Terrifying Times

Fifty First Timer No.8

Plant a tree

A fig tree to be exact. I love figs, I have a gallon of fig wine on the churn at the moment and I love to eat them with my porridge, but they come a long way from the growing fields to my table. I have no idea if my tree will bear fruit but I have to at least try.

Last year I grew blueberries in pots and once I managed to bring them in doors, into safety from the greedy birds, I cropped enough of this mega fruit to last at least a month. Not much I know, but I also planted a couple of gooseberry and black currant bushes this weekend. If I can supplement all by plonking in two apple trees and continue to scrounge plums from next door, I can then stew, bottle and freeze these fruits to last a while. I may just be able to reduce my fruit air miles a teeny fraction.

I also saved a tree. While pruning some over grown bushes I stumbled upon a spindly wee tree struggling to reach its head above the vigorous neighbours. I dug the runt out and gave it breathing space beside the gooseberries – I have no idea what this tree is but it looks happy.

The plan is to plant a buddleia too. No fruit but it is the best bush to encourage bees and butterflies back into the garden.

Fifty First Timer No.9

Step into the spotlight

On Saturday night I joined the Get Reel AllStars for an appearance on stage at the McLintock Hall, Balfron. This was part of the Rural Blend Festival organised by the Tolbooth, Stirling.

Get Reel is the traditional music group I attend each week to try and improve my guitar playing. Saturday evening was our annual performance as a group.

I trembled on stage along side my three fellow Get Reel guitarists, the Get Reel fiddlers and, thankfully, a couple of professional musicians. I have never been so terrified in my life. Our numbers rang out a series of missed notes but the audience didn’t seem to mind.

Once our slot was over the professionals took over.

First twins, Mike and Ali Vass treated us to a stirring set, playing the unusual combination of fiddle and piano. Mike is the quiet Get Reel fiddle tutor, but I found it hard to recognise that quiet man in the vibrant stage persona. He was born to perform.

After a short break, Lori Watson and the Rule of Three stormed the stage and treated us to traditional and experimental music from the borders. The trio of fiddle, accordion and a unique guitar playing style had the Balfron audience wondering how their small rural village had secured such a fine line-up.
Thank you Tolbooth for making it all possible.


  1. MoiraAbout that tree you saved. I think that you should own up that it was me that dug it out and replanted it in the border. A border that I had just spent 2 hours creating for you :~)Your loving husband, Colin


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