An Evening to Remember

You never know where a casual conversation with your neighbour will lead!

Frances Brace, a member of the Fearnan Book Club and neighbour of James Grieve, knew of his associations with Ann Cleeves and that he featured in her Shetland books as a forensic pathologist.

Frances then asked James if Ann would be willing to come and speak in Fearnan……..

James writes:

“A packed McLean Hall, Fearnan, was thoroughly entertained and stimulated at an evening with internationally renowned author, Ann Cleeves, whose crime fiction novels and their television adaptations have thrilled millions of people in over thirty translations across the world. Last Tuesday evening (18th October), a light-hearted conversation with her friend, James Grieve, Emeritus Professor in Forensic Medicine, Aberdeen University, whose associations with Fearnan and Kenmore extend over half a century, the audience learned about how Ann crafts her Shetland, Vera and, now, Matthew Venn novels, all with such specific and distinct geographical settings from which her characters emerge, writing more or less daily in the early morning, to produce a novel each year, and her positive views about the television series which her characters have inspired.

She read from her latest Vera novel, The Rising Tide, recently published in hard cover (and due out in paperback in February). Aberfeldy independent booksellers, The Watermill, were on hand to sell Ann’s books which she graciously signed for the very appreciative attendees from around Loch Tay.

For the audience, an atmospheric stage with crime related artefacts set the scene and James’s humour ensured that laughter echoed round the hall within the first few minutes.

The evening was a great success and exceeded all expectations. Since then, we’ve had so many positive and complimentary comments and delight that this event took place in Fearnan. Tea, coffee, cakes etc were provided by the book club members and enjoyed by our guests. 

Fearnan Book Club with Ann Cleeves and James Grieve

James thanked Frances for her initial idea and dramatic stage set, Linda for her administrative and organisational support and the book club for the tea/ coffee, cake etc. And many thanks, too, to Gayle Olivier for her atmospheric photos.

Generous donations were collected for the SCAA who have passed on their thanks for the support given by our community, as yet we don’t have a total amount. 

We hope this will lead to continuing links between Ann and Fearnan, maybe even a short story featuring Fearnan folk….perhaps not a murder! 

Reduce, Recycle, Reuse – Recycling in Fearnan

On the 11th October, a meeting was held in the Hall to discuss local recycling opportunities.  For some time now, we have been able to recycle additional waste products (i.e. some of those that can’t be put in the PKC blue bins) through the TerraCycle programme that focuses on hard-to-recycle items.

Up to now, recycling through TerraCycle has been made available by Jenny Penfold, who has managed the process and provided housing for the collection boxes.  She has gradually increased the range of products accepted and it is now quite a long list which includes dental care and laundry care products, various types of flexible packaging, medicine foils and inkjet cartridges. The full list is here.

In order to further develop opportunities, it is now proposed to move the collection boxes and create a Recycling Facility for the village in the Hall grounds, with the installation of a more formal collection point (e.g. a hut or shed).  The ground around it would be properly landscaped and lit, and signage would be installed to provide guidance on what can be recycled and when (i.e. times of day to avoid unnecessary disturbance to nearby houses).

The Hall Management Committee has appointed a subcommittee to develop the proposals and some grant money has been obtained and ring-fenced to facilitate the process. Apart from increasing Fearnan’s green credentials, this enhanced programme will have the added advantage of enabling the Hall to benefit from payments made for the items collected – a valuable input to help cover the rising running costs of this valuable local facility.

The meeting also had a presentation from Ana De Miguel, who is the PKC Waste Minimisation Officer.  Ana provided a brief overview of recycling in Scotland, helped to clarify what can and can’t go in the blue bins, explained why some things are, or aren’t, accepted, and explained what happens to blue bin waste once the Council has collected it. She stressed the importance of ensuring only items on the recycling list go in the blue bin.

When items such as food waste, nappies or liquids are placed in blue bins, they have the potential to spread and soil clean recycling. Materials such as paper and cardboard can be damaged rendering them unrecyclable. Soiled materials have to be removed and disposed of, losing all potential value.

Between July and December, the Council paid out £50,000 in additional charges to waste processors due to contamination. This year the figure for January and February alone is £17,650. This is money that would be better spent in our communities and in improving services rather than paying penalties.

Here is a quick visual guide to what can and can’t be recycled in the blue bins – the message is, if in doubt, leave it out.

More detailed guidance can be found here:

We’ll keep you up to date with progress on the new Recycling Centre. It is likely to be operational next year.

Pop-Up Coffee Shop

The Pop-Up Coffee Shop popped up again on the 11th October, offering a chance to get together and enjoy what proved to be a very friendly and chatty hour or so.  It’s always a good sign when people start re-arranging the furniture to create what is effectively one large table.

The pop-Up won’t be back until after the new year, but we do have the Remembrance Service at the War Memorial on Sunday 13th November, with the service starting just before 11.00. Coffee and tea will be served in the Hall afterwards and we will be collecting for Help for Heroes. 

The FVA will also be hosting Mulled Wine and Mince Pies in the Hall at 4pm on Saturday 10th December – a chance for a little pre-Christmas get-together with friends from the village ahead of the last minute Christmas rush.

And Finally ……….

Could you be a mentor for young people to help them on their pathway to independent living?

Grandmentors is an award-winning intergenerational mentoring scheme which pairs local volunteer mentors aged 50+ with local young people aged 16-24 who have experienced care and/or had adverse childhood experiences, to give them advice, support and help build their confidence in their path to independence. Volunteering Matters, a UK Charity empowering volunteering in the local community, is setting up Grandmentors in Perth and Kinross in partnership with Perth and Kinross Council, and already operates Grandmentors successfully in ten other UK locations. For more information, please see Grandmentors (Perth and Kinross) – Volunteering Matters.

The initiative was also covered by the Guardian in 2019. See here.

Volunteering Matters also have another mentoring scheme run by Project Scotland, which similarly supports local young people facing barriers aged 16+, and which is open to adult volunteer mentors of any age.

You don’t need mentoring experience. Once you become a volunteer, training and on-going support is provided. All you need is an ability to relate to and understand young people.

If this sounds like you, please do get in touch at

Please note that the copyright of all photographs in this blog belongs to the person who took the picture and the copyright of the text belongs to the person who wrote it.

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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1 Response to An Evening to Remember

  1. Kristien Massie says:

    Thank you. Can anyone tell me how Julian Lane is doing please? Kris Massie

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