A bit of Nostalgia, a Book Review and Stay Safe Online

Nostalgia Corner

This week we start with two fabulous views of Fearnan, one from about 70 years ago and one from 50 years ago. Both are taken from the other side of the loch.

Fearnan from Achianich late 1940’s

The wonderful image above was taken from Achianich, and is thought to date from the late 1940s to early 1950s.

The Bartholomew’s map on the left dates from the same period and Achianich can be seen just under the ‘Y’ of Tay.

It looks like it was taken in late Spring, and the hill behind Fearnan is completely bare of the forestry plantations that are so familiar today, although it looks like the lower slopes are cultivated for crops or grazing. Many thanks to Aberfeldy Museum for this visual treat.

In early Autumn around 25 years later, a member of the Brace family took the photo below, also from the loch side but a bit closer to Acharn.

Fearnan 1972 (Courtesy of Frances Brace)

The forestry plantation now looks well established and the Blog might be getting a little over-excited here, but is that a bird flying over the loch (location marked on in-set photo on the left)? An osprey, perhaps?

Let us know what you think by ‘Replying’ to the Blog below.

What’s On?

If the nostalgic Spring and Autumn images above have left you with a nice warm feeling, don’t forget that you can continue to beat the winter blues by coming to the FVA’s Pudding Night on Saturday 29th February starting at 6pm. From steamed and baked family favourites to sophisticated desserts and tarts, there’s something for every taste. This year, we will also be introducing a limited range of savoury treats for those who are more piquantly inclined. There will be live music and all you can eat for £7.50.

Come hungry and it’s BYOB!

Fearnan Book Club

At our first meeting of 2020, we discussed Old Baggage written by Lissa Evans and described as a funny and bittersweet portrait of a woman, previously a militant suffragette, who has never, ever given up the fight. We found it an easy read, both entertaining and witty, and which held our interest as it progressed. Our discussion revolved round some of the themes explored in the book.

The book opened in 1928, when we’re introduced to Mattie Simpkins, an interesting, strong character to whom we warmed and identified as “a jolly hockey sticks” type. We enjoyed the references to her militant suffragette days and the introduction of other, well presented, characters that had shared her passion and actions during that period.

It was clear that after her exciting past, that Mattie was now seeking further action and purpose. All through the book we acknowledged the well-written characterisation and excellent use of vocabulary and word choices.

A wealthy lady who shared her home with her companion and fellow activist, Florrie (Flea), the contrasting characters acted as a foil for each other. We discussed the high proportion of women who were single during this period in history due to the loss of husbands, fiancés or potential husbands who were killed or badly injured during WW1.

We were reminded of the social history of this period, the worrying rise of fascist groups gaining in popularity and the dreadful living conditions, disease and poverty that existed pre-NHS. The perfect period detail was accurately portrayed and the book was lightly woven with feminist history.

However, we all agreed that the ending, which did provide Mattie with a project, lacked plausibility and was unsatisfactory in comparison to the rest of the well-crafted novel.

Our book for discussion in February is The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley, and described as “A riveting, murder mystery – wily as Agatha Christie – charged with real menace.” It is a murder mystery set in a remote hunting lodge in Scotland, an update on the classic country house mystery – a murder among friends!

Stay Safe Online

From time to time, we publish information about staying safe online and avoiding scams. Perth & Kinross Community Watch recently published the following advice on avoiding online shopping scams and we’re passing it on here. It was compiled by Neighbourhood Watch Scotland and is worth a quick look, even if you are a regular online shopper – or perhaps, particularly if you are a regular online shopper! As the first section says ‘Trust Your Gut’. If it doesn’t feel right, it most likely isn’t right.

Trust Your Gut: Just as you wouldn’t go into a shop that you don’t recognise and seems a little off to you, don’t shop at stores online that give you a bad feeling and appear shady. If at any time during the shopping or checkout process you feel like the site is asking for too much personal information, just quit the transaction and leave the site. You may hate to leave behind a really good deal, but the money and time you could lose if someone gets your credit card information will definitely cancel out the benefits of a sale price. If the site looks like it was designed in the 90’s, has a weird address, fills your screen with pop-ups, just forget about it.

Be Extra Careful If You Are Using A Mobile Device: Smartphones can basically do everything a computer can do nowadays, but that doesn’t mean they are as protected against threats as your desktop. Most phones aren’t equipped with the anti-virus software that you have on your computer, so it’s easier for criminals to get malware on your mobile device that could help them steal information you enter. There’s also the risk of your phone being stolen, so make sure it’s password protected so any information you may have stored on it isn’t easily accessed.

Don’t Use Public Wi-fi To Shop: Anytime you enter personal information using a public network, you’re setting yourself up for identity theft. Most Wi-Fi hotspots don’t encrypt your data, so any hacker can basically just pluck your identity out of the air if he has the right software. This applies to mobile phones, too, since you’re often using nearby Wi-Fi. Be aware when you’re using a hotspot that any information you send through the Internet could be picked up by strangers; if it’s information that could make you vulnerable, wait until you get home to your protected network. It may be less convenient, but it’s much safer.

Check Your Credit Card Statement Regularly: Using a credit card is really the only smart way to shop online. If you buy something from a scam site using a debit card, check, or cash, there’s no way to get your money back. If you use a credit card, the card companies have to reimburse you for fraudulent charges. But they can’t always catch purchases you didn’t make or receive, so it’s up to you to keep an eye on your statements. If you see something fishy on your statement, just contact your credit card company to dispute the charge and possibly get a new card so the charges won’t continue.

Change Your Passwords Regularly: We know, we know. It’s a pain to go through and change the passwords on all your online accounts, not to mention the trouble it’ll take to try to remember them all. But if you really want to keep your information (and bank account) safe while you’re shopping via the Internet, it’s essential to mix up your account passwords every three to six months. This puts the kibosh on any hackers who have managed to break into your account. You should also make sure that you don’t have the same password across all your accounts, since that makes them all vulnerable if one is hacked.

Look For HTTPS On Link Rather Than HTTP: The Internet has a thousand different acronyms and it’s impossible for those who aren’t tech savvy to keep track of them all. One you really need to know if you’re going to make online purchases, though, is HTTPS. The added “S” means that the way your information is being sent is secure. HTTPS using SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, which encrypts the information flying through the wires so that only the intended recipient can see it. If you’re considering buying from a site whose URL starts with HTTP, be careful with the information you share. Other signs of a secure site are a closed lock or unbroken key at the bottom of the screen.

Don’t Click On Email Links: Instead, type out the address in your browser to make sure you’re going to the site you think you’re visiting. Many phishing scams involve emails from what seem like legitimate sites — banks, online stores, anything you might trust — and then send you to a phoney site where they can gather your information to steal your identity. If you get an email from a site where you’ve shopped before, make sure you don’t follow the links and don’t provide any financial or personal information the email requests. Real sites won’t ask for important information over email. If you have any doubts about an email’s authenticity, go to the company’s website and get in contact with them.

Update Your Browser: Each new version of your Internet browser, especially if you use one of the more popular browsers, gets a boost in security. Older browsers, besides not working as well with some websites, often have holes in their security that hackers have discovered and can exploit. The same goes for your operating system and anti-virus software. Updates will keep you ahead of would-be identity thieves and keep your credit safe.

Looking for advice? Call Consumer Advice Scotland 0800 316 1442. If you have been a victim of this type of crime call Police Scotland on 101.

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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