First of all, we have a question from Fran Gillespie of Fortingall.
She is wondering if anyone can shed further light on a carving which she and a friend came across recently on a tree in Taymouth Castle grounds on the north bank of the Tay.
It is dated 1943 and it looks like it could have been made by a member of the Polish Forces recuperating at Taymouth during WWII.
During the Second World War, the War Office requisitioned many country houses for the war effort and, from 1940, Taymouth Castle housed a military hospital – Polish Hospital No 1. It soon had 1200 beds, around 200 staff and some 75 Nissen huts were erected in the grounds to increase capacity.
The carving appears to be Poland’s emblem – a white-tailed eagle, its wings spread out, with a crown, golden beak and claws on a red emblem shield backdrop.
There is more information about the Polish soldiers at Taymouth Castle on sites such as https://swoopingeagle.com and on Aberfeldy Museum’s Facebook page. The following photos from the wartime appear on the Polish Resettlement Camps in the UK 1946 – 1969 website.
Perhaps one of the people who joined the discussion on the Aberfeldy Museum Facebook page about the Polish soldiers will be able to shed further light on this carving?
The Armchair Walking Club
Stuart has provided us with second walk to take from the comfort of our own armchairs. This time it’s an icy stroll along the side of the River Lyon, taken at the end of January.
Book Club Review
The book which was reviewed in January ( ‘Twas the Nightshift before Christmas’ by Adam Kay) was chosen as a light-hearted, quick read but for our group, sadly, it did not live up to its initial promise as suggested by reviews and the success of his previous book.
Perhaps as ‘This is Going to Hurt‘ was so successful, his publisher/agent suggested this Christmas version.
Most felt the gratuitous use of bad language was unnecessary as was the obsession with sex and graphic details of procedures. Making fun of the misfortunes of patients, although perhaps amusing, was generally considered insensitive and cheap humour. Some of the patient issues may have been more acceptable as confidential banter for professionals but not for public consumption.
Another viewpoint was that, underneath the bluff and bluster, was a man who loved his job and cared about his patients and the NHS who using black humour to cope. Some found the book mildly amusing and others found that there were laugh out loud moments alongside being reduced to tears. It was an insight into the life of a junior doctor working over the festive season and a reminder of the NHS as a 24/7 and 365 days of the year service. His frustration with NHS became obvious and there is a heartbreaking story as to why he gave up working in medicine.
To end on a lighter note, we were introduced to the anaesthetist wearing a festive badge saying, “He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake!”
The book to be reviewed in February is “Away with the Penguins” by Hazel Prior.
It was chosen as another light-hearted, lockdown read. The author was interviewed recently on the Radio 2 book club and the book has been described as this year’s “Eleanor Oliphant.”
‘Readers are falling in love with “Away with the Penguins”’
‘Without a doubt the most delightful, joyous and uplifting book I’ve read so far this year . . A gloriously quirky and life affirming story of hope.’
‘Oh, how I loved this absolute gem of a book. Both heart-breaking and heart-warming.’
It is far-fetched, but if you keep that in mind, hopefully enjoyable. What will be the verdict of the Fearnan Book Club?
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