NEWSLETTER No 36
Romance and the Berries - July 2001
For several summers past, a lively addition to Dunning's population has been a group of students from the continent, hired to pick berries at the two big commercial operations in the parish, Broadslap and Leadketty Farms. If you were at any of the Society's barn dances at Ian Philip's, you'll have seen the students there.
The young men and women have come from many countries. Since most are of graduate or postgraduate years, it's no surprise that romance has often flourished amidst the berries. Indeed two recent treasured Dunning arrivals have been a young Spanish and young Polish woman who married local lads.
It was John Kirk of Broadslap who first told us a poignant story of a romance which sprang up last year between two students at Leadketty, a Spanish lad and an Estonian lass. There were seven Spaniards working at Leadketty. They had all come for just a month. When it came time to leave, the Spanish lad was in despair. He desperately wanted to stay, but like the others he had bought an unexchangeable return ticket.
His countrymen saw his plight. One day all of them handed their work chits in, every one marked in the lover's name. With this help, he was able to buy a later return ticket and stay with his Estonian.
As Moira Corrigall of Leadketty remarked, "What price love?" She doesn't know what became of that couple, but she recently heard from another student whom she tells us about on page 13. Yes, in a different way, his story involves berries and romance too.
Yes, A Bit Embarrassing
It was tempting fate, we knew, to lead off the last issue with an editorial boast about our titivating up the newsletter image. Alas, what worked in theory didn't translate onto our Society printer in practice. The printer, a laser warhorse several years old, took the hump and refused to print the newfangled version. The resulting newsletter which you saw was thus a paste and patch up mix of old and new pages, containing many typographical and other errors. Now a new printer driver has been acquired and, fingers crossed, this is printed on our renewed DPHS printer.
Another Story about the old Thorntree
Here's an excerpt from an interesting letter addressed to our DPHS office. The writer, John James McKay, 8 Hawaii Ave., Palm Beach, Queensland 4221, Australia, mentions his family lived on Muckhart Road from 1927 to 1929, in the three chimneypot house pictured in Crossroads and Characters. At the age of five, in 1927, he started at the Infants School.
He writes about Dunning's 'mythical dragon', and then goes on to remark: "Personally I found that there were other things to be afraid of than a dragon. You see I remember the old thorn tree which contained within its trunk a very active wasps' bike. It seemed to me at the time that they were invaders to be challenged and I acted accordingly by throwing handfuls of mud at the trunk of the tree. Needless to say I was soon the bearer of numerous wasp stings. The lesson was never forgotten, and generally I have happy memories of the village and its people."
This newsletter is published quarterly, January, April, July and September by the Dunning Parish Historical Society.
Pen and ink sketches on sepia by Henry Hoey, Wildlife notes by David Doig
This original and beautiful A4 souvenir calendar will shortly be available. The price is £3.00 (add 50p for postage in Britain, £1.50 for overseas
It can be purchased at Dunning Post Office, by writing: DPHS, Old Schoolhouse, Newton of Pitcairns, Dunning PH2 0SL or order forms from www.dunning.uk.net
YOUR SOCIETY THIS YEAR SET UP AN ANNUAL LOCAL HISTORY COMPETITION FOR ALL DUNNING SCHOOL PUPILS. A PANEL OF MARILYN JAMIESON, DAVID HALLIDAY, IAN PHILIP AND ALF MARSHALL REPORTED MANY FINE ENTRIES. WITH DIFFICULTY THEY DECIDED ON THE WINNERS, WHO RECEIVED PRIZES AT THE SCHOOL'S JUNE PRIZEGIVING.
Olivia Phillips, Shelley Dewar, Sophie Little, Roslyn Andrews, Abigail Ross, Hamish McGuire, Rosie Aitken and Steven Bissett all received book tokens.
IN ADDITION EACH CHILD RECEIVED A SUITABLY INSCRIBED COPY OF "DUNNING-A VILLAGE OF CROSSROADS AND CHARACTERS".
EXCERPTS OF THE CHILDREN'S STORIES, AND PICTURES, WILL BE FEATURED IN COMING EDITIONS OF THE NEWSLETTER. OUR GRATEFUL THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO TOOK PART.
Elizabeth Fletcher, Dunning's postmistress, retired in May as DPHS chair after two inspiring and creative years. Here were some of her final remarks at the May agm.
We have always prided ourselves on having "themed" coffee mornings and much thought and imagination has been put into them resulting in some considerable success. If one had to put a theme on our meetings this last year it must be "Talent from within", for so much of our activities, meetings and newsletter articles have been contributed from within the village and our own members, from Alf's magical carpet show through to the children's wonderful art work at our coffee morning and the memorable talent displayed at our Burns Night. I make no apologies for repeating myself in stating that the "Talent from within" the Society and the village at large is both varied and considerable.
This is the main reason why my time as your chair has been so pleasant and so easy for me. The quality of the meetings has been of such a standard that few could fail to enjoy them. The expertise of the committee and Lorne, our newsletter editor, has been so great that everything has run smoothly, making things easy for me, and your support and enthusiasm for all that we have done has made it a pleasure for us in the doing.
Under Simon's charge our computer website has continued to flourish and bring pleasure to so many visitors to its pages. Our bus run arranged by Peter is now an established favourite. Last year Glasgow's Pollok House had an episode worthy of the x-files when in the tea-room a chance remark by a visiting lady that she had been an evacuee in Dunning resulted in her discovery that the man sitting next to her, namely our own Ian Philip, was the very "baby" whose imminent birth had been the reason for her leaving Leadketty to live elsewhere.
Talking of the evacuees we all remember the passing of George Boardman, a leading light in our evacuees' reunion. I am reminded of the words of his niece. "Now I know why Uncle George loved Dunning so much. It's not just the natural beauty or location of your village: it is the people of the village, who are its heart and soul, that makes Dunning special".
But even yet we do not rest on our laurels. Exciting plans are even now being discussed: a new colour laser printer, colour pages in our newsletter, more involvement with the school children, a new calendar for 2002. I think the Society is in good heart, good finances and with the committee and Raymond in the chair is in good hands. I wish him every success in the coming year.
Finally a most sincere thank you to you all for making the time I have spent as your chairperson so pleasant for me.
-Liz Fletcher, at the agm 10th May, 2001
Sun glows warmth in the bright sky.
Cats pounce on each other in a playful mood.
Big bushes and big plants to hide behind.
Big so you can play and do what you want.
A quiet place to lie down and relax.
Chatter of the birds makes you very happy.
Grass shines reflecting from the bright golden sun.
This place makes you smile with delight.
-Emma Winstanley, P7
Here are a few more of the favourite places in Dunning as chosen by primary pupils for our year 2000 themed coffee morning
My favourite place is Dad's workshop because I like making things.
It makes me feel happy when I am there.
-Cameron Crow, P4
This place is surrounded by trees but not much light.
It has a dirt track a death slide and a swamp.
It is great for building huts.
There are big stones looking like curled up elephants and the autumn
leaves are like a lion's main growing out from their rocky heads.
A thousand feet have walked its winding path,
Drinking in the atmosphere, soaking up the view.
Echoes of children's voices whisper in the brambles.
Secrets of childhood gone by.
-Jason Hill, P7
My favourite place is the kitchen because my cleaning is good.
It makes me feel helpful when I am there.
-Greg McArthur, P4
Up in the Dunnock,
I see a dirt track when I am on my bike.
I taste the dirt and water as I fly through the puddles.
I jump off the ramps and play in the gang huts.
I hear the birds singing and the wind howling.
You smell the scent of the flowers and trees.
I am very happy when I am there.
-Jamie Summerton, P5
The light always shines on this place.
There are children laughing and
Shouting as they slide down the mossy wet stones.
The sound of the water is phenomenal
As it rushes over the creek and flows into two ponds
Trees hang round looking at the noisy water
Their branches dipping fingers into the crystal clear water.
-James Hepburn, P7
My favourite place in Dunning is my house. Every day when I come home from school, before I get in my door, my dog knows I'm coming. She stands at the door and waits for me to come in. I push the door open and she comes to me. After that I give her a biscuit. Then S Club 7 is on. I love them, it's my favourite programme. Afterwards I play with my dog in the back garden for about half an hour.
-Linzi Macdonald, P5
Trees waving in the wind, their crisp brown leaves falling silently to the ground.
A thin muddy path, steep hills and deep pools on either side.
Golden sunlight bursting through the trees above.
Birds singing, animals chattering, never silent.
Wooden bridges high above the crystal clear water below.
Silver fish darting below the crystal clear water.
Wooden steps leading up steep hills, autumn flowers blooming all around.
The golden brown leaves and soft rays of sunlight give a tranquil atmosphere.
-Ross Henderson, P7
On a trip to Scotland, New Zealand member Trevor Fulton was combing the dusty Perth news archives. He spotted this story in THE CONSTITUTIONAL of Wednesday, August 23, 1837 and drew it to our attention.
VIOLENT OUTRAGE - Last Friday evening, some of the Dunning Radicals assaulted a Conservative elector of that village for having voted in the late election, agreeably to the dictates of principle. The individual, thus assailed having chosen to assert his rights boldly and determinately, the result of the Radicals turned out in numbers, and a tumult was the consequence. The man Marshall (that was his name), suffered severely, but the miscreants were not satisfied with merely wreaking their vengeance on him. Lord Rollo's carriage was expected to pass through the town, and this was too good an opportunity to be lost for manifesting their love of liberty, peace and good order. The carriage was attacked, its panels driven in, and those it contained exposed to imminent peril, and put in great personal terror and alarm. Eight of the rioters were apprehended in Dunning---part on Saturday and the others on Monday morning---and two others in Perth who had come here for refuge.
BIG FOR THEIR BOOTS?
"Some of the students who come to Dunning each year from the continent," says Moira Corrigall of Leadketty berry farm, "are often quite big for their boots. They come expecting to earn masses of money quickly by picking berries. But of course how much you earn depends on your attitude, on how hard you work, and on Scotland's unpredictable weather."
But being big for their boots isn't a characteristic of all the student visitors by any means. Recently a letter arrived from a Pole whom the Corrigalls remember as a very quiet young man:
THE LETTER BEGINS
"Mr. Corrigall, I am very much obliged to you. My life completely changed after coming back to Poland. Thanks to the money I earned I made a driving licence (apparently not an easy accomplishment in Poland), I completed an English course and passed a Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English exam. These were the things I had planned to settle while being at Leadketty Farm. But there was one more thing I want to mention about. On October 8th, 2000, I met a wonderful girl, and fell in love. On the day of my 21st birthday I told her 'I love you'. Now we are very happy. In about two years we are going to get married.
A DIFFERENT MAN
"You may ask what's your role in all this? It was very big indeed. While staying in Scotland I learned how to believe in myself, how to work hard, how to look at the world in a mature way. That was a great experience for me. I became more respected in my family, and among my friends I became a different man. Thank you, thank you." signed Pawet Trybus
Our thanks to Moira Corrigall for this story.
OUR NEW COMMITTEE
Keeping a few hives of bees has for years been a tradition
with certain residents of Dunning Parish.
Myrtle Potter of Muckhart Road
maintains that tradition.
When we recently asked members for true personal stories,
Myrtle provided this seasonably appropriate account.
A few years ago, after attending a short beekeeping course, I acquired two colonies of bees.
In the following weeks, I regularly inspected the brood frames to check whether queen cells were being constructed by the workers. If a virgin queen is allowed to develop, she may lead a swarm away. As swarms are made up largely of foraging bees, the result is that the yield of honey from the colony is much reduced. I was very careful, and thought I had got rid of all of the unwanted queen cells.
One fine summer's day, I became aware of a distant roar. Looking across the garden, I saw it-a swarm! A great cloud of bees was milling above the hives.
Lunch forgotten and into action! Overalls, wellies, bee veil, gloves. Then up to the loft for a cardboard box. Out came the Beekeepers' Manual. I whipped through the pages to "Taking a Swarm".
Stepping outside, I watched the bees stream across the garden to settle on a branch of the small hawthorn beside the front fence. Oh joy! I would be able to reach the branch without having to climb. Soon, a huge pear-shaped cluster formed, wings glistening in the sun. I quickly assembled a third hive to be their new home.
The big moment came. With a cardboard box and a piece of plywood to make a lid, I approached. Following the instructions in the Manual, I grasped the branch and with box balanced on my arm, gave the branch a sharp downwards tug, and some thousands of surprised bees fell into the box. Quickly covering it with the plywood, I carried the box triumphantly and tipped its contents into the new hive. Big mistake!
A very sweaty beekeeper slipped into the house for a much needed cup of tea. When I returned to the scene of triumph-horror! The little dears were emerging by the hundreds and settling on a nearby rowan. Back to the book! The moral of this tale is, always read to the end of the chapter. "Leave the box at the point of collection until the bees have ceased flying for the day, when box with bees can be taken to the new home."
Painstakingly, I had to collect the swarm a second time, using the same box. There were eight pounds of live bees-I had a chance later to weigh them.
Eventually, with the box in the shade and kept open, the bees settled down and before dusk I was able to tip the swarm into the third hive which they then happily accepted as their new home.
I hope they slept as soundly that night as I did.
-Myrtle Potter, Muckhart Road, Dunning
Mild and moist the summer's day
She ventures out-oh, happy bee
Hums her way through the blossom
That decorates the old fruit tree.
I sit beneath, content to listen,
Think of honey, warm, for tea
Dream of liquid gold that glistens
Pure and perfect--and for free!
Consider the bee that's so admired
Whose praises are so often sung
Awake with a start-whatever's that
Dammit--I've just been stung!
-sketch by Robt. J. Chapman
Despite April showers, our field trip to Stanley Mills was an undampened success. Around 60 people attended, and Chris McGregor of Historic Scotland and Leslie Fraser and John McGuire of the host West Stormont local history group led a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour of the impressive mill restoration project. Work will be ongoing for several years.
At tour's end, Chris McGregor, an Historic Scotland architect also responsible for St. Serf's in Dunning, reported the Dupplin Cross is due to be uplifted from the National Museum in Edinburgh on St. Andrew's Day, Nov. 30, this year. The Cross will go to Historic Scotland's workshop for 3-D computer imaging (which may form part of a future display). Then about Easter of 2002, it will be installed in St. Serf's Church in Dunning. More details to be announced later.
Another St. Serf's development: The Dunning Cross, the Pictish stone unearthed in the late 1800's from beneath the floor of St. Serf's and which sat until recently inside at the bottom of the steeple, has been taken to Historic Scotland's workshops to ready it for a new display position in St. Serf's. It will still be on view in the steeple area, said Chris McGregor.
In recent months several areas of Dunning Parish have been declared Scheduled Monuments, in the care of Historic Scotland. The best-known of these is the Dun Knock (or Dunnock) Hill Fort area which stands behind the Dragon and which extends onto what is known as the Park area overlooking Dunning.
Other proposed changes taking place in the Park are plans by Servite Homes, sold the land by Perth and Kinross Council, to build another row of houses there, next to those now existing. The Dunning 2000Millenium Committee is hoping to eradicate the gorse at the top of the Park. And the committee also plans to build a memorial cairn in the Park at the foot of the beacon which was erected to bring in the new millennium.
Member Don Hepburn of Ontario has kindly brought us a gift of old Dunning postcards from the estate of his brother James Hepburn of Dunoon, who died recently. The stories of both brothers are featured in Chapter 13 of "Here Come the Glasgow Keelies!"
By the way, sales of the Keelies book have gone extremely well, thanks in large part to purchases by many Scottish schools, and we have just a few dozen copies left of about 1100 printed. The project quickly paid for itself.
Our re-printing of the photo book "Dunning, A Village of Crossroads and Characters" has stirred considerable interest. This out-of-print book by Lorne Wallace is available for £5 (plus £1 for mailing in Britain, £2 for overseas) from the DPHS, Old Schoolhouse, Newton of Pitcairns, Dunning, Perthshire PH2 0SL. (The Keelies book can be ordered from the same address, cost £9.95 plus £2 or £3 mailing charges).
In our last issue Ian Philip talked about the many uses of Leadketty including the fish pond abandoned several years ago when the Clearys departed. Apparently there must still be fish there. In March Ian saw an osprey take off from the Leadketty pond with a fish in its talons, and Simon Warren reported osprey there last summer, probably nesting not too far away.
The "Old Straw House" on Kirkwynd, famous as the only Dunning house saved from the Jacobite troops in 1716 by its owner ingeniously burning straw in its windows to fool the soldiers, is undergoing a renovation. Its façade will remain mostly unaltered, but inside it's being turned into a modern rental home by its present owner, builder Jim Crow.
CATCH US ON THE WEB
Bowling is an easy game
One of us had two legs off,
The skip, he had lost his two,
Jock Golder, he then played third
Second place was where I played,
The lead for us, he was the best,
Geordie Clark died and left us short
Then Sandy Arnott lost a leg.
We played together as a rink,
Charles Laing 27-1-99
Perhaps it was a bit of a chance to take, but we can report that in the event all six guests invited to our agm May 10 behaved extremely well. David Halliday's five Siberian huskies did howl rather musically for a bit as they were introduced, but soon they settled into their cages and even fell asleep despite the large audience presence.
David presented us with an interesting history not just of huskies but also the latest theories on the close historical relationship between humans and dogs. In a later issue we'll report further on his remarks.
Afterwards there was an opportunity for everyone to get close to and touch the huskies, with the help of David, his wife Kirsty and friend Sandy Andrews.
This year's coach trip to New Lanark and to David Livingstone's Blantyre House was fully subscribed. As always Peter Duncan had planned well.After the tours of the two main destinations, we stopped at Balmaha near Loch Lomond for high tea. We can report that we all enjoyed a most entertaining and informative day and the company of friends and fellow members.
The planned June picnic on Craig Rossie was cancelled because of foot-and-mouth restrictions. Next year, perhaps?
New Sub Rates
Because of rising newsletter costs and hall rentals, chair Liz proposed to our agm a rise in next season's Society subscription rates of 25 per cent. The meeting approved the increase, to come in effect on October 1, 2001.
How our children view the flaming Jacobites
Sunday, July 1, A Trip to the Trains. Meet at 12:30 noon in Tron Square to share cars for Pitcairngreen, where Dunning's Drummond Mailer has arranged for us to visit and ride on miniature (but real) steam railways. Attendance is limited. Please confirm to Liz Fletcher 01764 684 061 a.s.a.p.
Thursday, August 2. "Know Your Village": an evening guided tour of Dunning as it used to be, led by sprightly village natives. This is an opportunity of great interest to anyone not born in Dunning and to younger Dunningites. The tour begins at 7:00 pm in Tron Square. There'll be refreshments afterwards. Contacts are Jim Smith, 684 216 and Elspeth Pentland 684 490.
Wednesday, September 5, 7.30 pm Village Hall. "A Tale of Three Towers" Lindsay Lennie is a chartered surveyor with an interest in old buildings. We first encountered her busily snapping photos of Dunning buildings last year for her study of how differently conservation has been carried out in Dunning, in Dunblane where she was raised, and in Muthill where she lives now with her young family. She kicks off our indoor season with a slide-illustrated comparison of how the three places have conserved their character, and why. Come and see how Dunning compares.
Thursday, October 11, 7:30 pm, Village Hall. "A Wildlife Evening" It's another video night, with several members participating.
Saturday, November 3, 10 am, Village Hall. Our themed coffee morning, with details to come. But look out a good photo of yourself!.
Further details in our October newsletter about various autumn/winter events. Make sure you don't miss any of the above events by marking them now in your diary or calendar.
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