Another haggis, another sticky end
And yet again... Once more ExxonMobil generously provided a grant under their Volunteer Involvement Programme to help our activities.
We have now bought more land for planting trees. This is the field that runs from the Scotlandwell access to Bishop Hill - you know the one, it's got the styles. The Woodland Trust have raised enough funds to cover acquisition and costs for basic access works, tree planting and maintenance over the first five years. The purchase was finalised on 31 October 2008. The actual design of the woodland and access to it will have a large input from the local community and there will be publicity about this early in the new year - watch this space for details. We expect tree planting will take place in 2009 at the earliest. This land is oor land!
It was the usual full house, with the haggis once again being dispatched by Dr Carr. The poor wee thing never stood a chance and we expect to be picking bits of it out of the cracks in the woodwork for several months yet. It was led to its final execution by Ms Carruthers who was got up in various items of black and white tat in lieu of proper Poozie Nancy attire. The bagpipes of Cameron McArthur muffled its last cries and Fifi Cooper undertook the Selkirk Grace in its honour.
The Immortal Memory was by Lesley Riddoch - that's right - the wee lassie who's on the telly - and John Williams in his address to the lassies went into detail about hurdies and distant hills. Wendy MacPhedran's reply was pretty cutting about the attributes of the local chaps, but since that included the webmaster there won't be any more details. Mike McGinness had the short straw of doing Mosses, Waters, Staps and Styles, which is the bit where everyone gets telt what the Portmoak Steering Team pretend to do when they have their meetings in the pub. He went into bog snorkeling in great depth (geddit). For those who didn't receive sufficient detail, an impenetrable graph is provided elsewhere.
This year the Portmoak Haydn Players became the Portmoak Portmoak players - they gave us some Burns songs played to their own new orchestrations. The offenders were Jo Falla, as usual caterwauling in public, and barely drowned out by Irene Barnes, Krys Hawryszczuk and Mairie Leggatt, puffing, blowing and plunking respectively. Further musical entertainment was by Gerry Marshall, plucking and wailing.
Then there were the poems. The Burns Police will have noticed that there wasn't a single legit one. Elaine Carruthers got stuck into Kate O'Shanter and Jeff Gunnell, showing great sympathy towards Mr and Mrs Batchelor's recent traumatic battle with nature, gave us 'Frae a Mouse'. You get that next, but not before we lay the blame for the whole ghastly event firmly at the the door of Dave Batchelor who was the Chairman and overall mastermind.
Frae a Mouse
You thought I was a tim'rous beast
An' cats put panic in my breast
But though I'm sma' I'm no' the least
O' all your trouble,
For insulation's a fine feast
When turning homes to rubble.
In your den wi' comfy seating,
Playing, laughing, drinking, eating,
Your pleasures long, but mine are fleeting,
Outside in the cold.
Yours all due to central heating,
Mine, brief moments hold.
But lofts are cosy, like a womb,
And in I creep from cold and gloom,
And chewing plastic plan your doom.
On pipes, sharp teeth I try.
And downstairs, in your human room,
You're not so warm... or dry.
Thy wee-bit housie, now in ruin!
The ceilings are all water spewin',
The carpets now all need renewin':
A lang damage roster,
An' all December tradesmen queuin'
Tae say, "That'll cost yer!"
The loss adjuster's pencil scriv,
The list o' damage that I give,
Frae pipes all leaking like a sieve.
Your mattress in the bin.
And you all must away tae live,
At Lomond Country Inn.
So now I've won. My home's all free
From pesky people chasing me.
No cats, no dogs, no repartee:
I've won my glory!
I'm even on the BBC,
In wee-bit newsie story.
But though I niver thought it twice,
You'll now tak' pesty man's advice,
The best laid schemes o' Men an' Mice,
We cannae forward map.
My outcome, just a throw o' dice,
'Tween poison and the trap.
So now I'm gone, but so are you.
But you'll be back, but I might too,
For like all nature we must sue,
To live through winter weather.
Not killin' many for the few,
It's Mice an' Men t'gether!
And again... ExxonMobil generously provided yet another grant under their Volunteer Involvement Programme to assists with our activities.
It was a full house'in Portmoak Hall on January 27 for the annual Bums Supper organised by Portmoak Community Woodland Group. For the first time, dapper Dave (Batchelor) gave up his chairman's seat to a lady, Elaine Carruthers, who warmly welcomed everyone.
Cameron McArthur started off the evening by piping in the haggis which was carried in by Elaine's younger daughter Louise, dressed as Poosie Nancy. Young Jack McDonnell confidently gave the Selkirk Grace then Dr Bill Carr addressed the haggis and in his swashbuckling way, while wielding his claymore, broke the plate! The Immortal Memory was given with great clarity, enthusiasm and knowledge by Lenny Herd, who is an ex-president of the Paisley Burns Society. He is a good friend of Dave Batchelor and both play in the Scottish Jazz All Stars Band. The reason for Dave's absence from the chairman's seat was revealed when he gave a very humorous 'Address to the Lasses' and then the reply, befitting the atmosphere and occasion, was given by his wife Louise! During the evening, the musical entertainment was provided by the Portmoak Haydn Players — Irene Barnes, Louise Batchelor, Krys Hawryszczuk and Mairie Leggatt as the instrumentalists with the singers Jo Falla and John Batchelor (Baritones) and the indomitable Jessie Pryde (Dave's mother, Soprano).
An excellent 'Bill of Fare' was provided by Richard Scott, Kinross, which included Scotch Broth, the traditional haggis, neeps and tatties followed by the pudding Tipsy Laird' The annual report of the work done in the Moss, entitled Mosses, Waters, Slaps and Stiles' was well presented by Bob McDonnell (Jack's dad) and interspersed with the speeches and eating was the communal singing of a number of Burns's songs — 'Comin' thro' the rye', 'Rantin' Rovin' Robin', 'A Man's a man for a' that', 'Green Grow the Rashes, O' and 'Scots Wha Hae'.
There was a large raffle with the first prize being one of Matt Hogg's handcrafted wooden bench seats — the timber having been taken from the Moss. The lucky winner was none other than the sword brandisher — Dr Bill Carr The Community Woodland Group would like to thank the following for their kind donations, in alphabetical order Buchan's Garage, Diageo, Matt Hogg, Lochend Farm shop (Stackyard Kitchen), Loch Leven Larder, Lomond Country Inn, Turfit, Well Inn and Wellside Motors. The excellent evening concluded with the traditional singing of' ‘Auld Lang Syne’.
ExxonMobil generously provided a grant under their Volunteer Involvement Programme to assists with our running costs.
Event to help the Woodland Trust Scotland and the Portmoak Community Woodland Group to restore the raised bog at Portmoak Moss. Young birch trees were removed. A trained craftsman demonstrated techniques for making tools and jewellery from wood. One delighted member was able to make the perfect present for his wife: a broomstick.
As usual, we were at the Kinross show. As a little fund-raiser we were able to sell some trees which we had taken from the Moss the previous week.
In March 2006 we ran a biodiversity day, supported by funds from the Scottish Executive Biodiversity Action Grant Scheme. Here's what went on, along with some of the presentations.
Portmoak Moss: an historical perspective - A time-line of the evolution of Portmoak Moss
Biodiversity action plans - Introduction and overview on biodiversity
Bog restoration: theory and practice - The development of peat bogs and what we are doing at Portmoak Moss
ExxonMobil generously provided a grant under their Volunteer Involvement Programme to assists with the costs of producing our 2006 Portmoak Community Woodland calendar.
The Portmoak Community Woodland Steering Team organise a Burns supper each year.
It's always a sell out success, with top notch speakers, musicians and reciters. The haggis is dispatched by Dr Bill Carr. It's not exactly clear why you need a medical degree to dissect a haggis, but anyway, it's handy to have him on hand just in case he pole-axes one of the audience while he's at it.
Look out for publicity fliers in January. Don't miss it: book early.