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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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’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 email@example.com
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com
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.
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
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Many thanks to those who got in touch after the last Blog posting with thoughts and suggestions.
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!).
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
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.
(We know that the medics have differing views on the effectiveness of masks, so you should do your own research on the subject.)
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.
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.
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: email@example.com so it can be shared. Cheery and uplifting thoughts and comments will be particularly appreciated!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
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.)
Please add any stories or comments to the Blog, or email the Blog (as above).
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 Sunday10.50 at the War Memorial and afterwards in the village hall for tea and coffee.
Saturday 5th December – Mulled 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.