Tannery Hoose Windae #6: Thornhill Moos

Tannery Hoose Windae #6: Thornhill Moos! Check out this brilliant cover on the the latest issue of Thornhill Views, renamed for the occasion. The children in the local Primary School have been celebrating the return to full-time education with a host of creative activities, including these superb heelan kye.

The Tannery Hoose Windae #5 featured lilies, with all their resonance for new life and hope. Thornhill Moos has cheered us all up no end too!

Thornhill Views current issue.

Here’s what the editorial team for Thornhill Views says about this issue

For one issue and one issue only, Thornhill Views becomes “Thornhill Moos”! In this issue …
  • Thornhill Futures Questionnaire – early results in
  • The challenges and joys of travelling to and from Thornhill without a car
  • North Common ditches – digging deep
  • Well done Neil – How you can contribute to the Beatson’s cancer charity

…. plus all the usual features

Why not follow this link to read the whole issue: https://drive.google.com/…/1sFGQMKC0Nlz4Ht0F1Fu…/view…

One of the most sought-after Scottish experiences that Visit Scotland knows visitors can’t seem to get enough of is meeting Scotland’s hairy and loveable Highland cows. Or as we Scots call them, Heelan Coos or Heelan Kye.

Iconic, cute and extremely photogenic, these hardy, docile animals are to be found right across Scotland, including the islands. Depending on where in Scotland you’re visiting, Vist Scotland has put together some top picks in a country-wide guide for getting up close to them.

Starting from the north and working south, then the islands, and finishing with fun-filled agricultural shows… Check the Visit Scotland website for more information about heelan kye to cheer you up.

Tannery Hoose Windae #5: Easter Lilies

Hera & Zeus

Greek mythology tells us what we call Easter Lilies were created from the breast milk of Hera, wife of Zeus. The story goes that Zeus had a son, Heracles, with a mortal woman. Hera agreed to breast feed Heracles in order that he become immortal like his father. Some of her milk was spilled in the heavens, creating the Milky Way, some fell to earth, creating the first lily. Later, Christians claimed that Easter Lilies first rose from the tears of Eve, shed on her banishment from Eden.

The first known picture of a lily appeared in Crete around 1580 BC and they have become a symbol of fertility for pagans and Christians. The Old Testament, New Testament and many other ancient books across the world mention the flower.

Lilies still represent purity and abundance in Greece, where brides wear crowns made of lilies and wheat. In China, the lily is called bǎi hé. The Chinese proverb Bǎinián hǎo hé means “happy union for one hundred years.” Therefore, the lily, or bǎi hé, is a symbol for a long-lasting and happy marriage. In Ireland, Easter Lilies commemorate the Easter Rising of 1916. This set in motion the  events that led to the establishment of Eire.

In most cultures in history, the lily represents purity, chastity and virtue. However, the lily is a symbol of death in some civilizations. Sprinkled on the graves of innocent children, saints and martyrs, lilies can represent purity in passing.

Easter lilies (Lilium Longiflorum) adorn many churches at Easter, symbolising the resurrection of Christ. Some Christians believe that lilies emerged where drops of Christ’s blood fell as he hung on the cross. Christians also strongly associate the lily with the Virgin Mary as a symbol of her chastity and purity.

A contrast to the funky multi-coloured parrot that appeared in the Tannery Hoose Windae last time!

Happy Easter fae the Tannery Hoose Windae!

Tannery Hoose Windae #4: funky multi-coloured parrot

What else but a funky multi-coloured parrot could work for the fourth in the Tannery Hoose Windae project!

This is a big difference from the Holy Family that appeared first in the Windae, isn’t it?

The great thing about Tannery Hoose Windae is that things appear there for just a moment. Then they are captured by the camera before they move on.
What would you like to see there? I know someone in Thornhill has a funky toucan, so you never know. I think a wee, real-life, doggie would work well if you could get it to sit long enough. A big photo of Vladimir Lenin? Or a half-empty bottle of Barr’s Irn Bru? Something you’ve made especially maybe…
If you want to add something, check out how to do it on the Tannery Hoose Windae homepage. I’ll make sure it gets out and about after that.

Tannery Hoose Windae #2: Hope from Moldova

The second Tannery Hoose Windae photo was this, in January 2021 from Charlie Gracie. A bottle of hope from Moldova.

Moldovan brandy Speranța, a present from some lovely people I met a few years ago. Speranța means Hope: seemed the right thing for the second in the Tannery Hoose Windae project.

Moldova is a wee country on the very edge of Europe, squeezed between bigger powers. Here’s a link to Amnesty International’s 2019 report into human rights there.

I raised a glass of Speranța on Hogmanay to Ana & her friends – and to hope for 2021.

Check out the Tannery Hoose Windae page to see how you can get involved.

Tannery Hoose Windae #1: Holy Family

The first residents of the Tannery Hoose Windae – none better in many ways. This was Christmas 2020, a weird one by any stretch. This family knew all about being temporary residents in unfavoured places.

This was the first thing to appear in the Windae, not long after Joan suggested it needed something beautiful in it. The Holy Family sat on top of my wardrobe for all my childhood – now it’s on top of a bookshelf, still checkin me oot.

Paisley Book Festival 2021: Charlie Gracie, Mairi Murphy & Donal McLaughlin

What a fantastic line up at the Paisley Book Festival 2021. I’m delighted to have been part of such a well-put-together festival. In particular, my event with Donal McLaughlin and Mairi Murphy – (What it Means) to Overcome – was a real pleasure for me. The feedback we’ve had from people who came along is heartening. Here’s a link to the event that you can check out till the end of March 2021. Please have a look and enjoy hearing me, Donal & Mairi. You can also read Mira Waligora’s blog here. I’ll let our words say the rest.

As well as taking part, I’ve a number of highlights at this year’s festival: Victoria McNulty’s superb Exiles, a powerful event; Scottish Masculinities with Douglas Stuart, Andrew O’Hagan and Graeme Armstrong, in conversation with Kirstin Innes; Kirstin Innes in Songs for a Scabby Queen, her own event with Outi Smith; Scottish PEN’s Poetic Offensive; and New Patterns for Paisley Poetry & Publishing, with Tracy Patrick, Linda Jackson, Jim  Ferguson, John Scally and Ryan Goodwin, hosted by William Burns.

There’s a few things I didn’t get to that I plan to catch up on before the end of March: Working Class Lives in Fiction with Julie Rea & Ely Percy; Sex Robots & Vegan Meat (for the title at least, though I’ve heard great things about it) with Jenny Kleeman; The Fountain’s Evening of Quarantine Dreaming with Adam Stafford, Janette Ayachi, Heath Common & Salena Godden. There’ll be more for sure.

If you were lucky enough to see everything I’m sure you’ll have been mightily impressed with the range of writers and readers and musicians and other creative folks. There is an excellent Festival YouTube channel. You can catch up on the whole range of excellent events here until the end March.

Big thanks must go to Keira Brown, Jess Orr and Wendy Niblock for all their support. I’m grateful to Brian Whittingham for his brilliant work as Tannahill Makar. And finally, thanks to the great people at Renfrewshire Council. Everyone made Paisley Book Festival 2021 a cracker!

Launch events for Tales from the Dartry Mountains

It’s been a good few weeks with launch events for my new poetry collection. In November, I was asked to read at the Allingham Festival in Ballyshannon, County Donegal with noted Irish poets Annemarie NÁ ChurreÁin and Denise Blake and English poet Chris Sparks.

Gerry Cambridge's cover design has caught people's eye

The next event was at the Scottish Writers’ Centre in Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts with Donal McLaughlin and Finola Scott. Donal is an award-winning Derry-born short story writer and translator; Finola, launching her first pamphlet with Red Squirrel Press, is a widely-regarded poet who share an Irish heritage.

Following this, I read with the wonderful writer, publisher and singer Linda Jackson in my publisher, Sally Evans’s bookshop in Callander. Never was poetry read on a more dreadful night, with the wind and the rain nearly battering the door down to get in. Linda was reading from her beautifully written memoir The Siren Awakes.

And so now, in 2020, I’m heading to HighlandLIT in January and plan other launch events, again with Finola Scott, in Baillieston Library, Stirling Central Library and Edinburgh over the next few weeks.

It’s a tough thing to get a poetry book out and about, but a pleasure to share the words with fellow writers and the people who come to hear you and buy your books. I’m looking forward to it.

New poetry collection: Tales from the Dartry Mountains

It’s being printed as I write, my new poetry collection, published by Sally Evans from the excellent diehard Press. Gerry Cambridge provided the cover design and because he’s the best in the business, people are already raving about. It really adds to the overall feel, look and quality of the book.

Gerry Cambridge's cover design has caught people's eye

A masterly, honest and melancholy collection.” Des Dillon

The Dartry Mountains run from Benbulben in County Sligo north to Arroo that overlooks Lough Melvin. My mother was born among these mountains in the town land of Magheramore, Glenade. This is border country: Lough Melvin is run through with a dotted line that marks the join between Fermanagh and Leitrim, the UK and Eire, Ulster and Connacht. 

Launch events

I’ll be introducing the collection to the world at the Allingham Arts Festival in Ballyshannon, County Donegal on 10th November. An apt place, as the Dartry Mountains reach almost up to there from Sligo. The festival is a broad arts festival with a reputation for being a friendly and open space for artists.

On 19/11 I’ll be at the CCA in Glasgow for a Scottish Writers’ Centre event with renowned Irish short story writer Donal McLaughlin and prize-winning Finola Scott, who will launch her new poetry collection with Red Squirrel Press. What fine company to be in!

From there, look out for events in Callander (05/12), Baillieston Library (again with Finola Scott, 10/12) and Highland Lit (21/01/20). Other events are in the pipeline for Stirling and Edinburgh.

Charlie Gracie’s new poetry collection coming soon!

Tales from the Dartry Mountains is on its way. Charlie Gracie’s new poetry collection will be published by Diehard in January 2020, with launch events this November.

Des Dillon on Tales from the Dartry Mountains

Charlie Gracie’s poetry set in Ireland takes you directly into the history of his family and the history of their land. The intimacy with this land now lost in those who had to leave. It’s never directly said but those who had to leave are now out of sorts and out of place in a land that just doesn’t quite fit them. The poem where his mother rides a chopper bike to work describes this out of placeness perfectly. There is a constant drone of grief for what an immigrant loses; never again to be Irish and never quite 
Scottish. And too far removed in time now anyway to ever go back and find what is lost. The political oblique-ness and visceral descriptions are what makes these poems work, no lectures, no diatribes and more philosophical insight than anger.

The second part of the collection deals mostly with Scotland (with a few trips elsewhere) and there are some crackers in here too. It seems to me that the melancholy of the emigrant from the Darty Mountains must bleed 
into whatever Gracie writes about in the here and now. The trace of melancholy and the longing for something we shall never receive resonates through the whole work. Take For betterfor instance; a tremendously truthful look at old age and tucked away, like a genius in Easterhouse, is a breathtakingly exact line that could be a whole poem itself (read it and see it). Or the T shirt for those whose loved ones have disappeared into dementia.

A masterly, honest and melancholy collection.

Des Dillon is an internationally acclaimed award winning writer, born in Coatbridge: poet, short story writer, novelist, dramatist, scriptwriter for radio and screen.