Round the Clubs

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Muchalls WRI

Mrs Barclay welcomed all to our January meeting, we started with the Rural song, Mrs Barclay introduced Katie and Victoria. They sang a selection og songs, we then had our supper, cottage pie, Mrs Rattray, Shortbread, Mrs Chalmers, Birthday Cake, Mrs Irvine. A lovely meal was had by all, during our meal Mrs Barclay organised a quiz. The girls sang another selection of songs. Really entertaining.

Competition: A bonnie thimble - 1. Mrs Barclay, 2. Mrs Petrie, 3. Mrs Silver.

Mrs Rattray gave a vote of thanks and thanked all who had cooked, raffle was drawn and the meeting came to a close by singing Auld Lang Syne.

Laurencekirk Bridge Club

North/South - 1st Edith Argo/Anita Watters, 2nd Alan & Fiona Lyall.

East/Westt - 1st Fiona Bruce/Olive Henry, 2nd Margaret McLauchlan/Sheila Cooper

Stonehaven Bridge Club

North/South - 1st Mrs P Watt & Mrs G Junnier -660pts, 2nd Mrs M Clowes & Mrs A Gray -1240, 3rd Mr S Annand & Mr D Leishman -2570

East/West - 1st Mr G Shanks & Mrs P Walton +3500pts, 2nd Mrs A Murray & Mrs H Samson +2910, 3rd Mr J Clowes & Mrs S Powada +2620

Newtonhill WRI

Newtonhill WRI held their first meeting of 2016 in Skateraw Hall on Thursday 14th January. President Mrs Zena McLeod welcomed the members and introduced the speaker Mrs Mary Ramussen who spoke to us last year about guide dogs for the blind. She was a very welcome return speaker, along with her beautiful alsation guide dog, and her topic this time was Dancing through the Years.

She told us how dancing was her passion, but her mother insisted that she had a proper profession to fall back on and so she trained as a teacher! However dancing won the day and she eventually went to London and danced in many shows, met many famous people and was one of the ‘Tiller Girls’.

Her talk was much enjoyed as many of us remembered her 20school in Aberdeen and she brought back many memories of Madam Murray who famously taught many of us to dance ‘properly’. She married at 19 and went on to have 5 children, the eldest unfortunately died at 3 years old, and has 11 grand children whom she is very proud off. She is a very special unassuming lady who has had a very varied and interesting life and is a joy to listen. Her talk was much enjoyed by all.

Tea was then served by the members and business was attended to. The meeting then closed.

Competition: 2 Pieces Shortbread - 1st Mrs Marlene Morrice, 2nd Mrs Zena McLeod, 3rd Mrs Allison Flockhart

Next meeting is on Thursday 11th February 2016 at 7.30pm in Skateraw Hall. Speaker Mr Graeme Mile. Topic Interesting Facts and Objects.

Gourdon SWI

President, Mrs Sheila Lownie welcomed all members to the first meeting of 2016.

Morag Rees, Secretary, read the minutes from the November 2015 meeting, then Mrs Lownie welcomed ladies of the Tewel WI who entertained members whilst everyone attempted a flower arrangement in a teacup and cupcake.

Before the cuppie, the ladies from Tewel judged the competition. The winners were:

Scottish Themed Floral Table Centre – 1st Mrs Sheila Lownie, 2nd= Mrs Morag Rees and Mrs Joyce Inglis

3 Cheese Oatcakes – 1st Mrs Sheila Lownie, 2nd Mrs Morag Rees, 3rd Mrs Joyce Inglis.

The meeting was closed with a vote of thanks from Mrs Morag Rees. The next meeting will be on Monday 8 February 2016.

Stonehaven Rotary Club

The speaker at last Wednesday’s lunchtime meeting was retired sheriff Douglas Cusine. He began by defining the word ”guest” as he was at the weekly Rotary Club meeting as the guest of Rotarian Graham McIntosh who had invited him to speak. He then expanded on the definition of guests as a clients, particularly in the legal context, as might be expected of someone who had pursued a career in the legal profession! He defined each letter of the word CLIENTS with C for confused, L for lucky, I for inebriated, E for expression, N for nonplussed T for thick and S for surprised and illustrated each of these words with humorous anecdotes from his time on the bench! Vote of thanks was by Rotarian Graham McIntosh.

Last Saturday was the first of two District rounds in the Rotary Young Chef competition and was held at Aberdeen College. Isla Davies and last year’s UK finalist Heather Nisbet who were the joint winners of Stonehaven Rotary Club’s local round of this competition took part in this District round in which they had to prepare a three course meal to show off their skills, with menus packed with great quality local ingredients. When all the judging was done, Heather was placed second and Isla third. They received awards for their achievements but will not progress to the Area final as only the first placed in each District round goes through. Well done to the two girls for achieving so well at the District stage in the competition and thanks to Entier Executive Chef Bruce Lawrence who first met Isla and Heather when judging the school heat of the competition at Mackie Academy and who coached the two girls in the lead up to the competition.

The gavel team from Rotary Club of Stonehaven is now in the semi-final of the District competition, having beaten Fraserburgh in the quarterfinals last Wednesday evening. They will play either Thurso or Huntly in the semis. So they are in the last four teams from 72 teams that started the competition. Well done to the team who won last week…Rotarians Alastair Morgan, Jim Glennie, Helen Smith, Peter Newell, Pauline Simpson, Brian Cordiner, Debbie Thompson, Mike Herd and non playing captain Derek Sedge.

Stonehaven Probus Club

The speaker on Tuesday was our treasurer Douglas Sinclair who retold the story of the Tay Rail Bridge disaster of 1879 when, on a stormy night in December, the world famous bridge, opened just 19 months earlier, collapsed into the icy river Tay taking with it a train and all its passengers.

Opened to great fanfare in June 1878 the bridge at 3154 meters was the longest in the world. It had taken six years to build with a workforce of 660 men and cost the modern equivalent of £17 million. The great and the good came from all over the world to experience the crossing of the mighty Tay estuary in the comfort of a railway carriage. They included the Crown Prince of Belgian and former US President Ulysses S. Grant. When Queen Victoria tried it for herself she knighted its designer, Thomas Bouch.

The fateful night of December 28th 1879, a Sunday, saw a violent storm blow up with winds gusting up to 80mph, the strongest in living memory. Many churches sent their congregations home since the preacher was unable to make himself heard. At 7.08pm a train stopped at Wormit on the south end of the bridge and was given permission to proceed. Picking up speed it disappeared into the night but about 3 minutes into its journey an observer in the signal cabin saw sparks, then a sudden bright flash of light, then total darkness.

The alarm was raised but because of the storm very little could be done that night. It was not until Wednesday that the damage to the bridge could be properly assessed and divers found the wreckage of the sunken train. There were no survivors. Though 47 bodies were eventually recovered in the next few months many of the estimated 60 to 80 passengers and crew were never found.

A Court of Enquiry was established immediately. Its findings, when published in July, blamed faulty construction, poor maintenance, persistent flouting of the official 25 mph speed limit with the consequent heavy braking and ,perhaps most tellingly, the failure by Bouch to take into account the effect of wind pressure on the structures.

Bouch died in October aged 58, a broken man. Reforms were introduced. Future British bridge designs had to allow for wind loadings of up to 56lb/sq ft, the strictest standards in the world. In 1882 a start was made on the new bridge which was completed 5 years later. The masonry piers of the old bridge can still be seen today standing in the Tay.

Neil Robertson, with the authority and experience of a practitioner, proposed the Vote of Thanks to Douglas.

Mearns Ladie probus club

Meeting held on Wednesday 20 January 2016. In the President’s absence Mrs Black welcomed 26 members to the first meeting of 2016 and wished everybody a Happy New Year.

She introduced the speaker for the morning, Kate Matthews. Kate is a qualified gemologist under the Gemmological Association of Great Britain She gave a fascinating insight into gems and the different types found in various parts of the world. Kate explained gemstones vary from natural to synthetic to treated. All are beautiful stones but vary considerably in price. She showed a slide giving a variety of cuts of stones.

If buying a piece of jewellery Kate emphasised the importance of checking what you are buying as there have been instances of treated stones being sold as natural at substantially more cost than its worth. If in doubt her advice is to consult a gemologist, such as herself, who will confirm. This can be done simply by knowing what to look for with the naked eye or under a microscope. She gave some pointers to help the mere amateur. Questions followed and the vote of thanks was given by Mrs Mavis Cowie.

Marykirk WRI News January 16

Our President Mrs O Henry welcomed everyone to the first meeting of 2016 wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year. Our speaker this month was Mr Ian Bell who gave us a fascinating insight into the background of The Tapestry of Scotland. During the talk we travelled through Scottish history from the ice age all the way to 1999 and were able to see and appreciate the work and design that had gone into each panel. The vote of thanks was given by Mrs M Merchant.


Burns Night corsage 1st H MacDonald 2nd K Masson

Fun socks 1st K Masson 2nd S Valentine

Flower of the Month 1st O Henry 2nd P Mitchell

Tewel WI

After the reading of the minutes, we enjoyed a Scottish night with lovely stovies made by Margaret Ross, followed by tea and shortbread. Afterwards President Mary Tennent introduced ‘the Swannies’ who entertained with music for singing to and readings. After a most enjoyable evening the meeting closed.

Next meeting February 16 is a talk on ‘School Days’ by Mrs Jennifer MacDonald. Competition - School photo. Everyone welcome

Shark Johnshaven

The Shark AGM was held on January 24 in the Ship Hotel, Johnshaven.

The Chairperson, Rebecca Chambers, reported another successful year of operation, with the garden waste collection service operating from March to November.

During the year 3 Beach Cleans were held, together with 3 other litter and vegetation tidying events in the village and surrounding area, with a total of 67 volunteers attending.

Shark ran its successful cafe in Johnshaven Village Hall in conjunction with North East Open Studios, helping to raise funds for the group.

The biggest project undertaken during 2015 was the successful creation and manufacturing of resuable shopping bags which were designed by pupils of Johnshaven Primary School and distributed to all village residents.

This project was funded entirely by the group. The Treasurer, Sue Calder, reported that the group funds are still in a healthy state after paying for the reusable bags and will support the group’s activities into 2016.

The Secretary, Niall Young, noted that 2015 had seen the launch of the group’s own Facebook page, which had been successful in introducing Shark to a number of new supporters. There being no new nominations to the Board of Shark, the current office bearers were re-elected to serve another year.

The Board met immediately following the close of the AGM to set out plans for 2016.

Mearns Probus Club

The second meeting of the Club in January had Jim Brown from Fettercairn give an illustrated talk on “Highland Games and their Organisation”.

Jim is now a retired seed salesman and buyer, who worked at a large Grain Store at Stracathro, and is well known as a speaker and chairperson at various events from Burns suppers to concerts and Highland Games.

He talked about the origins of the games, with connections to King Malcolm Canmore in the 11th Century, to the more modern games which really took off after Queen Victoria and her connection with Deeside at Balmoral.

The wearing of the Kilt and tartan again after their ban in the 18th Century also raised the spirits and competitions really took off from then.

In recent times, especially since the 1950s there have been Champions such as Bill Anderson, George Clark, Henry Gray and Geoff Capes.

In the past we had the greatest of them all in Donald Dinnie, who won trophies for Dancing, running, wrestling, and for most of the heavy weight events at that time.

His famous Dinnie Stones still lie at Potarch, where he once carried them across the bridge and back.

Jim also covered the origins of the various events, when the dancing was all done by men, how farm servants would practice at the shot putt with a heavy stone and other items such as hammer throwing and tossing the caber.

All these events have now been regularised with fixed weights, caber lengths and weight, making for a better comparison between competitors and to gain points for each event.

A number of Heavyweight Games are held in various countries, to reach the final awards at the end of the season.

In other countries such as America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, with more countries joining in, the whole organisation has taken an International status.

Jim has visited many countries to attend the Games and has been instrumental in their organisation as well as acting as Judge.

Local games, in the glens and villages throughout Scotland also hold their events annually with some variations on the events as local conditions are included.

Finally, as well as the athletes competing in the heavyweight sections, there are local handicap races, hill races, tug-a-war, highland dancing and piping contests to entertain at the Games.

A vote of thanks on behalf of the club was called for by Peter Reilly.