Another Week in Lockdown

Deliveries News

On Friday morning Fearnan Hall car park was really busy with folk queuing for supplies from the Kenmore Bakery van.

As well as getting supplies, it’s a chance to catch up with all the local chat and gossip.

The turnout demonstrated how much this service is used and appreciated.

The team in the Courtyard also continues to keep local residents supplied and Friday afternoons are busy with folk coming to collect their orders. Here’s Mike loading goodies into the back of Elaine’s car.

These guys are providing a brilliant service to our small community and beyond.

The ‘Boomers’ among us will remember our mothers using a system like this – phoning the local greengrocer every week with an order that was then delivered. Could this become a habit that lasts beyond Covid-19?  We hope so!

Dee and Paul at the Ben Lawers Hotel are increasing their delivery nights and their menu.

They will be at Fearnan Village Hall at 5pm on Wednesday with pre-ordered meals.

The poster says it all.

Clapping for Carers

A few more pics of residents making as much noise as they can for Carers – pots and pans, saucepan lids and even a pair of castanets in use.

Life under Lockdown

 Some more Lockdown Moments from around and about:

Lesley reports that life goes on as near normal as possible. We are so lucky to live here, dog walks on our doorstep and a garden needing constant attention!  Potatoes, onions and shallots are all in and John has it all under control.

Amusements include online scrabble with our son in London (not good for my ego). We cut each other’s hair last week – it was great fun, but I came out of it much better than John. I got a bit carried away with the clippers – but at least he doesn’t need to think about haircuts for a long, long time!  

I’ve got a couple of books on the go – Becoming by Michelle Obama and Hilary Mantel’s last book in the Wolf Hall trilogy: The Mirror and The Light. Happy to lend either, although you might have to wait a while for the Hilary Mantel one as it’s nearly 900 pages!  

A big thank you to the local shops and businesses who have ensured we can stay at home and eat very well!

Good to see Molly getting in on the act!

Sheila and Peter wish to say ‘Howdie to our Lockdown amigos in Fearnan!

I joined Sheila in Edinburgh to ‘tough out’ the lockdown. Aside from our daily tootles (we have 5 different routes which we also vary by doing them clockwise/anti-clockwise in turn) there is really nothing especially remarkable about our daily routine. We didn’t start out with any lofty “mission statement“. A 1000-piece jigsaw that we still have aspirations to do lies in wait for when the weather indicates this would be the preferred activity.

One actually feels a tad guilty owning that the days are passing quite pleasantly if unremarkably.

I have attached a couple of pics taken on our daily walks. Starbank Park is looking particularly Spring like just now. The seaside scene is Newhaven harbour. One of our routes takes us out on a breakwater which gives fine views up the Firth to the bridges.

(The Blog Editor notes that Peter has omitted to declare his recently acquired addiction to the output of the 12 Triangles Bakery, and that he earns the right to at least half a 12T sticky bun for each loop of his daily tootle (and a whole sticky bun if Sheila isn’t looking!).

Also in exile are Neil and Fiona who are getting used an almost silent city, long walks with the dogs, lots of gardening, food deliveries by the box rather than from the supermarket, online Pilates, Skyping and ‘Zooming’ with friends for coffee and chat, reading and guitar/ukulele practice.

It has been said that Lockdown has felt like Christmas and Birthdays rolled into one for our canine friends who now have all their humans with them all the time (cats are generally less impressed by this intrusion into their personal space). Tego and Abi find some aspects of it a mixed blessing:

If we weren’t under Lockdown, we could have chased that fat pigeon off the grass!

Maybe even caught it.

A number of dogs have now featured in this Blog – what about the rest?  Skye? Rannoch? Hairy Harry and his girls? Mabel?  What about some news and pics of what you’re getting up to with your humans? Send them to fiona@fearnanvillageassociation.com

Fearnan Book Club Review

The Book Club conducted its first virtual meeting this month and April’s Review (below) has been compiled by Linda from various emails, a phone call and a conversation across the burn!

Apparently, she tells us, a third of people are reading more since Lockdown.

Most are reading fiction with classics and crime novels proving popular while titles about fictional epidemics such as Albert Camus’ The Plague, and The Viral Storm by Nathan D Wolfe have enjoyed increased sales.

Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it changed the World by Laura Spinney, an admired science journalist may also be an interesting read at this time. 

On a different note, Normal People, a 2018 novel by Sally Rooney is being serialised on BBC 3 starting on 26th April.

Our choice of book for our virtual session in April was Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, an American author and geologist. The story, which has an intertwining timeline, is set on the North Carolina coast. It is both a murder mystery and love story, eloquently told.


There was unanimous praise for this book which most found to be an enthralling, compelling reading and an amazing narrative. A few initially found it hard to get accustomed to the Southern accent but this didn’t detract from the overall enjoyment.   We were amazed by the resilience and resourcefulness of the young Kya, the main character, who was abandoned at a young age by her family. We were carried into her world and immersed in her story with its vivid characterisation.


The marsh environment and its creatures influenced her understanding of the world and we followed her development through the story as she grew up and became an author and authority on the flora and fauna of the marsh. We loved the beautiful, detailed descriptions and observations of the marshland and its waterways and beaches, the natural history and the poetry which featured in the book. 


We were sadly reminded of prejudices that can exist when someone in a community is different as she was vilified by the young people in the area. The trial brought out the best and worst of the village. 


We generally found the ending satisfactory, which has not always been the case with recent reads, although the murder plot itself left too many questions unanswered and seemed unlikely, although perhaps a brilliant twist at the end.  We felt that it would make a great film showcasing the wonderful scenery, colourful characters and relationships. 


Our choice of book for the next virtual session on Wednesday 13th May is Sleep by C.L. Taylor. It has been described as a gripping psychological thriller full of suspense, action, intrigue and mystery It is set on the Scottish Island of Rum in The Bay View Hotel where one of the guests is a killer but who is it ………..? 

Now that everybody has lots of time to read, here are a few chunky, historical lockdown reads currently being read by FVA members.

Liz and Lesley are both reading Hilary Mantel novels, Bring up the Bodies and The Mirror and the Light respectively. The latter, 879 pages long, closes the trilogy covering the final four years of a Cromwell’s life. It has been shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.  Alistair has been reading Culloden by Trevor Royle and The King over the Water by Desmond Seward, giving both sides of the Jacobite story. 

Jigsaw Show and Tell

We hear that lthere are quite a few people doing jigsaws to help pass the time. If you are one of them, what about sharing your efforts? After all, you spend hours and hours doing the jigsaw, look at the completed picture for a bit – and then you just have to break it up and put it back in the box. So why not share it with everyone?

To start us off, here is the puzzle that Linda and Alistair are doing – an Ordnance Survey Map.  And it looks like one to do your head in!  Good luck, chaps!

Many thanks to everyone who contributed words and pics to the Blog this week.  Please keep them coming to fiona@fearnanvillageassociation.com

The words and pictures on this website are covered by copyright.  The copyright of all pictures belongs to the person who took them and similarly, the copyright of the words belongs to the person who wrote them.

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Lockdown Week 5

Update on Deliveries

Good news for gardeners that Gatehouse Nursery plants – of both the edible and decorative varieties – are now available very locally at the Kenmore Post Office.

Killin’s first digital farmer’s market opened on Monday 13th April. The launch of Killin NeighbourFood was brought forward by market hosts Ellie Banwell and Paula McDonald, from the Scrumptious Garden, in a bid to support the local community during the current Covid-19 crisis, especially those who are self-isolating. It will also give a boost to local suppliers who are suffering as a result of the pandemic.

Customers will be able to place an online order for a wide range of products from local farms, food producers, market traders and specialist suppliers including vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, dairy products, preserves and breads. Orders can be collected weekly from the Killin post office on Fridays between 3 and 5 pm.

To register for Killin NeighbourFood visit:  www.neighbourfood.co.uk/killin 

And finally on deliveries, sometimes parcel deliveries go wrong and Hellen Gardner, who is currently staying in Dunaird at Creagach wonders if anyone took in a parcel addressed to her, for safe keeping?  It’s quite important and if you let Fiona know at fiona@fearnanvillageassociation, we can arrange collection.

Life Under Lockdown

We have some more Lockdown Moments – the first sent in by Moira and Joe. 

Joe took these 2 evocative Fearnan landscapes, one at the Lochside and he managed to capture a stunning rainbow.

From Moira we have a pic of Belle the dog hanging out on her pony Alfie, contemplating the meaning of life, the universe and everything, from the look of it.  And a moment on a walk down the Brae with Belle, Shiro and, on the left, Arnold the cat (as in Arnie The Terminator, because he’s a ceaseless hunter).

Some of you will recognise Arnold, as he’s been extending his friendship network around the village, but now you have been formally introduced and know his name.

We’re delighted to be able to include an international dimension to Life Under Lockdown, with this piece from Alastair Barnett who lives on Vancouver Island.  Alastair and his brother Jim (who now lives in the US) were evacuated to Fearnan from Glasgow at the start of WW2, along with their mother and (later) younger brother Iain .  They lived in Thistle Cottage, and at Balnearn, and attended Fearnan School.  You can read more about their exploits and about life in Fearnan during the war here: https://fearnanvillageassociation.com/2014/08/03/talking-about-fearnan-a-wartime-childhood/

Alastair writes:

Hi to everyone in Fearnan!  Today marks three weeks of official quarantine in Victoria, (or is it four weeks?) It seems such a long time.  I hope you are all ok, I hope your family and friends are safe. I see on the Fearnan blog you’re finding ways to muddle through this maddening time with the help of many generous neighbours, friends and volunteers, all pitching in to help each other.

Normally at this time of year, the streets of Victoria teem with tourists from around the world, but they are still now and all but deserted. No luxury cruise ships dock. No horse-drawn carriages line the Causeway. No double-decker tour buses idle beside the 112-year-old Empress Hotel, which is closed, no float planes buzz in and out of the Inner Harbour, and no ferry runs to Seattle. It is unnervingly quiet.

At home on the outskirts of town, we are doing what we are supposed to do; social distancing, staying home as much as possible and looking out for each other. I have no complaint and feel blessed to be well.  Slowly we are adapting to the change and it appears we’re in it for the long haul.  

Every evening at 7:00 pm precisely, a cacophony erupts as neighbours spill on to the street, beating pots and pans, pounding bass guitars, honking noise makers and the nearby Fire Department blast sirens in a display of enthusiastic appreciation for our front-line workers.  It lasts only moments then silence descends as everyone retreats indoors. From then to dusk, only the occasional dog walker or cyclist passes along the otherwise empty street.

The local drug stores and grocery outlets have adapted well and take every precaution to keep us safe. Most essential stores and nearby restaurants deliver and in that respect I’m lucky to have a friend who is in the grocery business and delivers food and sundries every Sunday. (Hooray! That’s today – I always add a chocolate bar or two to my list.)

As I am well qualified to be characterized as Covid-19 high-risk, (age) I stay home and spend time in my small garden when weather permits. Unfortunately, when I contacted the seed merchant on the mainland, they were no longer delivering to the island, at least for two-months. So, I’m without a variety of flowers. Although I saved some sweet peas from last year.

To add a bit of colour to my patch and keep busy, I dug out some old garden ornaments and with the help of a companion, re-energized them with acrylic paints which I got a couple of years ago but are still perfectly useable. I’ve attached a photo of our efforts and now instead of a display of blooms, I’ll be greeted by these gaily painted chaps when I step out to feed the birds in the morning. It’s not a perfect solution but it provided us mindless diversion for a couple of days and I’ll give them away when things get back to normal and I can plant again.

To further occupy my time, I registered for an online keyboard music course (proving that hope does spring eternal), I’m not sure the neighbours appreciate my endeavors but I enjoy making what I call, a joyful noise! Come to think of it, perhaps it would fit perfectly with our seven o’clock evening commotion!

As I retired many years ago, I’m used to spending most of the time at home and admit my life has not changed in a dramatic way due to the pandemic. So far just a few minor inconveniences which I can put up with. But I miss jumping in the car and picking up some odds and ends and visiting local garden markets.

When I can find flour ― everybody is baking now creating a scarcity ― I bake for myself and for a few neighbours.  I tried my hand recently at Petit Fours, (I won’t be doing that again any time soon. It proved to be a messy project.) On Friday I made Scottish Morning Rolls which turned out fine. I also cook and I supply a friend with dinner every evening.  (Because he can’t cook!)  Gosh, I wish we had an outlet like Lawers Hotel that delivers real Scottish mince and tatties!  What a treat that would be. 

It’s heartwarming to read the news from Fearnan during this ghastly time and how you are all coping and caring for each other. It reminds me of another time when a worldwide scourge altered our lives. And just like then, this pestilence too will end. The spirit of Fearnan lives on!

To everyone: my very best wishes, stay home, stay well and stay safe.

Alastair

Thank you, Alastair, and we send our best wishes to you and Jim and trust you keep safe.  Keep in touch!

Knitting Hearts Together

The Intensive Care Unit at Ninewells has put out a call to knitters and those of a crafty disposition.  They explain:

Among the many challenges hospital staff are currently facing, we are struggling with the inability to facilitate family members being present and providing comfort during the last hours of life for their loved one.

As ICU nurses and doctors, this is now a very difficult process for us because we usually give extremely close care and support to our relatives and facilitate all manner of requests during our patient’s final moments. Normally, this allows us to bring comfort and an element of closure to both our patients and their loved ones.

The difficulty and pain experienced by the relatives who cannot be physically present with their loved one is unimaginable.

We have been given permission to accept donations of duplicate knitted hearts, roughly 7×7 cms in diameter. We have also had kind offers to fashion the hearts from Harris tweed and velvet securely enclosing some stuffing.

The idea behind this is to provide the emergency contact of those who unfortunately pass away in ICU, a comforting link to their loved one. One heart stays with our patient and the other is given to their nominated contact.

This provides some comfort to those who are unable to be with their loved ones in their final hours.

Is this something all you arts and crafty types would be interested in joining in with?

❤️❤️The only stipulations are that the heart pairs are roughly 7x7cms in size, of matching colour (no black please) and pattern and that they are left in a sealed zip lock bag, with the DATE AND TIME SEALED on them, for 72 hours at least, before posting. This is to allow for the virus to become inactive. ❤️❤️

Please send your hearts to:

‘Knitted Hearts Appeal’
ICU, WARD 20,
Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, DD1 9SY.

There are some suggested pattern links below for both crocheted and knitted hearts. Others are available via Google.

Many thanks in advance from all the team at Ninewells and PRI.

https://www.crochetleaf.com/basic-crochet-heart.html

https://www.lilleliis.com/amigurum…/amigurumi-heart-pattern/

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/hearts-28

More Lambing News

Work continues in the lambing season, and we have some more photos of Alastair and Anais in action at the birth of twin lambs at Ewetopia.  In the second picture, the ewe is licking her new-born lamb.  Many thanks to Angela for the photos.

These other pics were taken by Peter in the lambing season last year.

Please note that all images are copyright and the copyright belongs to the person that took them. Similarly, all text is copyright to the person that wrote it.

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Lockdown Week 4

Deliveries Update

The network of home deliveries continues to develop. Here’s a picture of it in action, with a groceries box from the Kenmore Post Office being delivered to Joyce and Alistair at Balnearn.

(Looks like some first class social distancing in action as well!)

Another initiative in the area is the Covid 19 Support for the Community.

It began two weeks ago and is a joint initiative of Tay Valley Timebank, The Birks Cinema Trust and Upper Tay Transport Group, who have come together to provide support for anyone in the Aberfeldy and surrounding area who needs help. It operates 7 Days a week from 0900 till 1700.

It now has over seventy volunteers in and around Aberfeldy, Upper Loch Tay and Glen Lyon, ready to respond and get whatever you need, when you need it. That might be some shopping, or a prescription collected, grass cut, pets walked, or just a wee blether.  It’s all there at the end of a phone.

To use the service, phone 07507 479555 and let them know what you want. If it’s shopping or a purchase, they’ll buy it for you then phone to let you know how much it cost.  Payment can be made by cash, cheque, or bank transfer and the volunteer will then deliver your items to you safely.

Phone the same number if you would like to volunteer for the service.

Good news!  The Fearnan Fish Van is restarting this week on Friday and Ben Lawers Hotel will be delivering Pizza to Fearnan Hall Car Park again this Friday evening, along with their recently extended menu of: mince, tatties and dumplings; chicken curry and rice; or sausage mash and onion gravy. Ordered on 01567 820436 before 16.30 on Friday for collection at the hall at 18.00.

And news of a different kind of delivery…… 

……. the arrival of a Fearnan baby on Saturday 11th April!  Drummond Duncan Menzies Mill was born at home and then airlifted with Mum, Tara, to Ninewells for post-delivery attention from our great NHS.

Drummond and Tara were soon back home and are now isolating with Dave, Enya & Maggie.

Life Under Lockdown at Clach an Tuirc

Jenny Penfold writes:

Lockdown started for us when Amelia arrived home from University in Cornwall just in the nick of time, so we were all very relieved about that. She’s been continuing with her studies, finishing her 3rd year dissertation a few days ago. So now she’s enjoying her Easter hols before final exams in May.

Trevor and I have been busy outside whenever the weather permits, working in our new woodland.  

Our woodland is planted with a mix of 17 different native species, specific to this area and so most suitable for local native wildlife. We took delivery of over 1,300 young trees in Oct 2018 (the year we moved in) and started planting from Oct until Dec 2018, but then had to wait for the land to thaw a bit before finishing them in spring 2019. They were all planted as small trees, in tall thin plugs for their roots and protected by tubes. The tree examples below are Scots Pine, Bird Cherry and Hazel.

So, we have had plenty to keep us busy during Lockdown!  First, we had to finish the winter maintenance by removing grass from all 1300+ tubes and re-fixing them; putting some bark around each one to act as a grass suppressant (though this is a trial for this year as I’ve no idea if it’ll work in a field!); and then cutting back all the grass around the 150+ heathers I planted last year.

And Trevor has been ‘planting’ huge tree trunks in the woodland to act as perches for birds (hopefully lots of owls to manage the explosion of field voles!) and feeding stations, plus the stumps and roots for additional wildlife habitat. These were from the trees that had to be cut down by SSE as they were too big and too close to their wires – so all have been put to good use.

And more recently he’s added in some small foot bridges across the burns with some reclaimed sleepers – so it’s really coming together now and I can’t wait to see how it all grows this year.

Unfortunately, we’ve had a bit of vole damage to the trees, with them nibbling the bark or sometimes nibbling straight through the young tree so now some are reduced to just a few cms high. But I’m hopeful that they will survive. Below are two of the vole nests that I found in the tree tubes. We’ve unwittingly provided top quality housing for them – windproof, predator proof and fully insulated!

Bella the dog has obviously loved all this activity, with endless people around to entertain her plus heaps of walks up the hill with Amelia.

And she’s now obsessed with sniffing out the voles – it’s very funny to watch, as they are way too quick for her and have an extensive network of tunnels under the old grass.

Clapping for Carers

Fearnan has been taking an enthusiastic part in the national Clapping for Carers initiative every Thursday evening. Much ingenuity has been employed to find implements and instruments to make as much noise as possible but, with the village being so spread out, it is not easy to get a single photo that conveys the level of participation. But we can bring things together on the Blog, so here is a selection of last nights participants:

We’ll do the same next week so, if you weren’t included this week, please please please take a photo next week and send it to fiona@fearnanvillageassociation.com . And we’d love to hear from you even if you don’t live in Fearnan. There are lots of folk from near and far who read the blog, so join our visual ‘clap’ – we may not be able to hear you on a Thursday night, but we could still see you on the Blog!

Unsung Heroes

In these unsettling times, the fact that some things continue as normal brings comfort. This week, we’re giving a big round of applause for the Royal Mail and everyone involved in the continued collection, sorting processing and delivery of our letters and cards, parcels and packages and some on-line orders during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The delivery of mail has become even more important as a way of keeping the country together, businesses operating, and helping those who may not have the option to leave their homes.  Many people are continuing to work in difficult circumstances – and not always socially distanced circumstances – and we are particularly grateful to our local postal people who are making sure that, in the words of the Pony Express, ‘the mail must get through”!

A big thank you to Pat, Alan and Wilma for keeping our
local postal service (and the shop) operating!

And we can help Alan by following Postman Pat’s advice, and getting out with the anti-viral spray to make sure our postboxes are safe for him to use.

And finally, a really big thank you to everyone who has contribute photos, info and text to help keep the Blog going. Please keep them coming! And do let us have your nominations for Unsung Heroes.

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Easter Blog

Happy Easter, everyone!

And we have a fabulous Easter photo to start with, thanks to Angela and Alastair.  Lambing doesn’t stop for Lockdown, and the team at Ewetopia have been working non-stop.

Angela and Alastair are seen here with Chantal (from Holland) on the left, and Anais (from France). Angela says she is the Gofer but we suspect she is much, much more than that!

Update on Lockdown Deliveries

Ben Lawers Hotel will be delivering Sunday Roast meals to the Hall car park on Sunday afternoon. They cost £8.95 each and should be ordered by 16.00, for delivery at 17.00. Phone 01567 820436 for info and to place your order.

Paul and Dee have also extended their Friday night delivery menu so, in addition to pizza, you can now order: mince, tatties and dumplings; chicken curry and rice; or sausage mash and onion gravy. What’s not to like?

Other takeaway options that we’ve been notified about include Chekchek’s Greek restaurant in The Square, Aberfeldy (01887 830402), although takeaways need to be collected from Aberfeldy, and Must Eat Deliveries in Aberfeldy who will deliver: 01887 829300 or www.musteatscotland.co.uk

Info about other regular deliveries during Lockdown is on our Lockdown Deliveries page on this Blog. Sadly, despite much research, we have been unable to find any details of a Cadbury’s Mobile Shop, laden with Easter eggs, and heading to Fearnan.  Hopefully, the choc-a-holics managed to get their own supplies in advance.

Life Under Lockdown

We have some more Lockdown Moments.

The variety of projects going on in Fearnan during Lockdown is endlessly fascinating. Who would have thought, for example, that there was work going on to help unlock the secrets of past weather patterns? Well, Dolan is beavering away at his computer doing just that.

It’s well known that we spend an inordinate amount of time either checking what the weather is going to do, or talking about it. Scientists who earn a living by studying the climate are tapping into this obsession in order to ensure that old weather records are digitised and made available to researchers.

The records in question cover decades worth of significant data and go back to the mid-19th century, but they are handwritten and need transcribing. It would take years for scientists to do it themselves so they asked for volunteers to help with the task.

So, Dolan volunteered and is now helping the Met Office by transcribing these old hand written rainfall records. He has some records for Auchtermuchty on the screen in the picture.

This project aims to fill in the gaps in our historical rainfall observation network and to better understand wet, dry and normal periods in our history. One of the keys to understanding extremes of weather like the Beast from the East is to compare them with major events recorded in past centuries.

Elsewhere in Fearnan, Jo is passing Lockdown by spending extra time in her favourite space – her studio – sketching and painting, as well as designing an Easter card to email to the family round the world. Another current project involves various depictions of Fearnan – looks like that’s one of them on the easel.

Jo has also had a lot of fun creating and emailing projects to her great grandchildren, who can’t go to play group, to keep them occupied.

These have ranged from building and decorating a snowman (first snows in NZ,) to making their own porridge, building a hedgehog shelter, or growing tomatoes on their bedroom window sill.

This week’s project is an Easter Egg to print off, colour and decorate with birds’ feathers from the garden or found on walks. (If anyone wishes to use them for their own young relatives just email Jo.)

First results from Carlie aged 3 in New Zealand, who seems to have some very exotic birds in her garden!

Douglas is doing the 10 Today – an exercise programme from Sport England and Demos designed for older people, but he refused to be photographed whilst doing his workout!

Jo did manage to get a pic of him enjoying his post-exercise reward – coffee and cake! He was also contemplating pruning the pear trees…… which he did!

Do send your own Lockdown Moments to the Blog (fiona@fearnanvillageassociation.com). We’d love to hear from some of the Fearnan ‘diaspora’ in other parts of the UK or overseas. Let us know what Lockdown is like for you.

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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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