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Newsletter for 3rd June 2022

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  • Newsletter for 3rd June 2022

    For the latest news from Scotland see our ScotNews feed at:

    Electric Scotland News

    The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

    The Queen has said she is inspired by the goodwill of the nation as celebrations for her Platinum Jubilee begin.

    In a Jubilee message, she thanked the public for organising events and said "many happy memories" would be made.

    Millions are gearing up for street parties to mark the monarch's 70 years on the throne over the four-day bank holiday weekend.


    Today we give thanks to the Queen for her sterling service to our nation for more than 70 years as monarch. Over those years she has gently nudged change in the way the monarchy and court work and how they reach out to the public they serve. She has reigned from days of food rationing and bomb sites after the World War to the days of the digital revolution when so many enjoy a mobile phone and many appliances in their homes that were beyond the imagination or the pockets of the many 70 years ago. She has seen us move on from open coal fires to central heating, from very few going on to A levels and degrees to a much more widely educated society and from most walking or going by bus to many having a family car and a foreign holiday.

    The Queen throughout has been the UK’s first diplomat. At times her state visits and Commonwealth interventions have made an important contribution to peace and greater world harmony. Her early reaching out to Nelson Mandela led to him riding in a state coach with her in London and a very successful state visit to South Africa. Her official visit to the Republic of Ireland after the troubles was well received by all sides and helped the peace process. Her warmth towards Michelle Obama helped in a difficult phase of the UK/US long relationship.

    She has kept her position as constitutional monarch by understanding exactly how she must not be seen to be interfering in contentious matters that divide the parties and Parliament. She has avoided over hasty action when Parliament itself fails to deliver a reliable majority for the Prime Minister, understanding that at such times of dispute the elected politicians have to find their own way through. Over the Jubilee holiday we can relax a little, celebrate all that is good about the modern UK, and thank the Queen for her service.

    By John Redwood MP

    Scottish News from this weeks newspapers
    Note that this is a selection and more can be read in our ScotNews feed on our index page where we list news from the past 1-2 weeks. I am partly doing this to build an archive of modern news from and about Scotland and world news stories that can affect Scotland and as all the newsletters are archived and also indexed on Google and other search engines it becomes a good resource. I might also add that in a number of newspapers you will find many comments which can be just as interesting as the news story itself and of course you can also add your own comments if you wish which I do myself from time to time.

    Covid infections continue to decline in UK
    Coronavirus infections in the UK continue to fall, with one in 60 people now affected, according to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

    Read more at:

    United Arab Emirates country profile
    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven states that has grown from a quiet backwater to one of the Middle East's most important economic centres.

    Read more at:

    Scot Tom Stoltman retains World's Strongest Man title
    Scotland's Tom Stoltman has retained his World's Strongest Man title.

    Read more at:

    Scotland outstrips Europe and UK on inward investment
    Scotland outpaced both Europe and the UK as a whole last year as a destination for foreign investors, according to a new report.

    Read more at:

    By Hamish MacKay in the Scottish Review

    Read more at:

    Fit for the Digital Age?
    Technology by Bill Magee in the Scottish Review

    Read more at:

    Food fight
    As prices rise and certain countries limit exports, the debate over UK food production is only going to get more fierce. When it comes to important new tech like gene editing, the Government must resist the urge to acquiesce to anti-innovation activists, whose claims often have little scientific grounding.

    Read more at:

    Money vs mission
    The Church of England is facing continued decline, both in attendance and influence, and is predicted to become extinct by 2060. Paradoxically, however, it is doing a very good job of growing its investment assets, generating returns of 13.3% last year. So where does all the money go?

    Read more at:

    Loads of visitors, no staff: Tourism industry 45,000 workers short
    A staffing crisis in Scotland’s tourism industry could force many operators out of business, trade experts fear.

    Read more at:

    Searching for life on Mars from a Scottish island
    Prof John Parnell learned to spot the signs of life in rocks while studying oil and gas exploration at the University of Aberdeen.

    Read more at:

    The indigenous Australians few know
    Torres Strait Islander people have a rich cultural identity unique to that of Aboriginal Australians, yet few travellers will have heard of them.

    Read more at:

    Ukraine war: Answering your questions on the conflict's latest developments
    It's been 98 days since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine and events on the ground remain complex and fast-moving.

    Read more at:

    Platinum Jubilee: Queen thanks nation as Jubilee weekend begins
    The Queen has said she is "inspired" by the goodwill of the nation as celebrations for her Platinum Jubilee begin. In a Jubilee message, she thanked the public for organising events and said "many happy memories" would be made.

    Read more at:

    The foods that could prevent climate disasters
    The solutions for farming in a changing climate can be both impressively scientific and surprisingly simple.

    Read more at:

    Why more Scots pay higher income tax
    It's called fiscal drag, and it's one of the most effective ways of raising tax without people noticing.

    Read more at:

    Electric Canadian

    The Caves and Potholes at Rockwood, Ontario
    By Prof. J. Hoyes Panton, M. A., F. G. S. (pdf)

    You can read this article at:

    Marie Anne Gaboury
    First Canadian Woman in the Northwest (pdf)

    You can read about her at:

    Canada and Scotland. Added a couple of videos for each of Canada and Scotland and I'm also being sent some pictures from Canada later this week which I'll add to the page.

    You can view these at:

    The Warden of the Plains
    And other stories of Life in the Canadian North-West by John MacLean M.A., Ph.D., illustrated by J. E. Laughlin (1896) (pdf)

    You can read these stories at:

    Thoughts on a Sunday Morning - the 29th day of May 2022 - Mitzvah
    By the Rev. Nola Crewe

    You can watch this at:

    Historical video on Steamboats of Muskoka, Ontario.
    You can watch this on our Muskoka page as the third video on the page at:

    A manual of prayer and praise for the Cree Indians of north-west America
    Compiled by W.W. Kirkby (1879) (pdf). Text is in the Cree language so likely most won't be able to read it but you can get to this at:

    Video of Moose Factory, Moosonee, Ontario, a Cree settlement
    Find this at the foot of the video page at:

    The Sovereign Great Priory of Canada
    Of the United Orders of Malta and the Temple Supreme Grand Masters, Compiled and Edited by Michael Jenkyns, K.T. (2016) (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    Electric Scotland

    Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
    Hi Everybody, Here is Section A of BNFT for June. There are a couple of gems inside that are guaranteed to make you chuckle. One has a pear in it and the other one actually shows a stork at work!

    I just learned that Jif peanut butter has been recalled as they are concerned that salmonella is in the treat. Just go to "Jif Peanut Butter Recall" and it will show you how to get the information you need to get a refund from them and how to find the UPC number and Product Code on your jar.

    Have you ever done something that you thought was efficient and good...and it turned out biting you? I did. We had thunderstorms forecast for about a week straight. Each night when I finished with my work, I would unplug my printer and my computer in case of lightning or a power surge. This afternoon, I was scanning in the publication and it quit when I got to page 36 of 38. What? ARGHH! I tried again and it quit. I tried yet again...and it quit.

    After I had tried three times to scan and it didn't work, I went around to the back of the faithful Canon printer and unplugged it and plugged it again, and made sure it was seated properly in the plug. I had fiddled with it - blood pressure rising to new heights for a long while - and after I replugged it, it worked beautifully. I don't think I will make the same mistake again.

    I am going to embroider a sampler that says, "Plug things in properly the first time!"

    Anyway, lots of interesting tidbits in this issue. I found an article I could not resist. It's about dogs knowing when you lie to them? My first thought was, who would lie to their dog? I hope you enjoy that article.

    Remember to send me your edits or changes in your email. Send me your Flowers of the Forest and anything you
    would like for me to print about your Scottish organization's happenings.

    Most of all, be careful and stay safe.

    Thank you.



    You can read the June 2022 section 1 at:

    Beth's Video Talks
    June 1st, 2020 - Identifying the Correct ancestors

    You can view this talk at:

    The Border Magazine
    Added Volume 3 (pdf) to our collection and you can read it at:

    The story this week is from this volume.

    A Parish History by the Rev. John Stirton, B.D., FSA Scot, Minister of Glamis (1913). Added this to our Gazetteer page about the parish.

    You can read this at the foot of the page at:

    Admiral Duncan
    By the Earl of Camperdown (1898). One of the comparatively few naval heroes of whom Scotland can boast.

    You can read about him and then read the book at:

    Principal Rory Macleod
    From the Aberdeen University Review containing lots of information on the Macleod and Macpherson families. Written by Rachel Blanche Harrower (pdf)

    You can read about him at:

    The Evangel in Gowrie
    Rev. Adam Philip. Added this book to a page with a previous work by him on the Parish of Longforgan.

    You can get to this at:

    The Complete Poetical Works of James Thomson
    By J. Logie Robertson, M.A.

    You can read his poems at:

    Hall, Russell & Co., Ltd. - The 1930's.
    By Stan Bruce

    This is volume 20 of his series and you can read it at:

    The other volumes can be read at:


    Thomas Gray of Earlston
    By Robert Anderson, Edinburgh

    FOURTEEN years have sped since this remarkable man and grand old Borderer passed away, and no record of him has appeared other than a few short paragraphs in local newspapers at the time of his death.

    He was the very kind of man Robert Burns would have been delighted to have made a companion and comrade; but he only came on the stage two and a-half years after the poet’s death. He, however, appears to have been nursed in Border poetry and ballad lore, and grew up a thorough representative of the famous Thomas of Ercildoune, whose poetry he admired, and whose memory he fondly worshipped. Had the late Dr. John Brown chanced to have met him and become acquainted with him, the genial author of "Rab and his Friends,” might have left a literary portrait of him, which would have been a fit companion to the matchless sketch of his “Uncle Johnston” in his exquisite letter to Dr. Cairns. The two men had a great deal in common, though, in many respects, they were very unlike.

    Robert Johnston spent almost the whole of his long life in the remote little town of Biggar in the upper ward of Lanarkshire, and, although a humble shopkeeper, “he not only intermeddled fearlessly with all knowledge but mastered more than many practised, and University men do in their own lines.”

    His minister, John Brown, D.D., father of "Rab", used to say with deep feeling, "that one thing put him always on his mettle, the knowledge that yonder in that corner, under the gallery, sat, Sabbath after Sabbath, a man who knew his Greek Testament better than I did.”

    Thomas Gray was born in the Border town of Earlston, and never left it unless to go on his regular rounds with his pack and his fiddle, to dispose of his “ginghams" the quality of which was proverbial, and concerning which he could have honestly said, “I counsel thee to buy of me.” He was born early in the year 1794, and died from the result of an accident while on a visit to friends in 1884, at the age of ninety. With only the early education which the parish school of the day afforded, he managed by diligent application to cultivate his intellect to such an extent that he became in his own neighbourhood and far remote, famous for his learning and intimate knowledge of the leaders in literature. He possessed upwards of 2,000 books—many of them standard works, scarce bibles, dictionaries and commentaries—and not only possessed them but he knew and had mastered the contents of most of them. It is interesting to know that the sale of this library after his death brought many "bidders" from distant parts of the country, and some boasted that they had got prizes they had been unable to find elsewhere.

    It was his great delight to rattle off screeds from his favourite authors. Indeed it may be freely asserted that he was more familiar with the great Puritan divines, such as Howe, Flavel, Charnock, Bunyan and Samuel Rutherford, than most of the clergy of his day, and nothing gave him greater pleasure than to meet a kindred spirit who could patiently listen to him, or give him in exchange other “bits” from his favourite or other like authors.

    He was one of the last survivors of a race of gingham manufacturers—famous in their day— and his chosen part of the business was to traverse the country distributing his wares. For three score years and ten he travelled over the three Lothians, as well as the counties on both sides of the Border, from the Cheviots well up into Liddesdale. During his later years, however, he confined himself chiefly to Berwickshire and East Lothian.

    Most of these journeys he made on foot, though, as railway facilities offered, and as declining years advanced, he took a lift in the train as he felt disposed. It may be safely affirmed that during his long lifetime he walked many thousands of miles; for it was to places to which no hired conveyance reached that many of his pilgrimages extended.

    “A Pedlar of many Excursions,” quite equal to Wordsworth’s in intensity and quaint variety of character, he rather resented the name of rackman; for, as he said, it was only to customers he delivered previously ordered goods. He pressed none to buy, assured that the ginghams would recommend themselves, and so they did; for many a frugal housewife has been known to wear for long years as her best gown his exquisite stuffs, and after that make them down to her daughters.

    But it was not only clothing for the body he carried; his capacious pockets used to hold at least two or three favourite volumes on which he might be seen poring while resting by the way; and many an odd book did he pick from the old stalls in Edinburgh that he judged would be appreciated by some young inquiring mind far removed from the chance of purchasing them; for it was a perfect joy to him to direct an inquiring spirit into the paths of pleasantness and peace, or give strength and solace to the weary traveller far advanced in the journey of life.

    It was not only to the humble cottage or the shepherd’s shieling far up in the hills where he was a welcome visitor and honoured guest. He had also access to the halls of the noble, and many “a lady of high degree” did not think it beneath her to purchase a dress piece from the old worthy, and to get in return his blessing and a tune on his fiddle.

    This instrument he invariably carried about with him, his pack on his back, and it slung in front; and his appearance never failed to excite interest in those chosen haunts in which his long experience made him feel most at home. When playing the favourite Scotch tunes, of which he was passionately fond, the tears were often seen running down his cheeks, and he had been heard to say that he would rather live on brose with his music, than be a nobleman with all his luxury without it.

    The decadence of Scottish song was to him a matter of deep lamentation. With all his heart he re-echoed the appeal of Robert Ferguson:—

    “O Scotland! that could yince afford
    To bang the pith of Roman sword,
    Winna your sons, in joint accord,
    To battle speed,
    And fight till music be restor’d,
    Which now lies dead?"

    A glance at his portrait shows the delicate and sensitive fingers so well fitted to bring out the tender strains from his loved instrument; and no father ever fondled his infant son more tenderly than did the old bachelor his treasured fiddle.

    He was admitted into terms of intimacy and friendship with many gentleman farmers, such as the late Douglas Murray of Longyester, a man of highly cultivated tastes, and possessing a library and collection of paintings—including three or four of Sam Bough’s at his best—which means a nobleman might have amused. Mr Murray welcomed Thomas to his house, and many a time they sat on to the small hours of the morning, holding high converse with each other.

    One who knew him well says, "His communings with Nature in his solitary wanderings had brought him into sympathy with the dumb animals of God’s creation, and nothing so let loose the fire of his wrath as to see or hear of any cruelty to them; then his small twinkling eyes would be set in a fierce glare, and he would denounce the wrong doers with hot indignation.”

    Once he had the pleasure of introducing to him—and spending the evening with both—the late Miss Jeanie Watson, the author of “Bygone Days in our Village”; and it was something to hear the old veteran describing scenes and places he had visited, and telling of “old times changed, old manners gone.” It was astonishing the alertness and vivacity he still possessed in his old age. His friends used to tell him—what he was quite convinced of himself—that he would break down in some of his rounds; but the wandering spirit was too strong in him to permit him resting at home, where domestic ties he had none; and so he was on the road to the last. It is sad to think that his end was hastened by accident at last; for while staying with friends in Eyemouth, he had in passing from one house to another, missed his way in the darkness and stepped over the pier into the harbour, and, though rescued at once, the shock had been too much for the old man, and he passed away — not far from his beloved Borderland —within twenty-four hours after. Peace be to his memory. He was one who could say and sing with Burns:

    “For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
    Our toil’s obscure, an’ a’ that;
    The rank is but the guinea’s stamp,
    The man’s the gowd for a’ that.

    What tho’ on hamely fare we dine,
    Wear hoddin gray, an’ a’ that,
    Gie fools their silks, an’ knaves their wine,
    A man’s a man for a’ that.
    For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
    Their tinsel show, an’ a’ that,
    The honest man, though e’er sae poor,
    Is king o’ men for a’ that.

    Then let us pray that come it may,
    As come it will for a’ that,
    That sense an’ worth, o’er a’ the earth
    May bear the gree, an’ a’ that ;
    For af that, an’ a’ that,
    It’s coming yet, for a’ that,
    That man to man, the warld o’er
    Shall brothers be lor a’ that.


    Weekend is almost here and hope it's a good one for you.