Pancakes, Parties and the Northern Lights!

Never let it be said that Fearnan folk don’t enjoy their pancakes!  The Pancake Pop-Up attracted over 30 people (plus one dog, some visitors staying at Shoreside and the local Refuse Collectors who called in for a takeaway) for an enjoyable and very sociable morning.

There were drop scones and crepe-style pancakes on offer and Sue was kept busy working over a hot griddle producing them in batches, all of which disappeared as fast as she could make them.

The FVA’s next event is a Daffodil Afternoon Tea on Saturday 25th March, see below for details.

Happy Birthday, Julia!

Last week it was party time at Balhousie with some of Julia’s Fearnan friends gathering to wish her a Happy Birthday and celebrate the day.

In addition to the excellent spread of home baking brought by the guests, Julia got two birthday cakes – one from the Balhousie staff who came especially to sing Happy Birthday to her at the beginning, and one made by Frances for the occasion. 

Julia was in fine form and delighted with her presents, which included a planting table for her to use in the Balhousie garden and get her green fingers going again.

However, the thing she is MOST excited about is the imminent arrival of her electric wheelchair……………… watch out Pitlochry!

Carrot Birthday Cake

Northern Lights over Fearnan

Many people have ‘seeing the Northern Lights’ on their Bucket-List.  Some travel hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to the Northern reaches of the planet to try to spot them. On the 27th February 2023, Fearnan folk simply had to open their back doors to watch The Lights dancing over Glen Lyon.

Many thanks to Graham and Jason for providing these stunning pictures, taken from their own back door.


Fearnan Book Club

Linda writes:

In February we read and reviewed The Cider House Rules by John Irvine. This book is set in rural Maine in the pre- and post-WW2 era and explores many themes, including the contentious issue of abortion as well as addiction, incest, lesbian relationships, racism and women’s rights. Alongside this, the themes of love, kindness and caring shine through and were movingly portrayed and at times heart-rending.

This is a multi-character story with an unusual plot.  We were impressed by the amount of research that had been done in order to explore these social and historical issues. Descriptions of these harsh realities were written with humour. 

This was a gritty read, not a book for the faint-hearted by its length alone, over 600 pages. It required concentration and its detailed information made it unsuitable for skim reading.  For some, initially, the detailed descriptions of medical procedures and equipment were too graphic but the absorbing storyline and well described and interesting characters encouraged them to read on. 

All agreed that the well-developed characters, though quirky, felt real and fascinating. The relationship between the key characters of Dr Larch, director of the orphanage and abortionist, and Homer Wells his unadopted orphan and medical pupil was woven through the story. The merging of the storylines was well done with all the strands apparently effortlessly coming together to provide a satisfactory ending.

We briefly discussed some of the themes and issues referencing them to characters and incidents in the book. However, this was a text, that as a group, we could have discussed over several sessions. 

Our next read is The Dictionary of Lost Words,the debut novel by Australian writer Pip Williams. It was sixth on the list of Australian fiction bestsellers for 2020. 

It tells the story of the Oxford English Dictionary’s compilation through the fictional Esme, daughter of one of the men working on it, and her interactions with characters based on the real men and women behind the book.

Church Membership

We have an important message from our Taylyon Churches in the Parish of Fortingall, Glenlyon, Kenmore and Lawers:

Our Local Churches Need You!

Church membership is in decline and the Church of Scotland is faced with making very difficult decisions. Now, as a result of proposed changes throughout Scotland, we are faced with the very real possibility that church buildings in our parish may be closed.

The members of the Kirk Session are determined to do all that they can to keep our churches open for local residents and visitors alike.

However, we do need your help.

It may be that you are new to the parish, perhaps you are on our Members’ Roll and have not been to church for some time, or maybe you just have not even thought about church going. It does not matter which category you fit into but what does matter is that we need you more than ever.

Please accept this invitation to join our Welcome Services on Sundays 19th and 26th of March and please feel free to bring family, friends and neighbours.

Sunday 19th March - Kenmore Church at 11:00 AM

Sunday 26th March - Fortingall Church at 11:00 AM

Whether you choose to attend one or both of these services, you will certainly receive a very warm welcome.

We look forward to seeing you.

And Finally ……….

On Saturday 25th March, the FVA will be holding a Daffodil Afternoon Tea in the Hall, starting at 3pm.  Come and celebrate Spring while enjoying some delicious home baking and, of course, good company.  The cost is £6.00pp and school age children are half price.

The FVA will be holding its AGM on Saturday 1st April in the Hall at 4pm.  All members and prospective members are welcome.

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February 2023

Pop-Up Pancakes

Flippin’ ‘eck, it’s nearly Pancake Day! By happy coincidence, the Pop-Up Café is back in the Hall this Tuesday, 21st February, and we will be celebrating Pancake Day!

There will be lots of warm, freshly made pancakes along with the usual goodies, fresh coffee and tea. We’ll be offering both drop scone-style pancakes with homemade jam and crepe-style pancakes with lemon and sugar.

Doors open at 10.30 am and we run until 12.00. And it’s £3.00 a head.

Recycling Update – Printer Cartridges

Here’s an important update for those who recycle their Epson cartridges through Jenny. She writes:

“People have been doing a great job of bringing their empty cartridges to Clach an Tuirc for recycling – so much so that the box is totally overflowing. So, I thought I’d better send them off and have just emptied the box to sort through them all, as The Recycling Factory doesn’t take all makes.

However, on checking on their website they don’t seem to take any of the Epson ones now! When I first signed up for this, the info was that they took the majority of major brands but not the re-branded ones (eg: Tescos own brand). But they now have more info online and it appears that they only take ‘first-use plastic’ ones – so not ones that are refillable or have been refilled, and not those made from recycled plastic. On the plus side, it appears that Epson are doing a good job by both refilling cartridges and using recycled plastic to make them!

What it means, however, is that I now can’t take Epson cartridges, nor any make of toner. But the good news is you can recycle them yourselves directly via Epson, who will send you free-post return envelopes to package and return your cartridges. You can use this link:

And for everyone else… please continue bringing your empty ink cartridges to me if they are Canon, HP or Brother.”

Fearnan Book Club

  Lesley writes:

At the January meeting, we discussed our Christmas reading choice which was Murder Under the Christmas Tree by Cecil Gayford.

It is a collection of Ten Classic Crime Stories, written by a wide range of classic and modern authors. It provided an opportunity to compare and contrast authors and perhaps experience writing by a new author. 

This book proved popular with the group. Most stories got a favourable review, although there was no clear favourite. The Carter Dickson story featuring the glass knife as a murder weapon was thought ingenious. The Cadfael story went down well as being different. Dorothy L Sayers reminded someone of reading this author years ago and so had loved it and had particularly enjoyed the Christmas setting.

One group member couldn’t get to grips with the short format and longed for a longer story but others were keen on reading story by story. The variety from classic to modern was appreciated and one of the group has even bought another book in the series! 

The book to be reviewed in February is The Cider House Rules by John Irving.

First published in 1985, The Cider House Rules is John Irving’s sixth novel. Set in rural Maine in the first half of this century, it tells the story of Dr Wilbur Larch—saint and obstetrician, founder and director of the orphanage in the town of St. Cloud’s, ether addict and abortionist.

It is also the story of Dr Larch’s favourite orphan, Homer Wells, who is never adopted.

Diary Dates

In March, we will be holding a Daffodil Afternoon Tea in the Hall on Saturday March 25th at 3pm, and the FVA AGM for 2022-23 will be held on Saturday 1st April at 4pm.

Please note that the copyright of all pictures on this website belongs to the person who took them and the copyright of all text lies with the person who wrote it. The pancake image was provided by Image by brgfx on Freepik

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January 2023

Alistair Halden 1929 – 2022

We were all saddened to hear of the passing of Fearnan resident Alistair Halden, just before Christmas.

Alistair came to live in Fearnan in 1994, when he and Joyce retired from long and successful careers in education. Alistair was an excellent and much respected teacher, an accomplished (and apparently very competitive!) tennis and table tennis player, and a prize-winning poet.  He won a national prize for his poem Letter of Resignation, and this prompted a written, published, accolade from none other than the author Ian Rankin.

Alistair and Joyce around the time they moved to Fearnan

Alistair had asked for his poem A Highland Testimony to be read at the Service of Thanksgiving and we’re pleased to be able to reproduce it here.

A Highland Testimony

We had our ritual too. Down the long glen,
While startled curlews cried on ebb-tide sands,
We would all walk, our Bibles in our hands,
And winter sunshine turned to rain.

The crisp cutting edge of our dark suits
Served as a weekly penance. We, in turn,
Would kick some chuckies into a ditch or burn,
And scuff the polish on our Sunday boots.

The church bell spread its iron news abroad,
Dull through the trees or clear across the bay.
With quickened step we hastened on our way.
And so we entered in the house of God.

Thus went the ritual of that far-off day.
The creak of bell and bell-rope clanged and jarred.
The psalms were dignified. The pews were hard.
The rain was soft. The lowering skies were grey.

Grey too the tenour of our world today.
The death of humanism, sick and sad.
And I could wish that once again we had
That child’s acceptance of the Christian way.

Faith of my fathers. If it came again,
I would not change a moment of my youth,
The grey kirk and the straight unflinching truth,
Clean as the stones at the burn-side in the glen.

Back in 2014, just after the FVA Blog had started, we spoke to Alistair and Joyce about their time in Fearnan and they talked about what had attracted them to the village and why they had so much enjoyed living here. You can read the article here: Talking about Fearnan

Perhaps the Blog Editor could be allowed a personal recollection of Alistair, as he was a teacher at the school I attended, Marr College.

Not surprisingly, the paths of a lowly 1st Year pupil and the Head of the English Department did not cross very much during the brief year or so when our time overlapped at Marr.  However, during his oration in Fortingall Church, it was mentioned that the 7-year-old Alistair had harboured an ambition to be a comedian – and suddenly a memory surfaced of a long-ago school concert at which Alistair (Mr Halden to us then) performed a comic piano recital to the delight of the whole school.

Our thoughts and condolences go to Joyce and the family, and we would like to share this happy photo of Alistair and Joyce, taken at the installation of the memorial stone in the Cow Park in 2019.

Alistair and Joyce May 2019

If you were unable to attend, there is a video of Alistair’s Service of Thanksgiving on

Hair Ice

Before Christmas, several local people reported finding Hair Ice on Drummond Hill – something that is not often seen.

According to the Met Office, the conditions required for the formation of hair ice are extremely specific, hence the relative scarcity of sightings.

To form, moist rotting wood from a broadleaf tree is required with the presence of moist air and a temperature slightly below 0 °C. It is generally confined to latitudes between 45°N and 55°N.

In 2015 the scientists Hofmann, Mätzler and Preuß determined the exact cause of the hair ice phenomenon, linking its formation to the presence of a specific fungus called Exidiopsis effusa.

They discovered that the presence of the fungus led to a process called ‘ice segregation’. When water present in the wood freezes it creates a barrier that traps liquid between the ice and the pores of the wood. This creates a suction force which pushes water out of the pores to the edge of the ice surface where it freezes and extends outwards. As this repeats, it pushes a thin ‘hair’ of ice out of the wood which is around 0.01 mm in diameter.

It is believed that an inhibitor present in the fungus allows the strands of ice to stabilise allowing the formation of this beautiful phenomena and allows the hair ice to keep its shape often for several hours.

Events and Dates

At the beginning of December, we held the first Mulled Wine and Mince Pies for 3 years – an enjoyable and social event and, thanks to the generosity of those attending, we made a good start to the fund to replace the village noticeboards.

Mulled Wine and Mince Pies

Here are some more dates for your diary. You will notice that we are not doing a Pudding Night this year, but fear not – it will return next year. Instead, we have slotted in a PopUp Café on Pancake Day in February and a pre-Easter Afternoon Tea in March.

Tuesday 21st Feb – Pancake Pop Up Café in the Hall at 10.30am

Saturday 25th March – Easter(-ish) Afternoon Tea in the Hall at 3pm

Tuesday 25th April – Pop Up Café in the Hall at 10.30am

Saturday 1st April – The FVA 2022-23 AGM will be held in the Hall at 4pm.

Also, The Big Shed have intimated that their AGM will be held on the 6th February in person at 7pm in the Big Shed.

Fearnan Book Club

Linda and Lesley write:

In December the Fearnan Book Club reviewed Keep the Aspidistra Flying, first published in 1936.

It is a socially critical novel by George Orwell, an important 20th century writer. It is set in 1930s London, a world the author inhabited.

The main theme is Gordon Comstock’s romantic ambition to defy worship of the money-god and status, and the dismal life that results.

This text led to an animated discussion at the club meeting and, at times, differing opinions about society at that time. Comparisons were made with society and poverty today. We acknowledged that it was well written with clever phrases, excellent descriptions and clear images. However, many of us found it dreary, irritating and depressing to read as Gordon Comstock wallowed in his misery and pulled down those around him. He appeared selfish, self-centred and indulgent. We struggled to feel empathy for the characters and wondered why they supported Gordon financially and emotionally when in return they received no gratitude. He was both principled and pig-headed, behaving in a pompous way with disparaging comments about, and to, other characters. We had to remind ourselves that it was a novel of its time, and many attitudes and language would be unacceptable today.

Also at our December session, we reflected on the books we’d read throughout the year and voted for our favourite. There was no overwhelming favourite but The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak was just one vote ahead of Mrs. Bensons Beetle by Rachel Joyce. 

We also enjoyed playing Book Title Dingbats some of which were very challenging (click the link for an explanation if needed).

An appropriate choice for our festive reading was a book of short stories, Murder Under the Christmas Tree by Cecil Gayford.

It is a collection of Ten Classic Crime Stories, written by a wide range of classic and modern authors. It provided an opportunity to compare and contrast authors and perhaps experience writing by a new author. 

And Finally……..

A special thanks to Alistair Grier who provided the photo for the banner heading on this edition of the Blog.

Please note that the copyright for all photos on this Blog lies with the person who took them and the copyright for all text lies with the person who wrote it.

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Introducing the McKenzies!

Yes, introducing Mr and Mrs McKenzie! Peter and Sheila are seen here relaxing after tying the knot at Airds Hotel, Port Appin, a couple of weeks back!  It was, said Peter, an absolutely wonderful and memorable day. The big smiles say it all!

Mr and Mrs McKenzie

Peter and Sheila, we wish you every happiness together in your new house and in the years to come.

Mulled Wine and Mince Pies

For the first time since 2019, we are able to celebrate a pre-Christmas drink together with no Covid limits on the number of households or individuals, so please do join us on Saturday 10th December at 4pm in the village hall.

There will be mulled wine, non-alcoholic drinks, mince pies and other eats, and lots of Christmas spirit.

It costs £6pp and once costs have been deducted from the takings, we will put the balance towards new notice boards for the village.

And to help get you in a Christmassy mood, here is a little pic of the Aberfeldy Ukulele Band performing at Kenmore last week. Spot the familiar faces!

Click the link below to here them!

Many thanks to Lucy Higgins for the use of the clip.

Fearnan Book Club Review

The Book Club recently read and reviewed How to Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie, a darkly humorous debut novel. As often is the case, it was great for discussion as it provoked mixed opinions.

In general, it was regarded as being cleverly written with echoes of Kind Hearts and Coronets, the 1949 Ealing black comedy film.

Some wondered how the author managed to come up with such a plot featuring a range of different scenarios and imaginative ways to kill. We felt that most of the scenarios could have been condensed. It was also felt that the author also wanted to perhaps convey the “me too” message. 

Many found it too fanciful and implausible, but it appealed to their sense of humour with its almost cartoonish violence. We did not warm to, or engage with, the sarcastic and acerbic Grace, the cunning anti-hero who clearly displayed psychopathic behaviour. The irony was that she was imprisoned for a murder that she didn’t commit!  

We enjoyed the twist and not all of us saw it coming. We agreed Grace needed her comeuppance and all agreed that she couldn’t, and didn’t, get away with it. We found aspects of the ending weak as she appeared to let down her guard which was unlike her character throughout the book. 

The next book to be reviewed is Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell. First published in 1936, it is a socially critical novel set in 1930s London.

The main theme is Gordon Comstock’s romantic ambition to defy worship of the money-god and status, and the dismal life that results.

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Fearnan Remembrance Service 2022

A sizeable group of people from the village gathered at the War Memorial on Sunday 13th November for the Remembrance Service.

As ever, Cath McGregor had made a wonderful job of decorating the memorial with the hundreds of red poppies that were knitted for the centenary of the WW1 Armistice back in 2018.  This year, some additional poppies in the colours of the Ukrainian flag were added.

The service was led by Shirley Shearer and three wreaths were laid in honour of those who died in WW1 and WW2 and in subsequent conflicts. As has become our custom, one of the wreaths was laid for the Russian airmen and their Czechoslovakian colleague, all members of the WW2 Allied Forces in 1943, when they died in a plane crash in Fearnan Cow Park

After the service, coffee was served in the village hall, and a collection for Help for Heroes raised a generous £95 from those present.

Fearnan Book Club

After the excitement of the Ann Cleaves event, Fearnan Book Club has wiped its collective brow and normal business has resumed, as covered in Linda’s report below. The Book Club is delighted to report that some £555 was raised for the Scottish Charity Air Ambulance at the Ann Cleaves evening, and the SCAA has written to thank the community for this welcome contribution.

Linda writes:

The book club recently read and reviewed The Island of Missing Trees, by Elif Shafak, an award-winning British-Turkish novelist  whose work we have  previously enjoyed. 

It has been described as “A wise novel of love and grief, roots and branches, displacement and home, faith and belief. Balm for our bruised times.”

All agreed that it was a beautifully written and moving book with an engaging and descriptive style. A few found the first part of the book slow moving and ponderous although felt the second half moved at a faster pace. Some liked the fig tree as the narrator and regarded this as a clever device, others found this difficult to relate to. However the fig tree provided continuity throughout the narrative and kept the history and background going, by filling in the ‘missing bits.’ The multi-generational links were clarified and were plausible. 

The Greek/Turkish conflict in Cyprus in the 1970’s was poignantly described. Its impact on the relationship and lives of the main characters Defne and Kostas resulted in years of grief and trauma. The  vivid and detailed descriptions of the contrasting locations of Cyprus and North London enabled the reader to visualise the significant places in their lives.

Ada, the daughter, has this tree as her only connection to Cyprus and her family’s troubled history, as she seeks to untangle years of secrets. She is helped eventually by her eccentric aunt, whose character the group loved.  

There was great discussion relating to a passage in the book about burying and then ‘unburying’ the fig tree, which had been grown and tended lovingly in London from the original tree, to protect it from the British winter. This seemed quite far fetched but Google and YouTube provided evidence and photographs that this method exists and is indeed used! We learned a lot about the ecology of the fig which is also grown by one of our group in her greenhouse in Fearnan and therefore didn’t need to be buried! 

The ending was neat but not enjoyed by all of the group. Some could not relate to Defne metamorphosing into the fig tree after her sad death!

Our next read was totally different……..

How to Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie.

It will be reviewed in the next edition of the Blog.

Royal National Mod 2022

This year the Royal National Mod was held in Perth – something that added an extra edge to the competition for our local choir, the Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir.

Alan Brown, our Choral Chorus-pondent (I know, I know), has provide us with an exclusive report on the event, and including a reflection on the pleasure of stepping out from behind a Zoom screen to sing in person as part of a choir.

Alan writes:

Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir has been in existence since 1967. It’s a popular choir, has appeared on radio and television, dipped its collective toe in audio/video recording projects, sung in sunny Spain and all over not-so-sunny Scotland and won the highest awards for Gaelic and music at the Royal National Mod both individually and collectively.

Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir

So, another year, another Mod? Same old story? No, not this time! This was a Mod with a difference, the difference being that it was the first time in three years that the Choir had been given the opportunity of leaving behind the Town Hall; leaving behind the fantasy world of laptop-driven Zoom practices where you could choose that no one would be able to hear you sing. Is that suitable preparation for any performer, never mind a collection of voices?

Add to these reasons the choice of venue for the Royal National Mod 2022 – Perth – and the prestigious appointment of our very own Gaelic Tutor Gilliain MacDonald as Mod Convener (recruiting several more Choir members to her committee) and a picture begins to emerge that simply turning up on the day and singing a couple of songs was never an option. This was one hundred per cent immersion. Geographically, Perth Gaelic Choir were the home team, but they are a newish choir and chose not to take part in some events.

The stringent but strictly adhered to lockdown rules meant that Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir could have only one public appearance prior to Perth, a much- acclaimed open-air performance at the Amphitheatre in Pitlochry at the end of August to a capacity crowd.

For those readers who like some explanatory notes, there is more to choral singing than meets the ear. You may well know that a choir divides into four parts – soprano, alto, tenor and bass, with further occasional subdivisions. Sometimes all sing the same tune; sometimes something else happens. All pretty straightforward so far but, crucially, what has to emerge from all this individualism is a Choir Sound, so important that I have capitalised it.

Not stray voices, however sweet or robust; not soft and tender passages swamped by the charge of the anything-but-light brigade. One sound. Which leads to the burning question: how can there be a Choir Sound when the choir is a bank of screens of disembodied heads? Necessary safety measures such as open windows, sanitised seats, safe distances between participants and wearing masks makes a Choir Sound impossible. A Choir Sound comes only from a choir singing together. In person.

Competitions were looming but before that there was the important task of welcoming people to Perth. Come with me now to Friday 14 October and a Civic Reception from Perth & Kinross Council (yes, your Council Tax; thank you so much) to celebrate the opening of the Mod. Invited members of Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir were very much in attendance and good publicity photos – the Aberfeldy Tartan is so distinctive – of a Torchlight Procession to the Concert Hall for a stellar opening concert made the national press.

Back again the next day for a concert Ar Canan ar‘s Ceol (The Language and the Music), an evening of mostly Perthshire music and song where a dozen Choir members had been invited by famed folklorist and singer Dr Margaret Bennett to accompany her on Bothan Airigh am Braighe Raineach (The Shieling Bothy on Brae Rannoch). An honour and a privilege indeed. Next day, as befits the Sabbath, we joined in a Celtic Praise event in St Matthew’s Kirk streamed across the world.

That was enough for the time being. Home to Aberfeldy for one more practice then Competition Day and a first time for our new members.

Friday saw us competing against the many friends we have met on our travels. The morning competition is for sung Puirt a Beul or Mouth Music and we more than held our own.

Afternoon was the Margrat Duncan Trophy where we were performing two songs with which we had struggled over the preceding months. All seemed to click, however, and we gave an excellent performance, losing out only to the newly formed Black Isle Choir with their imported medallists.

The Massed Choirs event on Saturday morning was the expected colourful highlight after marching behind two pipe bands through the centre of Perth and assembling as a huge choir outside the Concert Hall and Museum.

Songs were sung, speeches made (our own Choir President John Duff giving his admirably in Gaelic), the Mod banner was handed on to the Paisley 2023 Mod leader and that was Mod Pheairt 2022.

It was a very successful series of events with Perth proving to be the ideal centre for such an occasion and Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir surpassing its hopes. Did I tell you about another wee bit special occasion coming up? No? Well in June of next year in Aberfeldy it’s the anniversary of the first Perthshire and Angus Provincial Mod. Not just any anniversary though; the one hundredth! Just another Mod? Don’t you believe it!

Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir under Musical Director May Brown and Gaelic Tutor Gilliain MacDonald will always welcome anyone interested in joining through a love of Gaelic music. We meet on Mondays in Aberfeldy Town Hall at 7.30 pm. Look out for our monthly news column in The Quair.

Mulled Wine and Mince Pies

Just a reminder that Mulled Wine and Mince Pies will be served in the village hall this December for the first time in three years, so please do join us from 4 – 6pm on Saturday 10th December. Price at the door is £6pp.

All tastes will be catered for, and in addition to the usual fare, there will be non-alcoholic drinks and some non-mulled wine.

Please note that the copyright of all photos on this site lies with the person who took the picture and the copyright of all text belongs to the person who wrote it.

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An Evening to Remember

You never know where a casual conversation with your neighbour will lead!

Frances Brace, a member of the Fearnan Book Club and neighbour of James Grieve, knew of his associations with Ann Cleeves and that he featured in her Shetland books as a forensic pathologist.

Frances then asked James if Ann would be willing to come and speak in Fearnan……..

James writes:

“A packed McLean Hall, Fearnan, was thoroughly entertained and stimulated at an evening with internationally renowned author, Ann Cleeves, whose crime fiction novels and their television adaptations have thrilled millions of people in over thirty translations across the world. Last Tuesday evening (18th October), a light-hearted conversation with her friend, James Grieve, Emeritus Professor in Forensic Medicine, Aberdeen University, whose associations with Fearnan and Kenmore extend over half a century, the audience learned about how Ann crafts her Shetland, Vera and, now, Matthew Venn novels, all with such specific and distinct geographical settings from which her characters emerge, writing more or less daily in the early morning, to produce a novel each year, and her positive views about the television series which her characters have inspired.

She read from her latest Vera novel, The Rising Tide, recently published in hard cover (and due out in paperback in February). Aberfeldy independent booksellers, The Watermill, were on hand to sell Ann’s books which she graciously signed for the very appreciative attendees from around Loch Tay.

For the audience, an atmospheric stage with crime related artefacts set the scene and James’s humour ensured that laughter echoed round the hall within the first few minutes.

The evening was a great success and exceeded all expectations. Since then, we’ve had so many positive and complimentary comments and delight that this event took place in Fearnan. Tea, coffee, cakes etc were provided by the book club members and enjoyed by our guests. 

Fearnan Book Club with Ann Cleeves and James Grieve

James thanked Frances for her initial idea and dramatic stage set, Linda for her administrative and organisational support and the book club for the tea/ coffee, cake etc. And many thanks, too, to Gayle Olivier for her atmospheric photos.

Generous donations were collected for the SCAA who have passed on their thanks for the support given by our community, as yet we don’t have a total amount. 

We hope this will lead to continuing links between Ann and Fearnan, maybe even a short story featuring Fearnan folk….perhaps not a murder! 

Reduce, Recycle, Reuse – Recycling in Fearnan

On the 11th October, a meeting was held in the Hall to discuss local recycling opportunities.  For some time now, we have been able to recycle additional waste products (i.e. some of those that can’t be put in the PKC blue bins) through the TerraCycle programme that focuses on hard-to-recycle items.

Up to now, recycling through TerraCycle has been made available by Jenny Penfold, who has managed the process and provided housing for the collection boxes.  She has gradually increased the range of products accepted and it is now quite a long list which includes dental care and laundry care products, various types of flexible packaging, medicine foils and inkjet cartridges. The full list is here.

In order to further develop opportunities, it is now proposed to move the collection boxes and create a Recycling Facility for the village in the Hall grounds, with the installation of a more formal collection point (e.g. a hut or shed).  The ground around it would be properly landscaped and lit, and signage would be installed to provide guidance on what can be recycled and when (i.e. times of day to avoid unnecessary disturbance to nearby houses).

The Hall Management Committee has appointed a subcommittee to develop the proposals and some grant money has been obtained and ring-fenced to facilitate the process. Apart from increasing Fearnan’s green credentials, this enhanced programme will have the added advantage of enabling the Hall to benefit from payments made for the items collected – a valuable input to help cover the rising running costs of this valuable local facility.

The meeting also had a presentation from Ana De Miguel, who is the PKC Waste Minimisation Officer.  Ana provided a brief overview of recycling in Scotland, helped to clarify what can and can’t go in the blue bins, explained why some things are, or aren’t, accepted, and explained what happens to blue bin waste once the Council has collected it. She stressed the importance of ensuring only items on the recycling list go in the blue bin.

When items such as food waste, nappies or liquids are placed in blue bins, they have the potential to spread and soil clean recycling. Materials such as paper and cardboard can be damaged rendering them unrecyclable. Soiled materials have to be removed and disposed of, losing all potential value.

Between July and December, the Council paid out £50,000 in additional charges to waste processors due to contamination. This year the figure for January and February alone is £17,650. This is money that would be better spent in our communities and in improving services rather than paying penalties.

Here is a quick visual guide to what can and can’t be recycled in the blue bins – the message is, if in doubt, leave it out.

More detailed guidance can be found here:

We’ll keep you up to date with progress on the new Recycling Centre. It is likely to be operational next year.

Pop-Up Coffee Shop

The Pop-Up Coffee Shop popped up again on the 11th October, offering a chance to get together and enjoy what proved to be a very friendly and chatty hour or so.  It’s always a good sign when people start re-arranging the furniture to create what is effectively one large table.

The pop-Up won’t be back until after the new year, but we do have the Remembrance Service at the War Memorial on Sunday 13th November, with the service starting just before 11.00. Coffee and tea will be served in the Hall afterwards and we will be collecting for Help for Heroes. 

The FVA will also be hosting Mulled Wine and Mince Pies in the Hall at 4pm on Saturday 10th December – a chance for a little pre-Christmas get-together with friends from the village ahead of the last minute Christmas rush.

And Finally ……….

Could you be a mentor for young people to help them on their pathway to independent living?

Grandmentors is an award-winning intergenerational mentoring scheme which pairs local volunteer mentors aged 50+ with local young people aged 16-24 who have experienced care and/or had adverse childhood experiences, to give them advice, support and help build their confidence in their path to independence. Volunteering Matters, a UK Charity empowering volunteering in the local community, is setting up Grandmentors in Perth and Kinross in partnership with Perth and Kinross Council, and already operates Grandmentors successfully in ten other UK locations. For more information, please see Grandmentors (Perth and Kinross) – Volunteering Matters.

The initiative was also covered by the Guardian in 2019. See here.

Volunteering Matters also have another mentoring scheme run by Project Scotland, which similarly supports local young people facing barriers aged 16+, and which is open to adult volunteer mentors of any age.

You don’t need mentoring experience. Once you become a volunteer, training and on-going support is provided. All you need is an ability to relate to and understand young people.

If this sounds like you, please do get in touch at

Please note that the copyright of all photographs in this blog belongs to the person who took the picture and the copyright of the text belongs to the person who wrote it.

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MacMillan Coffee Morning Plus Diary Dates

On Saturday 1st October, the Fearnan Village Hall Committee took part in the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning by hosting a local coffee morning in support of the MacMillan cancer support charity.

There was a relaxed atmosphere and, as always, a great range of cakes, scones etc. and fun competitions. Around 40 people attended, including 5 children.

The lucky winner of the Colin the Caterpillar Conundrum Competition was Guy Hickman whose guess was the nearest to the number of sprinkles on the caterpillar cake. 

Guy got to take Colin home (presumably for more sprinkles counting), while Judy Proudfoot won the hamper generously donated by Kenmore Bakery.

The event generated a fantastic £512.42, including donations handed in, on-line contributions as well as money collected on the day and the Hall Committee would like to thank all those who supported the event and donated so generously.

More Events to Come …….

Diaries out, folks, we have quite a number of upcoming events and here they are, in chronological order:

11th October 10.30 – 12.00: The Pop-Up Coffee Shop opens its door again: Join us for coffee and cake and a chance to catch up with friends and acquaintances from the Fearnan area.

11th October 7pm: Improving our Recycling Locally. The Hall Committee has some suggestions for improving access to recycling items that the Council is unable to collect. They propose to do this via the TerraCycle programme which focuses on hard to recycle items ( )

Please join the meeting on Tuesday evening 11 October 2022 at 7pm in the McLean Hall to hear about these ideas and for a discussion on local recycling. Topics include:

  •  Additional recycling opportunities with TerraCycle – Jenny Penfold
    • Proposals to improve the Recycling Facility outside the Hall entrance – Karen Bennett
      • Council Recycling – PKC Waste Minimisation Officer – Ana De Miguel
  •  Q&A session / Community Discussion to share comments, thoughts and ideas

18th October 7.00pm: Fearnan Book Club Hosts an Evening with Ann Cleeves

Ann Cleeves OBE is a British mystery crime writer. She wrote the Vera Stanhope, Jimmy Perez, and Matthew Venn series, all three of which have been adapted into TV shows. In 2006, she won the Duncan Lawrie Dagger for her novel Raven Black, the first novel in the Jimmy Perez series.

Fearnan Book Club has staged something of a coup and is delighted to be welcoming her to the village for what will be a very interesting and enjoyable evening.

The event is likely to be very popular, so booking is essential as numbers are limited. Please email Linda on to reserve your place.

The session starts at 7.00pm in the McLean Hall. There will be an opportunity to purchase a signed copy of Ann’s latest book The Rising Tide as well as a selection of her previous books. Tea and coffee will also be available. 

Sunday 13th November: A short Remembrance Service will be held at the War Memorial, starting at approximately 10.55. Afterwards, the FVA will serve tea and coffee in the village hall.

Saturday 10th December: Mulled Wine and Mince Pies:

Join the FVA for mulled wine, mince pies and good company from 4 – 6pm in Fearnan Hall. The cost is £6 pp.

Christmas jumpers may be worn along with other Christmas adornments.

(If you’re more of a Bah Humbug sort of person, just come and enjoy the wine and pies.)

Carpet Bowls Club: On Monday evenings there’s an open invitation to everyone to come and play Carpet Bowls in the Hall from 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm. The cost is £3 per person.  Contact Angela on 830619, or at if you would like more information.

Fearnan Book Club Review

Linda writes:

 “When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away…”

We recently reviewed Survivors by Jane Harper, an author of international bestsellers,  whose books we’ve previously enjoyed. Opinions were mixed. Some found it less gripping than earlier books, some liked it better. Some felt it was slow and heavy going at times but full of suspense and tension. However it speeded up as the story progressed. 

It had many of the usual themes of relationships, family, loss etc. Feelings of sadness, guilt, remorse, injustice and regret were all woven into the story set in a Tasmanian seaside town. This town held many long buried secrets held by its troubled inhabitants causing social tensions. Eventually the secrets came to light with a few twists and red herrings along the way. 

All of her books have a distinct landscape that plays a central part in creating the atmosphere of the book and influencing and impacting on the lives of  characters. In this case there was the beach, the cliffs with deep caves and an off shore shipwreck.

A few found this setting less compelling than the descriptive bush and outback of previous novels.


The book to be reviewed in October is The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak, whose previous book was a hit with the group. This is a multi-generational story set in Cyprus and London.

A fig tree was witness to many events, love, war, relationships, death and sadness. The tree acts as a narrator in the story, so if a talking tree is your thing – read on! 

FVA Extra Ordinary General Meeting

On 17th September, Fearnan Village Association held an EGM for the sole purpose of approving the organisation’s accounts for the years 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22.  Normally, each of these would have been approved at the end-of-year AGM, but no meetings were held due to the pandemic.

All sets of accounts were approved by the members present, and a Vote of Thanks to Jim Fair was recorded for providing an independent examination of each set of the accounts.

And Finally …..

We love it when people with Fearnan connections get in touch with the Blog, and last month we heard from Joni Braham in Australia. Joni is of Scottish/Australian descent and, going through papers and photos in her parent’s estate, she found this picture of her father on the day he purchased a shepherd’s crook from Cameron Thomson, the Horn Carver (and man of many other talents). The crook is now a treasured family memento. Some years ago we wrote a profile of Cameron for this Blog which can be read here

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September ’22

The Pop-Up Coffee Shop is Back

The FVA’s Pop-Up Coffee Shop returned to the village hall last week for the first time since the onset of the pandemic. Around 20 folk called in for a chance to catch up with old friends and to meet some new ones. As ever, there was a good spread of tasty home baking on offer.

The next Pop-Up Coffee is on Tuesday 11th October, 10.30 – 12.00 in the village hall.

Tackling Japanese Knotweed

Ros writes:

Japanese knotweed (JK), first introduced to the UK as a decorative garden plant in Victorian times, has now spread uncontrollably into the wild and especially near water.  The plant looks spectacular and can grow rapidly as much as 10cm (4 in) in a day in summer and up to 2.1 metres (7ft) high overall.  It has deep-rooted underground stems (rhizomes) which are tough, resilient and fast-growing – they spread easily without natural restraint and can damage buildings and roads.   Rhizomes can reach 7.5 cm (3 in) in diameter and penetrate at least 2 m (7ft) in suitable soils (  If pieces broken or cut off either stem or rhizome are left on the ground, the Japanese knotweed will grow again voraciously.

Some say it’s just nature but the problem with Japanese knotweed is that it prevents our native plants from thriving.  Its rhizomes undermine riverbanks increasing the likelihood of flooding and disrupting salmon fisheries and access to rivers.  In Scotland there is a Code of Practice for dealing with non-native species.  It is an offence to plant non-native plants in the wild or allow them to spread into the wild, e.g. by allowing it to spread from your own land through inactivity, by dumping garden waste into the wild, or by moving contaminated soil (

In Fearnan, Japanese knotweed grows along the loch shore and inland by the burn that flows down by the Brae.  We need to tackle this invasive plant before too much damage is done but fortunately help is at hand!  The Scottish Invasive Species Initiative (SISI) is a 5-year partnership project which aims to work with local organisations and volunteers to control invasive non-native species along riversides in Northern Scotland, for the benefit of our native wildlife and communities. 

Following the well-attended McLean Hall meeting in June about Japanese knotweed with SISI Project Officer Mark Purrman-Charles, four volunteers from Fearnan have undergone two days of training on how to control Japanese knotweed and apply the appropriate weedkiller.  The initial phase of Japanese knotweed eradication will start in September and continue until the first frost.   It will be necessary to continue to control the plant every year, during the period from July to the first frost and may take 3-4 years to complete or longer.

There are a number of important recommendations for tackling Japanese knotweed:

What to do if you have Japanese knotweed on your land:

What NOT to do if you have Japanese knotweed on your land:

  • Don’t ignore this plant.  It can spread easily & control is subject to legislation
  • Don’t cut, mow or strim JK or leave pieces on the ground.  This encourages growth and spread.
  • Don’t allow Japanese knotweed to grow near rivers, burns, lochs as water spreads the plant to other sites.
  • Don’t put any Japanese knotweed parts in PKC brown bins.  Japanese knotweed waste must be disposed of at registered sites.

Further Information:

Dressed to Kill!

The 4 local volunteers (mentioned above) have now completed their training – a 2-day PA6 course for the professional use of pesticides and they all passed their theory test with flying colours! This was followed by a practical assessment about a week later.  Well done, folks! They are now ready to start tackling the Japanese knotweed in and around Fearnan, under the careful supervision of SISI’s Mark Purrman-Charles.

And here they are ready for action:

Joe, Guy, Dolan and Jenny, Fearnan’s Japanese Knotweed Warriors.

More Recycling Opportunities

Recycling opportunities in at Clach an Tuic in Fearnan have again expanded and you can now recycle:

  • the flexible pouches for all brands of coffee beans and ground coffee.
  • all brands of air, home and laundry products.
Recycling boxes at Clach an Tuirc

As a reminder, the following items can be recycled at Clach an Tuirc:

Coffee pods


Dental products – electric toothbrush and flosser heads, flossing sticks, interdental brushes and dental floss containers

Medicine foils

Inkjet cartridges

All brands flexible coffee pouches

All brands plastic air freshener containers, cartridge caps and car air fresheners

All brands flexible packaging for laundry washing capsules and pods

All brands flexible packaging for dishwasher tablets

Only Lenor Tumble Dryer sheets

All brands flexible packaging for wipes

All brands trigger heads

For ease of reference going forward, a new Recycling page has been created on with the list of items that can’t go in your blue bin but can be recycled in the boxes at Clach an Tuirc. The link to the Recycling Page appears at the top of the home page, under the header photo.

Fearnan Book Club

Linda writes:

In September we reviewed The Couple at Number 9 by Claire Douglas. This book was chosen by a member who, like many of the group, enjoys crime novels. When she read that two bodies had been discovered practically on the first page, she thought it would be a good choice!

This was murder with a difference as both deaths had taken place many years before the bodies were discovered in the garden of a cottage inherited by a young couple. A nightmare scenario which soon became fraught with emotion. 

It was an easy read, fairly predictable, enjoyable and for some a page-turner. Some found it confusing with characters changing names and identities.  All agreed that the interesting characters were well portrayed and found it easy to empathise with those most affected by the events. Especially Lorna, who discovered that both her parents had been murderers! We sympathised with Rose who suffered from dementia but felt that perhaps this enabled her to hide information. 

There were a few twists which most of us didn’t see coming and it was felt that perhaps all was wrapped up too tightly at the end.

The book to be reviewed in October is The Survivors by Jane Harper. As a group we have enjoyed and reviewed a few of her books set in Australia.

This book is set in coastal Tasmania and is described as a powerful and absorbing thriller ………

………..a body found on the beach in a small coastal town triggers a chain of questions and tears open old wounds.

MacMillan Coffee Morning

Fearnan Village Hall Committee is hosting a Coffee Morning for MacMillan Cancer Support in the hall on Saturday 1st October at 10.30. All welcome.

And finally……….

Just a reminder that there will be an Extraordinary AGM for Fearnan Village Association members on Saturday 17th at 17.00 in the village hall.  The purpose is to approve the Association’s accounts for the years 2019 – 20, 2020 – 21, 2021 – 22.

The AGM for 2022 – 23 will be held in Spring 2023.

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The PopUp Coffee Shop is Back!

We’re delighted to say that the ever-popular PopUp Coffee Shop is restarting on Tuesday 6th September, 10.30 – 12.00 in the village hall.

It’s a chance to meet up with friends, old and new, from the village and surrounding area over a cup of freshly brewed coffee and some delicious home baking. Everyone is welcome to come and join us at what we hope will be the first of a number of events now that the threat of the pandemic has receded somewhat.

It’s £3 at the door for as much coffee and cake as you wish to consume!

There will be another PopUp on Tuesday 11th October at 10.30am and this year the Remembrance Service at the war memorial will be on Sunday 13th November just before 11.00, followed by coffee and tea in the hall.

Our pre-Christmas Mulled Wine and Mince Pies will return this year on Saturday 10th December, time to be confirmed.

FVA Extraordinary AGM

Due to the pandemic, the FVA has not had an AGM since 2019, and we are giving notice that we will hold an Extraordinary AGM on Saturday 17th September at 5pm in the village hall and to which all members are invited. This meeting is for the express purpose of approving our accounts for the years 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 and this will be the sole agenda item. In Spring 2023, we will hold a full AGM for the year 2022-23 and there will be the usual opportunity for discussion on a number of topics.

We are looking for new committee members, and if you, or someone you know, might be interested, please contact the Chair, Sue, on 830493 for further info on what it entails.

More Recycling Opportunities to be Available in Fearnan

Fearnan is once again burnishing its recycling credentials, and very shortly you will be able to recycle the flexible pouches for all brands of coffee beans and ground coffee, and all brands of air, home and laundry packaging, including Lenor (but only Lenor) dryer sheets.

Jenny Penfold is creating space for some more recycling boxes at Clach an Tuirc and we’ll let you know when she’s ready to accept these extra items.  In the meantime, start saving your empties!

Jenny is also desperate for more pairs of old tights to support the young trees in their recently planted wood.  If you’ve any pairs of tights or pop socks that are past their best, she would be delighted to recycle them in the wood.

Tights in action. The elasticity they provide is important for the young trees.

Fearnan Book Club

A recent read was The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. It was a slow, leisurely and descriptive read. The main character Monsieur Jean Percy runs a bookshop on a barge but is more like a doctor who will select a book to treat his customers issues.

Monsieur Perdu can prescribe the perfect book for a broken heart. But can he fix his own?”

We found the characters to be well portrayed, especially Jean’s neighbours in his apartment in Paris where they were humorously described. We empathised with Jean, feeling at times frustrated by his actions and wasted years. Then were pleased he found love, happiness and friendships along the way as he travelled on his book barge through France.

The pace of events echoed the slow pace of the barge and the detailed descriptions of the river trip.  It gave some a warm feeling as the traumas of the diverse characters he met along the way were resolved and he cleansed his soul. It felt at times, amusing, mournful, emotional and very French.

We liked the idea that books could heal people or fill the void in their lives. The book described the management of grief and illustrated that the characters had to go through misery to emerge safely at the other side.

A few of the group found it a difficult book to get into and found it didn’t flow well perhaps due to being translated from French. All agreed it became more engaging towards the end. Some felt there were no plot surprises. One of the group wondered if it would have felt different in another writer’s voice.

An interesting read for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people’s lives. 

We followed this by reading a contrasting genre. The Couple at No 9 by Claire Douglas, a Sunday Times crime book of the month.

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New Seat on the Hill

If you’ve walked up to the Cow Park in the last few days, you may have noticed that the new seat has arrived. Since 2017 the seat in the Cow Park, which was dedicated to former resident Ann McGregor, has been popular with walkers, visitors and particularly, local residents.  However, the weather was not kind to the wooden seat, and Storm Arwen was the final blow (no pun intended) leaving it beyond repair.

The new seat was delivered to the hall car park this week – a very durable, low maintenance version that the manufacturers claim will last for decades and they even say it will not blow over – but we’re not sure if the latter claim has been tested on a Highland hillside or with the sheep who will be delighted to see that their scratching post is back!

Ian McGregor made a significant donation to the FVA to enable us to purchase what we hope will be a very durable version and, by happy coincidence, he and his family were staying in Kenmore when the seat arrived.  Their presence also helped solve the problem of how to get the 80-kilo seat into position, and once it had been carried up the hill in the Penfold’s pickup, Ian and Ann’s grandchildren made very quick work of lifting and carrying it over rough ground and putting it on its base.

The picture above on the left shows Ian with his daughters and 5 of his grandchildren with the new seat, the picture on the right was taken of the family in 2017, when the first seat was installed.

The Ploughing Match, Fearnan, circa 1930

This photograph has been in the Photo Archive of the FVA’s website for a number of years, but it is only recently that a written commentary on it has emerged, penned some years ago by the Scottish Country Life Museum (now the National Museum of Rural Life) in East Kilbride.

The picture is of a ploughing match that took place in the 1930s or 40s in one of the Boreland Farm fields. Fearnan Brae can be seen in the top right quadrant, leading down to the Tigh an Loan Hotel. The original crofts and associated ‘rigs’ are also just discernible.

The commentary on the photo is below, and just in case you are not fully up to speed with ploughing terminology, and you don’t know your coulter from your mouldboard, a little diagram has been added to the text!

Ploughing Match by Loch Tay, Perthshire

‘James Small brought out his new light swing plough in 1767, a time when the farming landscape of Lowland Scotland was beginning to change rapidly, and the ground was sufficiently improved in enough places for his plough to spread fairly quickly.  At the same time, horses were displacing oxen as the beasts of draught. The Highland and Agricultural Society was formed in 1784, and numerous local Agricultural Societies followed, and in an effort to develop the skills of farm servants with the new implements, they encouraged the development of ploughing matches. They grew into popular annual events, the focus of friendly rivalry and social enjoyment.

‘The photograph was taken at Fearnan by Loch Tay in the 1930s or 40s with William Morrison ploughing. The horses are in show harness and many hours work will have gone into its preparation to compete for a prize as Best Pair. The burnished gunmetal and shining leather would be set off by decorations of white and blue, or sometimes red.

‘The skill lay in ploughing a straight fur or furrow and laying on the succeeding furs in perfect regularity. This is probably a special match plough characterised by a long mouldboard which turned the soil.

The soil is sliced from the land by the coulter projecting down from the beam, and the sock or ploughshare at the tip of the mouldboard.  In this case (ie in the photo) the coulter is a sharp-edged disc. Here the beam is steadied by a wheel running on the land, making it easier to regulate the yird taken, or depth of cut. Concealed by the horses is the muzzle or bridle at the head of the beam which will have a fine sideways adjustment to regulate the amount of land taken or furrow width. The draught runs from the muzzle to the wooden yoke and swingle trees – the cross members–and through the ‘thaits’ or chains to the metal hames which bear on the leather and straw padded collar against which the horse pushes.

‘Every district had its prizes, cups and medals to complete for. The fraternity of the horsemen was a strong one and a distinct part of the character of the countryside.’

There is also a second photo from the 1920s. No location is given but as it was found paired with the ploughing photo, it may also be of Fearnan or the local area.

Building the Stacks, about 1920

Thrift Shop
Many thanks to all who donated goods, baked, or volunteered to help during the Village Hall’s recent stint in the Thrift Shop. The total earned for the week was £1500.00, a very valuable contribution towards the running costs of the Hall.

Fearnan Book Club

Linda writes:

At our last book club meeting, we reviewed Dark Waters by GR Halliday, the second book in the DI Monica Kennedy series. Dark Waters does not play around. It is dark and disturbing from page one – in the best possible way. The plot is intricate and layered and peppered with revelations.

The book is set in the Scottish Highlands around Inverness and in fictional glens around Glen Affric where the location is depicted as sinister, dark and bleak and where horrors lurk for unwary visitors. 

From the first chapter, the book hooked many of our group who found the intricate plot twisty, dark and interesting and in the end rewarding – after the sometimes difficult read. It is not a book for the faint hearted!

Some found the descriptions of dismembered bodies so gruesome that they were reluctant to read on. The personal lives of Monica’s team of detectives were revealed and developed as the storyline progressed and are a theme throughout the series. Most of the group were keen to read the first and subsequent books in the series and learn more about the complex histories and lives of the detectives. 

We were fascinated to learn more about the history of the Scottish Hydro Electric projects whose deep, dark tunnels featured in the story.

Books for further reading on this topic are: Tunnel Tigers by Patrick Campbell and Hydro Boys by Emma Wood.

On a lighter note, the book to be reviewed in July is The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. This a gentler and more relaxing read to which book lovers will relate. 

Jean Perdu runs a bookshop on a barge but is more like a doctor who will treat all your maladies with the right book. T

This moving story is about Jean Perdu’s coming to terms with the love he lost and the new love he will eventually discover. it is a delightful book of friendship and love and conjures up balmy, sunny days in France.

And Finally………

The Book Club Members have suggested some summer holiday reading:

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, Jan-Phillip Sendker (a love story set in Burma)

The Fair Botanist, Sara Sheridan (historical fiction set in Edinburgh)

How to Raise an Elephant, Alexander McCall Smith (The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series)

Death and Croissants, Ian Moore (humour in France)

Women of Troy, Pat Barker (historical fiction)

The Road Dance, John Mackay (a sad Hebridean love story, a Scottish bestseller, and now a film)

And finally, a book that may be useful at any point during your holiday is ………..How to Kill your Family, by Bella Mackie.

It is described as ‘dark humour’!

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