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Electric Scotland News

Boston, Massachusetts, March 29, 2019 – The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA successfully collaborated with Scotland’s largest conservation charity to crowdfund the restoration of one of Scotland’s most picturesque mills where some of Outlander’s most memorable scenes were filmed.

Launched on March 8, 2019, the international crowdfunder reached its target of $15,000 on March 26 – less than three weeks later – through the support of the public and an American donor who made a challenge match contribution. The funds raised will be used to restore Preston Mill, one of Scotland’s last working grain mills, which is located on the banks of the River Tyne in East Lothian, east of Edinburgh. Its water wheel mechanism broke over the winter and has been jammed in a fixed position.

Kirstin Bridier, Executive Director, said: “We were thrilled to work with the National Trust for Scotland to bring Outlander fans from all over the world together in support of the restoration of Preston Mill’s water wheel. The Outlander novels and television series have had a massive impact on tourism to Scotland, and it is inspiring to see this fan community come together to ensure that an irreplaceable piece of Scottish heritage is preserved for future generations.”

In 2014, it hosted the cast and crew of Outlander as they filmed some of the first season’s most pivotal scenes and used the mill as a stand-in for Lallybroch, Jamie Fraser’s (played by Sam Heughan) family home.

VisitScotland, the country’s tourism organization, recently honored Outlander author Diana Gabaldon in recognition that visitor numbers at historic sites used in the adaptation of her famous novels for television have soared 67% since 2013. These include National Trust for Scotland sites Falkland Palace and Culross, in addition to Preston Mill.

Given the TV show’s international popularity, the crowdfunding campaign garnered global attention with a National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA donor from Nantucket, Massachusetts, making a substantial match funding contribution. Barbara Beinecke Spitler matched all donations made towards the repair of the mill, dollar-for-dollar, until $5,000 (3,901.50) was reached. As a fan of Gabaldon’s series and a philanthropist of historic preservation, Barbara saw the donation as the perfect marriage of her two interests.

Work to repair the wheel will now begin in early spring with hopes of completion in April – in time for the property’s seasonal reopening.

To get the wheel turning again, engineers will restore the masonry pillar – which the wheel sits upon – and replace the timber bearing and metal bushes – which houses the wheel’s axle and holds it in place, allowing the wheel to turn.

Stuart Maxwell, General Manager for Ayrshire & Arran and Edinburgh & East at The National Trust for Scotland, said: “We’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who donated, and we can’t wait to welcome you all to the mill when it reopens at the end of April 2019.”


Why doesn't the US military like working with the British military?
Roger Payne, Former British Paratrooper, Australian Army, Mines Rescue

Answered Mar 27 Upvoted by David Kleemann, Combat Medic at U.S. Army (2005-present) and David Kelly, former Officer at U.S. Army (1973-1993)

Here’s one of the main reason the US Forces don’t like working alongside the British Army in Afghanistan, and its not because the British soldier is inferior:

'We pity the Brits': the view from the Marines

US troops in Afghanistan are shocked by the standard of equipment their British counterparts have to use.

Terri Judd reports from Helmand

Two months ago, 4,000 US Marines descended upon the Afghan village of Garmsir in southern Afghanistan and managed to take the territory over which the British had battled over for three years. Go big, go strong, go fast, their Brigadier General, Lawrence Nicholson, had ordered – and they did.

Yet yesterday there was a notable absence of arrogance among the new inhabitants of the British military's most southerly and often most lethal front. The Marines speak with nothing but respect for those who held this ground in far fewer numbers – the British servicemen who passed, as some might say, this poisoned chalice on to them. If anything, there is muted admiration for how they coped with less equipment, particularly with their vehicles.

With roadside bombs now the Taliban's weapon of choice and the greatest threat to troops on the ground, many in Britain have been calling for greater protection for British troops.

Yesterday, the US commanders of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines (2/8) who now occupy Forward Operating Base Delhi spoke with admiration of the professionalism of the soldiers that they had replaced – but equally of the lack of armour on their vehicles and the fact that they had women serving on the front line.

The British Jackal vehicle could reach more sections of this inhospitable territory than the Americans' larger, heavier MRAP (Mine Resistance Ambush Protected) – which serves to point out the long-held argument that manoeuvrability is as important as protection. But the young Marines were in no hurry to swap places with the British.

"The biggest thing I noticed was the vehicles they drive. Your guys are friggin' gutsy. I wouldn't get shot at in one of those," said Corporal Aaron Helvig, 21, from Arizona.

Lance Corporal Sean Simmonds, 22, from Connecticut, was one of the first to arrive for a hand-over with the Light Dragoons battle group. "They know how to drive, that's for sure," he said of the British troops.

"They just go as fast as they can, they are not worried about being blown up. It is hard to find drivers like that. And their medics were awesome. I wouldn't mind working with them again at all."

For years in Iraq, the commonly held view was that the Americans had taken on the tougher fight in Baghdad while the southern area around Basra was the softer option. Today, no one is any doubt that the British have been fighting and dying in one of the most lethal parts of Afghanistan. Lieutenant Colonel Christian Cabaniss, the commanding officer of 2/8, praised the British efforts.

"From my perspective, they were doing all the right things," he said. "They knew what they should do, they just didn't have the resources to do it. The plan we executed on 2 July had been done before but in pieces. We just had the resources to execute it all at the same time and stay. That is the difference.

"They did everything in their power to make our transition smooth. A lot of British blood had been spilled in the south and I see our part as a continuation of their efforts."

For some of the younger Marines involved, the hand-over was the first time they had ever met a Brit and, one conceded, he had rather feared they would be somewhat stuck up.

Instead the clean shaven, fastidiously polite Marines landed in Delhi to be greeted by the sight of a bunch of "bad ass" troops in shorts and flip flops, long adapted to this searingly hot, harsh environment.

"They were easy to talk to. I didn't expect that," said Sergeant Andre Livsey, 22, from Massachusetts. "We always think the British have higher standards, would think of us as a little immature. But we found out they are just like us."

Lance Corporal Antwuan Browne, 24, from Maryland, noted that "they swore a lot", explaining: "We don't swear when there are women and officers around."

Once they got over the "incomprehensible" accents, the Marines said, they began trading in time-honoured tradition; Marines gleefully swapping Light Dragoon or Mercian Regiment T-shirts and badges for their own, or their ration packs for a British one.

"You guys have got cool ass MREs [ration packs]. That tropical drink mix, tell them they need to ship that to America," said L/Cpl Browne who confessed to a new-found love for Scotch eggs.

Most of all, they stood in wide-eyed jealousy of the fact that the British, unlike the US Marines, allow women attachments to frontline units.

"I thought it was weird how the women interacted but pretty cool and they knew just as much as the guys," said L/Cpl Simmonds.

A stunned sounding Cpl Helvig recalled: "The first day a British female soldier just walked up to the shower in a towel in front of us, took a shower and walks away."

The Stars and Stripes now flies over shrapnel pitted buildings and sandbag fortifications of Forward Operating Base Delhi. But the Union Flag has not disappeared.

The US Marines moved the flag a few feet along, to flutter above the memorial to the 14 British soldiers who lost their lives here. Soon another one is to be built next to it, this time dedicated to the 14 men that the 2/8 and attached units have already lost in the two short months that they have been here.

"This thing is because of September 11 and it is more our fight but your guys are here to help us and it is extremely appreciated. We know that not that many people would be here for the Americans and we think it is really cool the British are. We have got each others' backs," explained Cpl Helvig.

Cpl Sheffer said: "It is like a brother situation. We fight all the time but it's just for shits and giggles. Somebody outside, like Afghanistan, comes to fuck with you and you join up and kick some ass."

"Yeh," interjected L/Cpl Browne. "Like brothers in arms."


You can view a video introduction to this newsletter at:

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 as all the newsletters are archived and also indexed on Google and other search engines. I might also add that in newspapers such as the Guardian, Scotsman, Courier, etc. 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.

Long-term security risks from Huawei
The Chinese company Huawei has been strongly criticised in a report by the body overseeing the security of its products in UK telecoms.

Read more at:

Schoolboy finds lost piece of Glasgow's Govan Stones
A 14-year-old schoolboy helping out at an archaeological dig in Glasgow has found one of a set of lost gravestones from the Middle Ages. Mark McGettigan's discovery at Govan Old Parish Church led to two more sculpted gravestones being found.

Read more at:

Mobile barbering: It's like Uber, but for haircuts
For many black British men, barber shops are a place to hang out, chat and meet friends. But for others they waste too much time, which is why two young men have come up with a new approach - a barber shop on wheels that you book via an app.

Read more at:

For the EU, Brexit presents a big security dilemma
The EU needs Britain on its side as the Atlantic security relationship diminishes

Read more at:

The EU’s censorious copyright directive will create two internets
Today's approval of the European Copyright Directive is the end of the internet as we know it

Read more at:

World’s press lambastes Britain for failing to leave the EU on intended date of 29 March
Newspapers in Europe and across the globe have been reacting to Friday’s withdrawal agreement vote

Read more at:

Scotland’s Orkney islands produce more clean energy than their inhabitants can use.
Their next step? Hydrogen. Here’s why that matters and what the rest of the world could learn

Read more at:

Canada heating up faster than rest of world
Canada’s Changing Climate Report claims the country is 1.7 C higher today than it was 70 years ago

Read more at:

Celebrating 70 years of NATO
The alliance is still as vital as ever

Read more at:

Glasgow’s doner kebab brand to launch 100 sites in Saudi Arabia
German Doner Kebab (GDK) owned by the Glasgow-based Sarwar family has announced it is to move into the Saudi Arabian market after signing up The Ajlan Company as its master franchisee for the kingdom.

Read more at:

16 sweets that’ll make you feel nostalgic if you grew up in Scotland
Scotland’s love affair with all things sweet is well-known and it’s no surprise that we have a rich history in not just keeping them for ourselves but also in producing some amazing treats for people around the world to enjoy.

Read more at:

In defence of the Trump tax cuts
Democrats seem intent on reversing a part of the Trump agenda that is actually working

Read more at:

Amazon plans to launch satellites to offer broadband internet
Project Kuiper will launch a constellation of low earth orbit satellites that will provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connectivity

Read more at:

Working with Jeremy Corbyn on Brexit is a big mistake
Theresa May’s red lines were there for a reason

Read more at:

Electric Canadian

Just as Brexit is dominating British politics the SNC-Lavalin scandal is likewise dominating Canadian politics.
Read some of what is happening at:

Canadian Archive Reports
Added the 1902 report.

You can read this at:

The Canadian Horticulturist
Volume 19 (1896) can be read at:

Bureau of Archives for the Province of Ontario
Sixth Report of the Bureau of Archives for the Province of Ontario by Alexander Fraser (1909) can be read at:

New Studies of Canadian Folk Lore
By H. Beaugrand (1904) (pdf) can be read at:

160 year History of the Canadian Gazette
We've added a link on our Magazines page at:

Sam Steele of the North West Mounted Police
We've added a video at:

Grey Owl
Added a video about him at:

The Canadians
Added a link to some 59 Canadian video Biographies to our Makers of Canada page which can be seen on YouTube. All about 45 minutes in length. You can get to this at:

John Walter Grant MacEwan
John Walter Grant MacEwan, OC AOE (August 12, 1902 – June 15, 2000) was a Canadian farmer, Professor at the University of Saskatchewan, Dean of Agriculture at the University of Manitoba, the 28th Mayor of Calgary and both a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and the ninth Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, Canada. MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta and the MacEwan Student Centre at the University of Calgary as well as the neighbourhoods of MacEwan Glen in Calgary and MacEwan in Edmonton are named after him.

Added him to our Makers of Canada page at:

Driv'n by Fortune
By Sam Allison. A story of the Highland Scots in Canada which you can read at:

The Scots Canadian
Newsletter of the Scottish Studies Society. Added a link to the page where you can read other issues at:

Conrad Black
The absurd collusion delusion goes up in smoke at last

Electric Scotland

The Scottish Review
Added Volume 32 -
July October 1898 for you to read at:

Life And Death On The A9
This is a similar documentary that was done on the A1. It takes us from Perth up to Caithness and you can watch an episode at:

Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
Got in the April 2019 section 1 which you can read at:

James Melvin
Rector of Aberdeen Grammer School and the best Latin Teacher in Britain and we've added him to our Significant Scots section at:

Traditions of Strathglass
By Colin Chisholm from the Celtic Magazine Volume VI in 11 parts (1881) (pdf). Added to our Clan Chisholm page at:

A History of the University of Aberdeen 1495 - 1895
By John Malcolm Bulloch, M.A. (1895) (pdf) which you can read at:

History of Frasers of Lovat
With Genealogies of the Principle Families of the name to which is added those of Dunballoch and Phopachy by Alexnader MacKenzie (1896) (pdf).

You can read this at:

Scot of the Year Award
This is an annual award which comes from the Scottish Studies Foundation in Toronto. I noted some gaps in our listings so have done some updates up to 2017. You can see this page at:

The Storied Kendalls
With historical and genealogical records of Scottish and Allied Families by Anne Kendrick Walker (1947) (pdf). You can read this at:

Folk Lore Journal
Added volume 3 of this collection which you can find at the foot of our page at:

I Can Sketch and Draw
A book for children by Donna Flood which we've added to the foot of our Art & Artists page at:

Some of you will remember when Donna would send us in lots of interesting information on her time in OK with the Ponca Indian Tribe and sharing some of her Native Indian Lore. Well she got in touch with me this week to say she'd put together a wee pdf file to help children learn to draw and she's given us a copy to put up on the site. I've now added this to the foot of her column where she'd already shares some of her tips on Art.

The Story

Some old Framing customs and notions in Aberdeenshire
By Walter Gregor

IN the day the plough was first put into the soil—“streekit," or “strykit” after harvest—a few cakes of oaten bread were baked. To make them a little more dainty, they were commonly rubbed with cream before they were placed on “the girdle” over the fire to be baked. Cream, which, if scarce, was saved up with much care, was churned, and made into butter. When the bread and the butter were ready, the guidwife took some of them, along with a “kebback” and whisky, and went to the field to the ploughman,—commonly the guidman himself or a son, for in those old days in many districts each family tilled its own holding. He cut the cheese, and partook of the dainties carried to the field. A piece of the cakes was given to each horse, if the animal was accustomed to eat them. The whole household partook at supper of the bread, the butter, and the cheese.—(Told by one whose mother carried out the custom in Pitsligo, Aberdeenshire.)

Here is a somewhat different form of the ceremony, and it comes from the parish of Aboyne, in Aberdeenshire. Two brothers and a sister, all well stricken in years, and full of “frets,” held a small farm. They required a man-servant. He entered their service at the Whitsunday term, and, therefore, had to begin the work of ploughing after harvest. When harvest was finished, he proposed about the beginning of the week to one of the brothers to begin ploughing. “Oh, na, ye needna be in sic a hurry; there’s guid time yet.” So the servant turned his attention to something else. Next day the same proposal was made by the servant, and with the same result. Next day leave was asked to begin the work. “Oh, aye, ye can begin on Saiterday.” When Saturday came, the servant again asked if he would now yoke his horses. “Ye needna be in ony hurry. Jist step oot our, an begin about nine o’clock.” The servant obeyed his orders, and, by the time he was at the end of the field with the first furrow, his master was beside him carrying bread, cheese, and a bottle of whisky. The servant partook of the bread and cheese, and then received a glass of the whisky. The old man drank a glass himself, then filled the glass again, and poured it over the bridle of the plough, and repeated the words, “Weel fah the lawbour.” A piece of bread and cheese was then carefully wrapped up in paper, and firmly tied to the beam of the plough by the farmer, who, at the same time laid strict injunctions on the servant not to take it off. “It may fah aff o’t sell, or the dogs may eht it. Nae maitter, but dinna ye touch it.” When all this was done and said, the master added, “Noo, jist tak ye anither fur, an syne louse. Ye’ll be ready for yir wark on Muninday’s mornin.”—(Told by Mr. Sim, farmer, Gateside, parish of Strachan, and he learned the story from the servant.)

In ploughing, a stone sometimes gets fixed between the coulter and the sock. Such a stone thrown over the dwelling-house prevents the cream when churned from becoming butter.—(Pitsligo.)

Besides putting fire and salt on the threshold of the byre-door before a cow the first time she left the byre after dropping her calf, some guidwives had the habit of cutting a little of the hair from the animal’s tail, and placing it over the byre-door in the “ eezin o’ the wa.”—(Pitsligo. Told by one who followed the custom, which she had received from her mother.)

A mare should be taken outside the stable to drop her foal.

The animal that was brought forth inside the stable would not cross a ford, or, if forced into it, would lie down in it. The quality of crossing a ford quietly was of much value in a horse at a time when there were few bridges. Hence comes the proverb about one who is too ready to desert his friends in the hour of need, “He’s nae ta ride the water on.”—(Pitsligo.) •

All shepherds agree in saying that, before a storm comes, sheep become frisky, leap, and butt or "box” each other.

It was a not uncommon notion that chickens did not thrive to a woman during the year she had a child. Hence the saying, “Bairns an chuckens dinna thrive in ae yeer.”—(Pitsligo.)

It is said that, if it thunders when chickens are within a short time of being hatched, they die in the egg.

Among the poorer crofters and small farmers, when their meal fell short, as it sometimes did, and when they had not grain ready for grinding, it was quite common to borrow from a neighbour as much as would tide over the difficulty. The meal was willingly given, and most punctually returned, and not unfrequently with interest, in obedience to the pretty saying, “A borrow sud gang lauchin hame.”

Some there were, that, if they had just taken in meal—“gotten in a mailyar”—would not give any in loan till part of the newly-acquired meal had been used in the household.—(Pitsligo. Told by one whose mother followed the custom.)

Along the sea-board, in districts where sea-weed—“waar”—is used as manure, the farmers showed much anxiety on New-Year’s morning to have the first load of weed that was taken from the shore. When the first load was carted home, a small quantity was laid down at each door of the farm-steading, and the remainder was cast into the fields—a portion into each field. This was supposed to bring good-fortune.—(Pitsligo. Told by one that followed the custom.)

On Christmas-eve all the dishes in the house must be left clean. Any food, therefore, that might have been left over at meals on the day before Christmas had to be carried forth, and given to the pigs or poultry. It must on no account remain in the house. Between twelve and one o’clock on Christmas morning the great dish of “Yeel Sones” was made ready. All of the household had to partake of it. If any remained unused it was re-cooked, and served up with milk, forming part of the Yeel (Yule) breakfast.—(Pitsligo. Told by one whose mother was in tho habit of doing so.)

No bread was baked, and no clothes-washing was done, between Christmas and New-Year’s day.—(Pitsligo.)

The dinner on New-Year’s day was always more dainty than usual. At it was served up a hen or a duck killed that morning. Among the first acts of the guidwife on that morning was to go to the hen-house, select a victim, kill it, and make it ready for cooking for dinner. Blood had to be shed on the morning of the new year.— (Pitsligo. Told by one who has seen her mother do it.)

On no account must the spinning-wheel be carried from one side of the house to the other during the time of Christmas.—(Pitsligo.)

And that's it for this week and hope you all have a great weekend.