One of the great pleasures of publishing this little Blog comes from the contacts we make with people from all over the world who have a link to, or a connection with, our village.
In the past, we have achieved success in reuniting long lost friends, thanks to the connectivity of the Internet and the lovely people who read this blog.
This week, we have another such request.
A couple of years ago we published the story of Fearnan School on the Blog, from its construction in 1785 to its closure in 1968. Towards the end of the article, there is a photograph of some of the last pupils to attend the school before it was absorbed into Kenmore Primary School.
Last week, we received an email from Maureen Hall who wrote, “ I came across your blog page recently and was fascinated to see the school photo from 1965 with the last pupils of Fearnan School. They include my friend Wendy Jackson and her brother Royston. Wendy and I met at Edinburgh University, but we lost touch after she moved to Manchester in the 1980s.”
Maureen went on to explain that during a lockdown-inspired clear out, she had come across lots of old letters from Wendy and she would love to get back in touch with her friend. Does anybody who reads this blog have any information or suggestions as to how Wendy or another family member might be reached?
If you can help in anyway, please get in touch with Fiona@fearnanvillageassociation.com
Snowdrops for Nan
It’s always lovely to see the carpets of snowdrops at this time of year, reminding us that spring is on its way.
Last year, during the first Lockdown, we were asked if we could help to find, not a person this time, but a particular type of snowdrop – the Fearnan Snowdrop.
An email from Janetta Maguire of Dunfermline explained that her mum (Nan) who had recently passed away, had requested that ‘Fearnan Snowdrops’ be planted at the spot where her ashes were to be scattered. Assuming this was a particular type of snowdrop (like, for example, Jersey Lilies), Jeanetta had looked everywhere and contacted local garden centres, but no one had heard of them.
She knew that her mum had a visited Fearnan and had loved the village and clearly the snowdrops had made an impact on her. The pandemic has made it very difficult for people to say goodbye to those they love in the way that they might wish and so it was particularly important for Janetta to be able carry out this specific request made by her mother. She asked if we could help.
Sue and Fiona puzzled a bit over Fearnan Snowdrops, and quickly concluded that whilst we couldn’t provide a Fearnan Snowdrop variety, we could provide Snowdrops from Fearnan. In fact, Sue had a nice clump that she had been planning to move and they would fit the bill nicely.
The snowdrops were duly dispatched to Dunfermline and planted by Janetta and her sister.
Snowdrops take a while to naturalise after being moved, but we were delighted to receive this photo of the first of the ‘Fearnan Snowdrops’ to show after the snow had cleared.
And we hope to be able to welcome Janetta and her sister to Fearnan once the restrictions are lifted and travel is again possible.
Paddle Boarding on the Loch
The Armchair Walking Club has morphed into Paddle Boarding at Home, courtesy of Stuart Brain. This is a chance to experience a winter trip by paddle board around the Loch in bright sunshine and with snow on the hills. Fabulous!
(n.b. This is the real-deal, so take your Kwells if you think you might need them!)
Fearnan Book Club
Well, here’s a rare thing! A book that the Book Club appears to have approved of unanimously!
The book reviewed in February was Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior, and it not only lived up to the publisher’s reviews, but also received enthusiastic reviews from the Fearnan Book Club.
This was a great book to lift the spirits and to provide a tonic during the dark days of January. It was considered easy to read – sweet, delightful, charming, quirky, feel good and life affirming.
It seemed appropriate to be reading about Antarctic snowstorms while experiencing one here in Fearnan. We were transported from a snowy Highland Perthshire to the Antarctic, from the ducks of Loch Tay to the Adélie penguins of the South Shetland Islands.
It was generally agreed that the characterisation was good. We liked the range of beautifully portrayed, contrasting characters (even the grumpy ones) and enjoyed how they developed and adapted to the events and situations in the story.
Veronica, the main character who lived in Ayrshire, was an eccentric, feisty and interesting 85 year-old living life on her own terms and not wanting to ‘go gentle into that goodnight’. We accompanied her on her travels and witnessed the loosening of her emotional constraints as she developed relationships with those around her. We could imagine why she was the way she was following her childhood/motherhood traumas. It was touching that she found her long lost grandson and poignant that she kept wisps of hair from the important people in her life in her locket.
The descriptions of the penguins and the Antarctic environment were great as were the portrayals of the scientists. They were obviously committed to their work with the penguins. We learned a lot and loved all the detailed information about Adélie penguins and agreed that any book that promotes conservation can’t be bad. A baby penguin dozing in your bin is just too sweet not to love.
Perhaps the moral of this story was that life can be turned around no matter how old or entrenched in your ways you are. One reader described it as “A fairy story for adults where granny goes from a bit of a wolf to a nice granny.”
The book chosen to be reviewed in March is 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafa. It’s darker than ‘Away with the Penguins’ and set somewhere warmer: Istanbul.
Described by Waterstones as “Capturing the evocative recollections of Tequila Leila in the ten minutes after her death, Shafak’s spellbinding novel extracts the value of a fully-lived life from its untimely ending.”
Kenmore Shop and PO
Just a reminder from Pat that the Kenmore Post Office and Shop will be open in the mornings only until the refurbishment is finished.
The PO is open Monday – Saturday 9-12pm, and the shop is open Monday to Saturday 8 – 12pm and Sunday 8.30 – 12.00.
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