We have an abundance of local talent in the Blog this week, from the Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir and the Highland Perthshire Ukulele Group (both groups have members from Fearnan) to our own music maestro, Doug Law, and also some delightful craft work.
More Silverware for Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir!
Alan Brown of the Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir writes:
A semblance of normality returned to Highland Perthshire last Saturday when the 99th Perthshire & Angus Provincial Mod came home to Aberfeldy.
The weekend of the Mod has changed much since the days when coachloads of primary and secondary school pupils would descend on the town on the Friday morning to take part in Junior competitions involving music and song, prose and poetry, art and drama. The Saturday would see the Senior piping and fiddling and – the main attraction – the solo, duet, quartet and choral singing.
Unfortunately, the curse of Covid saw this year’s Junior Mod wiped out yet again but, as in 2021, there will be a Virtual Mod later this month.
The good news, however, was the return of a live Mod Saturday. It was heartening to welcome members of visiting choirs who expressed delight at being back in Aberfeldy after three years, meeting old friends and making new ones in keeping with the spirit of Gaeldom.
The competitive side is important, of course, and there were some excellent performances. Covid has reduced preparation time for all, but hardest hit have been the choirs, unable to meet other than virtually by courtesy of Zoom.
From a personal point of view as a member of Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir, our practices were affected negatively by unforeseen circumstances such as poor wi-fi coverage for the Zoom meetings and actual absence through Covid. When we did manage to sing together in person – as recently as February – safety measures such as open windows, sanitised seats, safe distances between participants and wearing masks meant that a ‘choir sound’ was impossible.
A positive reaction, however, was a determination to show that the Host Choir would be there on the day to give of their best. And didn’t we just!
We were victorious in the Seinn Choisirean: Puirt-a-Beul competition, winning the May Mitchell and Frances Matheson Cuach. We also earned a very creditable 3rd place in the Westcroft Trophy behind Cumbernauld and Lothian Gaelic Choirs.
One of the highlights of any Aberfeldy Mod Saturday is when the Massed Choirs relax after the rigours of competition by performing in the Square to a very appreciative audience and this one was again a great success and miraculously rain- free. Music from Junior pipers and accordion selections even had spectators and competitors tripping the light fantastic to round off a very satisfactory day.
So, what next? Plans are already being formulated to mark next year’s event because it will be the ONE-HUNDREDTH Perthshire & Angus Provincial Mod! And to emphasise further the importance of the Gaelic tradition in this part of the world, the Royal National Mod is taking place in PERTH in October for the first time since 2004.
Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir under Musical Director May Brown and Gaelic Tutor Gilliain Macdonald are well into rehearsals but will always welcome anyone interested in joining through a love of Gaelic music. We meet on Wednesdays in Aberfeldy Town Hall at 7.30 pm. Look out for our monthly news column in The Quair.
Mains of Taymouth for Ukraine
This weekend (18th and 19th June), Mains of Taymouth Country Estate and Golf Course ran a special fundraising effort to support Highland Perthshire Welcomes Ukraine. On Saturday, the event included live music, some of which was provided by our own Highland Perthshire Ukulele Band.
The rain managed to hold off, but the strong wind made it quite difficult for the players. However, they did well and were pleased to be able to be back performing after nearly 2 and a half years away from the stage, due to the pandemic restrictions.
Also on stage at the event was Fearnan’s Doug Law:
Jubilee Coffee Morning
The Jubilee Coffee Morning held on Saturday 4th June was a great success and described as “a glorious and special day”.
Approximately 50 adults and around 12 children all enjoyed the sunshine, cake, coffee, tea, juice and crown making etc. The sunny weather was a bonus, enabling outdoor seating and a relaxed atmosphere. After Covid restrictions, reconnections and new friendships were made.
With the balloons and bunting, it had a real vintage feel reminiscent of the 1950s. There was an extensive array of amazing cakes and assorted goodies including Polish treats.
It was especially great to see so many children enjoying the food, the art and craft table and having fun in the play park whilst forging international friendships with Ukrainian guests.
This month the Craft Group tried their hand at some felting work and spent a productive afternoon on Cath’s patio, trying not to be distracted by the view of the loch.
Cath had devised an excellent project for the afternoon and, in the space of a couple of hours, we had all completed a miniature felt picture, perfect for a brooch or lapel badge.
We were joined by Jackie from Strathtay.
Fearnan Book Club Review
A recent Book Club read was ‘The Miseducation Evie Epworth’ by Matson Taylor.
It is the summer of 1962 and sixteen-year-old Evie Epworth stands on the cusp of womanhood. But what kind of a woman will she be?
Up until now, Evie’s life has been nothing special: a patchwork of school, Guides, cows, lost mothers, lacrosse and village fetes.
The group overwhelmingly enjoyed this light-hearted, laugh-out-loud book, with its larger than life, melodramatic characters. It was a refreshing tale of just the right length and moved at a good pace. It captured the spirit of Yorkshire and its people, with mentions of trips to Betty’s Tearooms and rural village life. It was written from the perspective of Evie, about to leave school and perhaps acquire a stepmother.
Those of us of a certain age found it evoked memories of life in the 1960s with references to Adam Faith, then the Beatles, with posters on bedroom walls. References to Babycham, old ladies with hair nets, Izal toilet paper, Dansette record players and TV shows such as Take Your Pick took us back.
The book featured motherless Evie living with her hard working, busy and taciturn father on their farm and the money grabbing, wicked stepmother-to-be, Christine who, of course, was not liked by Evie. Evie’s kindly next-door neighbour gradually provided information to Evie and the reader about her mother and her parents’ back story. The story of her mother unfolded through reading her French recipe book.
Satisfyingly for the reader, Christine was revealed as a schemer, and all ended happily for Evie and her father.
Much of our discussion revolved round the differences between job and life opportunities and expectations for girls like Evie in the 1960’s and young people now.
Our next read, Dark Waters by GR Halliday is described as dark, gripping, and as atmospheric as the Scottish scenery it inhabits.
And Finally – Tackling Japanese Knotweed
This is a reminder about the meeting on Monday 20 June in the McLean Hall. It is an opportunity to hear the Project Officer for the Scottish Invasive Species Initiative (SISI), Mark Purrman-Charles discuss why Japanese Knotweed growth must be tackled and how free support can be made available. This is a Community Initiative which we hope will be well supported.