Coffee Morning & Poppy Update

The snow had receded enough by Tuesday to ensure a good turnout for the first Coffee Morning of the year. Most were glad to be able to get out of the house after being incarcerated due to the weather and to enjoy a coffee and chat with friends and neighbours. It was a very sociable event with folk lingering until the last minute – and beyond. Always a good sign.

Supermarket shelves may have been bare of late, but there were no food shortages here – plenty of tasty things, both sweet and savoury and, of course, Sue’s made-on-the-spot pancakes.


Poppy Brigade Update

Cath McGregor has put a box in the Hall to collect knitted poppies. Finished ones can be dropped off in the box whenever there’s an event on. The numbers are growing – nearly 200 either handed in or en route but we still need MORE!!

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If you are not a knitter and would like to make a contribution, then Cath would welcome any old black buttons that you have. We use them for the centre of the poppies and they can be left in the box in the Hall.


This project has really engaged the Fearnan diaspora, and brothers Jim and Alastair Barnett (in America and Canada respectively) are the latest to be in touch to arrange delivery of their contributions. Alastair, characteristically, has written this delightful account of the trials and tribulations of his attempts at knitting – the first at school in Fearnan, and the second for this project:

Beads of perspiration break out on my forehead when I recall my first and, until recently, only “knitting” experience. I was ten and every Wednesday at 1:00 pm precisely, we collected our knitting from a cupboard recessed in the wall beside the fireplace in Fearnan School.  I trembled with dread.  Both boys and girls wore lap bags fashioned from white flour sacks, in which we kept our woollen crafts.

I can still hear Miss Purvis’s instructions delivered with drill-like precision, “In-over-through-and off! In-over-through- and off!”

For months I pretended to knit, with a huge tangled mess of navy blue wool concealed underneath my desk, terrified she would detect what might be mistaken for a bird’s nest balanced upon my lap.

Relating this experience to my brother during our weekly telephone conversation, he told me his biggest problem occurred whilst knitting “a pair of socks” on a set of steel knitting needles. His hands perspired so much that when he retrieved his work a week later, rust had formed on the needles making it impossible for him to move the stitches. We laugh a lot over our long ago Fearnan adventures.

When I read your appeal for poppies I bought red wool and knitting needles and went online to refresh my long-forgotten “skills.”  In the course of several evenings it became apparent I was headed down the same terrifying path I’d followed all those years ago, and after five “rip-outs” I phoned a dear friend in Kamloops on the mainland of BC, (a lady who has listened stoically to my often-repeated Fearnan tales.)  She was delighted to knit ten beautiful poppies for your War Memorial Centenary and I’m very pleased to forward them on in the name of Cynthia (Rusty) Barnard.

I became so inspired by her efforts and fine work, I returned to the craft store several times until finally they provided me with the proper needles, (conversion from UK specs was evidently confusing) and I’m now delighted (and incredibly proud) to tell you I have completed four poppies so far. (My early attempts resulted in “poppies” the size of small dinner-plates!)

Many thanks for your perseverance, Alastair!  We look forward to the parcels from you and Jim.


Next Events

A quick reminder about the Quiz Night on Saturday 10th March at 7pm in the McLean Hall. It’s in aid of the Scottish Charity Air Ambulance and Hall Funds and the cost is £7.50pp, which includes a 2 course supper with tea or coffee. BYOB. All welcome, but only 4 brains per team!

The Fearnan Village Association AGM is on Saturday 17th March, 4 – 5pm in the Hall. All members welcome.

The next Coffee Morning is on Tuesday 3rd April, 10.30 – 12.00pm in the Hall.





About Fearnan Village Association

Fearnan Village Association was formed in 2007 to provide a means through which those who live in the village can come together to discuss and respond to issues of importance to the village, particularly those that will have an impact on our quality of life. We also organise social events, such as the very popular Pudding Night in February, Strawberry TeaZ in July, and other events and coffee mornings throughout the year.
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2 Responses to Coffee Morning & Poppy Update

  1. Esme Clarke says:

    Hello, your article about the hand knit poppy’s sent in by Alistair Barnett, that were knit by Cynthia Rusty Barnard. We are searching for this lady. Last known residence in Kamloops BC. We are very hopeful you have a contact for Mr Alistair Barnett that will lead us to her. She is a dear family friend of Angela Hashka of Victoria BC. We cannot express our thanks for any help for this reunion.

    • Hello Esme. Delighted if we can help you to reconnect with Cynthia. I shall send your contact details to Alastair Barnett and ask him to contact Cynthia on your behalf and to pass on your contact details to her.

      Best wishes

      Fiona Ballantyne

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