COLLESSIE COLUMN FOR week 10 March 2015 FH

MARCH MARCHES IN … As the wild high winds of the second week of March blow a gale through Collessie, the old adage of March blowing in like a lion is coming true yet again. The daffodil time is here in spite of it all. Tiny blossoms of the miniature variety are growing on Kirk Brae, and all around the village the yellow frilly blooms dance in the wind. Have a look around the fields surrounding the village and you will be delighted to see new spring lambs! Gamboling as they do …

VILLAGE EVENTS … The Quiz Night in the Village Hall is tonight, lucky Friday the 13th starting at 7.30 pm, doors open for 7. All welcome, enjoy a night out with neighbours and show off those magic brain cells of knowledge. Hall chief Tom Dearie asks us to come and have some fun while gently prodding those memory cells. Bring a little money, your booze and bites and, of course, your encyclopedic mind – it’s all ready to go.

VILLAGE CONCERNS … There is a petition going round about the speeding limit being reduced to 20 mph, as some families are concerned for the safety of their children. See Callum for more info on that. Broadband speeds are another matter, no limit for slowness there and a no hoper for change at the moment.

AWAKENINGS … As the buds of spring tell us change is in the air about the realm of Collessie and environs, there are numerous creatures of nature coming to life. Witness the small tortoise shell butterfly, who has been hibernating in corners of our houses and sheds and is now fluttering about trying to get out to the flowers. One remedy is to put a pot of primroses beside the window sill to give him a tasty nectar boost. Other signals of spring round about include the hedgehog who may well be wintering in your garden, our friend Spike and his family. Rake not your leaves or light a bonfire. March hares are also ready to box and dance, as have been seen in the past around the farmlands of Collessie and the Collessie Man, who has recently been heralded in verse. Inspiration also comes from the recent poetry festival held last week in St Andrews, Stanza, where poets were popping up like snowdrops everywhere you turned, encouraging one to write a sonnet or a rap as well as listen to these golden syllables of words that speak of life in a new way. Whether it was to eulogize one’s late mother’s handbag or to consider a lost doll or a floating leaf, poetry and spring seem to link somehow in the cyclical rhythms of life.

LOOKING FORWARD … It won’t be long before the Ides of March are upon us, that fateful date from the Roman calendar when the month is divided into equal parts, then St Patrick’s Day brings forth the clovers, shamrocks and green beer and all the Irish among us on the 17th, with Spring Equinox just around the corner on the 21st. An old Scottish custom celebrated in March is called ‘Whuppity Scoorie’ when the lighter spring evenings replace the dark winter nights and children’s shouting in play was meant to chase away the evil spirits. A modern take on that custom may not be hard to develop. Perhaps the YPG can take a look at this one, those faithful young people who meet in Collessie Church every Sunday morning with Marjory.

The JEFFERTON FLAG .. Notices are up around the Collessie Parish announcing the old archival banner of Giffordtown, known as the ‘Jefferton Flag’, will be unveiled in a ceremony at the end of this month. The return of the Jefferton Flag will be explained by Museum curator Gavin Grant at an historical event on Saturday the 28th of March at 2 pm at Giffordtown’s delightful vintage village hall.

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POLAR WEATHER … As we enter the first week of March, it looks like a lion is roaring in, no lambs yet, with weather forecasts for cold polar maritime blasts of sleet, snow, gales, and all that good stuff. Collessie shivers yet again. The polar ice cap may be melting somewhere, but not here, so it’s a good time to escape if you can as our spring is still under wraps. All the budding shoots are coming up in spite of it all, as they do, and the birdies are building their songs to share as soon as the warmer sun may shine. Long tail tits are becoming a regular feature of the bird scene here at the top of Kirk Brae. A splash of crocus royal purple dots the garden. And this morning, a white winter scene as snow has blanketed the whole village (as of 7 am!).

EGGS FOR ALL … A quiet new enterprise is underway in Collessie. A small sign reads ‘eggs’ beside the house sign for Waterbeck, past The Steadings, where a strong box holds the treasures of each days’ a laying. Young Kirstin Petrie, 12, is selling the new brood of eggs with six fine chickens. She tells the correspondent that these chickens include a Bluebell, which is blue and black (like the dress!), 3 Light Sussex, and 2 Blackrocks. They average about 5 eggs a day and will lay all year round. They even have proper names, including Jumbo (who can lay a double yolk), Smartie (who is half blind), Bob, Heidi, Yoshi, and Shifty (who has a funny eye). Their place of origin is the village of Drum, near Crook of Devon. Young Hamish is also helping on the project when he’s not playing his whiz badminton in the Village Hall Sports Nights. So find your way to Waterbeck on the north side of the village and get the freshest eggs in Collessie — perhaps the best in The Howe thus far.

VILLAGE EVENTS … Get ready for the Collessie Quiz Night, Friday the 13th of March. The brain challenge begins at 7.30, so arrive for 7 and bring any drink or nibbles required, entry is £2.50, plus a team of brilliant friends might help too. Prizes for all.

The next coffee morning, known as The Hub, is next Wednesday so come along and set the world at rights from 10.30 onwards in the Hall.

Ongoing Village Event is the Wednesday Night Sports and Games, when the hall is open from 7 – 9 pm for trying out lots of games and badminton and a warm joust or two for a local night out.

A SUNDAY GARDEN TREAT … On the way to one of several convenient metropolises from Collessie central, one may often pass Lindores Loch en route to Perth. On Sunday past Lindores House held an Open Garden day to raise funds for charity (the Newburgh Scout Movement) and even though it was fairly wild weather with the odd blast of sunshine, the day was a great success. Deemed a ‘snowdrop day’, complete with hail and a drop or two of snow and lots of snowdrops, the fabulous views of the loch from the woodland walks was a treat, especially if viewed from the ‘bird house eyrie’ conservatory where teas and soups and fine carrot cake were served, graced with vermillion passion flowers and other blossoming climbing vines to enchant the view. A spectacular find in the Lindores Gardens is the giant yew, said to be the largest yew tree in Fife and over 400 years old. You can have a party inside the enveloping low branches it’s so big. Another great treat on the day was seeing all the goosander on the loch – a large party of at least 50 or more fine ivory diving ducks with emerald green heads (males of course). They were splashing about in a great pool of frenzy and fun on the day, a sight to behold. Besides the myriad of swans on the loch, there are goldeneye, pochard, and tufted ducks. As Lindores is barely 5 minutes from Collessie, this makes a good walk out if not a short drive.

A COLLESSIE GUMTREE? … Some villagers were getting rid of a rather good sofa and asking if anyone wanted it. Alas, who to turn to? Not everyone is on Gum tree or Ebay for swapping and sharing recycled items, so it was suggested we have a village based sort of scheme. This could be done in the old fashioned way with a note on a notice board, perhaps the one at the West End, which easily opens without a key. A test will be made soon to see if that might work … not all are keyboard bound.


A TOP RESPONSE … In last week’s Collessie Column (aka, ‘The Collessie Herald’) a story ran about the Collessie Man, the Pictish stone out standing in his field at Melville regards a recent article in the Fife Herald. A friendly reader and top author in the US has remarked upon this with her outstanding poem, as follows:

Fig Leaf

Collessie Man fig-leafs himself

so no one can complain

in this litigious world.

He goes his own road,

facing right, while other men

carved in stone face left.

I like to think he knows

what women prefer,

a bit of secrecy, a bit of snark,

under the cover of a fig.

©2015 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

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