It was beginning to feel a bit like Christmas, with the smell of mulled wine and taste of mince pies in the village hall at the beginning of the month.
Despite the bad weather, there was a good turnout for our seasonal celebration and a very convivial atmosphere.
In a recent article celebrating the McLean Hall’s 60th anniversary, there was mention of Fort Fearnan which was built as a memorial to John McLean, the first chair of the Hall Committee, and one of the main campaigners for the establishment of a village hall in Fearnan.
Some pictures of the Fort have resurfaced, taken on the day in 1989 when the official opening of the Fort was celebrated by locals, and by the cadets who constructed it.
This photo shows what a substantial construction the Fort was and we believe that the front row includes David Kelloe (third from the left) chair of the hall committee at the time; Councillor Murray (centre) from PKC , the Reverend Kenneth McVicar (on the right) one of the hall’s first trustees, and we believe that the lady between Councillor Murray and the Rev McVicar is Chrissie McLean. Perhaps some one can confirm or correct this?
Also in the picture (circled in red) is Rose Miller who was one of the members of the University of London Officer Training Corps who built the Fort over a 2 week period. We were delighted when Rose got in touch with the website to ask if we had any photos of Fort Fearnan as she wanted to show them to her son, who was working on a similar project.
This photo of the Tigh an Loan Hotel bus in a recent article on the blog triggered memories for a few people; memories about the bus, about the hotel and Mr and Mrs Stewart.
Alastair Barnett remembers ‘Jock’ Stewart as a quiet man but on occasion he had some fun with Alastair and his best friend while at school, Alistair McDougall.
“Alistair was the gamekeepers’ son and we did get up to some mischief. On summer days if we passed the hotel on our bicycles Jock Stewart — who enjoyed his pipe whilst leaning against the wall of the shop — would offer a half-crown to the winner if Alistair and I raced to the school and back to the hotel. We always completed the race with the hope of that half-crown but by the time we got back, he had mysteriously disappeared! The twinkle in Jock’s eyes told us he too had a mischievous streak and he enjoyed the joke more than once!”
Alastair recalls Mrs. Stewart with great fondness. She dressed in black from her neck to her shoes and had pure white hair pulled back into a bun and — to his young eyes — a skin like white marble.
In the summer, she worked to the point of exhaustion to keep the hotel in perfect running order for her distinguished guests. Mr and Mrs. McDonald of McDonald P&O Shipping lines were regular summer visitors to the hotel. Sometimes Alastair would help her prepare the vegetables for dinner – not realising at the time that this was setting a course for his future career in the hospitality industry.
Moving back to the present, there will be a Hogmanay Party in the hall on the night of the 31st December, from 9.30pm to 1.00am. It’s a BYOB event, with a Stovies Supper, and also a dram served at the Bells. There is a suggested donation of £5.00.
And don’t forget the 2016 Pudding Night on Sat 20th February! Will we manage to beat last year’s record menu of 35 home-made puddings? Watch this space!
With Christmas just around the corner, it just remains to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful 2016!