Spring has arrived! The spring flowers are out, the lambs are gamboling in the fields, and the Easter visitors are with us.
Among the visitors last week was the Russian author and historian, Anna Belorusova, paying a personal, friendship, visit. Anna has researched and written extensively about the group of Russian airmen who were based at Errol as part of the Allied effort during WW2, and about how 3 of them died, along with a Czech colleague, in a plane crash in the Cow Park (read the story here).
Through Anna’s research, the full story of the wartime crash was able to be told for the first time, and this led to the installation of the memorial stone and the tree of remembrance at an inauguration ceremony in 2019.
The Fearnan stone now has a sister stone in Errol Churchyard. It is formed from a single piece of Shoksha crimson quartzite, shipped from Russia in 2020, and it commemorates the Russian personnel who were based at Errol. Anna took some Fearnan daffodils to lay at the Errol stone and is seen here with Brigadier Sir Melville Stewart Jameson, who officiated at the Fearnan inauguration ceremony in his role as lord-lieutenant of Perth and Kinross.
Whilst at Errol, Anna was gifted a memento of her visit to the Loch Tay area by one of the people she met.
And the gift? It was a piece of pottery from the Loch Tay Pottery – made some years ago in Fearnan, by the late Andy Burt.
Anna has been very moved by the welcome she has received and the kindness shown by the people she has met in Scotland.
Spring always feels like a good time to try something new and some members of the Art Group decided to see if their artistic skills would transfer from painting on paper and board to painting on pottery, and took a trip to Going Pottie in Dunkeld.
Fortunately, they didn’t have to ‘throw’ the pottery first, and were able to get straight down to decorating their chosen pieces with all materials provided by the venue.
Looks like they are doing rather well. (By the way, the FVA could do with a new set of coffee mugs, nicely decorated with Fearnan scenes. No rush, just in your own time ……..)
The group were much encouraged for their next venture: decorating eggs, Fabergé-style. Sounds like a bit of bling could be on the cards.
It’s always good to hear about new facilities and there is a new studio in Strathtay running courses for local and visiting amateur artists. The first planned course is on printmaking techniques on the 4th and 5th June. If you are interested, please contact Jackie Forbes on Jackie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Music to the Ears (sort of)
Over the years, we have been able to feature red squirrels, deer, eagles, spring lambs, otters, osprey and much more, thanks to various wildlife watchers around the village. This time, thanks to Iain Ferguson, we are able to bring you a world premiere – a recording of a live performance by the Fearnan Frogs’ Chorus.
(It starts quite quietly so you may need to adjust your volume)
The Seat on the Hill
Many thanks to Jenny Penfold for providing the transport to bring the damaged seat off the hill. We have decided that it is best replaced as the repairs needed are extensive. The FVA will fund a replacement and are looking into alternative materials that may cope better with the exposed position, and the wind and rain. We will transfer the plaque remembering Ann McGregor to the new seat.
A smaller group than usual enjoyed and reviewed Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce. It was described as “a tale of following your dreams regardless of the cost and the beauty of true friendship.” The story starts in 1950s England and takes us to French-run New Caledonia in a search for the golden beetle.
The main characters are two women on a life-changing adventure. They were well drawn, vibrant and loved by the group. Despite totally opposite personalities, Joyce and Enid developed a firm friendship. Joyce’s protective shell slowly peeled away as she warmed to Enid, while everyone loved Mrs Pope and the other ex-pat ladies. The group’s opinion was divided over the character Mundic. How important or essential to the story was he?
The environment and weather were vividly described. Some felt it became rather repetitive and long winded going up and down the mountain seeking the elusive beetle. In fact, some felt it was immaterial whether she found the beetle or not, the personal journey being more important.
The last chapter provided a satisfying full circle (we like a good ending!) and the postscript about the real-life women on whom the author had based her chapters was fascinating.
In case you missed it, BBC Radio Scotland’s Out of Doors programme on the morning of Saturday 9th April followed the River Tay from Killin to Dunkeld. Although a repeat from last year, it is an excellent, well researched programme that explored the subject though local voices. It’s available on catch up on BBC Sounds (https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds)