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Newsletter 27th January 2012

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  • Newsletter 27th January 2012

    Electric Scotland News
    Electric Canadian
    The Flag in the Wind
    Jamieson's Dictionary of the Scottish Language
    Scottish Poets in America
    Chronicles of Gretna Green
    Life Jottings of an Old Edinburgh Citizen
    James Ballantine
    Calendar Of Documents Relating to Scotland
    Northern Notes and Queries
    A Description of the Scenery of Dunkeld (New Book)
    The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP
    From the Highlands to High Finance - The Carolina McColls
    Songs of Robert Burns
    Collection of epitaphs and monumental inscriptions, chiefly in Scotland
    Norscot Joinery Ltd
    Robert Louis Stevenson's Article on Robert Burns

    Electric Scotland News
    At long last we've made the move and so our web servers are now in there new home and our new IP's are working with our new Telco, Comcast.

    I should explain that when you put in a web address in your browser it actually goes to the local Domain Name Server to look for that web address to find the actual IP address which is in the form of and then uses that IP number to get to the web site. This means when you change your IP address that means until the Domain Name Server is updated it can't find the site. Now Steve tells me that almost all these special servers are updated once in every 24 hours but some will do it every 3 hours or some might do it every 72 hours so it's rather fluid as to time scales. He also tells me that DNS servers can also be configured to update a single domain if they get a certain number of queries in a 1 hour period and so can be configured to refresh that particular domain if that figure is reached.

    So that's the background. From here in Canada there was almost no downtime for or .net but it did take some time to get our other domains back such as our community but from here we're all back up and working. So hopefully you also can get to all our domains.


    Now that we've moved servers our plan is to proceed with an upgrade to our Community software. This work will start tomorrow (Friday) so those of you using our community may find we're down for a short time. Usually when you do a major update it requires rebooting the server to allow all the changes to take affect. As we cache the index a server reboot can take around 20 minutes for us to come fully back up. So if we are down it won't be for long.

    The first step will be to upgrade to the latest release of the base software and then we'll be doing any updates or upgrades to any of our existing applications and then we'll be adding in new features that we've identified as being useful for the community. And so all this means is that between Friday and over the weekend we'll be working away at improving the community.

    We're also working on the mobile suite for our community but that's a process that can take 6 weeks or more to go through but we've made a start already.

    Also if any of you like a particular feature that you've seen elsewhere and think we'd benefit from having it ourselves do let us know and we'll do out best to make it available.

    And as we get the upgrades and new stuff installed we'd certainly appreciate it if you could keep us up to date on any problems you find. We will also be updating our Arcade system as we know we had some permission problems there and we're hoping by doing the update of the system and the arcade software that will fix the problem.


    The other big news out of Scotland is that the Referedum process is now officially on its way. This is certainly a huge historic process for Scotland and to that end I have created a new forum in our Lifestyle Group for Scottish Independence. I hope to bring you key updates through that forum as we progress towards the Autumn 2014 referendum. The forum can be found at


    I also created two vidoes this week. One is actually me just trying to make contact with the Scottish Chamber of Commerce as they don't return my phone calls or answer my emails. So you might say that in desperation I'm trying to communicate with them through a youTube video. If you wish you can view this at

    The other video is about my findings on the education of famous Scots. I was trying to find out what common factors there might be between them and is why I have posted up so many biographies and autobiographies. You can view this at


    And finally... we are in the process of adding a comments system to We hope to have the systen working within 24 hours but do note that it will appear on the site next time you visit and like any other major program there are always teething issues you need to sort and we're confident we can do that but each change is taking around 1.5 hours to propigate through the site so it's very time consuming. All this means is that if you try and use it you'll get errors until we figure out what the problem is and fix it.

    However... once it's fully working you will need to register with us to be able to add a comment and to start with every comment will be moderated meaning we'll have to approve each comment. It's a bit like the various newspaper sites where you can add a comment to a news story. You'll be able to tweet your comment and link to the various social networks. We don't yet know everything about the program but we also think we can approve certain email addresses for instant acceptance of comments with no need for moderation. We also think we can allow the uploading of pictures and even videos and you can register to have your Avator shown against your comment. Other features may well be available but as I say we're also in a learning process.

    In many ways this is "Stop Press" news as we only found the program today and it's one we've been looking for for a long time.

    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 in our site menu and at and also

    This weeks issue has been Compiled by Jamie Hepburn and WOW I don't think I've ever read such a huge main article so do get a cup of coffee before you start reading :-)

    You can read this issue at

    Jamieson's Dictionary of the Scottish Language
    We've added more to this dictionary...

    Scottish Language Letter L

    You can read this at

    Scottish Poets in America
    With Biographical and Critical Notices by John D, Ross (1889)

    Now added...

    McLean, Andrew

    This is a new entry for this week and can be found at

    The other entries can be found at

    Chronicles of Gretna Green
    By Peter Orlando Hutchinson (1844)

    Added this week...

    Chapter XIV.
    Erroneous idea that the Priest of Gretna is a Blacksmith

    Chapter XV.
    Runaway Match of a Bishop's Daughter

    Chapter XVI.
    Visit to the Gretna Priest

    Chapter XVII.
    Expenses of Marriage at Gretna

    Chapter XVIII.
    Expenses of Marriage at Gretna, continued

    Chapter XIV starts...

    Erroneous idea that the Priest of Gretna is a Blacksmith.

    This shows how false reports sometimes
    Fly o'er the land like treason;
    And how folks choose to cling to them
    In spite of sense and reason.

    After all, it is not a matter of much wonderment that the world should be full of false reports, when we know, that as soon as a man is born he goeth astray and speaketh lies.

    Divers false reports touching various matters foreign to this history have, from time to time, grievously run over the land, whereby people have too often been misled and deceived; such, however, we leave to those whom it may concern; but there is one particular false report about Gretna Green, with which we have much to do in discoursing of this place ; and for the enlightenment of the shades of error, we will immediately set about enkindling the torch of truth.

    Now, the erroneous idea to which we refer is this, — that it is almost universally supposed that the personage who marries at Gretna Green, is by trade a blacksmith.

    We have heard of a thousand anecdotes wherein it is mentioned, how certain parties were united by a brawny blacksmith; and how the said parties had no sooner jumped over the broomstick, when the enraged papa, post-haste from England, rushed into the house — but just one moment too late to save his run-away daughter.

    We made this much contested subject a particular point of investigation when we were on the spot: but in spite of all our inquiries, and searching, and scrutiny, we could not discover that a blacksmith had of late years performed the ceremony, nor indeed, that a blacksmith had ever done it at any period whatever.

    One of the most noted priests here at present is Simon Laing, by trade a weaver, as before remarked, and no blacksmith at all. His father, David, who married Wakefield, also before mentioned, earned his bread, according to his own account, entirely by the practice of marrying (and easily earned it too) during the immensely long space of eight-and-forty years ; but he never wielded a sledge hammer in his life, nor was he ever connected with the business ; before his time, full fifty years ago, the chief priest was a man of the name of Parseley or Paisley—Joseph Paisley—and he was a tobacconist, but no blacksmith; and prior to him the principal functionary carried on the occupation of a fisherman, in the waters of the Solway Firth, as we will presently shew, on the authority of Pennant.

    Thus we have traced the apostolic succession back through nearly a century ; but beyond this time no authentic record remains to satisfy our curiosity—indeed, at that period, the laxity of the laws of England rendered it unnecessary to resort thither: and the trade was not monopolized into the hands of a few then, even as it has been since.

    You can read the rest of this chapter at

    You can read the other chapters at

    Life Jottings of an Old Edinburgh Citizen
    By Sir J. H. A. MacDonald P.C., K.C.B., Lord Justice-Clerk.

    Added this week...

    Chapter Eighteen
    Edinburgh University—Laughing-gas day—Professors Gregory and Forbes —Study of chemistry—Electricity—Magnetism—Telegraphy—Want of foresight of scientific men- -Choice of profession—Health—Blunders of diagnosis—Study of the Law—Midnight oil—My professors—Edward Prince of Wales in Edinburgh—An accident

    Chapter Nineteen
    Dress in the Fifties- Etiquette at games—Croquet—The pegtops—Crutch and toothpick crinoline—Present extravagances

    Chapter Twenty
    Simpson — Christison—Syine- -Goodsir—Lister—Annandale—Watson— Joseph Bell — John Duncan- -Chiene—Maclagan — Gillespie—Turner— Andrew Wilson — Piazzi Smythe—Macnee—Rochefort's critique on Raeburn—Dean Ramsay—Rev. Dr. Macgregor—Thomson—John Hope-Sam Bough

    Chapter Twenty-One
    Changes in school sports—Football—public interest in local games— Ancient archery butt—Statute against football and golf—Academical cricket club and football club

    Chapter Twenty-Two
    The Volunteers—Napoleon Third's opinion—The Queen's Brigade— Queen's Review, 1860—Her opinion—Appointment as captain and musketry instructor—Amusing episode at the butts

    Here is how Chapter Nineteen starts...

    ON my return to Edinburgh in 1856, after my sojourn in Switzerland, I found a marked change in the dress of both sexes, In the case of the ladies, the bonnet still ruled as the formality head-dress, although there was some relaxation. Hats might be worn by the young in the country, and gradually came to be seen even in town, except when calling or going to church. But for any function the bonnet was de rigueur. I have known a lady, when going to a week-day church service, make a point of first returning home, and changing from hat to bonnet. On Sunday nothing else was permissible. Even later, in the Sixties, I was considered to be proposing something shocking in suggesting that the bridesmaids at my own marriage should wear hats. Some of them liked the idea, but, "Oh, my dear, it would never do, people would be shocked," was the verdict of the duennas. I was before my time, judging by what I see now, and see with gratification.

    As regards men's attire, the sternness of fashion was as great. The first out-of-doors game which ever brought the sexes together was croquet. What was the fate of the poor man who, even id the country, was tied up by etiquette when he went by invitation to a croquet party. Frock-coat and tall hat were imperative. Many a game have I played in broiling weather, with the perspiration running into my eyes from the impervious brim of the silk hat. All was against us, and we used wickedly to say that the crinoline of the ladies was a handicap in their favour, as under cover of the wide expanse of skirts, balls could easily be moved nearer the face of a hoop. It may have been libellous, but not In every case, I think. Anything more nonsensical than playing an outdoor game in such garb cannot be imagined for either sex. But had any one of us appeared in a shooting jacket, it would have been: "Oh, my dear, did you see Mr. Cool—an absolute want of sense of propriety," with the hand held up, wrist projected forward, as ladies do when they wish to express the waving off of something as being almost too objectionable for words.

    You can read the rest of this chapter at

    The other chapters can be read at

    James Ballantine
    We continue our book "Gaberlunzies Wallet" and now have up Chapter 10 which you can read at

    Calendar Of Documents Relating to Scotland
    By Joseph Bain

    Our thanks to John Henderson for compiling this for us. This week we've added...

    Volume 3

    1321 to 1330

    You can get to this at

    Northern Notes and Queries
    Edited by Rev. R. W. Cornelious Hallen (1886)

    We now have up Issue 4 of this publication which you can read at

    I might add that it is in publications like this that I often discover interesting new books to add to the site. As it's only 16 pages it doesn't take long to puruse.

    A Description of the Scenery of Dunkeld
    And in Blair of Atholl (1823)

    For those that enjoy walking this book might well be a good one to help plan out some walks in this area. I've added a Google map and also a YouTube video of the town to the page.

    We have now got up...

    A Description
    Approaches to Dunkeld
    Grounds of Dunkeld - River Walks
    Grounds of Dunkeld - Upper Walks
    The Cathedral
    The Hermitage, Rumbling Bridge, &c.&c.
    Distant Walks and Scenery, including Craig-y-Barns
    Lochs of the Lowes, and Distant Rides
    The Road to Blair - Moulinearn - Fascally

    In The Cathedral cahpter we learn...

    The tourist will not take leave of the home grounds of Dunkeld without visiting the Cathedral; not only because it forms a very interesting addition to them, but because of its own intrinsic beauty, and the claims to notice which it derives from antiquity . Embosomed in dark fir trees of very fine forms on one side, and, on the other, placed in a flower garden of exquisite disposition, it offers some highly picturesque subjects for the pencil, independently of its mere architectural details, which, in some parts, are, in themselves, considerably ornamental, and well deserving of the artist's attention.

    Not long ago tending fast to ruin, it has been repaired and strengthened in a most judicious manner, without the slightest interference with that which remained, and on a principle well deserving of' imitation. here the mullions or other ornamental parts were in danger, they have been fastened by iron cramps; and wherever any fresh masonry was required for security, it had been so managed that the eye does not discover the repairs. Thus this building may yet stand for ages—the memorial of a period when Scotland vied with its wealthier neighbour, as far as its limited means permitted, in dedicating no small portion of its resources to the splendour as we'll as to the support of Religion. While we lament the fanaticism which levelled so many of out sacred structures with the ground, we must not forget to record the liberality which, though late, has at length interfered to prevent the utter demolition of these testimonies of the piety of our ancestors. Nor would it lie just to pass over the noble individual to whom Scotland and the arts are alike indebted for this attention, and whose name it must now be unnecessary to mention. With a liberality akin to that to which the country owes the bridge of Dunkeld, he undertook also to convert the ruinous choir into a church for the service of this parish. In effecting this, in a manner as durable as it is ornamental, the exterior of the building has, in this part, been restored, with some slight variations, to its original state; while the country has been provided with a church which helps to remove the discredit so often and so justly attached to these structures in Scotland. Thus the repairs of a part and the restoration of the rest, have gone hand in hand ; and every thing has been done which ought or could have been done to protect and preserve the whole, short of that entire restoration which was obviously impossible, It is due to the liberality of government, to remember, that the Exchequer advanced £1000 towards these repairs; and still more so to that of the Duke of Atholl, to say that his expense amounted to £5000.

    It appears that Dunkeld was originally the seat of one of those establishments derived from St. Columba, which have been called monasteries of Culdees; and it is also related that the bones of that Saint were transported hither from Iona, by Kenneth M'Alpin. The early history however, like every thing else in Scottish antiquities, is both traditional and obscure. According to Milne, Constantine, King of the Picts.founded this, or some other religious establishment, in 729, and David the First converted it into an episcopal see in 1127, by creating Gregory the First, who was then Abbot of Dunkeld, a bishop. Gregory died in 1109. These bishops appear also to have been, at one time, the Primates of Scotland: but as other traditions make Cormac the bishop in the time of Alexander the First, there is some obscurity here which it , would be in vain to try to disentangle, Whatever the case may be, the succession of bishops on record after Gregory the First, or Cormac, is as follows: Gregory the second, Walter Bedur., John Scot, Richard de Prebenua, John of Leicester, Hugo de Sigillo, Matthew Scot, Giitiert, Galfred Liverance, Richard, David, Richard Inverkeithing, Robert d'Estoteville, Matthew de Crambeth, William Sinclair (the fighting bishop), Walter, Duncan. John, Michael Monymusk, John Peebles, Robert de Cairney, Donald Mac Naughtoa, James Kennedy, Alexander I.auder, James Bruce, William Turnbul!, John Raulston, Thomas Lauder, James Le-vingston, Alexander Inglis, Robert, George Brown, Andrew Stuart, Gavin Douglas, celebrated in Scottish literature, George Crichton, John Hamilton, and Robert Crichton; this last bishop ending in 1550.

    You can read the rest of this chapter at

    You can get to this book at

    The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP
    Got in an article from her which you can see at

    From the Highlands to High Finance - The Carolina McColls
    By Suzanne Cameron Linder Hurley (2012)

    This is a brand new book and as I was sent in a complimentary copy I thought it was only right to give it a mention and you can read more about it at

    Appartently the McColls were instrumental is creating the Bank of America.

    Songs of Robert Burns
    We've actually has this book available on the site for a while but it was a 125Mb download. John Henderson got in touch to say he'd found a good copy of it at only 35Mb and also offered to serilize it to make it easier to download. And so we took up his offer as the book is a valuable resource with much sheet music in it.

    You can get to this book at

    Collection of epitaphs and monumental inscriptions, chiefly in Scotland
    This is a very interesting book in pdf format published in 1834.

    You can get to this book at

    Norscot Joinery Ltd
    Got in a business overview of this Highland company a builder of Timber Kit Homes. You can read this at

    Robert Louis Stevenson's Article on Robert Burns
    For Cornhill Magazine in October 1879. This would make a good Immortal Memory I suspect. You can read this at

    And finally...


    An elderly Floridian called 911 on her cell phone to report that her car has been broken into. She is hysterical as she explains her situation to the dispatcher: "They've stolen the stereo, the steering wheel, the brake pedal and even the accelerator!" she cried.

    The dispatcher said, "Stay calm. An officer is on the way."

    A few minutes later, the officer radios in. "Disregard." He says. "She got in the back-seat by mistake."

    And that's all for now and hope you all enjoy your weekend.