Tannery Hoose Windae #8: harvest from Storm Arwen

Storm Arwen ravaged many parts of Scotland and elsewhere in the British Isles. Like all storms, a harvest of wood follows, once we’ve cleaned up, restored electricity and mourned the sad deaths.


It’s a strange human thing, to seek out the profit from disaster, pick the small victories after Nature’s force has beaten us. Tolkein’s mythical elven princess from The Lord of the Rings would never have chosen to do what Storm Arwen did: destroy human life and disrupt human living. She was an immortal, over 2,700 years old when she met Aragon, and, in a Christ-like turn, gave up her eternal status to marry the human Aragon. Not at all a destructive force, except that maybe she destroyed herself for something fleeting. The destruction in Mount Doom feels more like what this storm wrought. (I’m not a fan of the Ring books by Tolkein; I tried to read The Hobbit when I was eleven, but just hated it. Loved the films, but.)

Storm Arwen harvest

Like many people after Storm Arwen, I’ve been scouting about for wood to fetch and cut and store for future burning. This wee log is part of my first haul, the only one that would fit in the Tannery Hoose Windae. I love the way the colours work with the rust metal plate at the back of it, how the down pipe and the wall are as ragged and worn as the wood looks. Beautiful.

The log is a small branch from a beautiful old birch, home to lichen and birds and all sorts of beasties. After decades of slow growth, the storm brought it crashing down. In a couple of years, once it’s seasoned and then been cut and then been stacked and dried, it’ll feed my wee wood-burning stove, perhaps on a night like the one Storm Arwen came,

It’s an ill wind…


Tannery Hoose Windae #7: Nina Williams (née Macpherson)

After a break since Tannery Hoose Windae #6, we are back with an awesome tribute from Fiona Macpherson to her aunt, Nina Williams (née Macpherson).

Nina was born on 15 November 1921 in the Tannaree (which is what Fiona and many other people call the Tannery Hoose). Nina was the eldest of six Macpherson children and is the sole survivor. The family lived there until 1950 when Fiona’s grandparents moved to the Main Street.

Fiona took this beautiful photo of Nina in the Tannery Hoose windae.

Fiona says:

Nina is now in a care home in Clackmannanshire and will be celebrating with close family…  I know many folk in the village remember her very well as Brown Owl, in the shop and in drama productions.

What a lovely tribute this is from Fiona. It’s great for someone like me, who’s only lived in Thornhill since 1991, to hear about Nina, who certainly made a great contribution to Thornhill and to her neighbours’ and friends’ lives.
Fiona might have caused a wee stir – here’s a final word from her:
A few folk drove past as I was hacking away at the brambles and must have wondered what on earth I was up to! Well, they ken noo!
I’m so pleased that Fiona took the initiative to join in the Tannery Hoose Windae project – so let’s see who’s next! Find out how to take part by following this link.

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.