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BARGRENNAN SWRI

The first meeting of the year finally took place on Tuesday, February 1 at the Schoolhouse, Glentrool. Six of us were present, including our hostess, Anne Gille. She gave us a warm welcome and then we began the meeting.

The first meeting of the year is largely a social occasion but we had some business to complete, so we got it over first.

Apologies had been received from Mrs Scott and Mrs Bromelow and then the minutes from October were read and approved followed by the report of the Christmas dinner.

The main business was the syllabus for 2011 as there were several gaps in the competition side of things. However, after a lively discussion we soon came up with some ideas, we even decided a venue for our summer outing.

After that talk turned to our low membership and how we can attract more people. Last year we held and open evening and although in itself it was successful with a large turnout it only resulted in two new members. However, as we lost two during last year and two of our number are ill and not certain to attend regularly; we are down to six members again.

This year we have decided to distribute copies of the syllabus and if people have an interest in any topic they will be welcome to join us for a small charge to cover the cost of supper. We also plan to invite members of other Institutes, especially if we have a speaker on a topic of special interest.

Once the business was completed we were free to tuck into the delicious feast which had been provided, and then, after holding our usual raffle, it was time to go home.

After thanking Anne for her hospitality and after helping to tidy up we all set off for home.

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, March 1 in Glentrool Community Centre (former school). The speaker will be Mr Keith Muir from the Forestry Commission and his topic will be the Dark Skies Project. We hope for a good turnout.

Gatehouse SWRI

MRS Proudlock, president, welcomed members to our February meeting. Minutes were read, signed and approved.

Our guest for the evening was Mr Morell who gave a very interesting talk on Caerlaverock Wetland Centre. He brought some slides to show us and it was lovely to see all the different wildlife.

Competition results:

Bowl of bulbs – 1, Mrs Kiltie; 2, Mrs Johnstone; 3, Mrs Henderson.

Flower of the month – 1, Mrs McWilliam; 2, Mrs Gilligan; 3, Mrs Williamson.

Afternoon tea items on a plate – 1, Mrs Henderson; 2, Mrs McLeod; 3, Mrs Williamson.

Mrs Carnochan gave the vote of thanks to Mr Morell for coming and also for judging the competitions and to Mrs Johnstone and helpers for the lovely tea. Mrs Proudlock thanked everyone for coming and wished all a safe journey home.

Glenluce WRI

President Linda Coulter welcomed members to the monthly geeting of Glenluce WRI held in Glenluce Bowling Club on Tuesday, February 15. The rural song was sung, apologies for absence received, the minutes for January meeting were read, approved and signed. Rural and Federation business was then discussed. Linda introduced our speakers for the evening, Mrs Jennifer Brodie, who gave an excellent demonstration of making foot stools from old wine boxes, making members keen to make these themselves, also showing us various animals that was made out of socks. Mrs Sheila Topping then set us a quiz, causing much enjoyment and amusement trying to work out the answers.

The vote of thanks to Mrs Brodie and Mrs Topping was given by Vice President Joan Meldrum.

A delicious supper was then served by the hostesses for the evening.

Competition results:

Hand Knitted Scarf - 1, Doreen Baille; 2, Morag Bickerstaff; 3, Joanne Cameron.

Yogurt Loaf - 1, Morag Bickerstaff; 2, Rita Martin; 3, Margaret Benson.

The raffle was then drawn. Linda thanked the hostesses and treasurer Janet Peers for organising the raffle, finally giving details of the next Meeting on March 15. Mrs Topping thanked the ladies for a lovely supper. The meeting closed with the National Anthem.

Louden SWRI

Louden held their meeting on Monday, February 14 in the usual venue. The President, Mrs Nancy McCreath, welcomed an excellent turn out of members including our new member Mrs Sheila McColm.

The minutes of the January meeting were read and approved before the treasurer gave a very comprehensive report.

The Federation trip will be on Wednesday, May 25, to Glasgow with the opportunity to include a visit to the Kings Theatre for the sound of music with tea at Dobbies. Payment due by March 1.

More information will be available regarding the federation trip to Donegal after their April meeting.

Rural members members taking part in the heats for the Ruralympics will meet in the Millennium centre as arranged where teams will be selected to go to the finals on April 2 against Dumfries.

Our joint trip with Challoch will be to Troqueer House on Monday 13th June. Tea will be in Star Hotel Moffat. More information will follow.

A letter was read out from heating Scotland inviting members to visit the Mc Millian Hall Newton Stewart on March 5 between 11am and 3pm.

The shrink material class will be at Wigtown Golf Club on March 17 between 9am And 12noon. Cost £22.

Our own 80th Birthday party was discussed and on show of hands it was decided to have at sit down meal at Wigtown Golf Clubhouse on April 11.

A lovely supper was provided by Nancy McCreath, Brenda McDowall and Irene Cowan.

Nancy then introduced Mr Paul Tarling who is the RSPB warden at the Crook of Baldoon who had come along to give us a talk and film show on “Geese in Galloway” most of our migrating geese come from Greenland and there are three different variations of the greylag geese alone.

Other geese fly in from Scandinavia and areas of the Russia Tundra and Eastern Silberia. Paul listed the different species that arrive on our shoreline over the winter months and there can be 70 – 80 thousand in Dumfries and Galloway alone. Everyone enjoyed this informative talk and also the short film showing wonderful wild flower meadows and flops of swooping starling etc. it was a treat. Mrs Margret Hewitson thanked Paul for such an inspiring evening as everyone had appreciated it. She also thanked the hostesses for the lovely supper.

Competition results:

Flower of the month - 1, Agnes Mc Gill; 2, Myra Roberson; 3, Charlotte Sawden.

Home made Valentines card - 1, Betty McCreadie; 2, Jessie Thomson; 3, Nancy McCreath.

Favourite heart shaped article - 1, Margaret Hewitson; 2, Barbara Lever; 3, Emma McCornick.

Meoul SWRI

PRESIDENT Janet Heron welcomed members to Lochans Hall on Wednesday, February 9, for our annual Scotch Night. We were joined by 80 or so people from in and around Stranraer and they came from as far as The Machars, with our guest entertainment Tom Murray and Company.

Miss Hastie, a piper from Stranraer and District Pipe Band, set feet a-tapping to begin our evening and Tom struck up the band. The dancers enjoyed themselves until we had a break for supper around 9 o’clock. A splendid buffet was supplied by Rural members.

We had a few songs after tea from Mr Hamish McCrindle, who was in good voice, and then the dancers took to the floor again. We who don’t dance enjoy watching the old Scots dancing danced the way it should be, everyone enjoying themselves.

Molly, Sylvia and Margaret attended to the raffle and when prizes were given out the dancers continued on until after 11pm.

The evening was brought to a close with Auld Lang Syne. President Janet thanked everyone for their continued support of our Scotch Night, members for all their hard work, Tom Murray and Company, and we look forward to seeing all of you again next year.

Meoul SWRI will meet again in Lochans Hall on March 9 when our guest will be Mrs Nancy McCreath to demonstrate glass painting.

Newton Stewart

Riverside Day Centre Whist results:

Friday, February 18th:- Ladies – 1, Myra Mc M; 2, Wendy; cons, Nan. Gents – 1, Fergie; 2, Bill; cons, Pat.

Monday, February 21st:- Ladies – 1, Connie; 2, Janette; cons, Margaret G. Gents – 1, Ian; 2, Elsie; cons, Molly.

Newton Stewart Bridge Club

RESULTS

North-South - 1, +3330, Lynn Drummond & Barbara Gaw; 2, +2400, Lynn Allan & Val Marshall; 3, +2150, Margaret Baird & Mary Sharp.

East-West - 1, -670, Betty & Jim Watson; 2, -1280, Alan Williams & Barrie Stewart; 3, -1510, Helen & Chris Laraway.

PORT William Bridge results:- N/S – 1, Betty and Jim Watson 7230; 2, Hugh Paterson and John McCourtney 4840; 3, Margaret Parker and May Cowan 4800. E/W – 1, Fay Halliday and Margaret Campbell -2730; 2, Joyce Kinnear and Madge Vance -2820; 3, Maureen Morton and Elsie McKillop -4180.

Penninghame St John’s Guild

For our February meeting, we extended an invitation to all the Guilds in the area to join us for an afternoon of fellowship in St Ninian’s Hall. We were joined by friends from Mochrum, Wigtown, Kirkmabreck and St Ninian’s. We opened the meeting with a meditation on the Lord’s Prayer, using candles to reflect the meaning of each segment, which was a moving and reflective exercise.

Everyone then joined in wholeheartedly with a participative game, involving a scenario set in the winter in a Manitoba forest, following a plane crash! After a good deal of discussion and hilarity, a list of salvaged items was produced – although just how great our chances of survival would have been is very doubtful indeed!

After tea and time to catch up with old friends, a selection of favourite poems was read by members of Penninghame St John’s – a truly eclectic selection!

We at Penninghame St John’s were delighted to be able to offer hospitality to our colleagues from other branches of the Guild, and thank them very much for their attendance.

The next meeting will be on Monday March 21st at 7.30pm. This will be the AGM.

PORT WILLIAM SWRI

President, Sheila Topping welcomed members to our regular meeting on February 17 in the Supper Room of the Maxwell Hall.

We sang the opening song and then apologies for absence were given. The minutes of the December and January meetings were read, approved and signed. Business discussed included the Federation Day Outing on May 25 to Glasgow with an option to attend “A Sound of Music” at the King’s Theatre, folowed by high tea at Dobbies on the return journey. Members were urged to support teams taking part in the Ruralympics and also to put details of the 90th Birthday Federation Garden Party at Auchenmalg on Saturday 11th June in their diaries. It was hoped that some members would attend the fundraising bingo evenings in Stranraer and Kirkinner. The competitions for the April Federation meeting are Agnes Finlay Competiton - Heart Cushion for breast cancer patients; Berwickshire Bowl - tea plate with three items for afternoon tea. Details of craft classs to be held on March 17 were also intimated.

On the completion of business Sheila introduced our speaker Anni Telford from the British Red Cross, who gave a very interesting and informative insight into the organisation. They help people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are, locally, nationally and internationally. Their services in the Machars are in the process of expansion in many ways. Sheila gave the vote of thanks to Mrs Telford.

Supper was served and enjoyed by all.

Competition results:

Jar of Chutney - 1, Fiona Walker; 2, Jenifer Brodie; 3, Elizabeth Wallace.

First Aid Kit - 1, Elizabeth Wallace; 2, Jennifer Brodie; 3, Sheila Topping.

The raffle was then drawn.

Sheila thanked everyone who contributed to making it such an enjoyable evening, especially our speaker, who also judged the competitions. The evening closed with the National Anthem.

Stewartry Federation

An H&H meeting of the Stewartry Federation of SWRI took place on 19 February in Kirkcudbright Lesser Town Hall and was convened by Federation Chairman, Mrs Rita Riddick, who welcomed all delegates, especially new ones, to the meeting. She intimated that volunteer stewards were needed for The Highland Show and anyone interested should give their name to Kate Smith. The finals of the Variations on a Theme Competition, the theme being “Fashion”, are to be hosted by Wigtownshire Federation in November, date and venue to be confirmed. She urged institutes to think of entering. Further details of the Stewartry`s preliminary round will be confirmed. Mrs Irene Rowe, H&H Convener then took over the meeting. The minutes of the last meeting were read and approved. Dame Barbara Kelly had agreed to present the trophies and Dumfriesshire Federation to provide the judges although a judge for the painting section was still required. The recent Ruralympics had raised £735.50 less £10 for catering. The bill for the hire of the hall had still to be

presented. The treasurers made a plea to all institutes to sell as many raffle tickets as possible as this is a major part of the fund raising of the Federation Show. Duties for the Federation Show were then assigned. Irene said that any contributions for the Sales Table would be gratefully received. Some queries about the Show Schedule

were answered. Stewartry Show Schedules were made available. As this was her third year as H&H Convener, Irene thanked everyone for all their hard work and for attending meetings. Mrs Jean Young was voted on as Convener and Mrs Helen McCormick as Vice Convener. Mrs Christine Rhodes was voted on as Show Secretary, with Miss Annie Kelly as Assistant Show Secretary. Mrs Mary Burney and Mrs Sheila Maddison agreed to continue as Show Treasurers. Mrs Jean Young thanked Irene for conducting the meeting and for all her hard work, much of it done behind the scenes, over the last three years. She also thanked the ladies who provided the welcome cup of tea.

Sorbie W.R.I.

The February meeting was held in the Village Hall, Sorbie on Tuesday, 15th. President Sue Grimes welcomed members and the rural song was sung. A business meeting followed when it was agreed that Whist Drive lessons might be an asset to members and perhaps this could be arranged to take place at the Annual General Meeting. A meeting was arranged for April at Mrs. Easton’s and any member interested in joining the entertainment group should attend. It was also unanimously agreed that Mrs. Jan Trotter and Mrs. Sue Grimes would be the Housecraft representatives.

Apologies received from Mrs. Jan Trotter, Mrs. Jean Henderson, Mrs. Margaret Wallace, Mrs. Helen Gibson and Mrs. Pam Bull,

President Sue Grimes then asked Mrs. Jacquie Schneider, one of our members, to give her talk on the Children’s Nest Orphanage in Choma, Zambia.

Jacquie gave an enlightening insight into her time spent working in the Orphanage, accompanied by some slides of the town of Choma and the Orphanage. Both Jacquie and her husband had worked in Zambia during the 1970s and kept up contacts from that time and when offered the opportunity to return to Zambia in 2009, she didn’t need to think twice. Jacquie spent 3 months at the Orphanage which was set up for children orphaned through AIDS. Her remit was to establish a pre-school for the younger children and to write a one year development curriculum. Her experience as an early years teacher held her in good stead.

The Orphanage was set up by a German volunteer called Inge, who was out in Zambia with her husband. Through her church she was asked if she would be willing to take in a family of 3 young children whose mother had died of AIDS. The majority of mothers who have contacted AIDS die shortly after childbirth as each subsequent pregnancy lowers their immune system. Inge agreed to take these children in to her three bedroom bungalow. When Jacquie arrived at the orphanage there were 49 children and when she left after 3 months there were 54. Each child is sponsored until they have finished full time education. All sponsorship at the moment comes from Germany. The Children’s Nest Orphanage is expanding. They have their own farm and a new site has been bought. This will enable 6 houses to be built for the children each with their own house mother. At this time a school has been built on the new premises and most of the homes completed. All funding is through fund raising at present only from Germany.

Jacquie answered questions and it was obvious that everyone had really enjoyed the talk and slides. It was both educational and sad. She thanked Mr. Grimes for bringing along his equipment and helping during the show of slides. Mrs. Easton thanked Jacquie for the talk and presentation.

Mrs. Longman and Mrs. Maxwell provided a lovely tea which was much enjoyed. The competition was 3 Chocolate biscuits and a Valentine Card.

Chocolate biscuits - 1st - Mrs. Jeanette Montgomery; 2nd - Mrs. Sandra Longman; 3rd - Mrs. Rosamond McGuiness.

Valentine Card - 1st. - Mrs. Rossamond McGuiness; 2nd- Mrs. Jeanette Montgomery; 3rd - Mrs. Sandra Longman

The usual raffle was conducted by Mrs. R. McGuiness.

Stronord SWRI

PRESIDENT Nancy Birse welcomed everyone to our January meeting on the 18th in the McMillan Hall. Business was discussed.

Our speaker for the evening was Machars Lions president Neil Martin who gave us a talk on history of Lions and work of the local branch.

Lions started in 1917 in Canada and has since spread to over 200 countries – in fact they are the largest charitable organisation in the world. They raise money for all sorts of causes from large international disasters to individuals in need. We ended with a very interesting question and answer session.

Nancy thanked Neil for coming and asked him to judge our competition.

Our hostesess for the evening were Janet and Rose who provided us with a lovely supper.

Competition results:- Favourite Christmas card – 1, Rose Marr; 2, Janet Purdie; 3, Nancy Birse. Cheese scones – 1, Jan Smyth; 2, May McHarg.

Twynholm Rural 15th February 2011

On Tuesday 15th February, members of Twynholm Rural gathered for their monthly meeting. The President, Mrs.June Dinnell welcomed the members and the minutes from the last meeting were read and approved, and the majority of the evening’s business was concluded.

Members were then introduced to the evening’s speaker, Sally Eastgate, who came to entertain members with her talk on Broughton House, Kirkcudbright, the former residence of Peter Hornel, one of the ‘Glasgow Boys’ group of Artists. Rather than give a general talk on the house, or the works of Hornel, Sally explained that the evening was to be devoted to the recently digitalised images that had formerly been stored on glass plate negatives. Due to their age, these plates were in desperate need of rescue as they had stated to deteriorate. Members were shown a photograph of a glass plate negative, and its digitalised image. It was easy to understand the need for urgency when the two were compared.

The newly digitalised photographs produced such clear images that visitors have been able to recognise family members when visiting the Broughton House, and have helped some families with their genealogical research. The models shown on the images were later used as the basis for many of the paintings Hornel produced.

Clarification of the images has also revealed the information they contain about social and local history and details of Broughton House at the time. The latter images have been particularly useful in providing guidance for ongoing conservation projects.

Sally’s dynamic, enthusiastic and amusing talk reassured members that the future of Broughton House is in safe hands while she works there!

After the talk, Jo Love gave a report on the recent meeting of the Stewatry Federation of Rurals, and results of recent competitions were given by June Dinnell.

The evening was concluded with the presentation of her certificate to our latest Honorary Member of Twynholm Rural, Mrs. Jean Harrison.

Competitions: Valentine Card, Linda Freidrichson; Flower of the Month, 1st Agnes Watson, 2nd Irene Manson, 3rd Anne McCulloch; Pancakes 1st June Dinnell, 2nd Mary McMorran.

Wigtown Talks and Walks

Jim Logan is a retired biologist who still pursues his passion for the study of the animals of the sea and shore, particularly in Dumfries and Galloway where he now lives.

This area has a wide range of beaches, sandy, rocky, muddy each with their own living organisms adapted to the different and specialised habitats. These plants and animals were the subject of Jim’s talk.

Our coastline has one of the greatest tidal ranges in the UK so the creatures inhabiting the shore have to be incredibly tough. They must cope with long periods of exposure on the shore where rock pools especially can be extremely stressful, either hot and salty in the sun or cold with reduced salinity when it rains. Nevertheless many creatures manage to survive, from the lichens just above the water line to the small fish at the tide line.

At the furthest reach of the tide cord grass is useful as a stabiliser for loose sand. Eel grass and seaweed help to provide habitat for small creatures, but the distribution of plants and animals is not random, even the seaweeds have their own zones.

The variety of creatures can make a beach walk a fascinating experience. There are several kinds of winkles clinging to rocks, usually near the bottom of the beach depending on their ability to cope with desiccation. Chitons resembling woodlice lurk under rocks and seaweed. Crab shells litter some of our beaches, not the remains of dead crabs but cast shells of the land crab which has the ability to grow a new shell when the old one is outgrown. Hermit crabs go one better and find another shell to fit their increased size. A relative of crabs and lobsters is the barnacle, it is able to stand on its head and catch plankton with its legs. Sea anemones that look like blobs of jelly on a rock open out under water waving their stingy tentacles. They have a most curious method of reproducing, creating ‘babies’ from buds grown inside their own body. They are also extremely aggressive and will attack other anemones but not their own off spring. Starfish are surprisingly predatory and have the ability to attack and digest mussels. Scallops, though, can detect starfish and will move out of harm’s way. The sandy casts of tubeworms are a common sight. The tube of the pectinaria belgica seen through a microscope reveals grains of sand fitted together and a beautiful golden worm inside the structure. And finally, reaching the shallows, small fish are present, the goby, butterfish and maybe a baby flounder.

All these many plants and animals were lovingly described. Technical details and Latin names were kept to a minimum without sacrificing the content. Especially memorable were Jim’s physical depictions of the fascinating ways these creatures eat, move and reproduce, his body language made the creatures almost come to life.

World Oceans Day is an opportunity to celebrate and learn more about this wonderful diversity.

Dates for the diary are Rockcliffe Sunday 5th June and Port William 12th June

Our next meetings are Tuesday 22nd of February Allan Wake will talk about ‘Wild Flowers of Iceland’ and 1st March March whenGraham Roberts will talk about ‘Castles and Tower Houses’ at Wigtown and BladnochGolf Club 2.30pm.

For information phone Bill Stuart 01988 403494

WIGTOWN and District Bridge Club results Wednesday, February 16th:- N/S – 1, Fay Halliday and Margaret Parker +2160; 2, Jo Chambers and Marion Halstead +1990; 3, Margaret Baird and Mary Sharp +1660. E/W – 1, Lesley McNaught and Betty Marshall +140; 2, Veronica Kingston and May Cowan -860; 3, Sheila Limbrey and Evie McKenzie -1110.

Wigtownshire Ramblers

The rain and cold had taken their toll on numbers when only thirteen ramblers turned out on Saturday for a walk around Wigtown’s historic town. After consideration of the adverse weather conditions it was decided to shorten the planned walk and leave the exploration of Baldoon airfield and the adjoining new bird sanctuary for another day.

From the County buildings a route was taken past the school to gain the muddy track of Lovers’ Lane which led uphill to what should have been a wonderful view over Wigtown Bay to the hills beyond. Unfortunately the company had to take the view on trust, as drizzly low cloud created an atmospheric eeriness to the marshland.

Returning to the town by Church Lane, the old manse, Laigh House, was admired, an enormous stone built edifice looking out over its surroundings, before the church and its famous graveyard were entered to examine the tombs of the Wigtown martyrs. Margaret McLachlan and Margaret Wilson were executed in 1685, a consequence of the religious bigotry and fanaticism of the times. The gravestones, telling the story of the two martyred women, are an interesting example of old lettering on monumental masonry.

The martyrs’ stake was the next objective passing by an earlier religious site on the way. At the entrance to Croft-an- Righ is an incised stone cross which marks the supposed site of Blackfriars Monastery, founded by Devorgilla, the wife of John Baliol, in the thirteenth century. At the rear of the house an impressive show of snowdrops lightened the prospect of the dreary day.

The path along the old railway is soon to be upgraded, marked as one of the core paths of the area. However, mud was the order for this day, and soon the martyrs’ stake was reached along a wooden causeway reaching out into the marshes. The memorial stone was placed here in 1936 to show the whereabouts of the wooden stakes to which the women were tied and drowned by the incoming tide. Although on Saturday the tide was one of the highest of the year, it could be seen that the marshland has risen so much that the women would have been in no danger of drowning here today.

The old railway line continued to be followed, past the Old Station House and platforms, continuing on above some attractive ponds, passing a red metal goose target, and through an avenue of beech trees, now a repository for old farm machinery, until the demolished bridge crossing the Bladnoch was reached. Across the swollen river, Baldoon Castle could be seen, a ruined tower house which is associated with Sir Walter Scott’s Bride of Lammermuir. Here a steep descent to a gate, which was submerged in deep water, necessitated an adventurous climb over barbed wire to reach the field and thereby the road.

Bladnoch distillery was now in view. A path took the walkers through the picturesque stone buildings, erected in 1817. Unfortunately the distillery was not open, so it was a dry company that passed along the pretty riverside walk for some distance, drinking in only the smell of malting grain, before the way was abruptly terminated by the river once more, swollen by a combination of heavy rain and high tide. A return was made to the distillery where welcome use was made of picnic benches for a dry lunch.

The return route to Wigtown meant once more negotiating the barbed wire fence to cross the railway embankment and gain the river embankment. The open aspect here meant the wind was biting, but the surrounding reed beds and channels left by the receding tide were a complete contrast to the wooded areas already passed on the walk.

It was quite a relief for the company to eventually reach the tarmac and the deserted, well kept harbour. Now the pace quickened, past the old prison with its many high chimneys, and Dunmore House, a school built by the Free Church in 1844 and recognised by the separate sandstone entrances for boys and girls.

After a wet, cold and windy walk, the County Buildings provided a warm spot to change wet gear, before repairing to Readinglasses for a welcome tea, hardy walkers enjoying a social hour before heading home.

Next week’s walk, on Saturday 26th February, is 7miles, taking in castles and coast, Lochnaw, Larbrax and Galdenoch. Meet for car sharing at Riverside, Newton Stewart 9am, Breastworks, Stranraer, 9.30am or the walk start, Lochnaw Home Farm, 10am NW 986 625. Please phone walk leader if going to the start, 01776 840226. New members are always welcome.