This lovely photo was sent to us by Wendy Jackson who is seen here (on the right) with her long-lost friend Maureen Hall.
You may remember Maureen getting in touch with the Blog in February, asking if anyone could help re-unite these two university friends.
Wendy had lived in this area back in the seventies and within minutes of the Blog being published, her brother had messaged her, and she and Maureen were quickly back in touch.
Thanks to your blog from 28th February 2021, I met up with my friend Maureen Hall after losing contact with her for about 40 years. We attended Edinburgh University at the same time from 1977 and shared various flats together.
We met up for lunch in Edinburgh where we caught up with what we have been doing for the last 40 years. It was a lovely reunion, talking about our lives since we lost touch way back then. We had fun remembering what we did when we were flatmates – and sometimes not remembering. Oh well it is 40+ years!!
Wendy and her brother, Royston, were among the last cohort of pupils at Fearnan School and it was this photo of the children that Maureen had found on the FVA website and which prompted her to get in touch with us.
(Wendy is second from the left in the front row.)
Miss Lizzie Roberts
While on the subject of Fearnan School, another request we received was from Bev Bayda, who wrote from Edmonton, Canada, to ask if anyone had any memories of her great aunt, Lizzie Roberts, who taught at Fearnan School from 1903 to 1928.
Val Chapman from Devon responded to say that her mother, along with her aunts and uncles, were taught by Lizzie. Val has previously written an article for the Blog about her Fearnan family, the Brydones, who lived in Fearnan from 1905 to 1946.
The seven Brydone children were taught by Lizzie Roberts. They were Thomas (born 1903), Jessie (born 1905), Isabel (born 1907), Peter (born 1908), Mary (born 1909), my mother Evelyn (born 1911) and lastly Hamish (born) 1917.
My grandpa, James Brydone, was a gamekeeper for Breadalbane Estate and some of the children were born in the gamekeeper’s cottage, Cromrar, on the Fortingall Road. He went off to fight in WW1 and thus lost his job and accommodation, so Granny moved with them all to the rustic cottage immediately over the iron Lyon Bridge, near Keltneyburn. From there, the children walked over the fields to the school at Dull.
After WW1 they moved into Tomdarrach croft and all attended Fearnan School, going on to Breadalbane Academy in Aberfeldy.
My aunt, Ishbel, wrote her memoirs in old age and mentioned their teacher, Miss Roberts. She liked the school and was there until age 13 when she qualified for the bursary for a school such as Breadalbane. But, of necessity, like so many girls in those days, she took on domestic work locally. She recalls the first time, aged eleven, listening to a crystal wireless set with others, possibly at school, though she does not say, and the excitement at hearing the news come through.
The first 4 Brydone children appear on this extract from the Fearnan School Roll from 1908 – pupil numbers 222, 228, 232, and 235.
There are several names and family names in this extract from the School Roll that recur in Fearnan’s story over the following decades. For example, Louisa McPherson (no. 220 on the Register), is Frances Brace’s grandmother, Lucy. She was first enrolled at the school in March 1908 and the School Roll tells us that she left Fearnan for Killin in July 1909 but returned briefly for a month in September 1909 – presumably because her parents returned to the village for a spell. Lucy returned to Fearnan, and Springbank Cottage, as an adult when she married France’s grandfather, Sandy Butters.
Let us know if you spot any relatives or have any stories about others listed on the register.
Jenny is still looking for pairs of old tights to tie up her young trees! She tells us:
I’ve now used up all available old tights from family, friends and donations generated via the FVA blog – but I’m in desperate need of hundreds more! It seems to be a good ‘growing year’ now – so lots of trees need to come out of their tubes asap to make the most of this season’s growth.
Also, I’ve decided to take all the alders out of their tubes (as the deer don’t like them anyway) – if I wait until they reach 3m they are way too bendy and have lots of foliage which catches in the wind, so unfortunately, we’ve had a few breakages. Plus, the Scots pine are going mad! They all need to come out as soon as they pop out the top of their tubes.
I’ve attached a few photos of the Scots Pines.
All contributions of tights will be gratefully accepted by Jenny!
Legislation Affecting Self-Catering Providers
The Scottish government is proposing new legislation that will affect all those running B&B’s, self-catering units, glamping, shepherd’s huts etc – that means quite a number of people in our area. The Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers (ASSC) is very concerned about this legislation and is predicting that it will result in the loss of between a third and half of the self-catering accommodation in rural areas, with a huge knock-on effect not only on providers’ incomes but also on other local businesses like cleaning, laundry, restaurants, pubs, grocers etc.
If you are affected by this, you may wish to respond to the government’s consultation paper on the legislation but will need to do so by Friday 13th August.
There is more information along with briefing papers on the ASSC website https://www.assc.co.uk/
Jenny is also happy to share her own response to the consultation in order to help others who also wish to respond. Contact her on email@example.com
Book Club Review
The book reviewed in June was The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.
With its recurring theme of flowers and their meanings, this was a very appropriate book for summer when gardens all over Fearnan were coming into full bloom. Many found the concept of sending flowers with meaning, a lovely idea.
The book was well received and enjoyed by the group. Most felt empathy and engaged with the well described and believable characters.
Victoria, the main character, who had spent much of her life in the American care sector, was strong and intelligent with a retentive memory particularly in relation to the language and meaning of flowers. There had been assumptions that because of her behaviour, she was ineducable. Victoria’s deep-rooted feelings of loss and abandonment led to her aggressive and hostile behaviour, and to attack first as a defence mechanism. Only Elizabeth, who fosters her, saw and understood this and it was sad and disappointing when she failed to adopt her at the last-minute leading to Victoria going back into the system.
Flowers became her solace, and her love of them and increasing knowledge of their meanings, gave her a purpose, as well as success and recognition and began a process of healing.
Amongst the group, there was concern about the challenges and lack of support she experienced as a young single mother. This part of the book was a difficult, moving and emotional read as we felt anxious about her fate and that of the baby. A few felt that the story dipped in the middle after a fast-paced start but it picked up pace again as it reached its conclusion.
We hoped Victoria would finally find happiness, security and belonging with a stable future for all. The ending may have been predictable but it gave a heart-warming end to what had been a difficult life. We were left wondering whether it would all really work out for the best and acknowledged that there would no doubt be many more bumps along the way.
It is interesting to know that the author is launching the Camellia Network to create a movement to support youth making the transition from foster care to independence.
The next book to be reviewed is The Man with no Face by Peter May.
This book is set in 1979 Brussels and was originally published in 1981.
It is described as a standalone swift paced thriller, portraying the political mood of 1970’s Brussels and is an intriguing mix of gritty, period machismo and all-too-prescient political concerns. Fans of his work and newcomers alike will find much to enjoy.
In a recent post, we published a picture of an otter asleep in a garden in Fearnan and asked if there were any other sightings of otters in the area. One or two people mentioned seeing them around Peter’s Pool and also in the burn between Borland and Dalchiaran. Nicola from the White Cottage also got in touch with a memory of how some otters created a wonderful start to a very special day.
I have seen otters in Fearnan on two occasions in recent years: last July, just after travel restrictions were lifted after the first lockdown, I was walking our Labrador along the pavement when an otter appeared from the burn that runs down the Brae to the Shoreside development. It ran across the road and along the grassed area before disappearing.
The other occasion was on the morning of our son’s wedding day in May 2014. He had got up early to check the Lochside arrangements for the ceremony and saw two otters playing around our pier. He immediately messaged me up at the house and I got down to the beach just in time to see them before they disappeared.
What a start to a wonderful day!
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