Although the date, January 30, has no particular relevance to the event, this Sunday night is when the sky above Johnshaven briefly becomes a blaze of colour as fireworks rend the air.
The origin of the Firework Spectacular, as it has now become known, dates back to 2001 when patrons of the Ship Hotel collected donations to hold a firework display on Hogmanay.
it was postponed until 12th Night, or Auld Yule, because of bad weather and intended only as a one-off but, enhanced by the Heritage Society’s burgers and mulled wine, so successful was it that it was decided to hold the event annually on Auld Yule.
It continued to take place on that night until last year when the organisers, “the friends and villagers of Johnshaven” were persuaded by potentially dangerous underfoot conditions to put the Spectacular back to the end of the month and they have held to that arrangement this year.
By now the fun and frolics of the festive season have become little more than a distant memory, and with January generally a depressing sort of month, what is more likely to lift the spirits than the thrill of a firework display?
It is worth noting, though, that there is more to the occasion than just fireworks. From 6.30 p.m. onwards there is an opportunity to enjoy a burger, soup or hot drink while mingling with friends around the harbour. At 7 p.m. the dazzling fire juggling and drumming group, Firepois, provide early warm-up entertainment before the sparks really begin to fly at half past seven.
Sunday night’s eleventh Firework Spectacular really does provide fun for all the family but the delight which it engenders is made possible only because of the fund-raising efforts of a small band of volunteers whose main source of income is a bucket collection taken on the night.
With the days gradually lengthening, thoughts begin slowly to turn towards the outdoors and for many this means looking towards the garden, and so with this in mind the Horticultural Society are holding, as they did last year, a Seed and Plant Sale in the Village Hall (small) on Saturday, February 5 between 10.30 p.m. and 3 p.m.
This is an excellent opportunity for all gardeners to purchase seeds and plants at discounted prices of 20% on seeds (including organic) and 10% on potatoes, onions, fruit, plants and gardening equipment and this is how the scheme works. From catalogues available in the hall, orders are placed with the Horticultural Society with full payment (less discount) including a £1 delivery fee being made at the time. Completed orders are then sent directly to the chosen address. All the orders then go towards a target bulk order of £100 or more with the Horticultural Society receiving a 5% return on the money paid.
Last year’s inaugural sale proved very popular, especially as the Society provided a complementary cup of tea or coffee and there were many who, having called in just for that as well as a chat, found something in a catalogue which was to their liking. This year why not “let it be you”.
Looking further ahead, the annual Plant Sale will be held in the Village Hall on Saturday, May 21. Full details later.
Mearns Coastal Parish
This Sunday, January 30 there will be only one service in Mearns Coastal Parish and that will be a family service in St Cyrus Church at 11 a.m. Afterwards there will be an opportunity in the Church for refreshments and a time of fellowship.
A new chapter may have opened, but the same old story continues. The members of the Bowling Club were hopeful that 2011 would bring them better luck in their Kincardineshire Indoor League campaign, but it was not to be. Last Tuesday the return of Meggie Hann, Ann Aitken, Alan Black and Alan Robbie to the Stonehaven carpet resulted in another defeat, this time to a very good Portlethen rink by 22 shots to 5. With only another three more games to play can the club add to their one and only victory? Only time will tell.
Members are asked to note that the club’s AGM will be held in the Community Clubroom at Wairds Park on Sunday, March 6 at 2 p.m.
Mearns Coastal Church Guild
It was a Scottish afternoon at the leisure hour meeting of the Mearns Coastal Church Guild in the Church Hall on Monday when excellent entertainment was provided by Willie Beattie from Inverbervie and John Gove from Gourdon, John playing piano and both guests singing and giving recitations. Following the music the company enjoyed some fine traditional Scottish fare. The vote of thanks was given by Mrs Wilma Armatage.
The next meeting of the Guild will be held in the Church Hall on Monday, February 7 at 2.30 p.m.
The next meeting of the Community Council will be held in the Village Hall (small) on Wednesday, February 9 at 7 p.m. Items for the agenda should be in the hands of Acting Chair, Don Marr, Old Schoolhouse, Seaview Terrace by Monday, February 7.
Twenty years ago the Heritage Society broke new ground when they organised a Burns Supper in the Village Hall and were delighted when 100 turned up to enjoy an excellent evening’s entertainment. Previously it had been the WRI who had traditionally held such events but it had been at least six years since the birth of Burns had been last celebrated in the village and, needless to say, it was a highly delighted Society President, Alex Wallace, who rose to thank everyone whose support had made the Supper possible.
The haggis was piped in by Douglas Beattie and addressed by Mrs Georgina Davidson, the Selkirk Grace was given by Andrew Milne from Inverbervie who also delivered the Immortal Memory. John Gavin from St Cyrus proposed an amusing Toast to the Lassies while Mrs Davidson replied.
After the formalities were over the company enjoyed a couple of hours dancing to the music of Fettercairn’s Sandy and Phyllis Blackhall.
The Heritage Society continued to organise Burns Suppers for another three years until, rather surprisingly given how well they had been supported, they disappeared from the social calendar.
In 2002 the Anchor Hotel held an “alternative” Burns Supper and in 2009 the Ship Hotel did go some way to recognizing the national bard with an evening of songs, tunes and poems.
Burns Suppers continue to be popular events in many communities but not it would appear in Johnshaven where Rabbie seems to be in danger of becoming Scotland’s forgotten bard.