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30th January 2009


Alastair McIntyreElectric Scotland's Weekly Email Newsletter

Electric Scotland - The No.1 Scottish History Site The Aois Community brings you message forums and lots of community services
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Dear Friend

It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning the weekend is nearly here :-)

You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at http://www.electricscotland.com/rss/whatsnew.php and you can unsubscribe to this newsletter by clicking on the link at the foot of this newsletter.

See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world at http://www.electricscotland.com/familytree/calendar_help.htm

CONTENTS
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Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
Clan and Family Information
Poetry and Stories
Book of Scottish Story
The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
New Statistical Account of Scotland
MacKenzie, Selkirk, Simpson
Guide to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland
Loch Etive and The Sons of Uisnach
Children's Rhymes, Children's Games, Children' s Songs, Children's Stories
Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
Darling Memorial Sketch Book (New Book)
Glen Albyne (New Book)
Burns Plaque in New Zealand
2009 Homecoming Poetry and Painting Competition


ELECTRIC SCOTLAND NEWS
----------------------
Cold and snowy in Chatham right now. Problem is that when we get snow it's so cold that it just doesn't melt and then we get another dump of snow and so on. So I'm mostly hibernating right now :-)

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I mentioned last week about the Darling book and have now got that up on the site and see below for more details.

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Are you working for a company that might offer discounts to our visitors? Please get in touch if you do as I am now trying to come up with a Membership scheme that will offer discounts on products and services from all over the world.

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Always working on new projects and this week I've found myself reading some old books online. I've always been interesting in accounts of the pioneers and all the work they put in to settle on their land and the challenges they had to overcome. While I concentrate on Scotland that's not to say that other races accounts are not of interest. Where you get a detailed account of settlement you can well imagine a Scottish family going through the same efforts. I am going to work on getting a few accounts up as while I am interested in this subject I hope you'll also find them of interest.

I also came across some of the writings of John Muir, the father of our National Parks. While a Scot he did go to America in his youth and then spent the rest of his life there. I was reading of his early times when he was living on a farm with his father and other members of his family. Was quite amazed at the things he invented. And later he travelled over much of the USA and Canada and his journals are most interesting. As I've been enjoying reading these old books I thought I may as well work on them to put them up on the site so look for these appearing in the weeks ahead.

I might add that trawling for general information on settlement there is actually a great deal of information on Scots in Canada but really not very much on Scots in the USA or for that matter other countries in the world. I guess that Canada has a better system for archiving this type of material and then making it available.

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Note that Steve tells me he will definitely (note definitely) have our vBulletin system up this weekend!


ABOUT THE STORIES
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Some of the stories in here are just parts of a larger story so do check out the site for the full versions. You can always find the link in our "What's New" section at the link at the top of this newsletter or on our site menu.


THE FLAG IN THE WIND
--------------------
This weeks Flag is compiled by Donald Bain. In this issue he is exploring some of the unfortunate impressions that people have about Scots and Scotland.

Frankly the problem is that we are not telling a factual story about what Scotland and the Scots are doing in the world. Perhaps the Flag needs to create a third section "Scots Achievements" where each week they could tell us both what Scots have done in history and what Scots are doing today?

I will say that I have talked to a number of MSP's to see whether they would tell us a story of Scotland of Today but I'm afraid they have shown no interest in doing so.

In Peter's section he is talking about Candlemas...

Monday (2 February 2009) is Candlemas, the first of the Scottish Quarter Days. It was traditionally the day that pupils used to give gifts to their schoolmasters – originally peat for heat or candles for light but this in time became siller or a cockerel.

Candlemas was originally a festival for the return of Spring held by the Romans in honour of Februa, the daughter of Mars. They carried torches through the city on February the first (the same date which was celebrated by the Celts as the first day of Spring). This festival was Christianized as the Purification of the Virgin Mary and was held on February the second. In medieval Scotland it was a day of pageants, processions and religious plays in honour of Our lady, as we can see from the Burgh Records of Aberdeen for 30 January 1505 –

‘The provest and baillies statut and ordanit that the said craftsmen and thair successoris sal in order to the Offering in the Play pass twa and twa togedir socialie; in the first the flesheris, barbouris, baxteris, cordinaris, skineris. Couparis, wrichtis, hatmakeris and bonatmakaris togider; walcaris, litstaris, wobstaris, tailyeouris, goldsmiths, blaksmithis, and hammermen; and the craftsmen sal furnyss the Pageants.’

Also from the North-East comes a rhyme to help us fix the date of Easter (alternatively just contact Jim Lynch!) –

‘First comes Cannlemas and syne the new meen,
The neist Tyesday efter that is Festern’s Een;
That meen out and the neist meen’s hicht,
And the neist Sunday efter that’s aye Pace richt.’

As this is being compiled on a cranreuch caul day prior to Candlemas, it is too early to know the outcome of the bittie Scottish weather lore which goes –

‘If Candlemas day be dry and fair,
The half o the winter’s to come and mair;
If Candlemas day be wet and foul,
The half o the winter’s gane at Yule.’

February can be a snell month so this week’s recipe is designed to heat us all up! Carrot and Orange Soup is just the ticket.

Carrot and Orange Soup

Ingredients: 1 chopped onion; 1lb (450g) sliced carrots; 2 ozs (65 g or ½ stick) butter; 2 ozs (65 g or ½ cup) plain flour; 1 pint (600ml or two and a half cups) chicken stock; 1 pint (600ml or 2½ cups, scant) milk; 1 orange (juice and rind); Salt and pepper; 1 teaspoon nutmeg; 1 oz (one rounded tablespoon); chopped parsley

Method: Melt the butter and add the onions and carrots. Cook gently (without colouring) then stir in the flour and cook for a further 1/2 minutes. Gradually add the milk and chicken stock. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then simmer for 20/30 minutes. Liquidise before adding orange juice (including shredded rind) and reheat - but do not boil. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

You can read the Flag, listen to the Scots Language, enjoy the Scots Wit and lots more at http://www.scotsindependent.org

Christina McKelvie's Weekly diary is available at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/mckelvie/090129.htm


The Scottish Nation
-------------------
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.

Since the last newsletter we've added to the Supplement...

MacColl, M'Diarmid, MacDonald of Clanranald, Macgeorge, Mackenzie, M'Kirdy and Matheson.

An interesting account of Donald MacKenzie which starts....

MACKENZIE, DONALD, an enterprising merchant, was born in the north of Scotland June 15, 1783. At the age of seventeen he went to Canada, and joined the great North-west Fur Company, which had been formed at Montreal in the winter of 1783-84, in opposition to the Hudson’s Bay Company, and in their employment he continued eight years.

On the 23d June 1810, articles of agreement where entered into between Mr. Astor of New York, Fr. Donald Mackenzie and other 3 Scots gentlemen, acting for themselves and for the several parties who had agreed, or might agree, to become associated under the firm of ‘The Pacific Fur Company.’

In July 1810, Mr. Mackenzie and Mr. Hunt, at the head of a band of adventurers who had engaged in the undertaking, set out from St. Louis, to make the overland route, up vast rivers, across trackless plains, and over the rugged barriers of the Rocky Mountains, to the mouth of the Columbia river. The distance by the route travelled was upwards of 3,500 miles, though in a direct line it does not exceed 1,800.

On arriving at their destination a small fort or trading post was immediately erected on the south bank of the Columbia river, and called Astoria, after Mr. Astor, the originator of the settlement. Besides the fort, it consisted altogether of about half-a-dozen log houses, on the side of a ridge which rises from the river to an altitude of 500 feet. This ridge was originally covered with a thick forest of pines, and the part reclaimed by the first occupants for their settlement does not exceed four acres.

You can read the rest of this account at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/nation/mackenzie2.htm

You can read all these entries at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/nation/index.htm


Clan and Family Information
---------------------------
Got in some pictures of Clan MacThomas lands in Glenshee, Scotland with thanks to Cathy, the Convenor of the US & Canadian Branch of Clan MacThomas Society for sending me in these pictures...

You can see these at http://www.electricscotland.com/webclans/m/macthom2.html

I might add that when I was there in 2004 the cockstane was accessible through a gate and went up an avenue of trees. In this picture the trees have all gone!


Poetry and Stories
------------------
John sent in another poem, "Granda - Nae A Dozent Lad" at http://www.electricscotland.com/poetry/doggerel300.htm

And of course more articles in our Article Service from Donna and others at http://www.electricscotland.com/article 


Book of Scottish Story
----------------------
Our thanks to John Henderson for sending this in for us.

This week have added...

Charlie Graham, the Tinker

Here is how it starts...

The notorious Charlie Graham belonged to a gang of tinkers, who had for a long time travelled through the country, and whose headquarters were at Lochgelly, in Fife. They were to be found at all markets, selling their horn spoons, which was their ostensible occupation. But there was a great deal of business done in the pickpocket line, and other branches of the thieving art. About Charlie there were some remarkable traits of generosity. In the midst of all the crimes he committed, he was never known to hurt a poor man, but often out of his plunder helped those in a strait. His father was in the same line, and was long at the head of the gang; but being afterwards imprisoned for theft, housebreaking, etc., he was banished the county, banished Scotland, and publicly whipped. On one occasion he was banished, with certification that if he returned, he was to be publicly whipped the first market-day, and there after to be banished. Old Charlie was not long away when he returned, and was apprehended and conveyed to Perth jail. A vacancy having occurred in the office of executioner, the first market-day was allowed to pass without inflicting the sentence, upon which Charlie entered a protest, and was liberated. In various ways he eluded justice,— sometimes by breaking the prison, and sometimes for want of evidence. The last time he was brought in, he was met by an old acquaintance, who asked, “What is the matter now?" to which old Charlie replied, "Oh, just the auld thing, and nae proof;” which saying has since become a proverb. But this time they did find proof, and he was again publicly whipped, and sent out of the country. One of his daughters, Meg Graham, who had been bred from her infancy in the same way, was every now and then apprehended for some petty theft. Indeed, she was so often in jail, that she got twenty-eight dinners from old John Rutherford, the writer, who gave the prisoners in the jail a dinner every Christmas. Meg, in her young days, was reckoned one of the first beauties of the time; but she was a wild one. She had been whipped and pilloried, but still the root of the matter remained.

Young Charlie was a man of uncommon strength and size, being about six feet high, and stout in proportion. His wrist was as thick as that of two ordinary men; he had long been the terror of the country, and attended all markets at the head of his gang, where they were sure to kick up a row among themselves. Two of their women would commence a battle-royal in the midst of the throng, scratch and tear one another’s caps, until a mob was assembled, when the rest were very busy in picking pockets. In this way they were frequently very successful.

The rest of this story can be read at http://www.electricscotland.com/books/story/story76.htm

The other stories can be read at http://www.electricscotland.com/books/story/index.htm


The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
-----------------------------------
Added four more pages which include Clocks, Clock Golf, Clog, Closet, Clot, Cloth, Yarns and Weaves, Cloth Ball, Clothes and their Treatment.

You can read about these at http://www.electricscotland.com/household/c.htm


New Statistical Account of Scotland
-----------------------------------
Added the account of the Parish of Colinton from the Edinburgh volume which you can read at http://www.electricscotland.com/household/c.htm


MacKenzie, Selkirk, Simpson
---------------------------
The Makers of Canada, By Rev. George Bryce, D.D. (1910)

We're completed the Simpson biography which now completes this book with...

Chapter IV - As Civil Ruler
Chapter V - A Journey Round the World
Chapter VI - In His Letters
Chapter VII - Before the Imperial Parliament
Chapter VIII - Canada's Debt to the Fur Companies

Here is how Chapter VIII starts...

THE infant life of Canada was nourished by the fur traders. The new impulse given to France in the last year of the sixteenth century by Chauvin's charter to trade for furs held within it untold possibilities for the development of Canada. French gentlemen and soldiers came forth to the New World seeking excitement in the western wilds, and hoping also to mend their broken fortunes. There were scores of such at Quebec and Montreal, but especially at Three Rivers on the St. Lawrence. Nicolet led the way to the fur country; Joliet gave up the church for furs; Duluth was a freebooter, and the charge against him was that he systematically broke the king's ordinance as to the fur trade; La Salle sent the first vessel—the Griffin—laden with furs down the lakes, where she was lost; the iron-handed Tonty deserted the whites and threw in his lot with the Indians as a fur trafficker; and La Verendrye, one of the greatest of the early Frenchmen charged with making great wealth by the fur trade, says in his heart-broken reply to his persecutors: " If more than 40,000 livres of debt which I have on my shoulders are an advantage, then I can flatter myself that I am very rich."

Shortly after French Canada became British, it was seen that so lucrative a traffic as that in pelts should not be given lip. Curry, Finlay and Henry, sen., pluckily pushed their way beyond Lake Superior iii search of wealth, and found it. The Montreal merchants trade the trade up the lakes the foundation of Montreal's commercial supremacy in Canada; and the North-West Company, which they founded, only did what the great English company had been doing with their motto, "Pro pelle cutem " for a hundred years on the shores of Hudson Bay.

It is evident to the most casual observer that the fur trade was an important element in the building up of Canada, not only in wealth but also in some of our higher national characteristics. The coureurs de bois and the canoemen stood for much in the days of our infancy as a new nation.

You can read the rest of this chapter at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/canada/makers/simpson8.htm

You can read the other chapters at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/canada/makers/


Guide to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland
----------------------------------------------
By George Anderson and Peter Anderson of Inverness (1850)

Making more progress with this book and have added the following chapters...

Section VI

ROUTE THIRD

Aberdeen to Inverness by sea, and through the Counties of Aberdeen, Banff, Elgin, and Nairn
Route through Buchan to Peterhead and Banff
Mid Road, from Aberdeen to Banff, by Old Meldrum and Turriff
The Upper, or Great North Road, by Huntly to Inverness

Branch A. Inverness to the field of the battle of Culloden, to Clava, Castles Dalcross, Kilravock, and Cawdor, to Fort-George, and to the Findhorn
Battle of Culloden, or Drummossie Moor
Ancient Stone Monuments at Clava
Dalcrossor Dacus Castle
Kilravock Castle
Cawdor (anciently Calder) Castle

Section VII

ROUTE FOURTH

Inverness to Tain, Golspie, Wick, Thurso and John o' Groats

Branch A. Beauly to Strathglass, Glen Strathfarar, Glen Cannich, Glen Affrick, and thence to Kintail
Passes from Strathglass to the West Coast
Glen Strathfarar, branching off from Strathglass at Struy Glencannich
The Chisholm's Pass and Strath Affrick
Branch B. (The Black Isle). Inverness, by Kessock Ferry, to Dingwall, Redcastle, Avoch, Fortrose, and Cromarty
Branch C. Dingwall to the Western Coast of Ross-shire
1st. Branch Road, Strathgarve to Ullapool
2d. Branch Road from Auchnasheen to Lochs Maree, Torridon, and Gairloch
3d. Branch Road from Jeantown to Shieldaig and Applecross
Branch D. Bonar Bridge to Tongue, Duirness, and Cape Wrath

Here is what Route IV: Inverness to Tain, Golspie, Wick, Thurso and John o' Groats covers...

The Aird; Clachnaharry; Geological Note, 1.—Loch Beauly; Bunchrew, 2.—Phopachy; Kirkhill; Moniack, 3.—Valley of the Beauly, 4.—Priory, 6.—Muir of Ord; Stone Pillars; Cilie Christ; Brahan; Conon House, 6 —Dingwall, 7.—Evantown Balcony; Novar; Clan Munro, 8.—Ferrindonald and Easter Ross, 9.—Short road from Alness; Ardross, 10.—Upper road to Tain; Invergordon Castle; Kincraig, &c.; Poor's House, 11.—Invergordon; Coast Villages; Tarbat House, 12.—Balnagown Castle, 13.—Aultgraat; Tain; St. Duthus' Chapel and Church; Monastery of Fearn; Tain Academy; Excursion to Tarbet Ness and Fearn; Agricultural Improvements, foot-note, 14.—Meikle Ferry; Bonar Bridge; Ardross, 15.—Enter on Sutherland; Dun Cruich; Spinningdale; Ospisdale; Skibo; Clashmore, 16. Dornoch; Geyzen Briggs; Palace and Cathedral; Burning for Witchcraft; Links, 17.—Tumuli; Stone Coffins and Cairns, 18.—Little Ferry; Mound; Loch Fleet; Skelbo Castle, 19.—Improvements, 20.—Golspie; Dunrobin Castle, 21.—The Catti; History of the Earls of Sutherland, footnote; Brora Quarries; Coal Basin; Geology, 22.—Strath and Loch Kilcalmkill; Cole's Castle, 23.—Loth; Port Gower; Helmsdale, 24.—The Ord of Caithness; Dunbeath, 25.--General Features of Caithness; Improvements, 26.—Braal Castle; Oldwick Castle, 27.—Wick and Thurso; Herring Fishery, Account of; Wick and Pultneytown, 28.—History of Caithness, foot-note; District Road to Houna and John-o'-Groat's House; Old Castles, Horrible Stories of; Battle of Alt-a-Mhairlich, 29.—Houna; John-o'-Groat's House; Duncanshy, 30.—Pentland Firth, Detention of Vessels, and Dangers of, 31, and foot-note. Houna to Thurso; Improvements; Peasantry; Pavement Quarries, 32.—Thurso Bay; Holburn Head; The Clett, 33.

You can read the rest of this chapter at http://www.electricscotland.com/travel/guide/part20.htm

All of these can be read at http://www.electricscotland.com/travel/guide/


Loch Etive and The Sons of Uisnach
----------------------------------
By R. Angus Smith (1885)

Moving ahead with this book and added this week are chapters...

Chapter IX - Conor MacNessa
Chapter X - Queen Hynde
Chapter XI - The Beregonium Theory
Chapter XII - Chiefs of Streamy Etha
Chapter XIII - The Fort of the Sons of Uisnach commonly called Beregonium
Chapter XIV - Keills - Connel and its Cairns, etc.
Chapter XV - A Walk about Keills and Barcaldine

Here is how the chapter on "A Walk about Keills and Barcaldine" starts...

Cameron —We can never finish Keills, there is so much interesting matter, but we can run over and go again into the Ledaig strawberry garden; if we walk high enough up and exactly under the great overhanging rock, we shall see a hollow part, scarcely a cave, it is so small. In this Mr. John Campbell found the urn of which I showed you a drawing yesterday, but we can go into the house and see the urn itself.

Margaet.—I should be afraid to live under such a rock, beautiful as it is. I saw some sheep on the top ; do they never fall over?

Shepherd.—Very seldom; one fell close beside me in the garden. It never moved, it was struck quite dead at once.

Margaet.—And can you go up to the top of the rock?

Ossianite.—Yes; and a beautiful walk it is. Let us go by the end of the house to the south, and up along the little wood and the small brook. You see the path steep, but look now what a beautiful sward is above, and what a view! One wonders in this weather if heaven can be finer. I brought with me a cup to drink out of this well of Fingal.

O'Keefe.—Oh, this is the well that is said to have communicated with the well in Dun Uisnach; but you surely do not believe it?

Ossianite.—This hill, Dui Rhaile an Rigla, is named by us from tradition, the fort of the Town of the King; and I do not doubt that there were people enough to drink of the well. I used to be told fine stories of this water—that it flowed down in pipes to Dun Mac Uisnachan, and that it supplied the heroes of Fingal with drink, and perhaps with this they made the heather ale which they drank out of shells in Selma. But I have learned to be satisfied with the romance, even when the facts do not appear strong. There is an old man down there who tells you that he saw the pipes that led the water along the fields between the two Duns, and these pipes were made of lead. Now this is too much even for me.

You can read the rest of this chapter at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/etive/chapter15.htm

You can read all these chapters at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/etive/index.htm


Children's Rhymes. Children's Games, Children' s Songs, Children's Stories
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
A Book for Bairns and Big Folk by Robert Ford (1904).

The pages we have up so far are...

Rhymes of the Nursery
Counting-Out Rhymes
Children's Rhyme-Games
Merry-ma-tanzie
The Mulberry Bush
A Dis, a Dis, a Green Grass
Looby Looby
I Dree I Droppit it

Here is the Merry-ma-tanzie rhyme for you to read here...

"Merry-ma-Tanzie" is solely a girls' game, of which boys, however, may be interested spectators. The counting-out rhyme having put one in the centre, the rest join hands in a ring about her, and moving slowly round, they sing:—

Here we go round the jingo-ring,
The jingo-ring, the jingo-ring,
Here we go round the jingo-ring,
About the merry-ma-tanzie.

Twice about and then we fa',
Then we fa', then we fa',
Twice about and then we fa',
About the merry-ma-tanzie.

Choose your maidens all around,
All around, all around,
Choose your maidens all around,
About the merry-ma-tanzie.

Replying to this invitation, the one in the centre chooses two from the circle, and retires with them a short distance away. During their absence the ring-band proceeds as before, and sing with imitating gesture:—

Sweep the house ere the bride comes in,
The bride comes in, the bride comes in,
Sweep the house ere the bride comes in,
About the merry-ma-tanzie.

When those who left return, the one who was in the centre takes up her original position, as also do the others, and the ring moves on again with:-

Here's a bride new come home,
New come home, new come home
Here's a bride new come home,
About the merry-ma-tanzie.

Then follows "Mary Anderson is her name," with the usual repeats, and "Guess ye wha is her true love," "A bottle o' wine to tell his name," "Andrew Wilson is his name," "Honey is sweet and so is he," (or Apples are sour and so is he,") "He's married her wi' a gay gold rill," "A gay gold ring's a cank'rous thing," But now they're married we wish them joy," "Father and mother they must obey." "Loving each other like sister and brather," "We pray this couple may kiss together," all, of course, sung with their repeats as above; and the game may be played until every little girl has revealed her little sweetheart's name, which, to be sure, is the motif of the play.

You can read the other pages at http://www.electricscotland.com/kids/bairns/index.htm


Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
-----------------------------
Beth has sent in the February issue and here is her Editor's letter...

Anam Cara = Soul Friend

What does it mean and should you have one? Let us take you on a journey that not many people know about and understand. Read and learn more about what your Celtic ancestors knew and loved - an anam cara.

In the Celtic tradition, there is a beautiful understanding of love and friendship. The Gaelic term for this is anam cara. Anam is Gaelic for soul and cara is friend in Gaelic, so anam cara means “soul friend.”

In the early Celtic church, a person who acted as a teacher, companion or spiritual guide was called an anam cara. Originally it meant someone in whom you confided or confessed, revealing your innermost feelings. When you have an anam cara, you are joined in an ancient and eternal way with the “friend of your soul.”

The Celtic understanding did not set limitations of space or time on the soul. In everyone’s life, there is a great need for an anam cara. In this love, you are understood as you are without mask or pretension. As the superficial, lies and half-truths of social acquaintance fall away, you can be as you really are. When you feel understood, you feel free to release yourself into the trust and shelter of your soul friend.

The anam cara can be considered God’s gift. Friendship is the nature of God. This perspective discloses the beautiful fulfillment of our immortal longing in the words of Jesus, who said, “Behold, I call you friends.” Jesus is the secret anam cara of every individual. In friendship with Him, we enter the tender beauty and affection of the Trinity.

In the embrace of this eternal friendship, we dare to be free. A Trinitarian invocation captures this Celtic spirituality thought: “The Sacred Three, My fortress be, Encircling me, Come and be round My hearth and my home.”

Where there is a depth of awareness, there is a reverence for presence. Where consciousness is dulled, distant or blind, the presence grows faint and vanishes. Consequently, awareness is one of the greatest gifts you can bring to your soul friend. Many people have an anam cara of who they are not truly aware. Their lack of awareness cloaks the friend’s presence and causes feelings of distance and absence. Sadly, it is often loss that awakens presence, but by then it is too late. It is wise to pray for the grace of recognition.

In our culture, people talk incessantly about relationships. You find it everywhere - in TV, radio, film and in the news media. Technology and media want you to believe that they are uniting the world. In reality, all they deliver is a simulated world. Accordingly, they make our human world more anonymous and lonely. In a world where computers replace human encounters and psychology replaces religion, it is no wonder that there is an obsession with relationship.

In the Celtic tradition and especially in the Gaelic language, there is a refined sense of the sacredness that the approach and relationship to another person should embody. The word “hello” does not exist in Gaelic. The way that you encounter someone is through blessing. You say, “Dia Dhuit,” God be with you. They respond, “Dia is Muire dhuit,” God and Mary be with you. When you are leaving a person, you say, “Go gcumhdai Dia thu,” May God come to your assistance - or, “Go
Gcoinne Dia thu,” May God keep you.

The greeting is framed at the beginning and at the end with blessing. Regularly throughout conversation in Gaelic, there is explicit recognition that the divine is present in others. This presence is also recognized and embodied in old sayings such as, “the hand of the stranger is the hand of God.” The stranger does not come accidentally; he brings a particular gift and illumination.

If this sounds like a sermon on Celtic spirituality, it was not meant to be one. Many people, upon hearing about the ancient Celts, think of them as savages and illiterate. This Celtic understanding of an anam cara proves they had a better understanding of the spiritual realm than some folks have today. So much for being savages and illiterate! As we have said many times before, we can learn a lot from our Celtic ancestors.

Thank you, Rich and Rita. In thinking of friends with whom I can be myself as described here...I’m so fortunate to have many anam cara’s. Of course, from what I read here, an anam cara must be the same understanding friend back. So, for Valentine’s and always - I wish you to be - and to have anam cara friendship in your life!

You can read the two sections at http://www.electricscotland.com/bnft/
 

Darling Memorial Sketch Book
----------------------------
As mentioned last week we now have this entire book up for you to read. Our thanks to Ranald, the great grandson of this man, for sending this into us.

The first chapter starts...

JAMES DARLING was born at New Farm, a little hamlet near Dalkeith, on January 22nd, 1820. His father held a place of trust on the home farm of the late Duke of Buccleuch. Both his parents are described by those who knew them well as distinguished by their intelligent and cheerful piety, shining out in their daily life with a light that could not be hidden. The mother is specially remembered as having been tidy and orderly in her household management, and in her expenditure out of the not too abundant income knowing how "to make a little go a far way." Their son often spoke with grateful emotion, in later days, of the unspeakable advantage of having "come of a godly seed." In the simple family prayers and the practical religion which pervaded and inspired the whole domestic life, the youth breathed an atmosphere of godliness. And the good influence of all this was constant. Like many who have thus grown up in Christian homes, he was never able to name the day of his "new birth." The divine change was gradual and imperceptible. But there came a time, probably not far beyond his twelfth year, in which he became conscious of "the new life," and when onlookers were not slow to see that there was "some good thing in him toward the Lord God of Israel." He passed through the usual course of instruction at the parish school, and was a favourite with his teacher as well as on the playground. One of his schoolmates who still lives tells us that he never was a bold, rollicking boy, but rather needed to be drawn out, especially to boisterous play.

The family traditions lead us to conclude that he was naturally "quick tempered." And this feature in his character never entirely disappeared, but showed itself at times even in his later days. But he was not in the Scottish sense "dour" "nursing his wrath to keep it warm." His anger did not resemble the dark lowering cloud which is slow to dissipate, but rather the April shower which is soon followed by the sunshine.

A surviving brother in Aberdeen, in referring to some of the distinctive features of his character, dwells with a brother's congenial sympathy on his veneration and devoted attachment to his parents, delighting even to the end of his days to expatiate on their virtues, which, as he would sometimes remark, made it easy for him to love them. And this filial piety includes much. It never comes alone, but draws many other good affections after it. Respect for the fifth commandment has, many a time, led the way to obedience to the first.

You can read this book at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/darling/index.htm


Glen Albyne
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or Tales of the Central Highlands

AN early writer, speaking of Fort-Augustus with its loch and Government galley, calls it "the most centrical point in the Highlands" or the "umbilicus" of the North. Geographically this description is no doubt tolerably accurate; but until recently this centrical spot has been completely severed from all the cords that bind to civilisation and the south, unless indeed we except the tourist steamers of a well-known Glasgow company, which ply up and down the Caledonian Canal for some two months in the summer, and which are popularly termed—not without a sense of humour—"the swuft boats." Within the last few years, however, this naval centre has been connected with the main arteries of traffic that run from London to Fort-William and Mallaig, on the extreme west coast of Inverness-shire, and as it is now becoming a favourite resort of holiday seeker, tourist and sportsman, this booklet is written to try to enhance the pleasure of a visit to the district. In these pages it is in no way intended to enumerate all the spots of interest in the neighbourhood, much less to give a complete history of the Great Glen; all that is aimed at is to jot down a few items in connection with the folk-lore, place-names, history, manners, customs and superstitions of the country, which may be worth the attention of the stranger and help to while away an idle hour. All description of scenery has studiously been avoided as containing a tacit insult to the reader, whom we may leave to judge with his own senses the beauties of the scene and nature's charms.

We now have the first couple of chapters up which you can read at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/albyne/index.htm


Burns Plaque in New Zealand
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Our thanks to Jack for sending us in information on a new plaque revealed this week in New Zealand to Robert Burns and the Scottish Settlers. You can see a couple of pictures and learn more at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/nz/burns.htm


2009 Homecoming Poetry and Painting Competition
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Stand Bruce sent in notification of this competition along with an application form which you can read at http://www.electricscotland.com/poetry/banff/2009comp.htm


And that's it for now and hope you all have a good weekend :-)


Alastair
http://www.electricscotland.com 

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