organisations that covered the election.

In view of the importance to Scotland of this win here is one of the articles to read here....

The fantastic result in the Glasgow East by election has created, not only an earthquake, but a news tsunami which has reached all the way across the globe. John Mason’s comment that it was “off the Richter scale” has been translated into dozens of languages and widely reported. Many reports focus on Gordon Brown’s Scottish background and to this being a personal rebuke for him in his “Labour fief”. Some reports note that Brown continues to beat “unpopularity records”. Many speculate that Brown could lose his seat in the next general election. Other reports refer to the former Labour incumbent, Marshall facing “awkward questions about his parliamentary expenses.” Many refer to the poor social conditions in Glasgow East, including the high unemployment rate and low life expectancy.

The Paris-based International Herald Tribune, which is widely read and respected by the international business community, states, in a lengthy front page report, that the SNP “scored a dramatic victory” adding that the “SNP is Labour’s main opponent in Scotland where the Conservatives barely figure.” The paper goes on to report “…the nationalists have seen their popularity soar during the past year…”

Le Monde (Paris) in reporting the result mentions that Gordon Brown didn’t bother to come to Glasgow to support his own candidate. Le Figaro (France) mentions scathingly that Brown “had to leave on holiday” and that Glasgow East suffered from *acute social misery”. The Swiss Neue Zuercher Zeitung reports the news on its front page. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , in a lengthy report, spells out Labour’s woes in finding a candidate and described Marshall’s challenged expense arrangements in detail. It goes on to say that “For the SNP the victory in Glasgow East is a marker in its unstoppable rise.” It states that it gives the party the self confidence to beat Labour everywhere in Scotland. Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter headlines it “Sensational victory for the Scottish Nationalists” complete with a picture of a jubilant John Mason giving the thumbs up. Milan’s Corriere della Sera reports the victory with a headline “KO for Labour ” . Continuing around the world , Dawn of Karachi describes the result as “…a major boost for the pro-independence SNP…” The Times of India headlining “Labour suffers worst loss under Brown” quotes that “Glasgow East.…is said to have delivered its euphemistic ‘Glasgow Kiss’ to Brown…” The victory was reported in the Straits Times of Singapore and across the Pacific the Herald Sun of Melbourne, describing itself as Australia’s biggest selling daily newspaper, in a lengthy report quotes John Mason as saying “Labour MPs across Scotland will be quaking in their boots.” The San Francisco Examiner quotes one former Labour voter as saying “I can’t afford to go on holiday this year. I can’t afford electricity and heating for my house and I’d be annoyed about the price of petrol but I can’t afford a car.” The New York Times, in a prominent report, states “The prospect of an ever stronger National Party in Scotland troubles politicians of all stripes in London because the party has promised its followers a referendum on whether Scotland should secede from Britain and declare independence, ending a union that began in 1707.” The Toronto Globe and Mail reports “..the SNP scored a dramatic victory..” and pictures John Mason with his famous thumbs up sign.

Scotland is back on the map again!

See under Synopsis for a full list of the publications together with their web addresses.

In Peter's cultural section he always has a good poem and I thought this week I'd bring you the one from this week....

John Watt

I've traivelled thru' this country from shore to shining shore
From the swamps of Auchterderran tae the jungles o' Lochore
But in all these far-flung places there's nane that can compare
Wi' the lily of Lumphinnans, she's ma bonnie Maggie Blair

She's just a Kelty clippie, she'll no tak' nae advice
It's, Ach drap deid or Ah'll bile yer heid or Ah'll punch yer ticket twice
Her faither's jist a waster, her mither's oan the game
She's just a Kelty clippie but I love her just the same

Frae the pyramids up in Kelty tae the mansions in Glencraig
We've trod the bings together in mony's the blyth stravaig
Watched the moonlight over Crosshill, trod Buckhaven's golden sand
And mony's the happy hoor we spent in Lochgelly's Happy Land

I remember on the 8.15 that night o' romantic bliss
I says, Ho Mag, nip yer fag, gie's a wee bit kiss
She didnae tak' this kindly, didnae like ma chaff
Being a contrary kind of bird she said, Come oan, get aff

She hasnae got nae culture, she drives me roon' the bend
Sittin' in her big armchair readin' the People's Friend
Her lapels are full of badges frae Butlins down at Ayr
And she goes to the bingo every night with the curlers in her hair

But things is a wee bit better noo, I've gone and got the ring
I won it frae Jim at the pitch an' toss, last night at the Lindsay Bing
Wi' her wee black hat and her ticket machine ma hairt she did ensnare
She's the lily of Lumphinnans, she's ma bonnie Maggie Blair

Footnote: Fife singer, songwriter and entertainer John Watt, The Muchty Megastar, is a totally unique character, best summed up by the guid Scots word kenspeckle. For half-a-century John has been a stalwart of the Scottish, and in particular the Fife, folk scene. In the early days of the Scottish Folk Revival he founded the Howff Folk Club in Dunfermline and his songs such as The Kelty Clippie and Pittenweem Jo has travelled world-wide. John is still a major figure at the Auchtermuchty Folk Festival and as he showed at the recent Milnathort Crackin’ Ceilidh Weekend, he is still to the fore in entertaining fashion. The Kelty Clippie was inspired by bus travel in the 1950s and although bus conductresses are now relegated to history, they live on in this amusing song!

See the Scottish Food, Traditions and Customs in the Features section at

You can read the Flag, listen to the Scots Language, enjoy the Scots Wit and lots more at

Christina McKelvie MSP's weekly diary for this week can be viewed at

The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.

We are onto the R's now with Ruddiman, Ruglen, Runciman, Russell, Rutherford and Ruthven

As always lots of interesting stories in these accounts and here is how the account of Ruthven starts...

RUTHVEN, a surname derived from lands in Perthshire. From the similarity of their armorial bearings, it has been supposed that the family who first bore it in Scotland came originally from Aragon in Spain. On more authentic grounds, however, they are believed to have derived their descent from Sway, (Suanus,) the son of Thor, a person of Saxon or Danish blood, who settled in Scotland in the reign of David I. Swan, who flourished in the reign of William the Lion, possessed the manors of Ruthven, Tibbermore, and other lands in Perthshire. He was also superior lord of the territory of Crawford, in Upper Clydesdale, which the progenitors of the Lindsays held as vassals under him. In the Ragman Roll, among those who swore fealty to Edward I. of England in 1296, are the names of Willielmus de Rothein, Sir William de Rothwen, and Dominus Willielmus de Ruthven.

You can read the rest of this account at

You can read these entries at

Clan and Family Information
Rupert sent me in an article on "Irving of Bonshaw contemporary history 1900’s to date" and I've added this at the foot of the Irving page in "The Scottish Nation" which you can read at

Poetry and Stories
Another poem from John Henderson called "Smaachrie Mandolinin Soonds" which you can read at

Margo Fallis has sent in a few more of her poems for Children. See

Margo has also sent in two more children's stories...

The MacDougal Clan Feast at

And another Ian and Mac story at

Stan Bruce sent in a new poem which you can read at

The Flag, A poem by Alan Wilson of Highland Line International, which you can read at

We also have some new poems and articles from Donna, Alastair and others in our Article Service at

I've actually been posting up the odd Scottish news story in our Article service and one I was impressed with was the progress on renewable energy. Donna also sends in regular articles and several have recipes included.

New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
The first volume I am dealing with is the one on Aberdeenshire. There are some 85 parishes in this volume and a write up on each.

This week have added...

Parish of Huntly

Name, Boundaries, &c.— This parish consisted originally of two distinct parishes, Dumbennan and Kinoir. The former parish, which, to a great extent, is surrounded by hills, is said from this circumstance to have received the name of Dumbennan, or the foot of the hill. [Former Account.] It is situated at the termination of the two straths, formed by the rivers Bogie and Deveron. The hill between these rivers, which is of considerable height, and is called the Clashmach, or gray-headed hill, [Ibid.] forms part of this parish. The latter parish of Kinoir, or the yellow-headed hill, [Ibid.] stretches for about five miles along the right side of the Deveron, after it is joined by the Bogie on the right, and strangely enough, though ecclesiastically united to Dumbennan, it is separated from it for more than a quarter of a mile from this junction upwards, by the neighbouring parish of Drumblade. [The ancient burying-grounds both of Dumbennan and Kinoir are on the sites of the old churches, and, in fact, these are the only burying-grounds still used in the parish.] The two parishes were united into the one parish of Huntly in 1727. Its greatest length is about 10 miles, and breadth 4 miles. It is bounded on the north chiefly by the parish of Rothiemay; on the east, by a small angle of the parish of Forgue, but chiefly by Drumblade; south, by Gartly; and west, by the parishes of Glass and Cairnie.

You can read this account at

On the index page of this volume you can see a list of the 85 parishes and also a map at 

Book of Scottish Story
Our thanks to John Henderson for sending this in for us.

This week have added...

The Miller of Doune: a Traveller's Tale

This week we have up Chapter 2 of this tale and here is how it starts...

Next morning the miller’s family were up and out at the usual hour; but John Murdoch, who had wearied himsel the day before, and who hadna, maybe, been used to sae muckle strong yill at ance, lay still; and it was aught o’clock when he cam into the kitchen and bade feanie gude mornin’.

"And how’s the gudeman? and is he out or in?"

"How I ” cries Jeanie,"he and the lave hae been up and out at their wark three hours syrie."

"And what are ye gaun to be about, my dawtie?"says John Murdoch.

"I’m gaun to wash the kirn,” says Jeanie.

"And suppose I haud it for ye, and help ye?"says he.

"Weel aweel,"says Jeanie,"gin ye like; we’ll hae't the sooner ower."

And John Murdoch did his best, and was very active; and when a’ was dune, he says, "An’ now, my dawtie, what am I to get for helping ye?"

"Nae mair,” quoth Jeanie,"than the thanks ye hae gotten already."

"But in my kintra,” says John Murdoch,"when a lad helps a lass to clean out a kirn, he aye gets ae kiss at least."

"We ken naething about thae fashions hereabouts,"says Jeanie,"sae haud ye out o’ my gate !"

But as she passed him, John Murdoch, who thought she wasna in earnest, drew her suddenly to him, and he had ta’en twa or three kisses before Jeaniecould recollect herself; but the next minute she threw him frae her, and catching the ladle, she ran to the parritch—pat on the fire, and whipped aff the lid; and if John Murdoch, who saw what was coming, hadna darted out at the back door, he wad hae had it a.’ about him; as it was, a part o' the het parritch played splarge aff the wa’ on his coat.

You can read this at

The other stories can be read at

The Industries of Scotland, their Rise, Progress and Present Condition
By David Bremner (1869)

Have now completed this book with the following chapters...

History of Sugar—Rise and Progress of the Cultivation and Refining of Sugar—Historical Notes on the First Refineries in Scotland—Extraordinary Increase of the Trade—Description of a Sugar-House.

Manufacture of Confectionery
The Confectionery Trade in Scotland—Description of Messrs Keiller & Son's Manufactory at Dundee—How Marmalade and other Confections are made.

Manufacture of Preserved Provisions
The Invention of a Meat-Preserving Process, and what led to it—Various Modes of "Curing," Animal and Vegetable Substances—The Provision- Preserving Trade in Scotland—Description of a Preservatory.

Manufacture of Mineral Oils and Paraffin
History of the Paraffin Manufacture—The Bathgate and West-Calder Paraffin Works—Description of the Manufacturing Processes—Present Condition of the Scotch Mineral Oil Trade.

Printing and Publishing
Introduction of the Art of Printing into Scotland—The Early Printers and their Productions—Troubles of the Trade—The Scotch Newspapers and Magazines—Extent of the Printing and Publishing Trade in Scotland— The Leading Firms in Edinburgh—History and Organisation of the "Scotsman" Newspaper.

Importance of the Sea and River Fisheries—History of the Herring Fishery —Curious old Laws Relative to the Capture and Curing of Fish—State Encouragement—Bounties—The Fishery Board—Statistics of the Trade The "Herring Metropolis"—Cod, Salmon, and Whale Fisheries.

You can read these at

Scottish Gardens
By the Right Hon. Sir Herbert Maxwell

We've now started getting up chapters on individual gardens...

The Hirsel, Berwickshire
South Bantaskine, Stirlingshire
Colinton House, Midlothian
Malleny, Midlothian
Corrour, Inverness-Shire

Here is how the account starts on Corrour, Inverness-Shire...

HERE is no more desolate region in all Scotland than that extending northwards from Kinloch-Rannoch to Loch Laggan. Once it was a vast primaeval forest broken only by the bare mountain summits, and wherever the surface of the moor is broken, bones of the departed woodland are exposed to view—skeletons of trees lying in inextricable confusion as they fell in a long-forgotten past, embedded in the all-prevailing wet peat. Many theories have been propounded to explain the disappearance of the forest, and the still more obscure cause which prevents trees, when planted now, thriving where millions of them once occupied the ground. The most probable explanation is founded upon a change in meteorological conditions; a cycle of centuries with moderate rainfall, favourable to tree-growth, having been followed by a cycle of centuries with excessive rainfall, encouraging the growth of moss and sphagnum to a degree destructive to higher forms of vegetation, thus causing the total disappearance of forest at about 1000 feet above sea level.

Now as the whole of the district referred to lies above the 1000 feet level, and the only vestiges of the primaeval woodland that remain are a few patches of stunted birches and rowans, this might be considered the least likely situation for successful horticulture. So far is this from being the case that, in the very heart of this wilderness, at the unpromising elevation of 1250 feet, there has been created one of the most interesting and effective flower gardens with which. I am acquainted. Its prosperity seems to be evidence in support of the theory that it is the excess of rainfall and consequent growth of moss, not low temperature, that destroyed the ancient forest and prevails against all attempts to restore it. Rain falls faster and in greater quantity than evaporation and surface drainage can remove; the soil becomes waterlogged, and moss overwhelms all except such plants as heaths, which are structurally adapted to endure extremes of drought and moisture, heat and cold.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the rest of the chapters at

The Life of John Duncan
Scotch Weaver and Botanist with Sketches of his Friends and Notices of the Times
By William Jolly (1883)

Have now added more chapters from this book...

Chapter III - Weaving and a Village of Weavers at the beginning of the century
Bucolic life then; weaving and its effects; weavers as a class at that period; the loom in its relation to natural studies: Drumlithie, a typical weaving village; his reception and appearance; daily life there; its flax-spinning and weaving; its intellectual activity and simple tastes. 1809.

Chapter IV - The Apprentice Weaver under the Shadow - Tasting of Tyranny
Maggie Dunse, his new mistress: Charlie Pine, his pugilistic master; his questionable pursuits; his tyranny at home: the apprentice runs away; "the bad harvest" of 1811: his mistress's character and high influence over John; her sudden death; cruelty increased thereafter. 1809--1814.

Chapter V - The Apprentice Weaver in the Sunshine - Entering the Temple of Learning
John's character and appearance then; taught the letters in his sixteenth year; his private female tutors—Mary Garvie at the fireside, Mary Brand in the workshop, Mrs. Pixie at home; his style of reading; writing not yet begun; at an evening school; his new studies; begins Medical Botany: his amusements; his escape from tyranny. 1809-1814.

Chapter VI - The Journeyman Weaver during this first Freedom
Returns to Stonehaven; his studies and life; Herbalism and Culpepper; Astrology and almanacs: removes with mother to Aberdeen; his walking powers then; the city and its manufactures then; learns woollen as well as linen weaving; the weaver William Thom. 1814—1818.

Chapter VII - Unhappy Domestic Experiences
Meets and marries Margaret Wise; her character and treatment of him; their two daughters; his home broken up; his wife's future history; the secret sorrow of his life; its effects on him: his daughters' upbringing and history; "Heather Jock," his son-in-law, and John's relations to him; and to his wife's son, Durward. 1813-1824, and onwards.

These can all be viewed at

An article by W. Neil Fraser in which he tells us Blazon (Blason) is defined as: (i) the written description of armorial bearings; (ii) to describe a coat of arms using correct heraldic terminology. You can read this at

Chronicles of Stratheden
By a Resident (1881)

Added more chapters to this book including...

Religion of a Highland Parish of To-Day
The Politics of a Highland Parish of To-Day
Language and Literature in a Highland Parish of To-Day
Manses and Ministers in a Highland Parish of To-Day
Heathfield House and the People's Friend
Popular Entertainments and Amusements in a Highland Parish of To-Day
Shopkeeping in a Highland Parish of To-Day
The Home and Surroundings of a "Big Fairmer" in a Highland Parish of To-Day
The Usual Visitors to a Highland Parish
Big Days in a Highland Parish

Here is a bit from the chapter on Popular Entertainments.. or the lack thereof...

ENTERTAINMENTS, beyond all dispute, are few and far between among us. In some few instances, such as in the central seaport of a fishing population, or other large village or small town, there may be musical, and other more or less intellectual, entertainments under the auspices of Young Men's Mutual Improvement Associations and similar societies; but in the general run of Highland parishes, the rural ones especially, there is a scantiness of popular means of amusement. For want of such, the younger members of the community often spend their evenings in shops and smithies, and the like, wasting precious hours, learning no useful accomplishment, but, on the contrary, in too many instances, acquiring, decidedly unhopeful modes of speaking and thinking, and listening to local gossip, not seldom of a low and hurtful nature.

The reader will naturally ask if there is any reason why there should be such a dearth of the means of social improvement. In trying to answer this question, it must at once be admitted that those who might be expected to take a lead in providing such, have, in too many cases, prevented their existence—we mean the clergy, and other persons more or less ecclesiastical. Though the dawn of a better day is distinctly visible, it was too long the practice for the clergy to denounce, sweepingly and angrily, all sorts of entertainments or gatherings not exclusively for church purposes. They seemed to dread that the people should assemble themselves together anywhere than within the walls of a church — oblivious of the fact that if the providing of means of mental recreation and improvement were encouraged, there would be a clearer appreciation of such instruction as might happen to be supplied by the pulpit ministrations. Even to-day, if a concert is announced in a Highland parish, cases will be found where the clergy immediately thunder forth a wailing "encyclical" against the proposed profanity, and many angry words are uttered about "godless" amusements and the follies of the day ; while any clergyman that openly countenances such gatherings is sure to be viewed with suspicion and displeasure by some of his flock. Not long ago there occurred in a highland parish not very far from Stratheden a remarkable instance of the latter element of the peculiarity in question. In a small village in the parish referred to, some persons interested in the welfare of the district proposed to establish a coffee-room, with a view to which a concert was announced.

Many of those coming in from the surrounding district to transact business in the village, when needing refreshment, must needs go to the only available place, the village inn; and, as some people iii other than Highland parishes will do, certain of these would occasionally remain in the inn longer than was good for them. The promoters of the concert were anxious to remedy this state of matters, and hence the proposed establishment of a coffee-room. The proceedings at the concert began with the singing of the Hundredth Psalm, to the well-known tune of Old Hundred, which may be taken as evidence that no reckless, and still less profane, intentions actuated the promoters of the concert. Some secular songs of a popular kind, and incapable of offending the most fastidious, formed a part of the evening's programme. Among the audience there was the Free Church clergyman of the district—a fact which, while creditable to his good sense, marks him out as very different from the average northern Free Church parson. The concert was brought about for a most praiseworthy object, and surely those that are supposed to be set for doing good should countenance such efforts. But, reader, mark what follows! On the Sunday after the concert, lo and behold ! some seats hitherto regularly occupied are seen to be vacant in the church where the pastor that was at the village concert is wont to preach. Some "weel-kent" faces are away, yea, even some long and solemn countenances long known as occupants of the upper seats in the local synagogue. Even among those in the said church on this particular day, here and there a face appears more sombre and elongated than was previously its wont, wearing an expression indicating doubtfulness as to the propriety, if not the safety, of sharing in the ministrations of the day. And why all this? wherefore these vacant seats and this doubting expression? It is because the clergyman in the pulpit is the same that countenanced the concert;—because, believing the coffee-room would help sobriety in the district he was present at the concert got up to help in establishing it.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The rest of the chapters can be read at

The History of Glasgow
By Robert Renwick LL.D. and Sir John Lindsay L.D. in 3 volumes (1921)

This is going to be quite a major task to put this up as it is a 3 volume publication. To set the scene I have up the first 4 preliminary parts...

Robert Renwick 1841-1920 (a good biography of the author)
List of Authorities

To this I've also added links to two other books that we have on the site about Glasgow which are...

"Rambles Round Glasgow"
"Anecdotage of Glasgow"

In the Preface of the book you'll find a most interesting account of the sources for much of the history and where it was obtained including an account of how some of it came from France.

By posting up this "History of Glasgow" along with these other two books you'll have as good a history of the city as you'll likely find elsewhere.

I tried to tempt Glasgow City Council to work with us to bring in some information on the Glasgow of today but to date have not heard back from them.

I have posted up a list of all the chapters in the three volumes so you can see what will be added each day in the days ahead.

You can get to the index page of the book at

MacIntyre Gathering Pictures
Several MacIntyre's have sent in pictures of their Gathering in Scotland and these can be found at

Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
Since 1990, in one form and name or another, this publication has been the hometown newspaper of the Scottish community.  In print form, it was mailed to almost 100,000 readers primarily in the USA, but also in Scotland, Canada and all over the world. 

Today, it has evolved into an Internet only publication under the same editor that has worked with it since the beginning.  A little different name, a new format - but the same interesting publication.
Beth's Newfangled Family Tree is filled with articles about things Scottish - from events in the USA to famous Orkadians and inside information on travel.  You'll find articles of interest to genealogists and news of the Scots Clan organizations as well as Flowers of the Forest. 

This publication is one where you can read about the latest goings on of your friends in the Scottish community and the interesting things they are doing, the honors they've won and what's happening in their lives.

Best of all, this magazine is happy to publish stories about your clan, your genealogical group, your Highland games or your Celtic festival.  Queries are free.  All you have to do is email

Here is what Beth's Editorial column had to say in the August issue...

We enjoyed a “Raid” last Sunday evening after the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. Raids are the good times had by all in the Kingdome of Raknar. Usually, they are filled with much laughter to the point of crying and holding your tummy...usually they are filled with joy and happiness with not much of a serious nature.

Last Sunday evening was different in that three of the members of the Kingdome are gravely ill. Along with promises to remember our fellow Raknarians in our thoughts and prayers, we shared memories of good times, funny times, hilarious times with those friends...and also simply good times and happy times with all manner of friends in the Scottish community.

On the way home, I was thinking about how many friends have been lost over the past few years. I was thinking that our close-knit community of friends - although spread out all over the world - will never be the same again because of the loss of men and women who were simply not replaceable. My grannie used to tell me, “Now Missy, you get to feeling so big for your britches, you put your hand in a bucket of water. The size of the hole your hand leaves will show you just how big you are.”

I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I used to try to get that bucket of water to leave a hole when I pulled out my arm and hand. In spite of that, there are those who leave big holes in the lives of their friends when they leave this world.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I’m going to try and remember how precious my friends are - and how I should never, ever take them for granted. It’s a good lesson for all of us. I can think of half a dozen “treasures” to the Scottish community who are of an age to suddenly - or slowly - disappear from our lives. I hope I have told all of them how much I love them and how much I value their friendships. Of course, we don’t have a guarantee of any kind for tomorrow - or the next minute or even the next second.

Have I told all of my friends how much I love them and how much I value their friendships? I hope so.
Have I remembered to tell Tom how much I appreciate his kindnesses and sweetness? Have I remembered to tell him how much I love him - not on special occasions, but each and every day? I hope so. I think so. I will.

We never know what illness will strike us or our family and friends. Lives can change in one heartbeat...or with one moment of inattention in the car...or by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I’m not much of a philosopher, but I do know that my friends are my family. I love them and I want them to know it. How important is it to have friends whom you love? How important is it to cherish those people who mean the most to you? To me, there’s not much in this world more important.

So, just remember to let those you love know it.


The August edition is now available at

The Scots Gard'ner
By John Reid, a pdf file of the book published in 1907, from the original book of 1683.

I intended to ocr this onto the site but it was proving to be very difficult and so I thought I'd see if anyone had done a pdf of it and low and behold I found a copy and so posted this up instead. It's a reprint of the original 1683 edition.

You can read this at

Village Cricket
By John Henderson

John is sending in a 5 part account of "25 years of Village Cricket, 1983-2008, in Gargunnock, Stirling, Scotland" in pdf format. By way of an introduction he says...

This 25th Anniversary Booklet has been compiled to celebrate the life and times of, not only our nomadic seasons 1984 to 1989, but also our subsequent seasons based within Meiklewood Estate’s magnificent rural setting close to Gargunnock Village.

We dedicate it to every person who has played in GVCC colours over the years, but especially to all the many men and women amongst us who have worked so conscientiously on and off the field in order that sound of leather on willow might still be heard midst the aged oaks that adorn our beloved ‘MCG’. Among those committed sports-people, Derrick Forbes, William and Helen Scott, John Henderson, Graham Naris and Martin Everett deserve particular praise and thanks for their loyalty and diligence over the years.

You can read the first 2 parts at

Got in a wee humour story in today's email from Joy Robbins...

A very popular man dies in Aberdeen and his old widow wishes to tell all his friends at once, so she goes to the Aberdeen Evening Express and says 'I'd like tae place an obituary fur ma late husband.' The man at the desk says 'OK, how much money dae ye have?' The old woman replies '£5' to which the man says, 'Ye wont get many words for that but write something and we'll see if it's ok.' So the old woman writes something and hands it over the counter. The man reads 'Peter Reid, fae Kincorth, deid.' He feels sad at the abruptness of the statement and encourages the old woman to write a few more things, saying 'I think we cud allow 3 or 4 more words fer ye money.' The old woman ponders and then adds a few more words and hand the paper over the counter again. The man then reads 'Peter Reid, fae Kincorth, deid. Ford Escort for sale'......

And that's it for now and hope you all have an enjoyable weekend :-)


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