Blog from the North – June 2015

Bunty Gunn
Bunty Gunn

I’m sorry about May.  Apart from the election it was a month where all you wanted to do was pull the duvet over your head and wait for summer.

The election was a fairly bitter pill for the Lib Dems of Caithness (of whom I am one) to swallow.  A huge surge of nationalism, triggered by the Referendum, ousted John Thurso and elected Dr. Paul Monaghan. Just about the first thing he had to do was deal with a shoal of letters and e-mails, begging him to intercede in the affairs of the Royal Bank of Scotland versus Lybster. The bank proposes to close its branch here, causing huge upset in the area and a lot of ill feeling towards an enterprise which the taxpayer is supposed to own, but in which the taxpayer has no say. The bank has just had to pay a huge fine for wrong selling of products, but it was hardly the fault of its clients who feel they are being penalised for something they did not do.  I don’t know whether the petitions, the phone calls or the afore-mentioned letters and e-mails will do any good, but at least we will go down having tried our best.

June has arrived but with no let-up from the wintry weather.  Temperatures in the teens|(occasionally) during the day and minus 3 degrees at night.  I am very sorry for the swallows who arrived a week late and must wonder why they bothered to come at all, it is so cold.  The gorse is in glorious bloom and the broom is just beginning to flower.  It is curious that they can both be yellow, but quite different yellows and also have different scents.  The gorse, in the sun, is coconut-smelling.  The broom is flowery.  There’s a lot of activity in the fields with cows and calves in abundance, including the lovely little Highlanders who look just like cuddly teddies, but who could give you a fine bunt if you messed with them.  Tractors are out, fields are ploughed and the far from delicate stench of slurry fills the air as the acres are “dunged”. The Lands End to John O’Groats walkers have started, and the cyclists and the vintage car rallies.  We have a friend who lives near Lands End and I always wish that I could send a message with the walkers as they pass our gate on the way back.  In a cleft stick, of course.

The village is gearing up for the Fete on the 27th June, held in the garden of the Manse, although our Minister has retired through ill-health.  We have a rolling list of lay-preachers and there is another retired Minister who takes over from time to time.  I don’t know what the future will be.  So many churches are closing or amalgamating and I cannot say that we have a very large congregation.  As it is we box and cox with the church in Dunbeath.  Still, the faithful do attend and the Fete always attracts a good crowd and the money goes to good causes.  Let’s hope for a decent day for it.

The Most Northerly Lemon is almost ready to be picked.  We are saving it until Gathering time and will dispatch it with due ceremony.  Perhaps even to celebrate the continuation of the village branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland.  Well – we can dream, can’t we?



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