Scottish Wedding Theme
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November 3, 2008 05:25 - November Highland Games

Highland Games and Events for November get rather slim. As a compensation, November 30th is St. Andrew's Day. St. Andrews Societies around the world gather to celebrate.

Some of the cities and countries who have St. Andrews Day Celebrations ~

  • Argentina
  • Sydney Australia
  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • China ~ Chinese alumni of Scottish Universities
  • Burgundy Region of France
  • Mercedes Benz Museum staff in Stuttgart, Germany
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Auckland, New Zealand ~ Saltires fly over the Auckland Harbor Bridge
  • Bedzin Celtic Festival, Bedzin, Poland
  • Pskov University , Pskov, Russia
  • British Embassy, Belgrade, Serbia
  • Singapore

November Highland Games & Festivals

  • November 2, Castle Hill, New South Wales, Australia ~ Combined Scottish Societies Highland Gathering
  • November 7 to 9, Salado, Texas ~ Salado Gathering of the Scottish Clans
    I've been to the Salado Games a number of times, rain and shine, and always enjoy myself.
    Salado is a small town between Austin and Temple, right on I-35.
  • November 7 to 11, Beechworth, Victoria, Australia ~ Beechworth Celtic Festival
  • November 14 to 16, Jackson, Louisiana ~ Highland Games of Louisiana
  • November 8 to 9, Gulfport, Mississippi ~ Scottish Highland Games and Celtic Music Festival
  • November 30, Concord, New Hampshire ~ Gala Scottish Concert

If you are planning a Scottish Wedding Theme ~ or would just plain like a good dose of Scottishness, get to one of these Highland Games. At most of the events, you can find local bagpipers to hire or browse tartan sample books. There's always lots of kilts and outfits, everywhere from formal to very casual, to look at. Clan tents have information on your clan's history. The music runs from traditional to rock. And there's lots of Scottish traditions and food to sample.

For more detailed information about the events listed, go to U.S. Scots and the Scottish Heritage Society.

November 4, 2008 09:39 - Smooth Collies

Basically, the Smooth Collie is a short-coated version of Lassie.

Smooth Coat Collie Image courtesy Wikipedia

Colors for Smooth Collies are quite varied. The first three have white areas on the chest, neck, feet, legs, and tail tip.

  • Sable, like Lassie ~ from light gold to deep mahogany
  • Tri-color ~ black, with tan and white markings
  • Blue merle ~ silvery gray, marbled with black, and tan markings, and blue eyes
  • White ~ predominantly white, with heads and a body spot of sable, tri-color, or blue
  • Sable Merle ~ a light stippled version of sable, with blue or merled eyes

While visiting Balmoral Castle, Queen Victoria purchased her first Smooth Collies in 1860. With the Queen's interest, it became fashionable to own Smooth Collies. Thus began the breed's transformation from working farm dog, similar to the modern Border Collie, to a family pet.

The variety is thought to descend from shepherds' dogs brought to Scotland by the Romans around the 5th century. Even the origin of their name isn't clear. Some claim it's the dark coat, coaly, others from the black-faced sheep Colley, once commonly raised in Scotland. Still others say it's from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning useful.

Tomorrow, Border Collies…

November 5, 2008 06:37 - Border Collie

The Handsome Drover by Dr. Hayward Hardy

This herding dog originated on the Borders from droving and gathering breeds, including the Cumberland Sheepdog.

Cumberland Sheepdogs image courtesy Messy Beast

The words Collie and Colley were in use at the end of the 19th century. The Border Collie is traced back to a dog named 'Old Hemp', a tri-colored Collie. He was a really good sheep dog, and many shepherds used him for stud. His offspring came to be called 'Border Collie'.

They were called collies, working collie, old-fashioned collie, and farm collie. In 1915, the term Border Collie was used to distinguish this type of collie.

Border Collie Working Sheep image courtesy Wikipedia

The Border Collie has a shorter muzzle and a distinct stop between the muzzle and forehead than the Rough Collie.

Their coat can be

  • black and white ~ most common
  • black tri-color ~ black, tan, white
  • red and white
  • red tri-color ~ red, tan, white
  • blue crème
  • yellow-white
  • red merle
  • blue merle
  • Australian red with gold
  • sable
  • black

Their eye color can be deep brown, amber or blue. Occasionally, particularly with merle coats, the each eye may be a different color.

Many handlers prefer to not use white dogs. They believe that the white sheep are less frightened of their own color and are less obedient to white dogs.

Border Collies image courtesy Wikipedia

They are widely regarded as the most intelligent dog breed. You can often see them competing at Highland Games. They are a joy to watch as they work the sheep.

Tomorrow, the Shetland Sheepdog…

November 6, 2008 05:36 - Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog is also called the Sheltie. Their home, in the Shetland Islands of Scotland, required a fast, small, intelligent dog to handle livestock in the rough terrain.

Sheltie Image courtesy Wikipedia

They are not a miniature Rough Collie, though the two look very much alike. Shelties do have the same type of thick, double coat. The coat can come in many different colors and patterns

Sheltie Proper Expression Image courtesy Wikipedia

There are three main colors and two secondary colors

  • Sable ~ ranging from golden to mahogany
  • Tri-Colour ~ black, white and tan
  • Blue Merle ~ grey, white, black, and tan.
  • Bi-Blues ~ grey and black with some white
  • Bi-Blacks ~ white and black

The herding instinct is strong in many Shelties. They love to chase and herd things, including squirrels, ducks, and children.

Bi-Black Sheltie Agility Test Image courtesy Wikipedia

In their size category, Shelties dominate dog agility competitions. They also do quite well in obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, and herding competitions.
In other words, they shine at doggie Highland Games!

Tomorrow, the Celtic Hounds of Scotland. No, no, not the ones from Celtic knots…

November 7, 2008 06:28 - Celtic Hounds

The Celtic hounds include three breeds ~ The Irish Wolfhound, the Scottish Deerhound, and the Greyhound. All three are also classified as Sighthounds, meaning they hunt by speed and sight, not scent and endurance. These breeds are also called Gazehounds.

I can't quite imagine any of these three big lugs standing to gaze off into the distance, can you?

Honored for their loyalty and courage, the Celtic hounds are often found on Celtic artwork, including book illuminations and jewelry. They were a symbol of hunting and healing. As the guardians of roads and crossways, they were thought to protect and guide souls into the Otherworld.

The Irish Wolfhound was used to hunt wolves and deer. They were also trained to attack men on horseback, knocking them to the ground where they could easily be killed. The Deerhound is more placid and better used for larger game. The greyhound, as a lighter and smaller dog, usually hunted hares and small mammals.

Coming next, the Scottish Deerhound…

November 10, 2008 06:51 - The McNab Dog

After reading my blog on Border Collies, November 5, 2008, a reader forwarded an article about the McNab Dog of California. This led to several other articles sprinkled around the web.

The tale of a Scotsman and his dogs is worth the telling. The McNab is a U.S. dog, bred from the Border Collies of Scotland and shepherd females the Basque shepherds brought from Spain.

Alexander McNab immigrated to Mendocino, California in 1868. His family and his sheep dog arrived in 1869. Over the years, the McNabs imported more Border Collies.

In 1894, Lulu McNab wrote an article The Collie in Mendocino for the Overland Monthly, reproduced by Herding On The Web. What I enjoyed most from the article was her telling of the annual gathering and pointing out that the waving grass was knee-deep. Meaning the lambs were shorter than the grass and sometimes had to be ferreted out.

I've watched the Border Collie work sheep in Highland Games parades and exhibitions. They are a joy to watch, especially when, after being commanded to lie down and watch, their backsides wiggle like a cat getting ready to spring at prey. Without moving forward, the dog will scoot on its belly, just waiting for a sheep to get out of line.

An web posting by Fly Ball Dogs, publishes the 1894 article by Lulu McNab, a 1995 letter by Alexander's grandson-in-law, Robert Scott, and a neighbor, Myrtle Brown, whose husband waited 20 years to get a McNab Dog.

Of course, there are many MacNab tartans. The three I found most interesting are ~

MacNab Clan Tartan WR69 from Wilson's Pattern Book of 1819

MacNab Clan Tartan WR69

The MacNab Clan Ancient Tartan, which the 23rd Chief requested be used only as a fashion tartan

MacNab Clan Ancient Tartan WR2743

The MacNab Clan Tartan, which is described a being Black Watch in structure, but in a much brighter color pattern, from the 1831 Logan Pattern Book

MacNab Clan Tartan WR857

Thanks, Karen, for pointing me to the McNabs, their contribution to shepherding, and their Scottish roots.

Tomorrow, the Scottish Deerhound, one of the Celtic Hounds…

November 11, 2008 05:43 - The Scottish Deerhound

Also simply called the Deerhound, the Scottish Deerhound is another Scottish breed. It's a sighthound that was bred to hunt red deer.

Scottish Deerhound Image courtesy Wikipedia

The hunting was done by coursing, a sport where the prey are caught by speed and sight, not by scent. Other prey hunted by coursing were hares, rabbit, fox, and wolves.

As the 19th century came to a close, the large estates were broken up, and the coursing of deer was replaced by stalking, for which the Collie, and other tracking dogs, better served the hunter's purpose.

The Deerhound has the general shape of a Greyhound, but it's larger and taller, with a 3 to 4 inch rough coat. The most popular coat color today is gray, particularly blue-gray. Other historical colors no longer seen are brindle, yellow, red fawn, or combination of these colors.

Gentle, with a friendly character, the breed is docile and eager to please.

The Hilton of Cadboll Stone, found in Easter Ross, has been dated from the Pict Era of the 6th to 9th century. The hunting scene includes a lady riding side-saddle, wearing a penannular brooch on her breast. The man is wearing a Brecan feile, or big kilt. Two antecedents of the Deerhound are chasing down a deer.

Hilton of Cadboll Stone Image courtesy Wikipedia

Hilton of Cadboll Stone Image with Deerhound courtesy Wikipedia

Wednesday, the 'Couch Potato' of dogs…

November 12, 2008 06:04 - The Greyhound ~ Part I

The Greyhound is a dog once bred for coursing game, but now bred primarily for racing. It's the fastest dog, able to reach 45 mph with 3 strides, or in 1.5 seconds. As sprinters, they combine long, powerful legs, a deep chest and an aerodynamic build. But they aren't high-energy dogs. With affection, their fans commonly call them the 'forty-five mile per hour couch potato'.

White and Tan Greyhound Image courtesy Wikipedia

The Picts brought the greyhound, or their forerunners, to the British Isles from Celtic mainland Europe in the 5th century. Because of their keen eyesight, they were used for hunting in open areas.

During the Medieval era, royalty used greyhounds for sport. They wanted color variants so the dogs could more easily be seen while chasing game. This gives the lighter colors, patches, and white seen today.

Paolo Uccello painting courtesy Wikipedia

Painted by Paolo Uccello in c.1470, Night Hunt portrays light colored sighthounds at the hunt.

The greyhound's name is thought to come from the Old English grighund. Hund is obvious, 'grig' is uncertain. Though it doesn't appear to have any relationship to the color grey, many older European languages have a form of 'grey', which commonly means to shine, or be bright.

There are approximately thirty recognized color patterns combining black, blue (gray), brindle, fawn, red and white. These can be a solid color or unique combinations. In comparison, the deerhound and wolfhound are primarily grey.

Blue Greyhound Image courtesy wikipedia

Tomorrow, greyhounds in classic literature, the Bible, TV, and sports teams…

November 13, 2008 07:00 - The Greyhound ~ Part II

Tracing the name greyhound back even further, it's the only dog mentioned by name in the Bible. Proverbs 30:29 to 31 states, "…four things are comely in going: a lion…a greyhound; an he goat also, and a king, against whom there is no rising up."

There are two definitions attached to greyhound, as used here. The Hebrew word means tightly girt, probably a racer, or some fleet footed animal, as being slender in the waist, a greyhound. The Hebrew word mothern means to be slender, the waist or small of the back, greyhounds, loins, or side.

Some greyhound trivia ~

  • In The Simpsons, a greyhound named 'Santa's Little Helper' is the typical greyhound ~ affectionate, tolerant of cats, loyal, and not very active.
  • Don Quixote imagines his flea-bitten mutt was a fine greyhound.
    [Editor's note, 11/14/08: The original Wikipedia article has been amended. Don Quixote's dog was a Galgo, or Spanish Greyhound, so he wasn't a mutt.]
  • Greyhound Bus Lines sports a racing greyhound logo. An computer generated greyhound is features in commercials, using dry wit. At Christmas, he sings familiar carols, with the lyrics telling about fare discounts.
    Sports Teams
  • Roller coasters in the U.S. and Canada have been named 'Greyhound'.
  • In Australia, the slang term for racing greyhounds is Dish Lickers. To tell of winning, you'd say, "I just won 25 bucks at the Dish Lickers".

The Greyhound is a popular mascot for sports teams, both professional and amateur, as well as college and high school teams.

  • Sault Ste. Marie Ontarior League hockey team
  • Ohio Valley United Indoor Football team
  • Assumption College, Worcester, Massachusetts
  • University of Indianapolis
  • Loyola College, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, New Mexico
  • Moberly Area Community College, Moberly, Mississippi
  • Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
  • Yankton College, Yankton, South Dakota

Tomorrow, the greyhound races on…

November 14, 2008 04:54 - The Greyhound Races On

In the early 1920's greyhound racing was introduced, first in the U.S., then Northern Ireland and England.

Greyhound Adoption groups started forming in the 1990's. In the U.S., over 20,000 retired greyhounds were being 'put to sleep' annually. Currently, about 90% of the retiring greyhounds are placed for adoption or used for breeding. But thousands are still be being euthanized annually. The estimates run from 2,000 to 12,000.

When placing dogs with families, the new owners are generally required to keep their greyhounds on a leash at all times, except in fully enclosed areas. Not being cruel, the dogs can jump 4 to 6 foot fences and appear unable to develop 'road sense'. [Chasing too many rabbits in a circular pattern, perhaps?]

As a breed once popular in Scotland, Michigan adoption chapters march in the Alma Highland Games parade. Each year their numbers increase. To see a large contingent, who were scheduled for death, parading together is quite a site.

You can see sequential photos of a Whippet, a smaller sighthound, galloping. The photos are in .049 second increments. You can really see their grace and beauty. By comparison, the site also shows a Mastiff galloping.

Coming Monday, Golden Retrievers…

November 17, 2008 07:47 - Golden Retrievers

The Golden Retriever, developed by Sir Dudley Majoribanks at his estates in England and the Scottish Highlands, is considered a Scottish breed.

The Majoribanks tartan would look smart on a Golden Retriever, or a winter wedding party.

Majoribanks Family Tartan WR2607

As guns improved during the 1800's, more fowl were being shot down at greater distances and lost in the field. Other setter and pointer breeds could not traverse the difficult terrain found in upland and water fowl sport.

Originally the cross was between a yellow-colored Retriever and a Tweed Water Spaniel. All the ancestry of the Golden Retriever is sporting dogs ~ the Irish Setter, Bloodhound, St. John's Water Dog of Newfoundland, and black Retrievers.

At some point in its development, a legend grew that a whole troupe of Russian sheepdogs, from a visiting circus, were purchased and added into the bloodline. The breeding records of 1835 to 1890 dispel this fiction.

In 1920, the official name became Golden Retriever.

Golden Retrievers image courtesy Wikipedia

Today, their intelligence and versatility have led to other roles

  • Drug Detection
  • Search and Rescue
  • Guide Dogs
  • Obedience Competition
  • Agility Competition
  • Dock Jumping
  • Flyball
  • Field Trials

Whether wavy or straight, Golden Retriever colors cover a spectrum of lustrous golden shades. Pure white and red are unacceptable. Mahagony, or "Redheads" is not an accepted color in Great Britain.

Famous Golden Retrievers

  • Abbey, pet of Kevin Rudd, Australian Prime Minister
  • Alex, Stroh's Brewery ads
  • Brinkley, You've Got Mail
  • Buddy, Air Bud and sequels
  • Comet, Full House
  • Duke, Bush's Baked Beans
  • Einstein, Watchers by Dean Koontz
  • Levi, Susan Thomas: F.B. Eye
  • Liberty, pet of President Gerald Ford while residing in the White House
  • Luke, Layla, and Gracie, pets of Oprah Winfrey
  • Max, the blogging dog, featured on
  • Shadow, Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey and Homeward Bound II
  • Star, pet of Pamela Anderson appeared with her in Baywatach
  • Trixie Koontz, author of Life is Good: Lessons in Joyful Living and Christmas is Good, companion of Dean Koontz

This extensive list attests to the popularity of the Golden Retriever as a companion and friend.

Tomorrow, the Gordon Setter, thanks to the Duke of Gordon…

November 18, 2008 03:32 - The Gordon Setter

The Gordon Setter is a large dog related to the Irish Setter and English Setter. Prior to 1924, when the breed officially became Gordon Setters, they were simply called black and tan setters.

Gordon Setter image courtesy Wikipedia

Bred to hunt game birds, they were used for fowl that will sit tight in concealment. This includes the partridge, grouse, pheasant, ptarmigan, blackgame, snipe and woodcock. Mostly the hunted Red Grouse and Ptarmigan on the Highland Moors and partridge on stubble-fields in Southern England.

Their coloring is black and tan, with distinct marking in chestnut or mahogany on their paws, lower legs, vet, throat, and muzzle, with a spot above each eye and two on the chest.

Described as alert, gay, interested and confident, the breed is also fearless, willing, intelligent and capable. Their bearing is described as dignified and noble.
Intensely loyal to the owners, they can also be strong-willed.

Interestingly, Daniel Webster was responsible for bringing the breed to America
in 1842.

Alexander, the 4th Duke of Gordon (1743-1827) established the breed at Gordon Castle, on the northeast coast of Moray.

There are 20 Gordon tartans, any of which could be used for blanket or coat for this breed. But their noble, dignified bearing would match well with the Gordon Family Dress Tartan WR601. This tartan would look great on anyone with mahogany tints in their hair, including the Gordon Setter.

Gordon Family Dress Tartan WR601

Tomorrow, Cats?? Yup, the Scottish Fold cat…

November 19, 2008 04:28 - Scottish Fold Cats

The Scottish Fold Cat, sometimes called Coupari in Canada, has a natural mutation causing the ear cartilage to contain a fold. The ears bend forward and down, giving an 'owl-like' appearance.

Scottish Fold Cat Image courtesy Wikipedia

In 1966, the name 'Scottish Fold' was officially adopted. Before then, Flops, for the floppy ears, was the common name. Long-haired Scottish Folds are known as the Highland Fold, Scottish Fold Longhair, and Longhair Fold.

The first fold was Susie, a barn cat in Perthshire. Found in 1961, she had long, white hair. Susie produced two offspring ~ a female named Snooks who was also white and had folds and a second offspring who was neutered. A car killed Susie three months later. So all fold cats have a common ancestry from Susie through Snooks.

The kittens are born with straight ears, and they begin to fold after 21 days.

The Fold cats like to sleep on their backs, have soft voices, and display an extensive range of meows and purrs beyond what better-known cat breeds display.

Tomorrow, the cat that lost it's tail…

November 20, 2008 10:13 - Scottish Manx Cats

The Manx has a natural mutation of the spine, causing the tail to shorten to a stub, or not be present at all. Because they have long hind legs and shorter tail, they can resemble a rabbit. These are called Cabbits. The longer hind legs create a continuous arch from the shoulders to the rump, creating a rounded appearance. They also appear to hop like a rabbit, rather than stride like a cat.

Scottish Manx Cat Image courtesy Wikipedia

On the Isle of Man, where the cat originated, they are called Kayt Manninagh or Stubbin in the native dialect.

Renowned for their hunting skills, they even take down prey larger than themselves. They're often seen with their catch of larger squirrels and opossums. Farmers seek them out for rodent control.

Known to be on the Isle of Man before the 1700's, the breed is at least 300 years old. A variety of tales tell of their origin on the island. Some believe the cats swam from the sinking ships, when a storm caused the Spanish Armada to founder in 1588. Other legends claim these cats went onboard Spanish ships in the Far East, only to exit in Scotland.

As to their lack of tail, Noah closed the door of the Ark and accidentally cut off the Manx's tail. The cat had been playing and almost got left behind. Another legend claims the breed is a cross between a cat and a rabbit ~ making it a Cabbit.

When Rudyard Kipling, whose mother was Scottish [blogged January 21 & 22, 2008], wrote about 'The Cat Who Lost Her Tail', I'm guessing at some point he had seen, or at least heard about, the cats on the Isle of Man.

Interesting tidbits about the Manx

  • On the Isle of Man, motorbike racing is very popular. A cartoon postcard sold on the island shows a cat's tail being run over by a motorbike.

  • The Isle on Man has adopted the Manx cat as a symbol. It appears on a 1988 stamp.

  • The famous gorilla Koko, who speaks in sign language has, over time, chosen three Manx cats to be pets ~ All Ball, Lipstick, and Smokey.

Tomorrow, Beatrix Potter and her Scottish summers…

November 21, 2008 05:00 - Beatrix Potter and Her Scottish Summers

Beatrix Potter, is an English author of Peter Rabbit fame who lived from 1866 to 1943.

From the age of 5 to 15, Beatrix and her family spent summers at Dalguise House, near Dunkeld in Perthshire. Fashionable Victorian families spent their summers in Scotland, along the railroad route built in 1856, which included Dunkeld and Birnam, which is across the River Tay.

Her parents moved their summer home to the Lake District of England when it became "The" fashionable retreat for Victorian families.

Dunkeld and Birnam were a well-known area before the railroad. Shakespeare wrote of Birnam Wood in MacBeth. The 'Birnam Oak' stands close to the town center. At one time called 'The Hangman's Tree', it likely was once a part of Shakespeare's Birnam Wood.

Other local history dates back to a 6th century monastery at Dunkeld. Kenneth MacAlpin, first King of Scotland, moved the bones of St. Columba to Dunkeld in the 9th century. St. Columba was a 6th century missionary from Ireland.

Birnam Highland Games were first held in 1864. As a child, and later as an adult, Beatrix may have attended the festivities.

Birnam Highland Games image courtesy Wikipedia

So Beatrix was surrounded by all this history, plus the local wildlife and culture.

Monday, her little furry friends from Scotland…

November 24, 2008 05:40 - Beatrix and Her Little Furry Scottish Friends

As an adult, Beatrix continued to take holidays in Scotland. In 1893, at the age of 27 and a spinster, Beatrix sent a story to a five-year-old friend. In 1901 she privately published The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Another 22 stories followed.

Many of the characters were inspired by local people in Dunkeld. A washerwoman at Dalguise became Mrs. Tiggywinkle.

While spending summers in Perthshire as a child, Beatrix became interested in wildlife and was allowed to draw and paint them to her heart's content. Peter and Benjamin Bunny were both real rabbits that were her pets. Beatrix described Benjamin as "an impudent, cheeky little thing". She would put Peter on a lead and take him on outings.

Other pets included the real Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Josephine. Frogs, newts, ferrets, and even a bat became her pets. All were closely scrutinized as Beatrix would observe and sketch them for hours.

Even the farmer's name, Mr. MacGregor, tells of the Scottish influence in her writings. Perhaps he, or his scarecrow, sometimes wore one the MacGregor tartans. Most are blends of red and green, but one is bright blue and red.

MacGregor Tartan WR450

Tomorrow, Miss Potter's gifts to the world…

November 25, 2008 08:53 - Beatrix Potter's Gifts to the World

Her books and artwork are beloved worldwide. Less well known is her scientific study and drawings of fungi and algae. She was respected throughout England as an expert mycologist [biologist specializing in fungi]. Beatrix painted 270 detailed watercolors of fungi, while she studied spore germination and life cycles of fungi.

Her uncle tried to get Beatrice accepted at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Rejected as a female, in 1997 the Society issued an official apology, posthumously, for their attitude toward her works.

The Linnean Society did allow her uncle to present her paper on spore germination. Beatrix was also a guest lecturer at the London School of Economics a number of times.

As Beatrix became more financially independent she bought Hill Top Farm in the Lake District and began breeding and showing Herdwick sheep. Once there, Beatrix became a respected farmer, agricultural show judge, and president of the Herdwick Sheep Breeder's Association.

The Herdwick sheep are still prized for robust health, the ability to live only on forage, and their tendency NOT to stray over the upland terrain of the Lake District. The sheep produce a strongly flavored meat and a coarse, grey wool.

Herdwick Sheep image courtesy Wikipedia

In her will, Beatrix left fourteen farms, 4000 acres of land, and her flocks of Herdwick sheep to the National Trust. The trust now owns 91 hill farms with 25, 000 sheep.

More about Beatrix Potter and where to find Beatrix Potter Friggle-Fraggles will continue on December 2nd. For a few days, I'll be featuring the Texas Day of the Scots.

November 25, 2008 08:54 - Thanksgiving

I'm leaving today to spend Thanksgiving with family. Arrangements have been made for the blog to continue through next Tuesday.

But, as the redoubtable Robert Burns said, "The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men gang aft agley." So if the blogs don't appear, Bobbie told us not to be surprised.

Here's the poem in it's entirety, if you care to read ~

To A Mouse

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin', tim'rous beastie,
O what a panic's in thy breastie !
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle !
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee
Wi' murd'ring pattle !

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal !

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live !
A daimen-icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request:
I'll get a blessin' wi' the lave,
And never miss't !

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin !
Its silly wa's the win's are strewin;
And naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green !
An' bleak December's winds ensuin'
Baith snell an keen !

Thou saw the fields laid bare an waste
An' weary winter comin' fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell
Till, crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee bit heap o'leaves an' stibble
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble !
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble
An' cranreuch cauld !

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley,

An lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promised joy.

Still thou are blest, compared wi' me !
The present only toucheth thee;
But, Och ! I backward cast my e'e
On prospects drear !
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear !

And, here's a glossary of Scottish words he used ~

  • Wee ~ tiny, little
  • Sleekit ~ 1) sleek, smooth, shiny; 2) sly, sneaky
  • Cow'rin ~ cowering (crouching from fear; trembling)
  • Na ~ not
  • Awa ~ away
  • Sae ~ so
  • Wi' ~ with
  • Bickering ~ moving while making little noises
  • Brattle ~ a succession of noises
  • Pattle ~ long-handled spade to remove earth from the blade of a plow
  • Wad ~ would
  • Laith ~ loath, reluctant, unwilling
  • Rin ~ run
  • An' ~ and
  • Murd'ring ~ murdering
  • Whiles ~ sometimes, at times
  • Maun ~ must
  • Daimen ~ occasional, infrequent
  • Icker ~ ear
  • Thrave ~ twenty-four sheaves, or bundles of cut stalks, of grain.
  • 'S ~ is
  • Sma' ~ small
  • Lave ~ what is left, what remains
  • Housie ~ house
  • Silly ~ weak, fragile, feeble
  • Wa's ~ walls
  • Win's ~ winds
  • Strewin' ~ strewing
  • Naething ~ nothing
  • Big ~ build
  • Ane ~ one
  • O' ~ of
  • Foggage ~ densely growing grass, wildly growing grass
  • Ensuin' ~ following
  • Baith ~ both
  • Snell ~ harsh, bitter, severe
  • Cozie ~ cozy
  • Coulter ~ plowshare, blade of a plow
  • Past ~ passed
  • Thro' ~ through
  • Cell ~ nest, dwelling
  • Stibble ~ stubble
  • Mony ~ many
  • Thou's ~ you are
  • A' ~ all
  • Hald ~ home
  • Thole ~ endure, sustain
  • Cranreuch ~ hoarfrost, the dew on grass and plants that freezes
  • Cauld ~ cold
  • No thy lane ~ not alone
  • Gang ~ go
  • Aft ~ often
  • Agley ~ astray
  • Lea'e ~ leave
  • Nought ~ nothing
  • Och ~ an interjection expressing regret, exasperation, disapproval, or disgust
  • E'e ~ eye
  • Canna ~ cannot

November 26, 2008 10:54 - Carl Peterson sings "Remember The Alamo"

This coming Sunday, November 30th, is the Texas Day of the Scots, as declared by George W. Bush while Governor of Texas in 2000.

This is an album I've had for years, purchased in the gift shop at The Alamo, not realizing the Scottish connection.

Remember the Alamo CD, celebrating the role Scotsmen played at the Alamo, as performed by Carl Peterson, can be listened to at CD Baby. There are 2 minute samplings of each song in the collection.

Being an adopted Texan, married to a native Texan, we enjoy the vast amount of history conveyed in the music each time we listen to the CD.

The songs included in the collection are ~

  • Deguello/Remember the Alamo
  • Hey Tuttie Tattie/Scot's Wha Hey/All the Blue Bonnets
  • The Flower of Edinburgh/White Cockade/Soldiers Joy
  • Dashing White Sergeant/Female Volunteer For Texas
  • Bonnie Dundee/Glendaurel Highlanders
  • Bugle Calls
  • Remember The Alamo (Hey Tuttie Tattie)
  • Moses Rose Of Texas
  • Death of Davy Crockett
  • Will You Come To the Bower
  • San Jacinto (Hey Tuttie Tattie)
  • Freedom and Texas
  • Uncle Sam To Texas
  • To the Field Freemen
  • Zachary Taylor
  • Texas War Cry
  • The Union Call
  • Santa Anna's March
  • Santa Anna's Retreat From Cerro Gordo
  • Texas Heroes
  • Bagpipe Medley
  • The Anacreonic Song
  • Birks of Aberfeldy
  • Draw the Sword Scotland
  • Billy Taylor
  • All the Blue Bonnets
  • Flowers of Edinburgh
  • Dashing White Sergeant
  • Auld Lang Syne
  • Remember The Alamo

Coming next, The Proclamation making November 30 the Texas Day of the Scot…

November 30, 2008 07:48 - St. Andrew's Day

St. Andrew was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ. Peter's brother, he was also a fisherman of Galilee. Legend claims he went to Greece and was crucified on a cross in the form of an "X".

Others claim his bones were carried to Scotland in a ship that wrecked on the Fife coast at what is now St. Andrews. A cathedral was begun in 1160 and completed in 1318. It became an important pilgrimage site.

Still another legend tells of monks traveling to Rome and bringing back relics of St. Andrew which they gave to Angus McFergus, King of Scotland from 731-761 A.D.

St. Andrew's Flag, the Saltire, has legends surrounding it as well.

  • In 831, St. Andrew appeared in a dream to Angus just before a battle with the North of England, giving him promise of victory. On the morning of the battle a white cross appeared in a cloud. Angus won. He created the Saltire flag on a sky-blue field with a white St. Andrew's cross.

  • While walking with friends, St. Andrew appeared to Angus and told him he would see a white cross as he marched against his enemies. Angus had blue banners with a whtie cross made, to be carried into battle.

St. Andrew, as the patron saint of Scotland, was first recognized at the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320.

Celebrated on November 30th, like St. Patrick's Day, St. Andrew's Day is more popular abroad, where many St. Andrew's Societies have been founded by Scots immigrants. The first known society was formed in Boston in 1657.

Enjoy your St. Andrew's Day. Tomorrow, December Highland Games and Events. Tuesday, the tale of Beatrix Potter comes to an end…

October 2008 «  » December 2008


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