Fearnan Blog – Lockdown Week 3

More News of Deliveries

The amazing #Feldy-Roo have introduced a Weem to Fearnan route. #FeldyRoo is a food delivery service for the Aberfeldy area. It has been set up to deliver free lunches, newspapers and evening meals to the isolated members of the Community during the Corona Virus lock down, particularly the over 70’s.

If you know anyone who would benefit from this service in the area, please contact #Feldy-Roo on fountainbar@aberfeldypubs.co.uk, or text 07584665423 to arrange things.

Keith has started to volunteer to help with deliveries and will cover this area if needed.

#Feldy-Roo have raised a lot of money already but do contact them if you can contribute financially in these troubled times. Every penny counts!

McDonald’s the Butchers will also deliver to Fearnan – phone the Aberfeldy shop to order. There’s info about all the deliveries coming to Fearnan on the Covid-19 page of this blog along with the contact details for people volunteering to help members of the community, including collecting shopping.

Life Under Lockdown

This week, our Lockdown Moments feature members of our community who work from home, either all the time, or temporarily under Lockdown.

Hazel has sent a picture of FlyFishing & FlyTying magazine on her computer at home.

FlyFishing & FlyTying is an internationally available magazine with subscribers all over the world. It is also sold in newsagents in several countries.

During Lockdown Hazel’s setting up the page layouts from her satellite office in deepest Fearnan! (She also deserves a prize for having the tidiest desk imaginable!)

Apart from volunteering with #Feldy-Roo, Keith is, as ever, busy in his studio and photographing wildlife. He’s shared this charming picture of a roe deer doe taken behind his house and ones of two magpies which appeared in Fearnan (unusually) on the 1st April. The magpies also appeared on Facebook, but we’re repeating them here in case you missed them.

Steve is a designate key worker because of the Hydro Schemes and is out and about doing maintenance. He was, however, captured hard at work at home at the weekend and although he appears to be in the doghouse, he is in fact cleaning it.  And afterwards the dogs got cleaned as well (not hugely appreciated by all of them, judging by their expressions).

A couple of weeks back, we reported that Neil was missing his ukulele band mates.  Through the wonders of modern technology, we have been able to bring at least some of the band members back together – visually if not audibly.

 Do send your own Lockdown Moments to fiona@fearnanvillageassociation.com.

Covid-19 Scam Share

Trading Standards Scotland have issued guidance on scams related to the Covid-19 situation and given that most of us are doing far more than normal online, it really is worth having a look at their latest bulletin, and passing on the information to any friends who might be vulnerable to this type of fraud.

Current scams include fraudulent texts and emails encouraging you to click on links to claim money that you are (allegedly) due from the government because of Covid-19, or to pay fines because (again allegedly) movements are being monitored and you have left your house too often and for too long in the current lockdown. Or trying to get you to download a form to fill in because you have been identified as having been in contact with someone with C-19.  Needless to say, these links download malware onto your computer.

Trading Standards also warn people to be careful and only download apps from official app stores like Google Play and the Apple Store, as apps from other sources may be malicious. It is also important, when you download a new app, to review the permissions. If the app can access your calendar, microphone or camera you may want to consider whether this is actually necessary.

The latest Scam Share Bulletin from Trading Standards Scotland can be viewed on the following link
https://mailchi.mp/90cd8b2c1b42/scam-share-latest-covid-19-scams

Clapping for the NHS & Careworkers

We’ve been trying to get a photo of Fearnan folk coming out on Thursday evenings to join in the national tribute to the NHS and frontline careworkers.  Unfortunately, because of the layout of the village, it’s difficult to get a single photo that conveys the community’s support.  So we’re encouraging you to take a selfie this coming Thursday and send it to Fiona@fearnanvillageassociation.com . If we get enough, we can make up a montage similar to the ukulele band above.  Go on – it’s just a bit of fun.

In the meantime, here are Ivan and Lillybeth showing you how it should be done!

Unsung Heroes

A new section of the Blog has been suggested – Unsung Heroes! It’s a chance to recognise the efforts of people who continue to do their job under difficult circumstances, or who undertake simple acts of kindness that make someone else’s day better.

The first to be nominated are the PKC Refuse Collectors who continue to empty the bins, despite the fact that there is no way they can maintain social distancing of 2 metres in the cab of their lorry. A big thank you to them from everyone in Fearnan!

Please send your own nominations for the next Blog edition of Unsung Heroes to fiona@fearnanvillageassociation.com

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Traditional Sunday Roast is on the Menu!

Sunday Roasts from Ben Lawers Hotel

Good news! Not only is Friday night Pizza Night, Sundays are now Roast Dinner Night!

Paul and Dee from Ben Lawers Hotel are going to start delivering pre-ordered roast dinners to the Hall car park on Sundays.

They cost £8.95 each and should be ordered by 16.00 on a Sunday afternoon, for delivery at 17.00. Phone 01567 820436 for info and to place your order.

You can order pizza for delivery to the Hall Car Park on Fridays on the same number.  Get your pizza order in by 16.30 for delivery at 18.00.

Offers of Help and Support

Offers of help and support continue to be made within the community. Even if you are OK for everything at the moment, there may come a time when you might like to take up one of the offers that have been made, so we have created a new page on the Blog where we will pull together all the suggestions. You can find it in the black border underneath the header photo and click to open the page. It’s called Covid-19.

Life Under Lockdown

We have some more Lockdown Moments.

The first from Sue and Dolan.  Having your own space during lockdown is important – Sue’s space is the polytunnel, and she is busy doing Spring prep and hoping for a bumper crop.  Meanwhile, Dolan’s ‘man shed’ is……another kind of work in progress!

The hens are working normal hours and remain very productive.

Fran’s Lockdown Moment is also a reflection on a simple act of kindness. 

Having decided that now was the time to take down an overgrown buddleia, she was were making fairly slow progress when the gardener who was working next door asked if he could help – and with the appropriate equipment, he did the job in no more than 5 minutes.

If you would like to share your pics of what you are up to, or things that catch your attention, or other acts of kindness, please send them to: fiona@fearnanvillageassociation.com

Covid-19 Scammers

Sadly, nobody has managed to lockdown the scammers. Beware of phoney requests for charity donations, offers of coronavirus tests, bogus tax refunds and strangers offering help and support. Neighbourhood Watch has issued some updated advice which is copied below.

Please be aware not everyone out there is trustworthy and some people will take advantage of this unusual situation at the present time.

Here are just some of the scams we are aware of, but note that criminals come in all shapes and sizes and can contact you at the door, by phone, post or online.

Stay safe and follow all government and NHS guidelines.

Be aware of people offering or selling:

  • Virus testing kits
  • Vaccines or miracle cures – there is currently no vaccine or cure.
  • Overpriced or fake goods to protect yourself from coronavirus such as anti-bacterial products.
  • Shopping or medication collection services. 
  • Home cleaning services


Protect yourself and others:

  • Don’t be rushed into making a decision. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
  • Only purchase goods from legitimate retailers and take a moment to think before parting with money or personal information.
  • Don’t assume everyone is genuine. It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush and panic you.
  • If someone claims to represent a charity, ask them for ID. Be suspicious of requests for money  up front. If someone attempts to pressurise you into accepting a service, they are unlikely to be genuine. Check with family and friends before accepting offers of help if you are unsure.

For advice on scams call Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000

To report a scam call Police Scotland on 101

Contact your bank immediately if you think you have been scammed.

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Update on Deliveries to Fearnan

Courtyard Deli

The Courtyard Deli are now offering an ‘order and pick-up service’. You can phone in your order (or ask from the door), they will pick and pack, and you can collect from their shop door. This helps them as it means they can then prioritise their deliveries to those who can’t come out.

Best to order fruit and veg in advance as their suppliers have cut down to 3 deliveries a week. Please put your orders in before 2pm on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays for pick-up the following day.

Pizza Delivery

Lawers Hotel are going to make a pizza delivery to Fearnan on Fridays, starting 27th March. Pizzas can be ordered on 01567 820436 before 16.30 for collection at the Hall at 18.00.

Payment is taken over the phone at time of ordering. They ask that everyone abides by the Government’s social distancing guidelines. If it proves to be a success, they will aim to continue with this in the longer term.

Kenmore Bakery Van

Kenmore Bakery’s bread and produce van is in Fearnan at 10.30 on Tuesdays and Fridays:

Other times and locations are:
Lawers Hotel Carpark 10am
Fortingall Village Hall 11am
Keltneyburn Monument 11.30am

Wild Hearth Bakery

Wild Hearth Bakery of Comrie, who specialise in sourdough bread and wonderful pastries have launched a free home delivery service to selected locations in the central belt of Scotland.  They will be in the Kenmore/Aberfeldy area on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and are happy to deliver in the surrounding area.  See their website for details of how to order www.wildhearthbakery.com  

The Fish Van

Sadly, the Fish Van will not be back in Fearnan for the next three weeks at least, but he will let us know when he is resuming his round.

Clap for Carers

Last night, Fearnan joined in the nationwide initiative to give a round of applause to all the front line coronavirus staff and careworkers. Please join in tonight and every night at 8pm. How much noise can Fearnan make?!

Send photos and video to the Blog!

Life Under Lockdown

We have a couple more Life Under Lockdown moments.

Fran and Elaine decided to get on with some of those tasks on the ‘to do’ list. Elaine decided to sort out the chest freezer which tends to get into a mess and she found some frozen fruit at the bottom so that’s her job for today. Here’s the first batch (strawberry) getting put into jars. Next up, Rhubarb and Ginger – eat your heart out, Mrs Bridges!

Not so much lonesome guitar, but lonesome ukulele – Neil is missing his band mates but playing on alone…..

Who else is playing on alone? Can we get a ‘photo orchestra’ of people and their instruments together? Send your Lockdown moments, musical or otherwise, to fiona@fearnanvillageassociation.com

And Finally….

If people are wondering where their garden ground cover has disappearing to, the Blog has been told that there has been a huge increase in the number of voles – possibly due to hot summer and mild winter.  The little devils are eating any low-growing vegetation they can find in gardens, and the hills are alive with them

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Life Under Lockdown

Offers of Help & Support

Offers of help and support continue to be made by many of you within the community.  Unfortunately, several offers that were made are now off the agenda, given the most recent restrictions on movement.  (For example, the Borland staff were offering to collect and items from Perth or Edinburgh that people need but can’t get delivered, but that will need to wait until journey restrictions are eased.)

However, one offer that still stands is that Borland are making accommodation available, free of charge, to any key workers who need it.  Please pass the offer on to anyone who you think might be interested. Contact Borland on info@borelandlochtay.co.uk or 01887 827691 if you would like to take up one of their offers.

Don’t forget Jenny Penfold’s offer, made in the last blog, if you are needing shopping done closer to home.  She’s happy to add items to her regular delivery if you are stuck or can’t get a delivery slot. Contact her on jcpenfold@hotmail.com

Kenmore Shop

The Kenmore Shop is changing its hours for the immediate future.  The Shop will be open from 8am – 2pm, and the Post Office will be open 9am – 1pm Monday to Friday, and 9am – 12pm on Saturdays.  This is being done to help protect the staff, following a huge influx of visitors who were not following Stay at Home advice (home being some considerable distance away in many cases) or even the Social Distancing rules once inside the shop.

Kenmore Bakery

Just a reminder that the times for Kenmore Bakery’s Mobile Shop are:

Lawers Hotel Carpark 10am
Fearnan Village Hall Carpark 10.30am
Fortingall Village Hall 11am
Keltneyburn Monument 11.30am

Anti-Bacterial Cleaner

Jo M offers her ‘recipe’ for anti-bacterial cleaner in case you have run out or can’t get any: dilute 1 measure of bleach to 9 of water as a cleaning agent if you run out of anti-bacterial cleaner. Sent to her by a nursing friend.

She had also put forward a couple of ideas for getting exercise, for example arranging a regular walk, but keeping 2 metres apart or joining the ladies golf group. Unfortunately, the latest restrictions on social groups mean these will have to wait.

Ideas and Suggestions for Self-Isolating Times

The Fearnan Book Club has been thinking about the fact that we are all going to have more time for reading over the coming months and has come up with some reading suggestions. Perhaps it’s a chance to get to grips with something you have been intending to read for a while – or a chance to re-read an old favourite

If you enjoy non-fiction and auto biographical writing, you may enjoy some of the following:

Educated by Tara Westover – a  coming of age memoir that chronicles a young woman’s efforts to study her way out of a tough childhood in a Mormon fundamentalist family and find herself through books. Challenging reading! 

All That Remains: A Life in Death’ by Professor Sue Black who talks candidly about death. As a Professor of anatomy and forensic anthropology, she has investigated mass fatalities due to war and natural disasters. A combination of tragedy and humour. This was a Waterstones Scottish book of the month for April 2018 and although it sounds a tricky subject for these unsettling times, there is a lot of humour in the book.

If Only They Didn’t Speak English, by Jon Sopel. A very readable and insightful portrait of American life and politics by the BBC’s North America Editor.

If you enjoy fiction and liked last month’s Book Club book The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley, her latest book The Guest List, published in February 2020, is another atmospheric thriller. 

The Book Club’s read for April is Where the Crawdads Sing, a novel by Delia Owens. It has topped the New York Times Fiction Best Sellers for 2019/20 and is a novel that is a murder mystery, a coming of age narrative and a celebration of nature. It is a story of survival, love, hope, prejudice and nature. We will review this on-line and report back in due course.

If you feel like some humour in your reading (who doesn’t just now), here are some more suggestions :

This is Going to Hurt: Secret diaries of a junior doctor by the British Comedy writer Adam Kay. It is a collection of diary entries written by him during his medical training. Waterstones’ non- fiction book of the month for May 2018. Painfully funny! 

And some classics of the humour genre:

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome (1889)

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams ( 1979)

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend (1982)

Bridget Jones Diary  by Helen Fielding (2001)

The Ode Less Travelled  by  Stephen Fry. (2005)

The Fearnan Book Club’s latest book review appears later in the Blog.

Who’s Doing What?

The Blog asked a few people what they had been up to during their first few days of social distancing and as we move into a more locked-down life-style. We’re delighted to be able to bring you the following exclusive snapshots of life in Fearnan.

Both Linda and Cath McG have been gardening:

Linda has created this impressive garden feature by adding a cobbled border to the large rock that was already in the garden. She says it’s dual purpose – it looks good and will also suppress the weeds and moss. It’s also very therapeutic and addictive – calm yourself by cobbling.

Cath tells us that last year, on Countryfile, she saw a feature about someone who had a field full of cowslips. It looked wonderful. He had brought the plants on from seed, potted them up and when they were big enough planted them out in his field.

‘This was for me!!’ Cath said. ‘Last summer I planted lots of seeds. Today I’ve planted about 50 of the bigger plants that look like they will flower out in wild places around the garden and in the field. The smaller plants (in the photo) I have potted on to plant out later.

Alastair G has been out on his bike, setting out in bright Spring sunshine but finding quite a lot of snow on the road from Bridge of Balgie to the Lawers dam.

Peter has also been out walking and went to the west coast before such journeys had to stop.  He sent us this relaxing, calming video of lapping waves.  Enjoy!

(Apologies for the fact that, when you click on it, the video appears under the Blog Editor’s name. The Blog used its own Flickr account to embed the video, and finds it is beyond its competence to remove its own name from the title. Sorry, Peter!)

We’d love to know what other readers of the Blog have been up to – both achievements and maybe those things that didn’t go quite as planned, or something that might bring a smile to someone’s face.  We’d love to hear from readers in other countries about what it’s like where you are, and how you are occupying your time. If you would like to share your Lockdown Moments, please send pics along with a short description to fionaballantyne320@gmail.com

Fearnan Book Club

The Book Club is going to continue in a ‘virtual’ form and members are happy to contribute their recommendations in the months ahead.

These will be duly collated in the usual way into a book review. We hope that they will continue to give you ideas for your next read.

Our group’s read for March was The Salt Path by Raynor Winn, a Sunday Times non-fiction bestseller in 2018. The author and her husband Moth, who was diagnosed with a terminal illness called corticobasal degeneration, became homeless after a bad investment and decided to walk the 630-mile South West Path from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall. Over the duration of the journey we read a sweeping narrative of inner courage and nature’s ability to heal. 

On the whole we found it an inspirational true story which was upsetting or even excruciating at times, but we concluded that we were glad we had read it. 

A few of us felt frustrated and outraged at the outcome of the court case which resulted in the couple losing everything. Annoyance was felt with the judge, who appeared to lack understanding or empathy for their situation.

We enjoyed the well written pen portraits of the locations en route especially those that had been visited by members of the group. There was also a lovely combination of descriptions of wildlife, fellow walkers and their own feelings, hardships and experiences along the way. The people they met reflected human nature, some being kind and generous, others plainly embarrassed by their appearance and situation. We considered them incredibly brave and hardy in wild camping, having a limited diet, living on a very low budget, suffering pain and varied weather conditions. 

Despite this, the wry sense of humour and positivity radiated from the text. It was summarised by one of the group as a love story as the closeness of the caring, unselfish relationship was revealed. The author made sacrifices and persisted with the very difficult journey as she could see it was beneficial to her husband. 

The advancing growth in sales is testament to the fact that The Salt Path is a genuine word of mouth best seller. Her second memoir, Wild Silence which will be published in hardback in late spring 2020 is about her task to re wild an over farmed piece of land. This book explores the themes of life-long love, nature and what it means to find a home. 

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We Shall Still Have Bread (and Cake)

Many thanks to those who got in touch after the last Blog posting with thoughts and suggestions.

Kenmore Bakery

We’re pleased to be able to pass on the news from Kenmore Bakery that they will be running a mobile bakery van in the area.

At this stage they will be delivering on Tuesday and Friday starting this Friday 20th March :
Lawers Hotel Carpark 10am
Fearnan Village Hall Carpark 10.30am
Fortingall Village Hall 11am
Keltneyburn Monument 11.30am

The Bakery Van will carry a good stock but you can order by telephone on 01887 830556. They are also teaming up with the Courtyard Shop as a delivery partner for essentials like milk (and gin!).

There’s more info on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Local-Business/Kenmore-Bakery-914989341886102/

The Courtyard Shop themselves are very keen to help the local community, and will deliver anything from their shop to anywhere in the area, direct to your doorstep.

Offer of Support

Jenny Penfold has kindly offered to help out anyone who is having difficulty getting supplies (e.g. can’t get a home delivery slot with ASDA) or is having to self-isolate. If you are in this situation, then please get in touch with Jenny on jcpenfold@hotmail.com . She can’t promise to conjure up the elusive loo rolls, hand sanitiser or tissues but will do her best with other things.

Perhaps you know someone else in the area who is vulnerable and possibly having problems with supplies, and if so please put them in touch with her.  Please also contact her if you are not in a vulnerable category and able to offer help to others such as shopping, picking up prescriptions etc.

The FVA Blog is only part of the jungle drums system that operates around the village, but we are going to try to pass on as much helpful information as possible, so please do let us have anything that you think might be of interest, of help, or which might bring a smile to someone’s face – tell us how you are passing your time (photos always welcome).  And please do pass the link to the Blog on to anyone that you think would find it useful – they don’t need to be an FVA member, or even live in Fearnan. You can get in touch at fiona@fearnanvillageassociation.com

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Not knowing how long this is going to go on adds to the sense of uncertainty that most feel at the moment. So, we would like to end on a positive note with a message that Richard Wagland received from his contact in Shanghai confirming that all things do pass:

Hi Richard:

I’m fine. My families and friends are all fine too. Thank you. 

I think the situation in China is becoming better. The number of newly confirmed cases is usually single digit. Wuhan is still lockdown. But other cities are returning to normal. Most of companies reopened. 

I know that western people don’t like wearing a breathing mask. But it does work. If OK, prepare some masks for your families. The virus spreads very fast. Take care of yourself. 

Best Regards

Alex Wang

(We know that the medics have differing views on the effectiveness of masks, so you should do your own research on the subject.)

Keep safe and in touch everyone.

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Coronavirus – Advice from Neighbourhood Watch and WHO

This week we are passing on helpful advice from Neighbourhood Watch about protecting yourself, your loved ones and your community in these somewhat unsettling times. We are also reproducing a chart issued by the World Health Organisation that helps to differentiate the symptoms of Coronavirus from those of the common cold and flu.

The Neighbourhood Watch advice emphasises the importance of retaining social contact with friends and neighbours and having contact numbers readily accessible in case you need a bit of extra support. Don’t forget that last year the FVA produced the Staying Connected directory, that contains emails and phone numbers for many of our members across the village and has useful emergency and public service numbers on the back. If you have misplaced your copy, let us know and we will arrange a replacement.

The FVA website also has a Useful Contact Numbers page (click on the heading in the black border under the header photo).

If you have neighbours who are not FVA members, you might want to exchange contact details if you haven’t already, particularly if they are in a category that makes them vulnerable.

Advice from Neighbourhood Watch

You will all be aware of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Neighbourhood Watch Scotland exists to look out for communities and at a time like this we encourage you to consider ways to keep yourself, your loved ones and those in your community safe, particularly the isolated and vulnerable. We are following the advice from the government and encourage you to do the same: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

10 ways you can protect yourself, your loved ones and your community:

  • Meet with household members, other relatives, friends and neighbours to discuss what to do if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in your community and what the needs of each person will be.
  • If your neighbourhood has a website or social media page, consider joining it to maintain access to neighbours, information, and resources. Alternatively, share phone numbers and email addresses particularly with those who are isolated or vulnerable. 
  • Consider establishing a ‘buddy’ system within your community to ensure everyone stays connected to COVID-19 related news, services and can receive support safely, such as essentials deliveries.
  • Plan ways to care for those who might be at greater risk for serious complications.
  • Choose a room in your home that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy.
  • Learn how to self-isolate. Guidance can be found on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/

  • Create a list of local organisations that you and your neighbours can contact in the event that one of you need access to information, healthcare services, support, or resources. Consider including organisations that provide mental health or counselling services, food, and other supplies.
  • Create an emergency contact list of family, friends, neighbours, healthcare providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department, and other local authority, community resources.
  • Practice everyday preventive actions including regular hand washing.

Useful Links:

World Health Orgaisation Symptoms Chart

The following useful chart describes the symptoms of Coronavirus, the common cold and flu.

Keeping in Touch

There are lots of ways of keeping in touch with friends and neighbours – telephone, email, WhatsApp or Messaging and the Blog will try to do its bit. If you have any messages, useful info or tips to pass on do get in touch, either by adding a Comment to the Blog, or send info to: fiona@fearnanvillageassociation.com so it can be shared. Cheery and uplifting thoughts and comments will be particularly appreciated!

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Pudding Night and Volunteer Transport Scheme

Leap Year Pudding Night

The Fearnan Winter Pudding Night is a firm fixture in the diary. Some say it is something to look forward to during the worst days of the winter, others think it actually marks the coming of more spring-like weather. Most of us, however, just look forward to the opportunity to eat as much pudding as we fancy without anyone else looking askance at the amount on our plate.

This year, we introduced a table of savouries in order to cater for all tastes, so there were flans, sausages and cheese and biscuits alongside the meringues, steamed puddings, mousses and tarts. We don’t think anyone ended up with a sausage on the same plate as their rice pudding but, with the lights dimmed, it was a close run thing on a couple of occasions.

As ever, we were able to enjoy live music, courtesy of our regulars, Doug and Hilary, Audrey, Andrew – and some new faces! Among them was Alice, who some will remember as the Pudding Champ of 2018 – a title she won by managing to sample everything on the menu. This year she turned down the opportunity for second helpings and took to the stage instead. Well played, Alice!

This is Doug, who was meant to be having a break from the stage, but was still joining in playing slide guitar from the floor.

Many thanks to all our musicians, to our pudding makers, the setting-uppers and the clearing-uppers, and to everyone who came, and made sure that EVERYTHING got eaten!

Transport Volunteers Needed

The Upper Tay Transport Project are introducing a new Community Lifts Scheme through which volunteers offer to drive members of the community to appointments, to visit friends, to go shopping, to get to the train or to go to the cinema. 

The Upper Tay Transport project is run by the Tay Valley Timebank and a Project Coordinator is organising the scheme and is responsible for recruiting and managing volunteer drivers.  They will undertake some basic checks on drivers to ensure they are competent to volunteer for the scheme. 

Members of the community who would like to use Community Lifts as passengers will register for the scheme and pay a £5 joining fee. They can then request lifts by phone, text or email.   Passengers will be asked to pay expenses for the lift, and the drivers will be reimbursed.

Community Lifts is simple and will help many people to get out to participate in social events, attend appointments or activities.  At the moment, more drivers are needed for the Fearnan and Fortingall area. Could you help?

If you would like to volunteer, you need to be 18 years or over (there is no upper age limit), have a full UK driving licence and a fully insured and MoT’d vehicle, and be willing to have a Disclosure check done.

 Contact Emma Burtles on 07507 479555 for more information, or email uttg2019@gmail.com if you can help. There is more information on this link http://www.spanglefish.com/uppertaytransportgroup/

Who’s Who?

This month we have 2 photos from the past of children in the Fearnan area, one from the early 1930s, and the other from the early 1970s. Both belong to Frances Brace.

We are hoping that someone will be able to tell us who the important looking couple in the photo below are, and where this photo might have been taken. Also, can anybody name the lady on the extreme right or name any of the children? Frances’ mother, who was then Chrissie Butters, is in the bottom left of the photo. Please either add a comment to the Blog, or email fiona@fearnanvillageassociation.com if you can help.

Photo courtesy of Frances Brace

The second photo is much closer in time – it’s Kenmore Primary School in the early 1970s and will be a little trip down Memory Lane for some of our readers. Perhaps you can spot yourself or some old friends? (Here’s your starter for 10: Frances is in the middle wearing green.)

Photo courtesy of Frances Brace

Please add any stories or comments to the Blog, or email the Blog (as above).

Fearnan Book Club

Elaine writes:

At the February meeting of the Fearnan Book Club we discussed The Hunting Lodge by Lucy Foley.  The story revolves around a group of old friends from University who gather together each New Year.  On this occasion the venue is a hunting lodge in a remote part of Scotland.

As well as the group who are staying at the cabins around the main lodge house, there are 2 permanent members of staff caretaking as well as a handyman and, unknown to the group, two other visitors .

On page 2 of the book, a body is found, and the remainder of the book explores the differing characters involved and exposes the conflicts within the group.  They are described as the beautiful one, the golden couple, the volatile one, the new parents, the quiet one, the city boy and the outsider.  Generally, it was thought that the characterisation of the girls was good, but the men were less prominent.  Some of the guests appeared to be more in the background but….

….. close to the end of the book, the circumstances of ‘the body’ are explained, not an accident but a murder among ‘friends.’

The majority of the members enjoyed the book.  It is Lucy Foley’s debut crime novel.  She was inspired to write the book after a visit to a remote area in Scotland.

Several of the group thought that they could identify the property on which this Hunting Lodge was based, and one actually had some photographs! 

For the March meeting, the Book Club are reading The Salt Path by Raynor Winn, a moving memoir of a couple who walked the South West Coastal Path after being rendered homeless.

Forthcoming Events

The Fearnan Pop Up Coffee Shop will be popping up for the first time this year on St Patrick’s Day – Tuesday 17th March in the Hall. Please note that we will be starting slightly later, at 11.00, and will be open for delicious home baking and tasty savouries until 12.30.

The FVA’s Annual General Meeting will be held in the hall at 4.00 pm on Saturday 28th March. All members are welcome, and it’s a chance to give your views and feedback.

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February – Photos and Diary Dates

Fearnan Seventy Five Years in Pictures

In the last Blog, we were able to share these 2 views of Fearnan from the south bank of the loch – one from the 1940s and one from the 1970s:

Since publishing these images, we have received four more which let us chart the development of Fearnan (as seen from the other side of the Loch) from the 1940s to the present day:

Fearnan 1989 – Courtesy of Niall Munro
Fearnan 2003 – Courtesy of Peter McKenzie
Fearnan 2007 – Courtesy of Peter McKenzie
Fearnan 2019 – Courtesy of Peter McKenzie

Many thanks to Peter and to Niall Munro of Shoreside for sharing their pictures.

Pop-Up Coffee Shop and Other Dates for 2020

After a seasonal break, the Pop Up Coffee Shop will be back in March to tempt you with all sorts of goodies – sweet and savoury – and a chance to catch up with friends and neighbours.

The dates are below, but please note that starting in March, we will be popping up in the village hall at the slightly different time of 11.00 – 12.30. So we’re open for elevenses – or an early lunch, should you so prefer.

  • 17th March
  • 14th April
  • 12th May
  • 16th June
  • 8th September
  • 27th October

In addition, we have a number of seasonal events.  These are:

  • Saturday 25th July at 3pm: Strawberry TeaZ: Cakes, tarts, scones, ice cream and more – all made or served with strawberries. Live music.
  • Sunday 8th November: Remembrance Sunday 10.50 at the War Memorial and afterwards in the village hall for tea and coffee.
  • Saturday 5th DecemberMulled Wine & Mince Pies 4 – 6pm: Enjoy seasonal goodies and good company.

These dates are all up on the Blog’s What’s On page and available at anytime throughout the year.

Our next event is our leap year Winter Pudding Night on Saturday February 29th, starting at 6pm. It will be another 28 years before February 29th next falls on a Saturday – and by extension, 28 years before the Fearnan Pudding Night next falls on February 29th. That’s a long time to wait – come this year.

Big Shed Concert

On Saturday 4th April at 7.30pm, The Carrivick sisters will perform at the Big Shed – and hopefully they’ll bring the spring sunshine with them!

One of the UK’s top bluegrass and folk acts,  Laura and Charlotte perform original songs and instrumentals, plus carefully chosen covers on guitar, mandolin, fiddle, dobro, and claw-hammer banjo. They have released six albums and performed at festivals across the UK, including Glastonbury.

They also perform internationally together and with all-female bluegrass five piece Midnight Sky-racer. http://www.thecarrivicksisters.co.uk/

Tickets are £10 (£5 if in full time education:  under-5s ) and are available via wegottickets via www.wegottickets.com/event/495600/ Some tickets will be available at the door on the night

Remember to BYOB – tea, coffee and soft drinks will be available.

FVA Annual General Meeting

The FVA’s Annual General Meeting will take place on Saturday 28th March in the village hall at 16.00. All members welcome.

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A bit of Nostalgia, a Book Review and Stay Safe Online

Nostalgia Corner

This week we start with two fabulous views of Fearnan, one from about 70 years ago and one from 50 years ago. Both are taken from the other side of the loch.

Fearnan from Achianich late 1940’s

The wonderful image above was taken from Achianich, and is thought to date from the late 1940s to early 1950s.

The Bartholomew’s map on the left dates from the same period and Achianich can be seen just under the ‘Y’ of Tay.

It looks like it was taken in late Spring, and the hill behind Fearnan is completely bare of the forestry plantations that are so familiar today, although it looks like the lower slopes are cultivated for crops or grazing. Many thanks to Aberfeldy Museum for this visual treat.

In early Autumn around 25 years later, a member of the Brace family took the photo below, also from the loch side but a bit closer to Acharn.

Fearnan 1972 (Courtesy of Frances Brace)

The forestry plantation now looks well established and the Blog might be getting a little over-excited here, but is that a bird flying over the loch (location marked on in-set photo on the left)? An osprey, perhaps?

Let us know what you think by ‘Replying’ to the Blog below.

What’s On?

If the nostalgic Spring and Autumn images above have left you with a nice warm feeling, don’t forget that you can continue to beat the winter blues by coming to the FVA’s Pudding Night on Saturday 29th February starting at 6pm. From steamed and baked family favourites to sophisticated desserts and tarts, there’s something for every taste. This year, we will also be introducing a limited range of savoury treats for those who are more piquantly inclined. There will be live music and all you can eat for £7.50.

Come hungry and it’s BYOB!

Fearnan Book Club


At our first meeting of 2020, we discussed Old Baggage written by Lissa Evans and described as a funny and bittersweet portrait of a woman, previously a militant suffragette, who has never, ever given up the fight. We found it an easy read, both entertaining and witty, and which held our interest as it progressed. Our discussion revolved round some of the themes explored in the book.

The book opened in 1928, when we’re introduced to Mattie Simpkins, an interesting, strong character to whom we warmed and identified as “a jolly hockey sticks” type. We enjoyed the references to her militant suffragette days and the introduction of other, well presented, characters that had shared her passion and actions during that period.

It was clear that after her exciting past, that Mattie was now seeking further action and purpose. All through the book we acknowledged the well-written characterisation and excellent use of vocabulary and word choices.

A wealthy lady who shared her home with her companion and fellow activist, Florrie (Flea), the contrasting characters acted as a foil for each other. We discussed the high proportion of women who were single during this period in history due to the loss of husbands, fiancés or potential husbands who were killed or badly injured during WW1.

We were reminded of the social history of this period, the worrying rise of fascist groups gaining in popularity and the dreadful living conditions, disease and poverty that existed pre-NHS. The perfect period detail was accurately portrayed and the book was lightly woven with feminist history.

However, we all agreed that the ending, which did provide Mattie with a project, lacked plausibility and was unsatisfactory in comparison to the rest of the well-crafted novel.

Our book for discussion in February is The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley, and described as “A riveting, murder mystery – wily as Agatha Christie – charged with real menace.” It is a murder mystery set in a remote hunting lodge in Scotland, an update on the classic country house mystery – a murder among friends!

Stay Safe Online

From time to time, we publish information about staying safe online and avoiding scams. Perth & Kinross Community Watch recently published the following advice on avoiding online shopping scams and we’re passing it on here. It was compiled by Neighbourhood Watch Scotland and is worth a quick look, even if you are a regular online shopper – or perhaps, particularly if you are a regular online shopper! As the first section says ‘Trust Your Gut’. If it doesn’t feel right, it most likely isn’t right.

Trust Your Gut: Just as you wouldn’t go into a shop that you don’t recognise and seems a little off to you, don’t shop at stores online that give you a bad feeling and appear shady. If at any time during the shopping or checkout process you feel like the site is asking for too much personal information, just quit the transaction and leave the site. You may hate to leave behind a really good deal, but the money and time you could lose if someone gets your credit card information will definitely cancel out the benefits of a sale price. If the site looks like it was designed in the 90’s, has a weird address, fills your screen with pop-ups, just forget about it.

Be Extra Careful If You Are Using A Mobile Device: Smartphones can basically do everything a computer can do nowadays, but that doesn’t mean they are as protected against threats as your desktop. Most phones aren’t equipped with the anti-virus software that you have on your computer, so it’s easier for criminals to get malware on your mobile device that could help them steal information you enter. There’s also the risk of your phone being stolen, so make sure it’s password protected so any information you may have stored on it isn’t easily accessed.

Don’t Use Public Wi-fi To Shop: Anytime you enter personal information using a public network, you’re setting yourself up for identity theft. Most Wi-Fi hotspots don’t encrypt your data, so any hacker can basically just pluck your identity out of the air if he has the right software. This applies to mobile phones, too, since you’re often using nearby Wi-Fi. Be aware when you’re using a hotspot that any information you send through the Internet could be picked up by strangers; if it’s information that could make you vulnerable, wait until you get home to your protected network. It may be less convenient, but it’s much safer.

Check Your Credit Card Statement Regularly: Using a credit card is really the only smart way to shop online. If you buy something from a scam site using a debit card, check, or cash, there’s no way to get your money back. If you use a credit card, the card companies have to reimburse you for fraudulent charges. But they can’t always catch purchases you didn’t make or receive, so it’s up to you to keep an eye on your statements. If you see something fishy on your statement, just contact your credit card company to dispute the charge and possibly get a new card so the charges won’t continue.

Change Your Passwords Regularly: We know, we know. It’s a pain to go through and change the passwords on all your online accounts, not to mention the trouble it’ll take to try to remember them all. But if you really want to keep your information (and bank account) safe while you’re shopping via the Internet, it’s essential to mix up your account passwords every three to six months. This puts the kibosh on any hackers who have managed to break into your account. You should also make sure that you don’t have the same password across all your accounts, since that makes them all vulnerable if one is hacked.

Look For HTTPS On Link Rather Than HTTP: The Internet has a thousand different acronyms and it’s impossible for those who aren’t tech savvy to keep track of them all. One you really need to know if you’re going to make online purchases, though, is HTTPS. The added “S” means that the way your information is being sent is secure. HTTPS using SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, which encrypts the information flying through the wires so that only the intended recipient can see it. If you’re considering buying from a site whose URL starts with HTTP, be careful with the information you share. Other signs of a secure site are a closed lock or unbroken key at the bottom of the screen.

Don’t Click On Email Links: Instead, type out the address in your browser to make sure you’re going to the site you think you’re visiting. Many phishing scams involve emails from what seem like legitimate sites — banks, online stores, anything you might trust — and then send you to a phoney site where they can gather your information to steal your identity. If you get an email from a site where you’ve shopped before, make sure you don’t follow the links and don’t provide any financial or personal information the email requests. Real sites won’t ask for important information over email. If you have any doubts about an email’s authenticity, go to the company’s website and get in contact with them.

Update Your Browser: Each new version of your Internet browser, especially if you use one of the more popular browsers, gets a boost in security. Older browsers, besides not working as well with some websites, often have holes in their security that hackers have discovered and can exploit. The same goes for your operating system and anti-virus software. Updates will keep you ahead of would-be identity thieves and keep your credit safe.

Looking for advice? Call Consumer Advice Scotland 0800 316 1442. If you have been a victim of this type of crime call Police Scotland on 101.

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Study Trip to Cyprus

In this cold, wet week, the Blog is delighted to be able to transport you to sunnier climes and blue skies through Jason Oliver’s account of his recent study trip to Cyprus.

Before coming to Fearnan, Jason worked as a Junior Research Fellow at the Royal Academy of Art in London and it was there that he became interested in how people connect to their heritage using traditional art and skills.

He now works at the Scottish Crannog Centre, where part of his work involves coming to understand the methodology, limitations and resources available to the crannog dwellers who lived circa 400 BC, on Loch Tay.

Inspired by a small textile fragment found in the remains of the crannog in Fearnan Bay and preserved by the cold, peaty water, Jason has been trying to recreate the skills and techniques that would have been available to the Iron Age people who made it, along with the dyes that would have been available to them from local plants and berries.

In September 2019, Jason was invited to join a study visit to Cyprus to learn about the sustainable development of cultural and natural assets in two mountain villages. The visit was organised by the ARCHnetwork in Scotland, which is funded by the EU Erasmus+ scheme, and aims to promote European diversity in cultural and natural heritage. The Network facilitates visits to many countries, such as Poland, Iceland, Latvia and Romania among others, and by connecting people to the tangible and intangible* crafts, arts and traditions of those countries, encourages the sharing of ideas and skills.

*(Intangible crafts are those that are intellectual rather than physical, such as the skills and knowledge needed to produce something, as opposed to the craft item itself.)

Jason writes:

We travelled in a small group of five, seen on the left with the Course Co-ordinator.

The next seven days were spent meeting and connecting with a variety of crafters, forestry workers and local people who are building and maintaining communities in rural areas.

The visit went past very quickly, so I’m going to share some of my personal highlights.

We stayed in a small village called Lefkara, on the south coast of the island, with blue skies and temperatures hitting 30C most days, so it was welcome relief from the dreich weather with the ever-present mizzle, of Perthshire!

On the first couple of days, we had the opportunity to learn about the reforestation of the local area. Many oak trees are being planted, and we had a go at making small clay acorns, which were to be sold in a local shop, to raise awareness about the planting project. The acorns were fired in a handmade clay kiln, with bricks made from mud and straw, and held together with cow manure and mushed up clay. It did the trick; we got the kiln up to 1000C to fire our clay objects using a small fire inside the kiln, which was slowly built up, the clay added, and then the kiln was sealed for 24 hours.

We also visited a local silversmith in Lefkara. As happens in so many rural villages that are some distance from towns, the young people have left to find their fortunes in the city.  This means that not only is it difficult for the silversmiths to find apprentices but also that their skills are not being passed on, and consequently the number of people skilled silversmiths is sadly waning.

The studio was tiny and extremely hot because of the method of creating silver. They use the lost wax method, which involves making a mould out of resin, which is then injected with wax and left to cool. The objects are then put into a flask, covered in silica, which is held in a liquid, and then through a few other processes, the wax is melted out to create a mould for the liquid silver, which is poured in. It was incredible to see the craftspeople at work at a very laboured process.

They are hoping that these traditional skills will be kept alive, with foreign craftspeople coming to learn the processes. They are also being encouraged to get an online presence, so they can sell their work worldwide.

Lefkara is also a world-renowned centre for lacemaking. Leonardo DaVinci met his wife in the village, and the lace inspired the tablecloth on the Last Supper painting. Again, there has been a problem with young people taking up this craft as it doesn’t pay well; the people who still make lace can only earn 10 euros per day. It is also a time-consuming occupation and takes years to learn.

So, to counter this, The Green Village Shop has been set up as a community-led cooperative. Vintage clothes from the 1950s are bought from all over Cyprus, including north of the border in Nicosia, and small sections of Lefkara lace are sewn into the garments, making them fresh and relevant and creating a local fashion that is distinct. People from all over Cyprus come to buy ‘Lefkara Fashion’ and it contributes to a very specific regional look.

The shop has been a great success and has meant that the traditional craft of lacemaking is being kept alive, and a lot of younger people are working at the shop, sourcing clothes and sewing the lace into the garments. The shop has a very ‘Audrey Hepburn’ feel and it’s remarkable how community effort can reinvigorate a craft that appeared to be dying out. The north and south of Cyprus are markedly different, and this project has built a bridge between the two communities.

One striking thing that we noticed in southern Cyprus is the historical religious divide between Catholics and Muslims, evidenced by the colour of people’s front doors; blue for Catholics and green for Muslims. The barriers are slowly breaking down, and the Green Village shop is one step further in this direction.

Another impressive community-led project is the creation of a large number of mosaics that brighten up the streets of the local area, and beyond. Many students and visitors from around the world, come to Lefkara to learn traditional mural making skills and help with the installations in the surrounding villages and towns. This provides further income for the town, jobs for the local people, and has created a thriving community atmosphere.

Just outside Lefkara is a smallholding that creates halloumi cheese from scratch. The goats, which are looked after very well, are kept outside in the yard and their milk is used straight from source. It is heated and goes through a number of labour-intensive processes, including stirring the milk for 8 hours straight, to create the halloumi.

It doesn’t taste anything like the shop bought version we buy in this country; it is very creamy and doesn’t have a high salt content. It is perfect when grilled and served with freshly baked crusty bread, olives, cucumber and tomatoes fresh from the plant, drizzled with locally made extra virgin olive oil.

The trip really demonstrated the power of collaborative community effort, the importance of traditional skills and how by adding a small modern twist, they can be kept relevant and in line with modern tastes and fashions. I returned from the trip feeling inspired and it will definitely inform both my own personal artwork and my work focusing on ancient textile production, at the Crannog Centre.

I have really only scratched the surface of our 7 days in Cyprus. I haven’t mentioned the Ottoman period churches; the Roman splendour of Kourion; the beautiful mosques and architecture of Nicosia; the rope making from palm leaves or the visit to the olive forest to learn about how climate change has impacted the trees, but I hope that I have given a brief taster of the experience!

Please also enjoy these photos, taken from a photo-blog I kept during the trip.

If anyone would like to read the report submitted by the group to the Archnetwork website, it can be found here:-https://archnetwork.org/sustainable-development-of-cultural-natural-assets-in-2-cypriot-mountain-villages/

If you would like to know more about Jason’s work at the Scottish Crannog Centre, and all the other interesting things that are happening on the site, it re-opens full-time in March this year.

Perth & Kinross Remembers

Culture Perth & Kinross are running a project called Perth & Kinross Remembers, the aim of which is to create a First World War Legacy Collection that will be housed in the Perth & Kinross Archive at the AK Bell Library, where it will be preserved and made accessible for future generations of researchers.

The FVA is going to put the research from our project to commemorate WW1, through which we traced information about the 8 men who are commemorated on our war memorial, into the Archive. We succeeded in finding not only family and war service information about all the men, but also found photographs of 7 of them.  We also traced some of their descendants.

In addition, we will add photos and information about the Fearnan Poppy Project which produced over 900 poppies (knitted by Fearnan-connected people on several continents) that we used to decorate the war memorial on the 100th anniversary of the end of the war.

Perth & Kinross Remembers is also running a series of talks and there is one on January 31st at the AK Bell Library. It is called ‘Not Just Flanders: Scotland during  First World War’. There is more information here: https://www.culturepk.org.uk/whats-on/not-just-flanders-scotland-during-the-first-world-war/

Big Shed Yoga Workshop

On Saturday 22rd  February, Sadhita returns to the Big Shed  for a one day yoga workshop priced £50, including a vegetarian lunch. 

The workshop sounds great for anyone who spends a lot of time sitting and staring at a computer screen as it will consist of two practices:  one based on remedial back work and the other  shoulder work. Some meditation will be included.

Sadhita originally trained as a physiotherapist and has an incredible understanding of the structure of the human body. You can get more background about him from his website https://www.bodhiyoga.es

To book your place, email: http://websitecontact@bigshed.org.uk, or text/phone 07508 645453

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