May 2022

The Miracle Cure at your Fingertips

The Blog doesn’t often stray into health matters, but after 2+ years of the pandemic and lockdowns, most of us are in need of a little tonic or pick-me-up. So, when Music Tutor Edis Bowden got in touch about his wonder cure, the Blog’s ears pricked up.

Edis writes:

As I write this, I am laid low by my old Demon: the bad back. I got a bit carried away with the gardening. I’ve had to cancel all my engagements but there is one that I’m not going to cancel: I am booked on a session of the “wonder cure“ for this very afternoon!

I am not alone in finding that this cure produces almost miraculous results on sore backs and a number of other ailments. As well as being a brilliant mood enhancer, it gives the old grey matter a good workout (much better than Sudoku, it is said) and it is very social which, in our post Covid era, is a huge benefit to so many people.

So, if I have piqued your curiosity and you’re wondering what this miracle cure is and where you can sign up, then now is the time for the big reveal: It is your local ukulele club!

When my back is sore, I play standing up and gently sway backwards and forwards which is wonderful for loosening up those tense muscles and bringing them out of spasm. 

When I feel blue and devoid of any motivation – particularly in the long dark days of winter – I find the lively, cheerful ukulele vibe and the social aspect are like bottled sunshine. After a couple of songs, I am restored. 

We are not the first people to notice the health benefits of the ukulele and, indeed, of music in general. In fact, the team that is dedicated to making Aberfeldy Scotland’s Healthiest Town ( ) invited us to their launch party so that we could tell people about all the positive ways it improves your health and well-being. There is also a Scotland-wide ukulele project dedicated to spreading the benefits. 

Now, I realise, many of you will be thinking that you couldn’t possibly participate in such a musical activity – perhaps because you’ve never done it before, or perhaps because you have been told you are tone deaf, or perhaps a teacher told you to leave the school choir. These are very common reactions, but one by one we have proved that they are all completely erroneous. A few short years ago many of the club members were in exactly that position, never having played a musical instrument in their lives yet wishing to do so. Over those few short years, we have taught them the skills that they need and now not only are they confident and joyful players but many of them have played in a number of public performances. 

All human beings are natural musicians, it is wired into our heartbeat and the way we walk. Singing is very natural to all humans and although some of us may find it difficult to control the tuning of the notes to start with, with practice and a bit of guidance it becomes easier and easier. 

The ukulele produces a wonderful joyful sound and is cheap and easy to get to grips with. 

So, what are you waiting for? I have extolled the therapeutic benefits of the ukulele but please don’t let me give the impression that you have to have an ailment to come to the club. No! Prevention is far better than cure. In fact, I have left the most important reason for joining the club till last…….

…… because it’s fun!!!!

Your local ukulele club is Highland Perthshire Ukulele Club, which currently meets at the Kenmore Sports Pavilion on Mondays at 13.30 and Thursdays at 19.00. We can help with the loan of instruments to get you started and all training is provided.

We look forward to welcoming you soon. Contact HPUC via Edis.bowden@gmail.c

Scottish Crannog Centre Trust

Many in our local community were devastated when the iconic Crannog structure was destroyed by fire last year.  Since then, the Crannog Community has worked hard to bring forward plans for a new centre on a new site and now, almost exactly a year from the fire, those plans have been formally submitted to Perth and Kinross Council for planning consent.

Given the importance of the new Centre to our local area, we are pleased to reproduce an Open Letter from Nick Grant, the Chair of the Scottish Crannog Centre Trust. The letter recently went out to Members of the Trust, Friends of the Crannog, its neighbours, supporters, visitors and to the residents of Kenmore, Loch Tay, Highland Perthshire and beyond.

Nick writes:

You will all know something of our long-held dreams and ambitions to re-vitalise and re- energise the iconic Scottish Crannog Centre, built nearly three decades ago, after the pioneering archaeological research of Dr Nicholas Dixon and others.

Well, now, here we are, one year on from last June’s devastating fire, with our application for planning consent now under final consideration by Perth and Kinross Council. After the amazing support shown by the local community, our visitors from around the world, major charitable trusts, the Scottish Government and many others, that same dream is about to become the reality.

Just like the original crannog dwellers would have done after a fire, we have rallied, packed up our stuff, looked for a new site and prepared a new beginning. The personal belongings of those same crannog dwellers – all safe in the museum collection – will come with us, to a new museum, a bigger and better Iron Age village, and a new and improved visitor centre at Dalerb.

We will be taking our time to build several crannogs, so that you and everybody else can come and see us, to watch, learn and take part in all the ancient crafts and skills our predecessors developed.

We aim to be Scotland’s most sustainable museum, a national treasure admired by all with social justice firmly at our heart. We will be a world-class centre for learning, social action, research and education, attracting new interest from all over Britain, Ireland and beyond, honouring the story of our predecessors and the national heritage of Scotland. In full, this will be a £12m scheme leading the way in bringing many more jobs, opportunities and visitors to Highland Perthshire.

But to do all this, we must have the first phase of our development open and ready to go by next spring, so there is a tough challenge ahead. We will continue to build on all our previous work as we look to do the things we do best – community engagement with our collections, immersive and hands-on experiences in our recreated archaeological ‘village’ buildings, multi-media activities, and embracing the individuals and communities, from near and far, that we are here to serve.

We will continue to develop our innovative and award-winning training programmes for our apprentices and others. We will continue to work with our local schools, including Breadalbane Academy, and with the voluntary and social support sector in Perth, Glasgow and elsewhere, to build new ideas for accomplishment and achievement.

Crannog Apprentice and Fearnan resident, Isobelle,
teaching visitors to spin with a drop spindle.

We will research our collections and enable our objects to sing their own stories in many different ways to many different people. We will work in partnership with all those organisations and people who share our values and our ambitions. We will strive to be a museum in which everyone can take pride, a museum that matters, a museum that justifies our recent Museums Change Lives award as Best UK Small Museum.

Jason with the Deputy First Minister and the former Culture Minister

All the support you have given us has been truly humbling. We respect and appreciate that trust placed in us, and we will work as hard as we can to repay that confidence and commitment. We are guardians of an incredibly special story with local, national and international significance. Together we can create a place that will tell the story of the crannog dwellers for generations to come.

Crannog Story Teller, Graham

We are fully committed to maintaining public access to the loch and picnic area at Dalerb and we look forward to working sustainably within our natural environments and considerately with everyone locally. I very much welcome your questions and your active involvement. We have an exciting time ahead of us working together to achieve these objectives and to really put Kenmore on the map of Iron Age history in Scotland!

(Contact Nick or other Crannog staff at )

Book Club Review

Linda writes:

The book group recently reviewed was The Hangman’s Daughter, a novel by Oliver Potzch. It was first published in Germany and then translated into English. It is the first book in a series of historical mysteries. It is a plot driven story with clear heroes and villains and triumph of good over evil. 

The atmospheric sights, sounds and smells of Schongau in 17th century Bavaria were vividly described.

It is set in the days of witchcraft and herbs, where coffee was an exotic drink, dried toads were a remedy for the plague and the devil was believed to be real.

For some, this was a genre that they may have avoided if not a member of a book group. One, however, described it as being “right up her street.” As always there was a wide range of opinions. Some found it very dark, with scenes of torture and the deaths of children upsetting. Others loved the references to witchcraft, potions, and herbs. One struggled to take it seriously, conjuring up images of Blackadder/Benny Hill. This all added to our varied discussion! 

The group recognised Jakob, the Hangman, as a compassionate, level-headed and intelligent man with a strong sense of justice and a determination to seek the truth. His occupations were in sharp contrast as he was also a healer with a range of medical textbooks and an extensive knowledge of the use of herbal medicine. Due to his despised profession, he lived outside the village walls with his family almost as outcasts. His daughter, as was traditional, was due to be married to another hangman but had a romance with Simon, the educated son of a physician. 

We enjoyed the portrayal of Magdalena, the Hangman’s daughter, an intelligent, strong woman, a feisty heroine who knew her own mind and could look after herself. We warmed to Simon and how he worked with Jakob and Magdalena to solve the murders, expose villains, and reveal the evil in their society. 

As an antidote, our next read was The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor a witty, funny and uplifting book set in the summer of 1962, an era that many of us could relate to! The review of this will appear in the next Blog.

For Your Diary

The McLean Hall, Fearnan, Committee invites everyone to come to the Hall for coffee and cakes on SATURDAY 4TH JUNE at any time between 10am – 12noon.  Drop in to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and liberation from formal Covid restrictions! There is no charge at the door, but donations to Hall funds are always welcome.

Thrift Shop

The hall has the Thrift Shop from the 19th June to the 25th.  This is a vital fundraiser for the Hall and help is needed. If anyone can spare a morning or afternoon to help in the shop, it would be very much appreciated.  The contact for the rota is Elaine ( and Karen for any donations of stock for the shop (

About Fearnan Village Association

Fearnan Village Association was formed in 2007 to provide a means through which those who live in the village can come together to discuss and respond to issues of importance to the village, particularly those that will have an impact on our quality of life. We also organise social events, such as the very popular Pudding Night in February, Strawberry TeaZ in July, and other events and coffee mornings throughout the year.
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