A short service was held at the Fearnan War Memorial on Remembrance Sunday and attended by a number of people from the local community. The service was led by Shirley Shearer, and wreaths were laid by Lisle Pattison, Alistair Grier and Fiona Ballantyne. Once again, the memorial had been decked out in the hundreds of poppies that were knitted for the centenary of the WW1 Armistice by both Fearnan residents and our friends from far and wide. Many thanks to Cath McGregor for creating and putting up the display.
There is something very special and touching about the Fearnan service. Whilst those who gathered would have had their own thoughts and personal remembrances, we are remembering also the 8 Fearnan men who died in the Great War and who are commemorated on the memorial. They walked the paths and roads that we now walk, and knew well the very spot where we stood. They would have heard the birdsong and the water in the burn as it rushed towards the foot of the Brae, just as we heard it during the two-minute silence.
After the service, the Village Association served tea and coffee in the Hall – our first social event for nearly 2 years! Sixteen or so people attended, which meant we had plenty of space for social distancing and the ability to get together and chat in a relaxed environment seemed to be much appreciated by everyone.
A total of £71 was collected for Help for Heroes.
With the winter months approaching and fuel prices simultaneously rising, it was very timely to hear from Anna and Tom Sibbald of Aberfeldy about their project, Warm Connections.
Warm Connections is a free, impartial home energy advice project. We began in August 2021, are part of Aberfeldy Parish Church and funded by the Energy Redress Scheme. We cover the Braan, Upper Tay and Rannoch area, with our focus on helping folk reduce their carbon footprint at home at the same time as lowering their energy bills.
Our help and advice includes:
Suggesting no-cost and low-cost solutions to keep bills down and comfort levels up. This might include: tips such as turning standby switches off, using LED light bulbs, and many more ideas; insulation and draught proofing; the most efficient use of your current heating system; and reducing the likelihood of condensation or damp patches.
Accessing financial support to help pay fuel bills, such as help through the Fuel Bank Foundation with whom we are referral partners (https://www.fuelbankfoundation.org), and through short-term government schemes.
Accessing government support to make improvements to your home, by increasing its energy efficiency and making it warmer and cheaper to run. For example: loft insulation, wall insulation (inside or outside), and double glazing.Warm Connections is a referral partner with Home Energy Scotland, who have access to several interest-free cash-back loans and means-tested grants (https://www.homeenergyscotland.org/ )
Assessing and promoting the possibility and affordability of renewable green energy technology (including interest-free government loans).
Fearnan resident, Pat Menzies, who is a member of Warm Connection’s Steering Group, said:
“I am really pleased to endorse the work of Warm Connections. Throughout my professional career, I have witnessed the potential harm that cold, damp housing has on a person’s health and wellbeing, the potential for inequality of provision in rural areas compared to urban, and the need for impartial advice and guidance. This is an invaluable service being offered free in our community.”
If you would like advice on reducing your carbon footprint and your energy bills, or if you know someone who would benefit from being able to make their home warmer and more efficient to run, please visit our website www.warmconnections.net or email firstname.lastname@example.org Most importantly please don’t struggle alone – phone or email and we can explore options with you, or arrange a visit.
Fearnan Book Club Review
The book reviewed in October was ‘The Forgotten Garden’ by Kate Morton. This was a lengthy book and for one of us, the longest she’d ever read! It is hard to say too much about this novel’s storyline without giving away key elements of the mystery!
The story is about a young woman who decides to uncover the secret of her grandmother’s strange arrival in Australia in 1913.
The overall response to this book was positive and stimulated a lively discussion. It was essentially a lengthy family saga with all the main characters related to each other over the generations. Most considered it well written, although perhaps wordy, but it could have been sharpened up to keep the reader engaged. We felt the story improved as it developed and reached an acceptable conclusion.
We related to the believable, likeable, and well portrayed characters as we followed the twists and turns through the different time periods. Eliza from 1900-1913, Nell from 1975-76, and Cassandra in 2005. A family tree would have been useful but that would have resulted in a ‘spoiler’. It held our interest although some didn’t like the time changes and found that the ‘secret’ took too long to be revealed.
We felt compassion for Nell who at 21 found out she was adopted when her father told her she was adopted as a 4-year-old in 1913, seemingly abandoned on an Australian wharf and unable to remember her name. She then lost her sense of identity, and this changed the course of her life. (Perhaps an overreaction?) Some later felt disappointed in her and felt she could have been stronger when she had the opportunity to start a new life in Cornwall and perhaps find happiness.
The descriptions of the seascapes of Cornwall, the Manor and its beautiful garden, as well as the city scenes in Brisbane and London were very evocative. We also liked the use of historical events, such as a train crash, which were woven into the story and gave realism to the events. Also woven into the story were fairy tales written by the character described as “The Lady Author”. We had extraordinary respect for the author, who seemed to effortlessly make these links.
We discussed some of the issues raised in the book e.g. adoption and when to tell a child; related feelings of rejection; and also the historical references and attitudes associated with the different time periods.
The book reviewed in November was Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart, the 2020 Booker Prize winning novel and the authors first. It has been described as: “A stunning debut novel by a masterful writer telling the heart wrenching story of a young boy and his alcoholic mother, whose love is only matched by her pride.”
The Review will be in the next Blog.
The Big Shed has a new website https://www.bigshed.org.uk/ – lots of pics and some familiar faces!