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Weekly Mailing List Archives
28th May 2010

Electric Scotland News
Scottish Events
The Flag in the Wind
Book of Scottish Story
Oor Mither Tongue
Poems of William Dixon Cocker
Auld Biggins of Stirling
Old Pictures of Scotland
Scottish Notes and Queries
The Kingdom of Fife
The Complete Scotland
Furth in Field
Art in Scotland
Biography of Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal
John Ross and the Cherokee Indians
Poems in the Dorric Language
Roamin' in the Gloamin'
Robert Burns Lives!
Pen Pictures of Early Pioneer Life in Upper Canada
Caley History
Eupham Graham
The Eriskay Pony
Scottish Key Facts
Clan Leslie Society International

Electric Scotland News
I'd firstly like to thank the surprisingly high number of people that replied to my request for views on our newsletter. Most came in by email but several also came in as a reply in our Aois community.

Most seemed to be pleased enough to pick up the newsletter from our Aois community but a significant minority wanted to see it come back in email format. I'll certainly consider this last option although it might require a new list which you'd need to sign up for.

I also got a few critiques on the content of the newsletter and some suggestions and my thanks for those as well as feedback is very valuable.


I am embarking on a new project to feature the Gairloch and Loch Maree area of Northern Scotland and to that end have emailed a lot of people in the community.

Essentially I am posting up 2 books on the area, one of which is now available to read, and another that will be coming soon. BUT what I am trying to do is get hundreds of pictures of the area and get local people involved so they can also tell their own stories and lots more.

I might add I've also posted a wee advert about this project on our home page as well.

So far Highlands and Islands Enterprise have provided some contacts as has the local librarian. The local newspaper is going to give us a wee write up and the local radio show is going to schedule an interview. We've alredy made contact with a few locals who have said they will contribute to the project.

I'm actually quite excited about this as to my knowledge this type of project has never been done. It's a huge project if it comes off as I envision but at the end of the day I have to rely on local people for much of the content we need. I hope when they learn about the project that they'll want to get involved. I should however caution that this is my fourth attempt at trying to do something this large and obviously the other three tries were failures as local people and businesses failed to get behind it.

And so do keep your fingers crossed that this time we'll succeed and this will become a project where we learn a huge amount about this area and everyone will have a lot of fun being involved in it.

You can read the book I put up along with details of the project at


The next bit of news is an update on our new community site that we are building. We've made the decision that this will be a brand new community and so we will not be moving over messages and members from our current system. What we will do is keep the old system running for a month after the new system comes up. This is to allow folk to copy and paste over any messages they would like to retain and have available in the new system. In fact you could start now to save any messages, pictures, avatars, etc. that you want in the new system.

I will say the new system looks awesome but it is a configurtion from hell and so it will take some time to get everything working the way we want and to get it all tested. We may invite a few of you to help test it out so do watch out for a communication from us on that.

We have learned a lot from our current system and as a result we will be changing how we do some things to ensure this is a much better experience. One of the things we are working on is the whole sign up process for membership. We have been amazed at just how many people forget their username or password or indeed both. So our new sign up process will have better prompts and advice and we will also be doing a better welcome email to you when you become a member.

We will also be addressing the request from many of you that said you'd like to know when new members join so you can welcome them to the community.

We're also addressing the problem that we found where members using the IE 8 browser were having issues with parts of the community that Firefox users never saw. I am told these issues will go away with IE 9.0 but we're doing our best to ensure current IE 8 users will not be affected.

In the new system you will find you will have a huge range of options to configure your own home page in the community to your own personal taste. I am hugely excited by what this new system will be able to offer.

I should clarify that this new community will be our final and permanent release. We have installed a brand new and very fast server, moved from a 32 bit operating system to a 64 bit one and put in huge backup facilities so should the system ever crash we will be back up very fast with almost no loss of data. When up and running we will also start to arrange a complete mirror of the service with Simon Fraser University in British Columbia in Canada. This has already been agreed between us.

That is not to say there won't be upgrades to the service in the weeks and months ahead but as to the basic community this is it. it's here for the long term.

I might add that Steve is now working on the configuration every day. There are three core layers that he has to work on. There is the basic configuration of the main vbulletin system. That is hard enough with all the options on offer. Once that is complete we then have the portal software to install over the top and again there is a lot of configuration to that. And then once that is complete we need to add in all the add-ons that we feel add value to the community and there are a lot of them as well.

Anyway... hope that brings you up to date and we aim to have the new community available during June.

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 in our site menu and at

Scottish Events
147th Antigonish Highland Games

The Antigonish Highland Games are the oldest continuous highland games outside of Scotland. First held in 1863, this early July tradition welcomes visitors and participants from around the globe. The Antigonish Highland Games are staged annually by the Antigonish Highland Society, which was established to preserve Scottish culture and traditions. Visitors to the Antigonish Highland Games can enjoy the very best in highland dancing, piping and drumming, heavy events, concerts, ceilidhs, and more.

This years games are on July 4th to 11th and you can visit their web site at


Irish and Scottish Encounters with Indigenous Peoples Conference, 10-12 June 2010
Universities of Toronto and Guelph.

As Dr Graeme Morton says,,,

I'm back from Scotland now, with just a seven hour ash-induced delay on the way out. I thought I'd better put out a gentle reminder that our Irish/Scottish conference is coming up pretty soon. It is a big programme of speakers from all over this wee planet, and it should be impressive stuff. There is also a healing circle, some entertainment, a banquet plus opening remarks (on the Saturday in Guelph) by our very own MP Kirsty Duncan. For those who register in advance, there is a free bus between Toronto and Guelph on the Saturday (which also means you can have a beer or three at the banquet!).

Do come along for all, or part, of the event. And do please circulate this notice to any one or any group you think might be interested.

I hope to see you there....



The expansion of the British and American empires during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries created the greatest mass migration in human history. Irish and Scots migrants were major participants in this process. Their experiences have traditionally been framed in terms of push-pull factors, of exile, struggle, opportunity, and acculturation. But there is another side to the story; as the Irish and Scots spread throughout the world, they interacted extensively with indigenous cultures and peoples. In many areas, these encounters led to the displacement and destruction of indigenous peoples, while at other times and places they generated a wider range of experiences with greater opportunities for mutual cooperation and cultural exchange. At the same time, the Scots and Irish existed in an ambivalent, tense and sometimes hostile relationship to England. In what ways did their own experiences of colonialism affect their attitudes towards indigenous peoples? To what extent were they agents or critics of imperialism and how were these interactions reflected in literature, music and the arts? How did the Irish, Scots and indigenous peoples shape their political, social, religious, and economic relations with one another? And how were Scots, Irish and indigenous peoples’ understandings of the world transformed as a result of these encounters?

These are some of the issues that will be addressed in this international conference to be held in Toronto and Guelph 10-12 June 2010. It is being jointly organized by the Celtic Studies Programme at St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto; the Centre for Scottish Studies at University of Guelph; and the University of Aberdeen’s AHRC Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies.

Keynote Speakers:
Ann McGrath (Australia National University, Aus)
Brad Patterson (Victoria University, NZ)
Colin Calloway (Dartmouth College, US)
Donald Harman Akenson (Queen's University, Canada)
Fintan O’Toole (Irish Times, Ireland)
Kevin Kenny (Boston College, US)
Patricia McCormack (University of Alberta, Canada)

Registration Information at:
Registration closes: 2 June 2010

Full Program:

Session Abstracts:

Further Information:

This weeks issue is compiled by Jamie Hepburn in which he's mulling over the results of the UK elections and how they might affect Scotland. There are also some excellent articles in the Synopsis and you can read more about this at

The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP diary entry for this week can be viewed at 

Book of Scottish Story
Thanks to John Henderson for sending this book into us.

This week he's sent in "A Night at the Herring Fishing" which starts...

In the latter end of August 1819, I went out to the fishing then prosecuted on Guilliam in a Cromarty boat. The evening was remarkably pleasant. A low breeze from the west scarcely ruffled the surface of the frith, which was varied in every direction by unequal stripes and patches of a dead calmness. The bay of Cromarty, burnished by the rays of the declining sun until it glowed "like a sheet of molten fire, lay behind, winding in all its beauty beneath purple hills and jutting headlands; while before stretched the wide extent of the Moray Frith, speckled with fleets of boats which had lately left their several ports, and were now all sailing in one direction. The point to which they were bound was the bank of Guilliam, which, seen from betwixt the Sutors, seemed to verge on the faint blue line of the horizon; and the fleets which had already arrived on it had, to the naked eye, the appearance of a little rough-edged cloud resting on the water. As we advanced, this cloud of boats grew larger and darker ; and soon after sunset, when the bank was scarcely a mile distant, it assumed the appearance of a thick leafless wood covering a low brown island.

The tide, before we left the shore, had risen high on the beach, and was now beginning to recede. Aware of this, we lowered sail several hundred yards to the south of the fishing ground ; and after determining the point from whence the course of the current would drift us direct over the bank, we took down the mast, cleared the hinder part of the boat, and began to cast out the nets. Before the Inlaw appeared in the line of the Gaelic Chapel (the landmark by which the southernmost extremity of Guilliam is ascertained), the whole drift was thrown overboard and made fast to the swing. Night came on. The sky assumed a dead and leaden hue. A low dull mist roughened the outline of the distant hills, and in some places blotted them out from the landscape. The faint breeze that had hitherto scarcely been felt now roughened the water, which was of a dark blue colour, approaching to black. The sounds which predominated were in unison with the scene. The almost measured dash of the waves against the sides of the boat and the faint rustle of the breeze were incessant ; while the low dull moan of the surf breaking on the distant beach, and the short sudden cry of an aquatic fowl of the diving species, occasionally mingled with the sweet though rather monotonous notes of a Gaelic song.

"It’s ane o' the Gairloch fishermen," said our skipper; "puir folk, they’re aye singin’ an' thinkin’ o’ the Hielands.”

The rest of this story can be read at

All the other stories can be read at

Oor Mither Tongue
An Anthology of Scots Vernacular Verse by Ninian Macwhannell (1938) and our thanks to John Henderson for sending this into us.

O, Licht amo' the Hills
Loch Avon
Caul', Caul' as the Wall

You can read these at

The other poems can be read at

William Dixon Cocker
W.D. COCKER (1882 – 1970)

W. D. Cocker was a Scottish poet who wrote in both Scots and English. In the First World War, Cocker served with the Highland Light infantry, and was taken prisoner in 1917. His war poetry is interesting and includes the poems "Up the Line to Poelkapelle", "The Sniper" and a five-part sonnet cycle entitled "Sonnets in Captivity". However, he is best known for his humorous poems in Scots.

Another 4 pages up which can be read at

The other poems can be read at

Auld Biggins of Stirling
The contents page of this book are done alphabetically so we're adding new chapters in the order they appear in the book and not as they appear in the contents. Loads of illustrations which do add to the enjoyment of this book.

Added the Hangman's Close, Murray Place, Orchard Place, Bowie's Court and Vennel Close.

You can read this at

Old Pictures of Scotland
We have been adding some old pictures from Scotland and now onto...

Set 16 - West Highlands (Part 3)

You can view these at

We're also adding a wee book about "Scottish Loch Scenery" to this page and have added two more chapters on Loch Maree and St. Mary's Loch.

You can view these at

Scottish Notes and Queries
This is a periodical we came across launched in 1887 and we are going to scan in a number of issues for you to read.

Added Volume 2 Issue 4

You can read this at

The Kingdom of Fife
Its Ballads and Legends by Robert Boucher, Jun (1899)

Added "Anster Fair and Maggie Lauder"

This can be read at

The Complete Scotland
A comprehensive survey, based on the principle motor, walking, railway and steamer routes. Historical section by J.D. Mackie, M.C., M.A. Professor of Scottish History and Literature and the University of Glasgow and geology and scenery by T.M. Finlay, M.A., D.Sc., F.R.S.E., University of Edinburgh.

Added this week...


You can read this at

Furth in Field
volume of essays on the Life, Language and Literature of Old Scotland by Hugh Haliburton (1894).

Added "Gay" Kinross

This can be read at

Art in Scotland
Its Origin and Progress by Robert Brydall (1889)

We have bow completed this book but still adding some pictures of various paintings and added another 5 this week.

You can see these at

Holiday Cottages
These are wee tourism articles. Got in this week...

Discover the incredible Trossachs.

This can be read at

Biography of Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal
by Rev. J. W. Pedley

This is a biography of a very powerful and influential Scot that made a huge contribution to Canada.

We have now added further chapters...

Chapter XVI. Out of Politics
Chapter XVII. Old Age Activities
Chapter XVIII. New Interests and Further Responsibilities
Chapter XIX. High Commissioner
Chapter XX. The Strathcona Horse
Chapter XXI. The Deceased Wife's Sister Bill
Chapter XXII. Canada from 1838 to 1914

Here is how Chapter XX starts...

The familiar saying, ''It never rains but it pours," was exemplified in this part of Lord Strathcona's career. Honors and titles were showered upon him. The list of them would fill a page. Not only in the political world, but in science and in the literary world generally, he was recognized and honored. He was made Privy Councillor, Fellow of the Royal Society, Doctor of Laws by the Universities of Cambridge, Aberdeen and Glasgow.

In 1899 he was Lord Rector of Aberdeen University and later became its Chancellor. It is difficult for us. to realize how completely he secured the esteem of all kinds of people in the Old Land, and with what ease he adapted himself to his new surroundings. The raw lad who left Scotland sixty years before and had been buried in the solitudes of Labrador and Hudson's Bay for thirty years, living the roughest and hardest kind of life, carried no trace of that crude and primitive experience, but bore himself in the most polished and learned circles with grace and dignity. In the presence of royalty, in the House of Lords, in great social functions, he acted as one accustomed to these surroundings all his life and wherever he went and whenever he addressed public meetings, which he often did, his conversation was full of references to Canada and that was the subject of his speeches. It is not possible to estimate the value to the Dominion of his advocacy of the land he loved. Thousands, because of his connections with it and because of his outstanding personality, became interested in the country, to which, before, they had given scarcely a passing thought.

As we have said, he was in possession of great wealth. We have given some instances, out of hundreds that might be mentioned, of his generous and philanthropic donations. There is one, however, which must not be overlooked, because of the thrill that went through the whole Empire and because of the Imperial spirit which it evidenced in the donor. This was the gift of the "Strathcona horse." The story of the Boer War has now become a matter of history. So rapidly do events move that what was in 1899 the scene of bloody strife in South Africa and armed resistance to the British Crown, has become a peaceful, loyal federation, of which one of the great leaders is a man who was a general in the rebel forces. It is not necessary to go into the merits or demerits of the procedure which brought about the terrible conflict. Opinions are divided on the question. One thing is certain, and that is that for a time the Empire was racked with anxiety. Gloom and depression prevailed everywhere.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read all these chapters at

John Ross and the Cherokee Indians
By Rachel Caroline Eaton (1914)

We're making good progress and have now completed this book with...

Chapter XVI
Political Readjustment
Chapter XVII
Political Readjustment, Concluded
Chapter XVIII
Two Decades of Economic Development
Chapter XIX
The Civil War
Chapter XX
The Civil War, Concluded
Chapter XXI
Reconstruction of the Cherokee Nation

A Letter from John Ross
The Principle Chief of the Cherokee Nation to a Gentleman from Philadelphia (1837)

Here is what it says about the letter...

The following letter was received in Philadelphia, about the period of its date, in May last. Its appearance was deferred, in consequence of a desire to accompany it with a few observations upon the general subject of Indian annals in the United States. The preparation of these has been so long delayed, that further postponement would be inexcusable. It has, therefore, been determined to give publicity to the letter, reserving its intended accompaniment for a future occasion, and a different medium.

The writer is sensible of the lameness of his apology for so long withholding from the public, a production of so much interest and merit; and seeks to lessen the blame he might incur by expressing the hope, that it may induce a second communication from the author, detailing some events which have occurred since its composition.

The temper of this epistle, will commend it to the kind consideration of every calm and dispassionate mind, whilst its facts and reasonings must carry conviction to all readers. It is a skilful and comprehensive survey of the Cherokee question, and unfolds in cool language, a course of conduct which makes the patriotic cheek burn with shame, and the patriotic heart glow with indignation. May its perusal produce the proper effect in the proper quarter, and induce those elevated measures which policy, humanity, and honour concur to recommend. No achievement of national might is equal, in greatness, to the performance of NATIONAL JUSTICE, and without this, what is called national honour, is not only an empty name, but a false and ironical ascription.

Philadelphia, December 26, 1937.

You can read this letter at

The rest of the chapters can be read at

Poems in the Dorric Language
By John Henderson

John has sent in new poems which can be seen at the foot of his page at

By the British Medical Association (1922)

We've added another chapter to this book...

Glasgow To-day. By William Power

You can read this book at

Roamin' in the Gloamin'
By Sir Harry Lauder (1928)

We've added more chapters to this book...


Here is how Chapter V starts...

I WOULD be about eighteen when I started to "love a lassie"! The tender passion comes early to the boys and girls in the Black Country. At least it did so in my time. We were men and women at sixteen and seventeen. School days were left far behind. We were battling for bread at an age which today would be looked upon as childhood. I was "boss o' the hoose" when I was thirteen; a year or two later I was a man earning a man's pay and with a man's outlook on life. Was it to be wondered at, therefore, that I early fell under the spell of two bonnie blue eyes and a mass of dark curls when the former flashed a look at me from a Salvation Army "ring" in the Black's Well one Sunday afternoon? I was smitten on the spot. I was captured and enraptured It was love at first sight—first, last, and only. Annie Vallance—Nance! It's just on forty years ago, but I can scarcely write the dear name for the feelings that memory causes to surge within me. If ever a bonnie lassie knocked a young fellow "tapsalteerie" (literally, dizzy) fourteen-year-old .Annie ValIance did me! I couldn't eat the first night I saw her, I couldn't sleep, and the next day I couldn't work! I had got it bad. Oh, dear me! I thought I was going to die. But there's aye a Providence in these things. I managed to get an introduction through one of her young brothers. For Torn Valiance I have had a very soft side from that day to this. I taught him his job as a miner and he is now, as he has been for thirty years, my faithful friend and manager. Where I go Tom goes. I do nothing without consulting him. He is almost as well known all over the world as I am!

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The other chapters can be read at

Robert Burns Lives!
by Frank Shaw

My granddaughter, Stirling Shaw

Last week I gave you a brief introduction to my grandson, Ian Bascombe Shaw. Today I would like to present to you my granddaughter, Stirling Elizabeth Shaw. Stirling and Ian have both been taught about Scotland and her bard, Robert Burns. They recognize the face of Burns on a coin, a medal, a bust, a statue, or a picture in a book. One day I look forward to them enjoying a more in-depth relationship of the poems and songs of Burns. For now I am content that my ten-year-old Ian and my eight-year-old Stirling know who he is, that he was a poet and songwriter, and more importantly, the significant part he played in the life of Scotland...then and now.

You can read the rest of this article at

You can read the other articles of Robert Burns Lives! and Frank's other articles at

Pen Pictures of Early Pioneer Life in Upper Canada
By a "Canuke".of the fifth generation (1905)

Lots more chapters up this week...

The Old Log Houses and Barns
The Fireplaces
The Felling of the Trees
The Stumping

An Old Military Road
The Wayside Tavern
The Corduroy and Other Roads
The Old Stage Coach
Horseback Riding

The Mails
The Newspapers
Postage Stamps and Envelopes
The Quill Pens
The Old Currency

The Industry of the People
The Hospitality of the People
The Amusements of the People
The Schools
The School-houses
The Churches

The Country Store
The Wayside Blacksmith
The Country Peddler
The Itinerant Shoemaker
The Country Squire

The Old-Time Camp-meeting
he Old-Time Funerals
The Superstitions of the People
Ghosts, Hobgoblins and Will.o'-the-Wisps
The Lightning Bug or Firefly
In Time of Sickness
Saving Habits of Grandfather
Nursery Rhymes and Lullabies

The Old Homestead .
The Orchards and Vineyards
The Old-Time Garden
The Old-Time Wells
The Family Cemetery
The Rail Fence

The Bake-Ovens
The Smoke Houses
The Old Workshop
The Old Grindstone
The Corn Crib

the First Stoves
The Old Corner Cupboard .
The Grandfather's Clock
The Old Flintlock Musket
The Dinner Horn
The Old Dash Churn

Early Household Utensils and Articles of Furniture
Pewter and Crockery Ware
Candles and Candlesticks
Tea and Coffee, and Their Substitutes
Lighting the Fire

The Clothing of the People
The Fashions in Dress
Our Grandmothers' White Caps

You can read this book at

Caley History
Provided by Chloe Gardner, Royal Caledonian Schools Trust

A good wee history on this organisation and included is a Press Release about the work they are doing to help service folk's children. A very interesting read which you can get to at

Eupham Graham
Got some information in on Eupham Graham who was born in Scotland but sent to Australia which you can read at 

The Eriskay Pony
A wee bit of background on this breed which you can read at

Scottish Key Facts
This is a 2 page document giving you key facts about Scotland at April 2010 and is in pdf format which you can read at

Clan Leslie Society International
Got in the May 2010 edition of the Clan Leslie Grip Fast newsletter which you can read at

And to conclude here is a wee humour story I got in from Keith Rattray...

The Bagpipe Story

As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a grave side service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper's cemetery in the Kentucky back-country.

As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost. I finally arrived an hour late.... and saw the funeral guy was evidently gone, and the hearse was nowhere in sight.

There were only the diggers and crew left.... and they were eating lunch. I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down. The vault lid was already in place. I didn't know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I've never played before for this homeless man.

And as I played 'Amazing Grace', the workers began to weep. They wept; I wept; we all wept together.

When I finished, I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say,

"Sweet Mother of Jesus, I never seen nothin' like that before.... and I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years...

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


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