There hasn’t been anything really to write about over the last little while. I had a chest infection for a few days and couldn’t sing, voice almost gone and no energy to hold a breath, so was sent home from my singing lesson on Monday. However I was better enough to go to choir practice on Thursday, held at Catriona’s church house this week as something else was going on at the school hall. It was a lovely room but with no piano, so someone had brought a keyboard along. Jackie has something to contemplate here! No adjudications from Mull yet, but we practised hard – An t-urram thar gach beinn aig Beinn Dobrainn…… Na chunnaic mi fon ghrein ‘s i bu bhoidhche leum…. Yes I know, I don’t know exactly what it all means either, but basically it’s a song in praise of a mountain called Ben Doran, on the way up the Fort William road between Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy. Ah, my copy of the music translates: Precedence over every mountain takes Ben Doran…. of all I have seen under the sun she (yes, she, there are he mountains but Ben Doran is she) is the most beautiful to me…. the Gaels are very poetic, you know. I have to say I know someone who hates Ben Doran with a passion as he set off to climb it once and found it a hard slog – for someone who was not as fit as he might have been once! Eh, Chris?
Then we had a go at the other song which was apparently written for the mother of one of our members, in 1946. I think it is a beautiful song – well the arrangement is. Ach, so are the words – at least the translation sounds very romantic: As scatters the mist on the high corries With the heat of the bright sun, So flies the dark cloud of my anguish At the sweetness of your conversation. See! Way with words, these Gaels!
We even had a break half way through, not something we normally do as we are usually pushed for time, so cups of tea and mini blueberry muffins were very welcome. So was the wee dram from the cup Lynn won at Tobermory. Filled with whisky it was passed around so everyone could share in celebrating the win… Jennifer, with Lyn here, was also in the competition.
Yesterday Linda and I met for lunch, then took ourselves off for a drive. I remembered there was a small nursery garden near Moffat that I had often thought of visiting, so suggested we went there for a look around. The car park was only a lay-by by the side of the driveway from road, and it was empty. However the cafe by the gates was open and the signs said it was open, so we parked and followed the sign to the garden.
There, among the trees, was the nursery and sales area with its polytunnels and areas of ground covered in thick black membrane, and various trestle tables were set out, laden with pots of plants for sale. Although we could hear a radio playing we couldn’t see a soul, so we began wandering around looking at the various plants. Suddenly a voice called to us, and looking down the hill we saw a small dark woman - dark hair, dark skin, bright dark eyes. Just then, Linda noticed, among the trees ahead of us, what had once been brightly coloured prayer flags, but were a bit ragged and faded now. Interesting! We shouted back that we were just looking around, and continued to do just that, meanwhile wondering about the Tibetan or Nepalese connection. Above the selling area, some of the woodland had obviously been cleared, and small gardens constructed, each hidden in its own little area surrounded by hedging.
and looking inside we could see it was decked out with the trappings of just such a hut in Nepal. You could easily think you were actually there.
So what was the story? Well, inside the hut there were books and magazines on display, with a couple of the magazines having articles about Craigieburn in them. It seems that the owner of Craigieburn, Janet, has been interested in the Himalayas ever since she was a small child hearing about Sherpa Tensing and Edmund Hillary conquering Everest in 1953. As an adult, she found Craigieburn which seemed to hold a similarity to the Nepalese countryside, and found that the types of plants that grow in the Himalayas are very suitable for the land she gardens. On a trip to Nepal she was saved from a fall by her Sherpa, Dawa, whose family she got to know. It was when Dawa’s 14 year-old daughter was called up to join the child army that Janet invited the family to come over to Scotland and stay at Craigieburn. That was eight years ago and Dawa and his family now work in the nursery with Janet and her husband, meanwhile helping to support a Nepalese school which they go home to visit from time to time. It must have been Dawa’s wife we met earlier, and with whom we got chatting later. I think there must be something of the Buddhist in me, as I was quite moved by the appearance of the flags and the cottage in their hillside setting.
protection against evil forces. It’s a wonderful place, and I look forward to returning.
Before I finish, these are just some photos of the plants in the garden just now.
The garden may have looked very green, but there was still plenty of colour in it. The beauty of nature!
Talk again soon.