31st May 2023
Today is the official Meteorological last day of Spring! IT's SUMMER tomorrow! So I thought that I'd show you the local fauna found at Muir Rig on a late spring morning!: -
The hen pheasant having a drink along with her strutting partner are permanent residents in our back garden and regularly follow me across the grass when I fill the bird feeders, anticipating the usual handful of seed being cast their way. She appears to have sustained an injury, probably from an errant gun at one of the shoots, that has turned her right leg and she has been limping around our garden for at least the past year. At least while here she won't get shot at again.
30th May 2023
We were beginning to accumulate funds so we did another shop this month.148Kg of Fruit Juice, Biscuits, Pasta SauceTinned Fruit, Long grain rice, Toothpaste, Pies and lots and lots of tins of assorted protein. This brings the total that we have spent since March 2020 to £14,158.79 delivering 7.5 Tonnes of produce.
24th May 2023
The hinds are back in the field outside our window now and we await the delivery of the first fawns of the year. Meanwhile across the way the BIG BOYs are in velvet while their winter coats fall off of their backs!
8th May 2023
Yesterday we had a whale of a time at the Park Hotel where we Celebrated the Coronation with an Afternoon Tea beautifully organised by David Wheeler and Gillian NIven. We had a raffle for Sightsavers which raised £415 and once that is added to funds already ringfenced for that Charity will mean that we can send them in excess of £1,000.
29th April 2023
President LInda has been busy. Last night she met with Mick Cairns from "A Veteran's Best Friend" to hand over the first of our donations agreed earlier this month. There were so many recipients that it was going to be pretty costly having them all at the Club meeting for a free lunch so Linda has delegated delivery of the cheques to the Charities concerned to the new members. I hope that each will ensure that there is a wee photie taken and we can accumulate them all together. This is Mick after receiving his Cheque.
28th April 2023
President Linda inducted our four latest new members today. Rabie, Lindsay and John are weel kent faces by now but with the addition of Massimo, and soon yet another, our numbers will be up to 40 and rising. But as President Elect David says "We cannot take our eye off the ball!" (Sorry for ther fuzzy photie)
21st April 2023
I missed Rotary this week because we were at Inverarary Castle on a visit. We stayed overnight in a fabulous B&B called Powdermills in Furnace about 6 or 7 miles south of Invereray. This morning we visited Crarae Gardens and then Auchindrain. Auchindrai is a highland township that is Grade one listed and is the only such township that has survived the Highland Clearances. There are a number of dwellings still standing and continuously being lovingly restored. The last occupant left the township in the 1960s. I asked the lassie on duty at reception why none of the homes had toilets and, indeed, why there was no mention of this in any of the literature. She blushed and told us that as each cottage had an end room for the housing of cattle and such like they simply used that area as a privvy and bathed, whenthey did, in tin tubs on the kitchen floor.
This is a photograph of the kitchen of the most modern one, the occupant of which was actually younger than me!!!!!
18th April 2023
For the past forty nine years, not counting the last four, we have had at the top table a clock! It is inscribed "To The Falkirk Rotary on their Golden Jubilee 1974 From the Inner Wheel Club." It was placed in front of the President at each meeting to be a reminder of the fact that we were to finish at 2.00pm come what may and often was angled so that the speaker could see it too!
However, nearing the end of Jim Cairns' tenure as President it developed a fault which manifested itself in the clock being unable to be wound up! I have had a look at it and apart from believing that there is a ratchet somewhere within the mechanism that has ceased to function as it should there is nothing that I can do to repair it. I don't believe that the cost of any repair would be sensible SO! I have made an application to the Repair Shop (on the Tele!) in the hope that we can have it repaired for our Centenaty Celebration.
17th April 2023
We took a trip to Glasgow on Saturday to equip Diane with a decent pair of walking boots. Yesterday we tried them out with a short wander around the loch at Stirling University.
It was really very pleasant and we saw at least three swans' nests each with the pen sitting, their long necks laid along their backs. I didn't take any photographs because I would need to get too close and would have disturbed the birds. I did however take some other photographs: -
16th April 2023
I was thinking about Charlie Cameron. I think that I emailed you all to say that George had invited Charlie to our meeting on 1st June. Charlie was President in 1991-92 and it was he who was the catalyst for my friendship with George. I was Chair of the Community Services Committee that year and Charlie advised me to visit George and ask for a free Holiday as a raffle prize. George had been a member of the Club but had to resign as a result of business denying him the opportunity to attend. George was something big in one of the Country's most successful Travel Agents and travelled all over the Country managing a number of shops. Needless to say when I did ask for the Holiday it was met with an immediate positive response. George eventually rejoined the Club the following year and the rest is history.
Anyhow, as I said I was thinking about Charlie and who among us would remember him from those times. I still have a spreadsheet of members which I keep updated and the following statistics are apparent: -
14th April 2023
We awoke this morning to a pair of Greylag geese outside the kitchen window! I wasn't able to catch them together but this is the best shot I got of the bigger of the two.
Also Linda and I shopped for the Foodbank this morning. While we filled two large shopping trolleys we only managed to spend £225 so we'll probably have another trip this month.
11th April 2023
Well we had our Barbecue. The weather was not what was predicted but after putting a heater in the Gazebo it worked out quite well.
We cleared up afterwards and went inside but left the Gazebo up! Wrong idea! we rose on Monday morning to this-
However, undaunted, before I set off for the Seagull Trust at 09.30 we dragged it all back over the fence but we had to remove all of the canvas to do so. Until this afternoon when I dismantled the frame and put the bits in the bin it lay like this: -
I think that I have salvaged enough undamaged parts to make a patio table. Watch this space!
7th April 2023
What a beautiful Good Friday! I have just serviced the BBQ in readiness for the family Easter Sunday BBQ! The deck has been powerhosed and is sparkling. I still have to erect the Gazebo and set out the furniture but there's plenty of time for that. The youngest of our Grandchildren are just on the cusp of "being too old" for Easter egg hunts but they enjoy chocolate too much to say so yet.
I actually thought about cutting the grass for the occasion but decided that there wasn't enough growth above the level of the moss to merit that. I will wait until I can get rid of the moss then I'll think about cutting it again.
5th April 2023
The weather is not as nice as it has been these past few days. But every cloud....! gives me a chance to sit at the laptop and show everyone what they missed on Saturday night at the Allo Allo evening. Coincidentally it was George's 87th Birthday and he milked it from the actors who were doing the presentation.
4th April 2023
Yesterday we were on our way with the first of two trips through the Falkirk Wheel when we realised that our Crew were wholly from the Rotary Club of Falkirk. Skipper Andrew was assisted by President Linda, Charlie and me. I'm not sure how often that happens but it was a spectacular day. Our first trip on the Govan Seagull was down through the Wheel with passengers from Carrickstone House Care Home. We had lunch in the Wheel basin and returned to the Boathouse back up through the wheel with another group of passengers from Glenbervie Care Home.
2nd April 2023
Who would believe that it is now more than three years since I first began posting on this page. It was initially intended to be a focus whereby we were reminded daily of our connection to the Club even though we were not meeting face to face but like Topsy it just seems to have "growed".
I was looking back at the previous posts and noted that I had heralded the arrival of Charlie Morrison so I think that it is only fitting that I also highlight the arrival of the other additions to our membership.
We have been really fortunate in now having our numbers swelled by the arrival of the following members during the past year (apart from Charlie that is): -
In alphabetical order Lindsay Crawford (El-Matari)
Rabie El Matari
Arthur Priestly joined us from Larbert Club.
and Lewis Young
Of Course we have Derek Gunn returned to the fold but I don't class him as a new member! This brings our membership numbers up to 36 active members and 3 Honorary members. And there are more in the pipeline!
21st March 2023
Good Morning! I see that it's been a wee while since I posted here but there's no longer the need now that we are meeting regularly face to face.
I took a turn to myself this morning and checked over the little box in which I chuck anything from our bucket collections that is not Sterling. I was surprised about how it had accumulated. Here is the inventory of the box to date: -
1. €3.59 aggregated among 16 separate coins ranging from 2c to €1.
2. 75 Turkish Kurus (1x50 + 1x25)
3. What appears to be a 1967 Greek coin of indeterminate value.
4. 23c US in six small denomination coins
5. 1 Irish 10p!
6. 15c Australian
7. 2 Swedish Kronor
8. Isle of Man 5p and 1p
9. 100 peseta coin
10. Maltese 25c
11. 1 Malaysian Ringgit note
12. An old tanner (1966 6d) I might sell that to an English football supporter.
13. A 25mm diameter steel washer with a 9mm hole in it.
14. A small silver coloured pendant with a head and shoulder bust on both sides and no other description.
15. A Dumbarnie Links Golf marker. If you haven’t heard of this place it wouldn’t surprise me because it says on the marker “Est 2020”
I wondered just how that related to the overall total of what we had collected so I looked back the records. I took over the role of Treasurer in May 2020 2 months into the Pandemic. There followed 2 years where we did very little in the way of fundraising so it came as quite a surprise to discover that since May 2020 we have, in various different collections and venues, accumulated over £10,000 for lots of different causes. And that doesn’t count things like donations and raffles that don’t involve the exchange of actual cash!
20th February 2023
11th February 2023
The other day I watched a television programme hosted by Kathleen Jamie who is the current Makar (National Poet for Scotland). The post was established in 2004 when Edwin Morgan was appointed as the first Makar. He observed at the time that the UK Poet Laureate had never been anything other than English and it was proper that Scotland had its own.
But I digress! Kathleen, in her programme, visited Scottish poets from a huge breadth of time encompassing centuries up until the present moment. Obviously among these she referred to Robert Burns. I think that if you asked any Scot or for that matter anyone at all to "Name a Scottish Poet" the majority would be hard pressed to add any more than one or two names to that of Burns.
During the programme Kathleen read verses from the works of Edinburgh Poet Robert Fergusson (1750-1774). I knew that Burns often and openly admitted that Fergusson had been a huge influence upon him and his work. When he discovered that Fergusson had been buried in an unmarked grave he commissioned a stonemason to erect a gravestone upon which was written: -
No sculptur'd marble here, nor pompous lay,
No story'd urn nor animated bust.
This simple stone directs pale Scotia's way
To pour her sorrows o'er the poet's dust.
I realised that I knew nothing of Robert Fergusson and bought a volume of his work. Considering that he died at the age of 24 he was a prolific writer! He died on the very same year that Burns wrote his first poem at the age of 15. I take it from that that they never met! But here is a sample of Fergusson's work "On seeing a lady paint herself"
When by some misadventure crossed,
The Banker has his fortune lost,
Credit his instant need supplies,
and for a moment blinds our eyes:
So Delia, when her beauty's flown,
trades on a bottom not her own,
and labours to escape detection
by putting on a false complexion.
10th February 2023
It's me again! After a prolonged bout of Campylobacter Food Poisoning I have now been symptom free for 48 hours. That is the period which, according to those in the know, must elapse before I can say that I am no longer suffering from the effects! I must thank everyone for their expressions of concern. It really paid dividends on the way that I felt. I did however receive one email which said "You'll get no sympathy from me..." But considering how this thing utterly poleaxed me I wouldn't even wish it on Stewart Ross!
During the course of my confinement I had occasion to correct President Linda as she phoned while passing through Camelon. I corrected her pronunciation of her location (as I do!) and was assailed by her grandson in the car saying that Grandma was correct! As a result I compiled the following quiz and emailed it to Linda for the edification and education of her grandson!
19th January 2023
It has been cold these last few days but nonetheless beautiful. I had occasion yesterday to visit a new St John Driver outside of Dollar to deliver her kit and while driving through the village of Coalsnaughton was confronted by this view on my left looking north.
It was a straight piece of road with houses on my right who enjoyed this uninterupted view permanently. I had to stop and take the photograph. While I was quite pleased with the photograph my skill in that regard is limited and the picture does not do justice to the reality which was spectacular.
13th January 2023
Rotary International President-elect Gordon McInally, a member of the Rotary Club of South Queensferry, revealed the 2023-24 presidential theme, Create Hope in the World, during the Rotary International Assembly in Orlando, Florida on 9 January. He urged members to promote peace in troubled nations, help those affected by conflict, and maintain the momentum of initiatives begun by past leaders.
"The goal is to restore hope — to help the world heal from destructive conflicts and, in turn, to help us achieve lasting change for ourselves," McInally said at Rotary's annual training event for incoming district governors.
McInally spoke about a woman he met in Ban Taling Chan, Thailand, where Rotary members helped build houses, a meeting hall, and childcare and health care facilities following the tsunami that devastated South Asia in late 2004. The woman had lost her husband, her daughter, and her son in the tsunami, as well as her livelihood. But she still had a gift to offer McInally: a beautiful seashell."She went on to tell me that Rotary... had restored her optimism. We gave her hope," "This is how Rotary brings lasting change to the world," he added, "one restored or newly created hope at a time."
Secretary June has emailed you all with details of our Charter Anniversary Dinner. For the sake of our new members (and as a wee aide memoir for those of us with an age related memory impairment): -
The Charter Dinner, as it is known, is the annual celebration of the granting of our Rotary Charter by Rotary International. The Charter was granted on 12th December 1924 and this coming dinner will be a celebration of 98 years of Rotary Service.
The dinner has always been a black tie event and the feeling is that this should continue. It is after all an important occasion and, in any case, ladies don't get a chance very often these days to wear their "Posh Frock!" (Sorry if that appeared to be a wee bit sexist!)
It has always been the practice for members to invite along family and friends to share in the experience and this is to be actively encouraged.
Invitations have been sent to the secretaries of all the neighbouring Rotary Clubs and to Probus, Soroptimists, Round Table and our Inner Wheel Club of course.
In days gone by we used to invite the Presidents of the local Clubs as our guests and they would all sit at the "top table". We have discontinued that practice simply as a cost saving exercise and neighbouring Club members these days are expected to cough up for tickets like the rest of us.
We have also discontinued the existence of the "Top Table" in favour of a more equable layout where everyone sits at the same type of table.
The evening will take the form of an initial reception followed by a three course meal and coffee. It is hoped to have the Magic Circle tour the tables doing close up magic between courses and after the meal present a Magician who will perform for the whole company. There will be ample opportunity for intermingling and meeting old and new friends.
Just for old time's sake here is a photograph of the top table guests from 2008.
7th January #2
President elect David has been busy reclaiming the GiftAid that attached to our Christmas collections and the Pakistan Flood Appeal.
A total of £1,170.40 was recovered from HMRC. Of that figure £212 was attributable to the Pakistan Flood appeal. That brings the total that we have donated to the Appeal to £1,059.56. Now that might not seem to be remarkable but when you consider that the RIBI Appeal has so far grossed £22,000 then the fact is that Grangemouth and Falkirk Clubs between them have donated 5% of the total!
The remainder remains in our trust fund alongside the rest of the Santa collections which when gathered together means that our efforts over Christmas have swelled the coffers by £4,792.03.
We had a powercut last night! I have no idea how long it lasted but according to my electric clock it was restored at about 04.30. Then at 9.00 it went out again only this time it didn't come back on!
We are relatively used to these things happening and have a stock of supplies for just such an occasion. The stock consists of a Gas Camping stove (with two rings and a grill), a gas roomheater and a number of gas lamps no to mention candles.
Our electricity supply is overhead to a pole in the garden from where it comes into the house underground. While the Scottish Power technician was waiting for a colleague before he ascended the pole I asked him if he would like a cup of tea. He smiled and said "How are you going to do that with no electricity?" I suddenly realised that all of the kit that we have (described above) was brought to Muir Rig from Arnotgrange where Wilson and Wilson operated for about 40 years. When I sold Arnotgrange I brought that gear, the stuff that the office had used during the days of the "Three Day Week" in the early 70s, home to use as we did today.
When I was recounting this to the technician I noticed a wry smile on his face. He must have been less than a glint in his daddy's eye when these things were first used. Ah'm gettin' auld!
Nonetheless, the same laddie had us up and running again by 2.00pm. Aparently all because of a faulty connection in the fuse at the top of the pole!
And a Happy New Year to you all! It occurs to me that many of you may not realise just how helpful our Website is. For instance even if you just visited the Public page just beneath the banner headings there is always a note of our programme. It tells you for instance that the Hotel is closed this Thursday and we consequently have no meeting.
Now I'm not one to complain! But for the last two and a half years when we couldn't meet in person we met on Zoom! How come we can't do that on Thursday? Just for a blether I mean! It's not too late!
Also if you wish to log in as a member you will gain access to Council minutes, AGM minutes and a plethora of other information that I try hard to keep updated regularly. Even copies of "Rotary Calling are there for the last 12 months.
There's also a "Members' Forum" where you have an opportunity to address issues close to your heart and invite comment from other members. I tried that early on but there was no one willing to engage with me!
If you have any difficulty don't hesitate to get in touch.
I hope that you have all been saving your used postage stamps over the year. I should have reminded you to do so but simply forgot.
As a result of Strathcarron seemingly being unaware of what they did with the used stamps that we gave them we have identified another recipient in the shape of the RNIB.
Remember to trim all of your stamps so that the stamps themselves are undamaged and in one piece and only something like a centimetre of paper is attached all round.
Once you have done that George Honeyman will be delighted to accept your donations.
We have now completed our Christmas collection rounds at Tesco in the Central Retail Park and at Tesco in Redding and it has been a huge success. Mary's tenacity paid off big style with 22 individuals stepping up to the mark to play the part of Santa's elves and of course Santa himself.
The management at both Falkirk and Redding could not have been more helpful. Mary is pictured above with the Manager of the Tesco Redding shop and Santa at the start of the Redding Campaign.
Charlie and Andrew between them organised the delivery and collection of "Santa's Chair" and everyone entered into the spirit, including the generous patrons of Tesco.
Of course there were many extremely onerous requirements upon Santa who happily succumbed, in the event, to demands that folk sat on his knee for a photo opportunity.
And it wasn't always "Folk"!
Nonetheless everyone headed home last night happy with a job well done that raised a staggering £3,833.63 to swell the coffers of our Trust Fund. Well done everyone.
We have had a presence at Tesco in Central Retail Park over the last two days and with £662.23 now in the pot we have four more days to go at Tesco in Redding starting next Saturday..
It's great fun interacting with the public and seeing the children's faces when they see Santa. I even consider it fun when in the afternoon when I was an "Elf" one couple came up to me and said "The others are in costume and you are not but you are the oldest so we'll put it in your bucket!" How very dare they!
WE HAVE DISCOVERED THAT WE ARE USING MORE SWEETS THAN WE ANTICIPATED.
CAN YOU PLEASE BRING SOME MORE TO THE CLUB ON THURSDAY?
I wonder how many of you would react to the question "what special thing does your family do to celebrate Christmas?"
I listened to the replies to this question on Classic FM radio and not one of the replies said "We celebrate the birth of Christ!"
Now I have no faith and no religion but I think that the reason behind Christmas is being, or has been, lost! I have become increasingly aware of other religions whose annual celebrations continue to celebrate the basis of their faith and rarely deviate from the core reason for the celebration.
I recall some time ago we were addressed at the annual "Christmas Message" by an American lady minister from Camelon and she had a quiz which she presented to the membership. It went something like this: -
These are just 5 of the ten question that the lady posed that I can remember. The answers are as follows: -
Yesterday President Linda gave me £35.45 to put towards End Polio Now. The Hallglen RotaKids had a "Paint your Pinky Purple For Polio" (Cracking alliteration) According to miss Hurren's tweet 20p donations were invited. I think that the maths class needs some improvement! How come there's an odd 5p?
Preparations are underway for our celebration of the Centenary of the Club in 2024. The actual anniversary is December 2024 but it was considered that the main event should take place at the normal time of our Charter Anniversary Dinner in February the following year viz. February 2025.
If you have any notions about how this monumental anniversary should be celebrated get in touch with President Linda.
Just as an aside this is how successful our advertising capaign was on the internet: -
Almost 10,000 people reached! That can't be bad.
I'm not such an early riser but with the days becoming shorter I was able this morning to witness quite a spectacular sunrise.
We found quite a few interesting bits and pieces among Diane's mum's things: -
And I loved this photograph of a wee lad proudly displaying his "Purple Pinky" after having had his Polio vaccination. It was in the weekly update from Terry Zeigler Rotary International's Polio Guru.
Happy Saint Andrew's Day!
Diane took a turn and began clearing through a whole pile of stuff that we have had of her mother's when she stayed with us. She came upon these.
Takes ye back eh?
This week we enter into December and our Christmas lunch at Grange Manor. It promises to be a super occasion with a great speaker and 62 diners present. I really am looking forward to it.
On an entirely different subject, two years ago we bought a Clematis to climb up my newly constructed pergola. We planted it last Spring and it grew to about three or four feet produced one flower then died! We were surprised to see it rise like a phoenix this spring and it has grown right through the summer to a height of about 6 feet but absolutely no flowers - until now! I was totally gobsmacked to realise that we have a winter or autumn flowering Clematis. It is in it's element at present.
The other three corners of the pergola have been planted this year but with summer flowering plants.
Andrew has reminded me about the Amazon Smile facility. It costs nothing and can benefit the Club quite substantially if you take a little tme to make sure that whenever you purchase anything on Amazon you do it on Amazon Smile after having nominated your Charity as The Rotary Club of Falkirk Trust Fund. This is Andrew's page.
George, President Linda, Bill, Robert Craig, Diane and I along with 6 others had dinner at Cafe Corvina last night and then were entertained by "Big Band Theory" at the Trinity Church. It was a lovely evening of fellowship and entertainment that brought back many memories.
I managed to photograph the mist this morning. The photo doesn't yet do it justice. I think that I might either have to take photographic instruction or buy a better lens.
Not long now until we start our Christmas fundraising campaign. We are not fielding the Sleigh this year but instead are presenting Santa on a red velvet throne in the foyer of the Supermarkets. All so much more civilisd and comfortable. Hopefully this will entice more of us to lend a hand.
Our membership drive seems to be bearing fruit as well! we now have a number of application forms returned and being processed.
Not only that! Our Christmas lunch on 1st December is now to be attended by at least 60 people and looks like it's going to be a huge success in terms of Club fellowship.
George Stevenson's address to the Club yesterday brought a few memories back for me. In the late eighties early nineties while at Cumbernauld Swim Club I met a lady, mother of one of the swimmers, who had only just completed her training as a Justice of the Peace. She recounted a story where a newly appointed JP was so overawed and traumatised by her first foray as a judge she became tongue tied while sentencing a petty shoplifter and is reputed to have said "I have no option but to sentence you to death!"
Today the Foodbank requested Long life milk, Orange Juice, Pasta Sauce, Tinned Veg, Corned Beef, Tinned Fruit, Tea/Coffee, Tins of Tomato, Deserts and Jelly, Soap and Shower Gel. As ever Linda stepped up to the mark and delivered 114Kg of the requested goods to the Foodbank. That brings our total so far since March 2020 to £11,732.89 and 6,303.8 Kg.
On Friday I received an email from a teacher! It used the word "Photo's" purporting to be the plural of Photo. What chance have our children got if the teachers have no knowledge of grammar.
This morning it was miserable and misty early on. The ground in the field is muddy and the place looks a wee bit forlorn. Then these guys showed up.
"The rut's done, a' the hinds are pregnant, nae antlers tae fecht wi' even! Whit'll we dae noo!"
Well that's the first day of our Poppy Collection at Tesco redding completed and what a day it was. Some time ago Ian asked us to buy £1,000 of Poppy pin badges to sell this week and we were a bit retiscent about spending that amount of money so we agreed to £500. Yesterday that £500 worth of pin badges was sold out by 3.00pm. The collection cans were full of very high value currency including many £5, £10 and £20 notes. We won't know how much was there until Tesco count it but it was a lot of money!
As for the Poppy Pins the £500 worth actually netted £530.05 because folk were putting in a fiver for instance and taking no change. £30.05 will therefore be added to a can at some point over the coming week.
For some considerable time now we have been using Colgate Total toothpaste. Recently the packaging changed to a more sustainable and recyclable HDPE (That's High Density Polyethylene, a thermoplastic polymer produced from the monomer ethylene.)
The thing about that material is that it doesn't deform like regular toothpaste tubes and it really is a helluva job to get the last of the toothpaste out of the tube.
Last week we had reached a stage where we were just about ready to admit defeat and start a new tube when I had another lightbulb moment and cut the tube with a pair of scissors.
And, by dipping the toothbrush into what remained in the truncated tube, we got another week's worth of toothpatste out!
So much happening recently that I saved this for a quieter day. The Shelterbox tent was taken to Laurieston Primary School where the kids were blown away by the concept. Mary and Nancy visited and Andrew Wilson (shelterbox Guru from Grangemouth) supplied the muscle.
This next one was sent to me by Mary who entitled it "Nancy covered her poo!"
Last night we held our "Come and meet Rotary" event. It was a humungous success from every point of view. All but three of the invited guests who had accepted the invitation showed up on the night. There was a buzz about the room as our members mingled and chatted and, in some instances, met old colleagues and friends the presence of whom on the evening came as a complete surprise.
President LInda started the evening off, welcoming everyone (who until then had been enjoying the chat and the drinks reception) and outlining the purpose of the evening. She handed over to President elect David to introduce the powerpoint presentation. David quietly and eloquently took everyone through the show that had been developed over the past month by Andrew and him.
A finger buffet allowed further mingling and chatting then a presentation about Rotakids by President Linda was followed by short interviews of Stewart, Ausat and Mary giving their experiences of Rotary.
The venue was perfect and the management could not have been more helpful in the organisation of the evening. We anticipate that there may be at least 6 new members produced as a result. Well done everyone!
Andrew has been busy again lighting up Falkirk for World Polio day.
Today is "World pasta day" Why? I hear you say! Don't ask me it just is! It got me thinking however. I thought that I knew my pasta. I have made pasta. I have a pasta maker! The pasta maker doesn't make Pasta it simply shapes it and ensures that it is of the proper thickness. Then I thought How many different kinds of Pasta can you get and why?
It is estimated that there are approximately 350 different types of pasta - and about four times that many names for them! This is due to the fact that some types may have different names in different languages, or even in the same language: in Italy, for example, names vary according to the region or area. In addition, pasta manufacturers and cooks may come up with new shapes or give new names to old shapes…the possibilities thus become endless!
Italian pasta names often end with the masculine plural suffixes –ini, -elli, -illi, -etti or the feminine plurals -ine, -elle, to convey the sense of "little"; or with -oni, -one, meaning "large". Other suffixes exist too: -otti ("largish") and -acci ("rough", "badly made"). In Italian, all pasta type names are plural. Pasta ending in 'ini' may be a smaller version of a particular shape, and pasta ending in 'oni' the larger one. For example, spaghettini (smallest), spaghetti (regular), spaghettoni (largest).
Now I have simply copied this from athe web site "Italymagazine.com" but I will bow to superior experience and knowledge of those among us who know better!
It's World Polio Day!
So far this year in Endemic Countries: -
Considering that there were in excess of 300,000 cases EVERY YEAR in 1983 when we began this thing we cannot stop! We are succeeding. We will succeed.
I think that I have mentioned before about how sometimes we can look out over the Forth Valley and see it filled with mist. I've never managed to catch that with a photograph before so I tried again this morning and failed again!
There are a few of our members at the last District Conference of District 1020 at Peebles. Andrew has sent me these photographs.
I've been going through my bookshelf again and revisited "Planning our new homes. A report by the Scottish Housing Advisory Committee" (1944 3 shillings net).
I am reminded again about just how sexist and misogynistic our Government bodies were at that time. Is it possible that nothing has changed?
Note the "minimises the work of the Housewife"!!!
Yesterday a busload of us visited the Burrell Collection with George Honeyman. We were met in the foyer (before they were officially open, I discovered later) and split into two groups. The group to which Diane, my brother, his wife Elaine and I were allocated was the same group that included George. We were led through a proportion of the old areas of the museum before heading downstairs to the new area that has been being fitted out for the past two years. Laura, our guide (who curated and created the space) studied Sir William Burrell at Glasgow University and majored in Art History. She was a superb guide with a knowledge of her subject that was almost intimidating.
During the tour Laura made numerous references to Doctor Tom Honeyman and on each occasion deferred to George with the line "your ancestor" to which George replied "The family just called him Tommy!" George was justifiably proud and posed for us willingly.
Before the renovation there was an exhibit which took the shape of a reconstruction of a room in Hutton Castle the home of Sir William Burrell. At that time the visitor to the museum was only able to stand in the doorway and look into the room. Now that the renovation is complete visitors can wander through the room at will. The photograph above was taken there.
Downstairs is devoted to an explanation of how the collection came to be in the care of The City of Glasgow and highlights the part that Doctor Tom Honeyman played in that. The next two photographs show George and his neice beside the board which briefly explains what happened.
What came as news to me was that even after having donated his collection to the City of Glasgow, Sir William Burrell continued to add to the collection. Most notably among the items that were so obtained were a beautifully ornate carved oak ceiling and a series of stained glass panels of global importance.
We all met in the restaurant after the guided tours and enjoyed a lovely lunch. I would recommend the steak sandwich although it is not for the faint hearted. I couldn't finish mine.
We'll be back!
My sister emailed me the other day and, for a reply, she "waited with baited breath" I replied to her (jokingly) that I was curious about what she hoped to catch with her "baited breath" but wished her success in her venture nonetheless. I then went to the dictionary because I realised, smartarse that I am, that I had no idea where the word came from or what "bated breath" actually meant.
There are as many different notions about what the derivation of the word is as there are dictionaries to ask.
The Oxford English Dictionary (a hard copy of which weighty tome I keep on my shelf) has this to say: -
I like to think that the origin of the word as used in the context above relates to the Falconry part. You wait with anticipation and fluttering breath for a response.
If you tell the truth you won't have to remember anything Mark Twain
Things have moved on apace! With the active assistance of PDG Calum Thompson we have unearthed the following: -
Prior to our District being entitled "1020" it was District "102"
and prior to that it was District "2" which included much if not all of
what is presently District 1230. (full circle then)
Curiously I approached RIBI on the same subject asking for any historic references to Falkirk that they might have and was told that their archive is not accessible by Clubs! That's got to change surely.
Also unearthed by Calum is the fact that the District Youth Exchange Officer in 1972 was a member of this Club much the same as it is today with Jim Cairns. In 1972 it was Tom McGowran, Editor of the Falkirk Herald. His wife Iris is/ was a member of The Inner Wheel Club of Falkirk.
Often in the evening I have these lightbulb moments! I had one last night! Out of nowhere I thought about our Rotary lectern with the three bronze plaques listing the names of all of the Club Presidents since the beginning. I thought about how one is not supposed to polish bronze and the time when the engraver got Manus McMonagle's name wrong and proceeded to turn the plaque over, polish it and re-engrave all of what was on the original side on what would become the upper side. This meant our lectern displayed and still displays two beautifully patinated bronze plaques and one brightly polished on the right hand side.
Then I thought about the bell and the display cases with the bars that have been removed from a crowded and heavy President's chain. And then there was the Inner Wheel Clock that was placed by the
President's position each week as a reminder that 2.00pm was to be
observed as the end of the meeting. I have that at home but sadly it
needs to be repaired. Is there a clockmaker among our ranks I wonder.
All of these things were once proudly laid out each week at our meetings by the sergeants (Antecovid).
Now it is no longer possible to carry on these traditions.
I would like to think that we could record that history for posterity somehow and I have resolved to create a space here on our web site that does just that. What we do with the actual artefacts is something else. I believe that at least some of the earlier bars removed from the chain are actually gold although I may be wrong on that count. There is a possibility, I think, that the facility at Callendar House may be interested in receiving them into their archives where not only we but anyone who might be interested in the future would be able to see them in the flesh.
With all of that in mind I am sure that there are quite a few of our elder statesmen who might be able to contribute material for such an undertaking. Things like District office for instance. I know of Ian Rule and Jim Watson who were both District Governors and I believe that Festus Moffatt was at one time District Treasurer but when and for how long I have no idea.
So! let me have anything that you think might be interesting to include.
In ten days time we will play host to a number of visitors at the Brockville suite at the Community Stadium. So far we have 19 people attending. When the invitations were sent out they were addressed to the invitee and his/her partner. I don't think that it has been said before but I think that it would be good if we took ours too! I know that Diane will be there. Some time immediately before the event I will circulate an updated list of who's who among our guests.
I was watching the "Antiques Road Trip" as we normally do of an evening and all of a sudden realised that we are being duped into believing that the participants are driving the classic cars all over the country. It was only when one of them crunched the gear while changing from 1st to 2nd gear that it reminded me that these cars are quite different to the ones that most of these people are used to today.
I mean, when was the last time you drove a car with a choke? When was the last time you drove a car that didn't have a synchromesh gearbox or power steering? If you instructed any of these people to double declutch in order to avoid crunching gears on the way through the box they would look at you like you were speaking a foreign language! I believe that they are filmed in the cars over a very short length of road and probably never get out of first ot second gear.
What about the "Dip Switch" being a button on the floor of the car next to the clutch? Or even the absence of wing mirrors. No electric windows! No heated rear window! And quite often as on many cars the windscreen wipers were powered from the vaccuum in the inlet manifold of the engine and when the engine was working hard the windscreen wipers would only just manage to move.
Halcyon days indeed!
I have only just finished reading a book called "Blood Legacy" by Alex Renton. It is a record of the papers of the Fergussons of Kilkerran in Ayrshire of (whom the author is a distant relative) and their dealings in the slave trade in the 18th and 19th century. In the latter stages of the book I discovered something that should have been headline news but never quite made it, I cannot understand why!
In 1835 the Government borrowed £20m in order to compensate slave owners for the loss of "their property" when slavery was supposedly abolished in this country and its colonies. That loan was only repaid in 2015. It was in 2018 when somebody from the treasury tweeted on its official Twitter channel to its hundreds of thousands of followers the following: -
Whoever it was seemed to have thought that this was something to celebrate but David Olusoga (A House through Time BBC) was incensed by this insensitive tweet and replied: -
"So basically, my father and his children and grandchildren have been paying taxes to compensate those who enslaved our ancestors, and you want me to be proud of that fact. Are you f**king insane???”
So! it would appear that it took the British Government 170 years to pay back a loan of £20million. They don't say which Bank actually ended up receiving the money but I am certain that it would have benefitted right royally from the incurred interest over that time. It wasn't just the slave owners that were the bad guys!
I should say that my interest in this was peaked by a piece of my own family history. My Great Grandmother was Nanny to the Fergusson Household in Kilkerran. Her sister was a housemaid at the same time. According to the records my Great Grandmother had two children born 7 months apart!!! My father took the view that one of the children was not in fact hers but was that of her sister who had been put upon by the master of the house who subsequently persuaded my Great Grandmother to bring the child up as her own. That child was my Grandfather!
The truth of the matter is probably much different. I spoke about this once with Bob Howatt Senior Consultant Gynecologist at Rottenrow. He said that it was not uncommon for chidren to be born 7 months apart at that time, The miracle, he said, was that the child survived.
Robert and I shared an email from Bert at Apeldoorn today: -
I don't know about you but I think that that was a result!
What a weekend that was.
Well I say weeekend but it all began on Thursday. We had a visit from District Governor Duncan Collinson for his Gubernatorial Address. Duncan referred to the adjective in his presentation but did not elaborate. You will recall, I hope, that I posted something here when Gordon was agreeing dates with Duncan. Duncan corrected Gordon's description of his address and offered "Gubernatorial" as the proper adjective. After a wee bit research I discovered that it most properly relates to the State Governors of the USA. But hey ho!" Duncan's address was inspirational and to the point. He had obviously done his research (I like to think by looking here and our facebook page).
He was also witness to Bob Spears at long last presenting a Ukraine Flag to the Club which had been given to him by a colleague recently returned from there. Bob had hoped to have the gentleman himself present but had proven to be too difficult.
That afternoon the Dutch contingent from Apeldoorn 't Loo was to arrive. I had been told that it was to be at 15.00 but Bert texted me to let me know that they were to visit Stirling Castle first. It was Diane's birthday and I had promised to cook her a special meal so I was unable to welcome them when they eventually arrived at the Park Hotel. That was down to President Linda and Robert Craig.
Friday morning saw us visit Graeme High School and St Mungo's High School along with all 14 of the visitors to witness the result of everyone's efforrts to have defibrillators installed in the schools. Conspicuous by his absence was Bill Laurie still in the throes of Covid and that was great shame because we had a great couple of visits and Bill had been central to the organisation of them.
President Linda, Robert Craig, IPP Narek and I joined the guests as they were entertained right Royally by the Heedie, staff and pupils at each of the two schools. Michael Gillan, photographer from the Falkirk Herald was there at Graeme High to record the event. It was noted during the visits that (as was the case at our schools' days) all but one of the pupils were of the feminine gender. I later realised that much the same was true of the staff representation.
On return from the Schools it was decided that our friends would dine at Boardwalk and in order to avoid the serious traffic congestion on the Camelon and Glasgow Roads I undertook to steer them through the back streets of the metropolis that is Kemlin ! I started out at the Park Hotel leading a caravan of four cars and ended up at Boardwalk with only three. The fourth must have made it in the end because everyone was present in the evening at The Courtyard where they were joined by Robert Craig, George Honeyman, John and Margaret Struthers and Jim and Kareen Cairns. No one told me and I am delighted to see that Bill Laurie was present too! It was only when I went to import Jim's photie that I saw him!
And a great time was had by all!
I would have been present too and so would IPP Narek but we were both at Perth for the 75th Anniversary Celebration of St John Scotland.
Then on Saturday we were joined by Grangemouth Club at Tesco in Redding for a collection in aid of the victims of the Pakistan Floods. We raised in excess of £800 then and once we add the Giftaid that will be swollen to over £1,000.
9th October 2022
Yesterday we were joined by members of the Grangemouth Club at Tesco in (the) Redding with our collection buckets. The object was to raise funds to aid the victims of the Catastrophic floods in Pakistan. The generosity of the Tesco customers knows no bounds and we collected in excess of £800 and by the time David recovers the Giftaid on that we will have exceeded £1,000.
Of course as usual there was the odd foreign coin among the donations and the following indicates the position in that regard from yesterday's collection: -
I am thinking that the owner of the wee charm might be missing it so if you recognise it then simply get in touch and I will reunite you.
I always enjoy these outings. Yesterday George and I had a great blether with Judy Johnston and when a young lady popped cash into the bucket and said "My dad was in the Rotary" I said that was nice. She then said "Are you Mr McGill?" to which I replied "Yes, Sandy McGill!" She then smiled broadly and said "My dad was Sandy Bovaird!" We had a great chat after that.
Since we have returned to regular face to face meetings I have fallen out of the habit of posting here. I actually intended this morning to delete the page altogether until I saw what I had last posted. It was then that I thought that since the Pandemic some of us have been less assidous in attending meetings and that's a shame. It means that this page is the only way that they will have been able to meet Charlie and any other new members that we may be successful in recruiting.
The meetings have become something different to what they were before but nonetheless enjoyable. So if you are one of these people then why not make an effort to attend, it doesn't have to be every week! I always said to my clients when I was working "You have my work and personal email addresses, home, mobile and work telephone numbers you can reach me 24/7 - except for 2 hours on a Thursday lunchtime which is my time!"
I had a visit from Robert Craig yesterday and ought really to have shown him more hospitality but as it was I had to go out and was anxious to get moving so I virtually chased him out of the door. Sorry Robert. His visit was about the plaques for the Defibrillators and I was so ashamed of the untidiness of my study that I left him standing in the kitchen while I retrieved what I sought from my study.
This morning I resolved to rectify that situation and began to tidy my study.
I have a copy of every Club handbook that has been issued since I joined the Club in 1989 (except one). Among these, I found, are two special anniversary booklets. (Stewart Look away!)
There should have beeen one for the Golden Jubilee but I can't recall whether or not there ever was. If there was then I don't have it but I began to think that it is still not too late to have one manufactured for the Platinum Jubilee. What do you think?
I am beginning to feel that Diane and I are perceived as "That old couple at Muir Rig". We opened our back door this morning to a basket left on the doorstep by our neighbour!
I'm not altogether sure how we are going to be able to use all of the content (Except the wine that is!) There were tatties, carrots, parsnips, cabbages, beetroot, swedes, squash, marrow, cucumber, courgettes, leeks, tomatoes, sweet peppers, chilli peppers and tomatoes. I can see us having a vegetarian diet for some time to come.
I have a less than perfect internet connection which maximises out at 20Mb/s download and 25 Mb/s upload. I can't get anything like that via my landline which offers something like 0.5Mb/s in both directions. So my broadband router is a mobile router which gets its intenet via the phone network. As a result things take a wee while to download at times and this page was becoming tiresome so I have deleted everything before October last year in an effort to speed it up. Whether or not that is effective remains to be seen.
Our grandchildren Jorja and Shaw are at a Scout "Camp" this weekend at Lochearnhead Scout Station.
Wow! that took me back! Picture it! - 1966 - The First Falkirk Rover Crew was sharing a campsite at Ardchullarie More with the Stirling Cadets (They were girls who were being trained to be leaders in the Guide movement) Ardhchullarie More is on the East shore of Loch Lubnaig about half way up the loch. The camp was chaperoned by the Cadets' boss, Mary Nixon, a strict disciplinarian whose task in life was to ensure a physical presence between the boys' and the girls' camp sites.
There was a contingent of English Scouts at the same time visiting the Lochearnhead Scout Station and we were conscripted to entertain them there. Diane and Sandra sang. They did a lot of that then! and we, the boys, led by Bob Fearns, proceeded to enlighten those present about the life and habits of the native Scottish Haggis.
You don't see many of them because they are becoming extremely rare. This rarity is in essence as a result of the physical make up of the animal and it is surprising that it was able to have reached the level of population density that it, at one time, enjoyed.
The animal has three legs and because it exists on the slopes of the Scottish mountains two of these are shorter than the other. This enables the animal to stand with its two left short legs on the high side and with its long right leg on the low side can assume a perfectly horizontal stance with no effort whatsoever. Unfortunately this also means that it is only capable of travelling anti clockwise around the mountains.
In the act of procreation the male requires to aproach the female from behind. The female Haggis however is not always receptive to approaches from the male and often feigns acceptance only at the last minute to dodge the advancing male and allow him to pass her. At this point the male's only recourse is to run as fast as he is able all the way around the mountain until he meets up with his paramour again. If she is still there that is.
I have no recollection of how these things were received but I have nothing but pleasant memories of the occasion, which I believe to be among the earliest occupations of the "Scout Station".
It's that time of year again. The skies above Muir Rig resemble the Battle of Britain as at least 100 swallows feed up on the wing for their flight south for the winter. They travel down
through western France and eastern Spain into Morocco, before crossing
the Sahara Desert and the Congo rainforest – finally reaching South
Africa and Namibia. They will migrate during daylight, flying quite low and covering about 320 km (200 miles) each day. Many of these birds are less than six months old and some are as young as two months having fledged as late as July or early August. It is a spectacular sight in the skies above the house. and when I go out to try and photograph the occasion the noise they make is deafening.
Yesterday is a date that will go down in History. I think everyone is aware of my political views and those of George Honeyman but when I phoned him earlier today to ask how he was doing (He had pulled a muscle in his neck) he said he was doing fine and recovering but that he "had a wee bit of a tear in his eye regarding the passing of the Queen" I cannot help but agree with him. Queen Elizabeth (I could never get round to allowing her the title of "the second") was an amazing woman who lived her life on the simple premise of Service! She was a credit to our nation and a role model for the generations of a century!
Resquiescat in pace Lillibet!
It was chilly last night and, considering the price of electricity, (we have an electric boiler) we decided rather than turn on the central heating we'd light a fire in the living room. Well!, rather like the lady who announced to her husband that the airbags on his brand new Mercedes worked perfectly well, we now know that our newly installed Smoke and Carbon monoxide detectors work!
The fire in the living room is an enclosed Multi fuel stove rather like what you would call a "Log Burner". I had no sooner set the fire and lit it than smoke started billowing out of every opening into the room. I ran outside to check the chimney and there was no smoke coming out of that. By this time the fire was burning well and barring chucking a bucket of water over it there didn't seem to be much I could do about it.
It was a safe enough situation in terms of fire because the fire was effectively contained but the smoke kept billowing out. I shut the fire down with the intention of starving it of oxygen and opened the patio doors. I opened the front door and allowed a through draught to disperse the smoke until the fire died out.
Then without warning the chimney flue began to do just what it was supposed to and all we had to do was retire to the Dining room with our chicken korma and dine in fresh air while our ears were assailed by the screaming of the detectors. Soon everything was quiet and the fire was burning away happily. We left the doors open for a while until all of the smoke had disappeared then settled down for the evening.
This morning I stripped the fire and checked the flue. It was pristine! I believe that whatever it was that was choking the flue last night must have burnt out because there was no evidence even of any residue.
Next year I'll check the flue before setting the first fire of the season!
I was chatting to David and Stewart at the table yesterday, telling them of our experience of the day before. We had been watching tele and Diane suddenly shot to her feet screaming "LOOK!" and pointing out of the window! I could see nothing from my angle and after the second or third "LOOK!" I had to get up an see it from her vantage point. There, in the garden were 12-15 stirks (That's a yearling coo for a' you toonies) David reckoned that I should have taken a photograph and posted it here but I was more intent on getting the beasts off my rockery upon which they were sublimely grazing.
Having run outside and herded them back down the side of the house and down the drive I phoned my neighbour to tell him that his stirks were now out on the road. It never occurred to me that his dairy herd are all Holstein or Freisian (or a combination of both) at least they are all black and white. The beasts in my garden were more likely to have been Ayrshire or Ayrshire cross, being a brown colour. It wasn't until the following day that I received a return call from my neighbour telling me that they weren't his but that they had wandered all the way from Bandominie. (Pronounced Ban-DOM-inny). Now that is a farm which is accessed from Castlecary and is in excess of 2 Kilometres away from Muir Rig as the crow flies. How they managed to end up in my garden remains a mystery.
But all of that was eclipsed yesterday when President Linda presented IPP Narek and Jim Cairns with Paul Harris Fellowships. And well deserved they were too!
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