The first meeting of August of Mearns Probus Club was held in the Crown Inn, Laurencekirk with Vice President Charlie Black chairing.
‘The Crofter Quine fae the Mearns’ is the name of a book written and published by Betty Fotheringham and this was the speaker that the Vice President introduced.
Brought up in the Stonehaven and Catterline area, Betty now lives in Forfar, where she taught Needlework and Crafts to pupils at Forfar Academy for more than thirty years, and she continues yet with Adult Education classes in the same subject.
From her earliest memories, Betty talked to the club members on her pre-school days, her first school attendance where she was found to be left-handed and along with many others of that era, was not allowed to use her left hand for writing and so suffered mentally and physically for this difference.
Her father then moved to a large croft near Stonehaven, leaving Cottar life behind. As was the case, her father was renamed after his croft, and was always addressed then as ‘Fishermyre’.
From dairy cows, to harvests, tractor driving on an old metal wheeled Fordson, egg collecting, cleaning and packing, Betty was involved in it all.
From Secondary school to the Mackie Academy, Betty’s life was a hard mixture of education and menial tasks on the croft.
Her tales of post education and paid employment in offices kept the audience enthralled.
Encouraged by other members of her family, Betty decided to write the book and include all those tales and anecdotes. She paid all the costs of printing and publication of her book which has sold all copies and only managed to break even with the costs.
The book however is available in libraries and the National Library of Scotland and Betty is satisfied with that.
On behalf of the club Ian Bell gave a vote of thanks for an excellent morning’s talk and entertainment.