Harburn Village Hall - SWRI Archive 10-11


The Rural ladies had an ‘extra’ meeting on Sunday 15th March when twelve members decided to forego a lie in and met at Livingston Indoor Bowling Club to try their hand at bowling. Those members who were seasoned players coached the novices (it is not as easy as it looks on the telly) and everyone enjoyed themselves and agreed we should repeat the experience soon!



Our last formal meeting of the spring was a fascinating talk from Simon Fairnie about the many aspects of the life of the Fisherwomen of Fisherrow in Musselburgh. He was well qualified to talk on the subject as he can take his fishing family history back to 1700! He had an amazing amount of information about the lives of these women and used slides to illustrate the hard life they led, the importance of the herring, the travelling they did following the fishing from port to port. They also were involved in the selling, going door to door in the towns and cities, sometimes with quite high society customers.

In keeping with the theme, the competition was fish pate, which was won by Sandra Dobson, second was Beryl Henderson and third was Isobel McChesney.

The flower of the month was won by Isobel McChesney, second was Doreen Peacock and third was Sandra Dobson. A reminder that next month there will be Harburn Festival on the 11th June, when the Harburn WRI will be in the hall where food will be served all day and there will be lots see and buy on various stalls.

Members are reminded that there will be a trip to Dawyck Gardens on Wednesday 22 nd June and a visit to the People’s Palace and Largs on 3 rd September. The AGM will be held on 12 th September. President Morag Stott would be very happy to speak to anyone who would like to join us at our monthly meetings her number is 01506 871634. Shelagh Lee


Our April meeting was ‘Ask the Gardeners’ session with a panel of knowledgeable gardeners, Frank Newton from Newton Landscaping, Jo McIndoe from Mill Garden Centre and Andrew Leslie. Having had such a harsh winter there were lots of questions about weather damage and we heard about how the  local weather conditions and clay type soil affect the kind of plants that thrive hereabouts.

We had a very entertaining evening with lots of laughter, as well as learning lots of gardening tips. Questions varied from how to tame a wayward pieris, cope with an elderly rhododendron, how to encourage patio trees to flower, how to break it gently that the camellia was dying, and many, many more ; there was also a question about the Rural daffodil which was not producing as good blooms as had been hoped for. There were plenty of solutions offered, how to encourage the mice to NOT eat the cyclamen, how bubble wrap can help with plants in pots in frosty weather and the pros and cons of using plastic pots or ceramic ones.

Our competition this month was a garden posy which the panellists judged. Beryl Henderson was first , Morag Stott was second and Joanna Pearce was third. The flower of the month saw more spring growth – in joint first place were Diane Waddell with a snakehead fritillary and Helen McDonald with some cherry blossom, and third was Kitty Jones with some mahonia.

The members were very pleased to hear that the Harburn WRI entry had won the Bowman cup for seasonal food – decorated Easter egg, hot cross buns, flan and a battenburg cake. Also, the Harburn team entry at the recent drama competition held at the Churchill Theatre had brought them first place. Well done to all these ladies! Next month’s meeting will be a talk by Simon Fairnie about the Fisherwomen of Fisherrow. Should you wish to join us at the Harburn WRI, you will be made very welcome. A call to Morag Stott 871634 will let her give you more information.

Shelagh L


This month we welcomed Elaine Webster who works on the Scottish Language Dictionaries. Her work takes her out and about finding out about the usage of the scots tongue in different areas, and encouraging the continued use of it in everyday life. It is interactive as they welcome feedback on word use and new words coming into use! She described her work collating words and phrases from the general public and the many countries and peoples these words have come from, and also her work with young people in schools, encouraging them to enjoy the rich variety of words that are often taken for granted. It was interesting to hear that it has become recognised that it is more acceptable to use these words , as for a long while it was seen to be speaking incorrectly to use the scots tongue.

We had great fun identifying words that could express exactly what was meant like ‘wheesht’, ‘gleckit’, ‘gowpin’ and ‘joco’. Do you know where your ‘oxters’ are and what a ‘hornie gollach’ is ?! This brought back to our minds other words like ‘mockit’, ‘corrie-jookit’, ‘blootered’, ‘doggin school’ and many many more! Should you be interested in finding out more, there is a web – the scuilwab at www.scuilwab.org.uk.

Our competition this month was to make something new from something old – this was won by Agnes Cosgrove who made a heart shape picture using an old tee-shirt, followed by Frances Kemp who made a floral brooch from old fabric and Helen Bissett who made a decorated vase from a recycled water bottle. The flower of the month brought some welcome spring colour – Sandra Dobson brought a tete-a-tete and Helen McDonald brought a primrose.  Followed by Joanna Pearce who brought viburnum and Juliet Boulting who brought witch hazel. Next month, our meeting is on Monday 11th April by which time we hope spring will have finally arrived!

We will be having a ‘Ask the Gardeners’ type question session with Jo McIndoe from Mill Garden Centre and Frank Newton from Newton Landscaping who will be available to give help and advice on plants. Here is an opportunity to come along with your garden queries and questions ! If you would like to join us please come along – you will be made most welcome. Morag Stott on 871634 would be able to answer any questions.

Words: Shelagh L


There were 4 ‘stations’ and the ladies were able to get involved with making pancakes , led by Morag Stott; making raspberry ruffles and lemon curd truffles with Sandra Dobson; making a chicken pasta dish with Mary Kerr and decorating heart shapes biscuits with Shelagh Lee.
cookin cookin
The evening passed very quickly and everyone had something  to take home to remember their evening.The Valentine’s day theme continued with the romantic photo competition being won by Ray Kew, with Joanna Pearce in second place and Sandra Dobson in third place.

Despite the rather bleak weather, there were some lovely winter flowers in the Flower of the Month competition Helen McDonald took first place, Shelagh Steele took second place, and  Diane Waddell and Barbara Milne took third place. Our next meeting will be held on March 14th when ‘Exploring the Scots Tongue’’ will be led by Elaine Webster when she talks about the Scots Dictionary. This should be an interesting meeting – if you would like to join us when we meet, you will find us in the Harburn Hall at 7.30pm.


The main event of the evening was an interesting delve into local history.There was a grand turnout of members and local people at the WRI meeting last night to hear Sybil Cavanagh talk about the Camilty Mill. The mine opened in 1889 and finally closed in 1931.Using slides and her own knowledge Sybil described the story of this gunpowder making mill, one of several in rural areas.There were close links with one in Roslin. Using the area that had been a corn mill previously, she described the dangerous environment for the workers, mostly female, who produced gunpowder for the local mining industry.

For a brief time during the war, they also supplied the military. Miners at that time had to buy their own gunpowder, but how many miners nowadays would be willing to store their supply under the bed, as they did in those times!?

Many people in the audience had  interesting information to share about the workings and people there, and it seems the hall where the meeting was being held had a connection to the industry! The area around the mill is there to be discovered, so if you have not been to the area, here is an idea for a local walk.

The competitions were a 4 line verse about Childhood - first was Joanna Pearce, second was Shelagh Steele and third was Morag Stott and flower of the month was Kitty Jones with a gentian, second was Agnes Cosgrove with a anthurium and third was Dinah Waddell with a poached egg. Next month the meeting will be on 13th December - Day 4 Image by Maureen Palmer. A warm welcome is extended to anyone who would like to meet friendly people, learn new skills and have a good blether over a cup of tea! Morag Stott is President and would be happy to tell you more about it - her number is 01506 871634.


On 11th October we had a very enjoyable evening, as our winter sessions get under way.  We were expecting Jean Orr to come with 'Soups and Starters' as the main part of the evening. However a change to her programme meant instead we saw a delightful spread appeared gradually, as she brought out her preparations for a High Tea.

The table was set with linen clothes, silver serving dishes and  a china tea set. By the end of her demonstration there were dainty sandwiches, pancakes, potato scones, strawberry, lemon and raspberry tarts, victoria sponge and many other tasty items.

While she was preparing the food , Jean was sharing her love of Ballet with us and her trips to London to see them performed on stage. Everyone was pleased to be invited to taste the dishes on the table afterwards.

The evenings competition was 3 Flapjack fingers, first place went to Morag Stott, second to Mary Kerr and third to Beryl Reid. First place for the flower of the month went to Kitty Jones for a yellow rose, second to Helen Bisset for a deep purple clematis and third to Agnes Cosgrove for a yellow rose.

The next meeting will be on 8th November. This will be an OPEN MEETING when Sybil Cavanagh will be sharing her local history knowledge.   This will be a very interesting evening and we hope that you will be able to join us at 7:30pm in Harburn Hall.   The competition for the evening is a 4 line verse about childhood composed by a member and there will be the usual flower of the month competition as well. We look forward to seeing you there.

If you have recently moved to the area or would like to have some entertainment and meet friends once a month please come along to our meetings. Morag Stott is our President and she would be very happy to speak to you beforehand if you would like to give her a call. Her number is  01506 871634.

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The final evening meeting before the summer break was entitled “Art Attack” so we did not know quite what to expect. However all became clear when Jennie Tuffs, visiting for the meeting, and members Joanna Pearce and Helen Bissett explained what we would be doing. Jennie and Joanna showed us how to make collages using contrasting colours ( our efforts are displayed on one wall of the hall) and Helen showed us , and gave us the chance, to try encaustic art. The latter is making pictures using an iron and melted wax. Members always enjoy ‘hands on’ evenings and this was no exception. There was a high attendance for this meeting  including some new members which was good to see.
art art
Competition winners were:- Pipe Cleaner model 1st Juliet Boulting 2nd Ray Kew 3rd Morag Stott. Flower of the month:- 1st Moira  McRae 2nd= Shelagh Steele and Diana Waddell. Although this was the last evening meeting the ladies of the rural will of course be taking part in the Grand Harburn Festival on Saturday June 12th. They will be providing all day refreshments in the hall as well as stalls for home baking, tombola and white elephant etc.

Our summer outing will this year take place on Saturday 4th September when we shall be visiting Pitlochry. The new season starts on Monday 13th September with the AGM which will start at 7.30pm. New members are always welcome so if you want to find out more why not come along to the AGM.

Words: Barbara - Pics: Juliet


We had a very entertaining evening at our February meeting when Effie Halliday and Pat Erskine told us about their experiences on ‘Bargain Hunt’. For those who have not seen it this is a TV programme where two teams of two, each accompanied by an antiques expert, buy three items at an antiques fair then sell them at auction. The winners are the team who make the most profit which they get to keep. Pat had applied to go on the programme to cheer up Effie who had been having a tough time and did not tell her until she received a letter asking them to go for an interview. She need not have worried as Effie was very much ‘up for it’. They then showed a DVD of the event, which they won!! Pat then told us that Effie had also been filmed for the ‘Antiques Road Show’ and may be on the programme to be televised on 14th March so be sure to watch.

Competition winners were: Favourite Antique – 1st Juliet Boulting 2nd Margaret Rennie 3rd Joanna Pearce. Flower of the  month: 1st Helen McDonald 2nd Isabel McChesney 3rd Beryl Henderson.  

At our next meeting on Monday 8th March Jim and Fiona Gardiner will be putting us through our paces with some country dancing.  

New members are always welcome. Please phone Morag on 01506 871634 if you would like more details or just come along to Harburn Hall at 7.30pm for our next meeting.


Unfortunately Aicha Chambers had to cancel her demonstration about “Elegant Vases” but we look forward to seeing her another time. We were very lucky Liz Steele was able to fill the gap at the last minute. Liz demonstrated making Christmas decorations and invited the members to have a go themselves with some very good results! This made for a very entertaining and seasonal finish to the year. PS: CLICK for link to Craft Fair report.

Competition winners were: Interesting Vase 1st Morag Stott 2nd Juliet Boulting 3rd Margaret Rennie. Flower of the Month 1st Juliet Boulting 2nd Isabel McChesney 3rd Ray Kew


November has again been a busy month for rural activities. On Friday 6th we hosted a Whist and Dominoes evening for the Mid Lothian Federation. This was well attended by several rurals and raised over £270 for Mary’s Meals. On Saturday 7th our team of ladies (Morag Stott, Sandra Dobson, Juliet Boulting and Mary MacLaughlan) and supporters travelled to Kirkcudbright for the SWRI annual competition “Variations on a Theme”. It was a long but very enjoyable day for all those taking part. At our regular Monday evening meeting on the 9th we were joined by friends and members from several local rurals for a “Literary Soiree” when members read extracts from their favourite author or poet and Whitburn Rural  performed their very entertaining entry for the “Variations on a Theme” competition. If anyone thought this might be a bit of a highbrow evening their fears were soon dispelled by Mary Kerr’s contribution (sorry you had to be there!!). A finger buffet supper ended a most enjoyable evening.

Competition winners: Favourite pen: - 1st Joanna Pearce 2nd Helen McDonald 3rd Isobel McChesney. Flower of the month:- 1st Helen McDonald 2nd Morag Stott 3rd Juliet Boulting New members are always welcome so why not come along. Further details from Morag Stott 01506 871634. Finally on Saturday 21st we helped provide refreshments for the Craft Fair and  our home baking stall raised funds for the childrens Christmas party.

Our next meeting is on Monday 11th January2010 (weather permitting) when we shall be celebrating Harburn Rurals 84th Birthday with a party. Anyone interested in joining the rural should contact Morag on 01506 871634 for details. It would be great to start the new year with some new faces young or old or anywhere in between. You can find our programme for 2010 on the Harburn website.
pitlochry 10

PITLOCHRY FOR SHOPPING now let's see, was there something else...........

“Gaul is roughly divided into three parts” we were told at school during Latin translation. The Harburn SWRI outing is divided into Four - Shopping / Lunch / Theatre / You’ll be having your tea. What could be better than to be driven around all day from one pleasure to another? Not having to drive, park and above all stay alert is great. The coach driver does all that! During the day we were charmingly organised by Morag and Sandra.

First stop the town of Pitlochry for a spot of shopping. The town seems to be famous for the purchasing of the next wedding outfit and every shop window this year seems to be decked with Meercats in some form or other. Expecting to buy nothing, we clamber off the coach and wander into the first clothes shop that I am assured is both famous and smart. Five minutes later I am the proud owner of a new purple raincoat - we do live in Scotland after all! And I did destroy the one before by shutting the hem of it in the car door and walking briskly away. Dazed with success we progress down the street and pass other members of our party also carrying purchases. Now I have worked out the purpose of all the extra bags that I saw at the beginning of the journey. pitlochry

Lunch outside a pub is excellent. Followed by a worthy walk (somewhat uphill) to the Theatre. We pass a magical wild flower area reminiscent of our childhood. The production that we are to see is Cole Porter’s “Kiss me Kate”. NOT, as I told everyone with great conviction at the Harburn dinner the previous night, “The Taming of the Shrew”. After the obligatory rush round the plastic jewellery in the Theatre Foyer Shop we take our places surrounded by a sea of pleasingly uniform and similar grey/white heads, Scotland’s equivalent of Middle England I guess. The level of anticipation illustrated by noise is amazing and after an undignified shuffle as we are in the wrong seats, what a surprise, we are sorted by a series of very efficient ladies dressed in tartan sashes , whom I fully expect any minute to treat us to a Scottish Reel.

The performance begins. pitlochry It is amazing, the choreography and sets are superb, the singing great. It was a breathlessly life-enhancing experience. The bonus being how many songs we remembered from the dim past. “What now?” we bleat as we shuffle from the theatre into the light. Waiting in the car park, like a secure gigantic protective slug is the coach. We are transported swiftly to a place called “The Logierait Inn” for a meal. The meaning of the name I tried to find out but failed. Here we are joined by Ruth and her SWRI from Kiltarlity with whom we are twinned and who had also been at the theatre. The food is lovely, beautifully presented by smiling people and it is good to mingle and bond with the other group as well as our own. The level of noise is astonishing, no shy lead-in, just full blast from the word go. Suddenly a delightful member of the other , Cath McRitchie, their Secretary, stands up and thanks us for our warmth and welcoming of her group. On the return journey most are in a more reflective mood, so trip home is more peaceful. I forgo the pleasure of the “The Bourne Ultimatum” after all, a day of endless pleasure is very tiring so I totter to bed having enjoyed a long lovely day out.

Harburn Times Cub reporter Jennie


Harburn SWRI has to report the loss of one of their members, Kay Kerr. Sadly Kay died on 28 th January. Kay joined Harburn Rural in the early 1990’s and was an active member representing us in the bowling team. She was also an enthusiastic supporter of our drama group. Although latterly unable to attend meetings due to ill health Kay remained a member and took a keen interest in our goings-on. She will be remembered for her kindness and keen sense of humour

Variations on a (well-worn) Theme

The theme was Homewardbound and I have to acknowledge a sinking of the heart when I first heard this back in the Spring: not more about Homecoming! and actually it proved one of the hardest themes we have had, but with much discussion, research and our usual bursts of lateral thinking we got a presentation together. Morag’s beautifully written piece about her experience of visiting relations from Canada proved to be the perfect link for it. Anyway, suitably rehearsed and with much discussion about co-ordination of wardrobes the gallant four, Morag, Sandra, Mary and Juliet set off with their groupies in tow. Allan Maclaughlan had kindly volunteered to drive a mini-bus as he had Rotary business in Kirkcudbright and we were joined by Eleanor Marshall and Amy Stewart, luminaries from the Federation. ..

We arrived in Kirkcudbright in good time and fortified ourselves with sandwiches and cakes liberated from the previous night’s whist drive and some made by Morag. Suitably refreshed we sallied forth into the Town Hall which was brimming with ladies and a few men, the noise level was amazing. Eventually we all settled down and warmed up. There followed a programme from seven institutes and the ingenuity and creativity demonstrated in the combinations of pieces and original writing were impressive, as was the skill in speaking with some wonderful comic timing as well as emotional expressivity.

Harburn were on last – not a good place to be and got very cold and nervous waiting outside for their turn to go on but they did themselves proud and got very good feedback form the adjudicator Bruce Adams who was an impressive figure of a man in a dark suit complemented by a scarlet shirt and shoes. Tea on the way home was a welcome relaxation for the performers and we were joined by the West Lothian Federation busful- our drivers were sat quite properly at their own table – just how it should be! Tired but proud of our ladies we were safely delivered to our doors. Well done all and thanks Allan!

Joanna (nov 09)

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