Thursday, 17 December 2009

Happy Christmas

Merry Christmas and here's to a very happy 2010 to all our readers.I would like to thank everyone that has contributed to the blog this year. And i look forward to receiving all your articles for 2010.Please send all articles and adverts to myself

Nollaig chridheil agus bliadhna mhath ùr

Friday, 4 December 2009

CHRISTMAS with Contin Parish Church

Sunday 13th December
10.45am Morning Worship Contin
12.15pm Sunday Service Lochluichart

Sunday 20th December
10.45am Carols and Readings with Choir:Contin

Christmas Eve
4.30pm Carols and Readings Lochluichart
7.00pm Christingle Service Strathconon
11.30pm Watchnight Service Contin

Sunday 27th December
10.45 am Communion Contin

Minister Rev Fraser Stewart

Christingle story

The custom of the Christingle began in the Moravian Church and was first used as part of a Christmas Children's Festival in the Marienborn Congregation in Germany on the 24th December 1747.
No one knows for certain when the word "Christingle" was first used or from what it derived, but wherever the Moravians went in the great outreach of missionary evangelism in the 18th and 19th centuries they took with them the custom of the Christingle.
The symbolism gradually developed and today in the Moravian Church in Britain, the Christingle consists of an orange representing the World, with the candle inserted in the centre and lit to represent Christ the Light of the World.
The candle used to be held on a goose quill, part of which was split into fronds, on which were impaled nuts, fruits, raisins and sweets. These stood for the created order over which Christ is King, and for the fruits of the earth and the benefits that come to our lives through God's bounty and goodness. Today the fruit is usually slid onto cocktail sticks stuck into the orange, the wood still being part of God's created order.
Sometimes red crepe paper is used to form a frill at the base of the candle which is a reminder of Christ's Passion, through which our redemption has come. A white frill often used denotes the purity of Christ's life as an example for us all.
The Christingle Service is usually held on the Sunday before Christmas, and is a children's celebration in which we place the child in the midst of all we do, just as the Christ child is the centre of all our lives.
At the climax of the service, each child receives a lighted Christingle and in the magical moment of the darkened Church, the visual symbol tells the truth of the Christmas story, - that in the darkness of the world there has shined a great light. In the darkness, with the lighted Christingle, the children often sing the Traditional Moravian Carol: Morning Star, O Cheering sight.

Many years ago, children were asked to take a gift to put beside the crib in church. One family had no money for gifts but were determined to take something. They found an orange which they felt would be okay, but were disappointed to find it was going mouldy at the top. However, they thought they would scoop out the bad bits and put a candle in the top and turn it into a lantern. Thinking that it looked a bit ordinary, one of the girls took a red ribbon from her hair and tied it around the middle. They had difficulty getting it to stay in place, so fastened it with four small sticks, on the ends of which they put a few raisins. They took their lantern to church and were afraid of the reactions of the other children. However, the priest acknowledged their gift and told the congregation how special it was for the following reasons:

The orange is round like the world.
The candle stands tall and straight and gives light in the dark like the love of God.
The red ribbon goes all around the 'world' and is a symbol of the blood Jesus shed when he died for us.
The four sticks point in all directions and symbolise North, South, East and West - they also represent the four seasons.
The fruit and nuts (or sometimes sweets!) represent the fruits of the earth, nurtured by the sunshine and the rain.

Recipe Corner

Recipe Corner

Thanks to Peter Martin for sending his late
mother's recipe for cheese straws. "They're tasty
and - since they contain no sugar - kind to the
teeth, but less so to the waistline!"
4 oz self-raising flour
3 oz finely grated strong Cheddar cheese
2 oz butter
1 egg yolk
white pepper, ½ teaspoon salt and couple of
pinches of cayenne
Mix the flour, grated cheese, salt, pepper and
cayenne together. Rub in the butter. Mix to a
short paste with the egg yolk. Knead well until
uniform in colour. Roll out to ¼ inch in thickness.
Trim into strips about ½ inch wide and cut into
fingers about 2½ inches long. Place these on a
baking tray.
Place in an oven preheated to Gas Mark 4 (180o C).
Bake for 20 minutes.
N.B. If using a fan oven reduce heat to 160o C
and bake for 15 minutes only.~

Weedy Gravel?

Weedy Gravel?
by Peter Martin
Is your gravel weedy? Mine is. And it looks as
though it may be heading for a yet weedier future.
Until now I have been suppressing the weeds by
applying a sodium chlorate solution twice a year.
Sodium chlorate was cheap and effective because it
remained in the soil for months and had a
continuing effect, unlike glyphosate which breaks
down soon after contact with the soil.
This autumn, realizing that my supplies were low, I
popped into Frank Nicol in Dingwall and
discovered that they had just sold the last of their
stock and would not be getting any more as it had
been banned.
I decided to investigate and found that it had been
withdrawn from sale in compliance with noninclusion
Decision 2008/865/EC. “And just what’s
that when it’s at home?” I can hear you saying – or
perhaps even something less polite. Well, be
patient while you read about the horrors of sodium
chlorate and then you will find out.
Sodium chlorate is poisonous; if ingested it causes
haemoglobin oxidation. In simple terms, it
destroys the red blood cells we need to carry
oxygen around our bodies. In addition, being an
oxidizing agent, it is useful in the manufacture of
home-made explosives. These considerations led
the European Parliament to decide that it should no
longer be included in Annex 1 of Council
Directive 91/414/EEC, which regulates the “plant
protection products” that may be used within the
European Union.
Member States were required to withdraw
authorization for plant protection products
containing sodium chlorate by 10 May 2009.
Under Article 4(6) of Directive 91/414/EEC
Member States are allowed to give a “period of
grace for the disposal, storage, placing on the
market and use of existing stocks”. In the case of
sodium chlorate the Parliament decided this period
of grace “shall be as short as possible and shall
expire on 10 May 2010 at the latest”.
What now? It seems that the main replacement
product being aimed at domestic users is
Pathclear™, however it only even claims to remain
effective for three months. Assuming no weed
growth in the winter, that would mean one needed
to apply it at least three times a year. I have
calculated that a single application would cost me
£150. Since I do not live in a stately home
surrounded by acres of what the late Sir John
Betjeman referred to as “private gravel” I think
that a bit steep. Any suggestions? ~

Stop the World ~ I Want to Get Off

Stop the World ~ I Want to Get Off
Thanks to Marie Gordon for passing on this
delightful verse from Suzanne Parish
Sunlight on the mountainside
Mist among the trees
Dew upon the meadows
Gentle Highland breeze.
A babbling brook, a fleeting swift
An eagle soaring high
A dragonfly, wild raspberries
A blue and cloudless sky.
A tiny bridge, so white and clean
Hovering above the stream
Where water tumbles rushing by
Kissing the pebbles where they lie.
A scampering vole, a hint of pine
The sound of summer rain,
And when it's gone I think I taste
The smell of woodsmoke down the lane.
A hamlet of white houses here
Clustered in the Glen
A friendly wave, a kindly word
Where time has stopped for them.
If I could leave my bustling life
And find a place to be
I know it would be here I choose -
The mountains, sky and thee.
Suzanne Parish

Autumn in Strathconon

Autumn in Strathconon
The older school children have been trying hard to
improve their descriptive writing. They worked in pairs
to produce these wonderful descriptions of the glen in
autumn. We hope you enjoy them!
Aileen MacQueen
In Strathconon as the autumn mist rises above the
frosty pond, ducks can be heard quacking, even
louder than the children’s laughter.
Large red deer roar triumphantly on the bracken
covered hills. Clear waterfalls are gushing over the
Frosty bare trees tower above the houses nestling
in the hillside. As you go past fields on a cold
autumn morning you can hear the black and white
sheep baaing.
The nights are getting colder - it’s nearly winter!
by Keith & Dylan
Strathconon is a heavenly place in autumn.
Flocks of birds tweet softly, as they fly south for
the coming cold winter. Geese fly over head in an
arrow head formation.
As you walk on a cold morning the noise of golden
brittle leaves crunching under foot reaches your
ears before any other sound. Children, run happily
around chestnut trees looking for fallen conkers
among the piles of rotten leaves.
The almost bare beech trees now have only a few
small yellowish leaves clinging onto their narrow
Dying bracken lies on the hard frosty ground.
Green wavy grass sways gently as the red deer
come down from the high hills to munch on it.
Stags roar loudly, their breath showing in the crisp
clear air. A glistening waterfall crashes onto the
jagged rocks at the bottom of a steep hill.
The dark nights are starting to creep in, frost
glistens in the morning, it is autumn!
by Maddie and Hamish
Autumn is arriving in the glen!
All kinds of shapes of leaves are changing from
green to orange, red, yellow and brown. Running
through the leaves in the dark forest is a deer, with
its brown furry skin camouflaging it, so it can
hardly be seen.
Sadly, the swallows have to leave in autumn but
hopefully they will return again in spring.
Next to the school the fast flowing stream splashes
onto the hard rocks.
You feel the warm wind blowing against your face,
it can be quite relaxing.
Halloween is in autumn, so get ready, and be
excited for the biggest spook of your life! Lit up
orange pumpkins are ready to give you a fright! In
the attic is the spooky ghost moving around waiting
for its release, so be careful and watch out!
On bonfire night every November you see swirling,
whooshing and crackling fire works everywhere!
They explode in the air, it is beautiful!
by Martha and Alex

Autumn in the glen is one of the greatest times in
the world!
In the morning cobwebs can be seen glittering on
the bushes. The sun shines down on brown and red
leaves as they drop from the strong tall trees.
Foxes run through the forest in the fallen crunchy
Smoke goes up into the bright blue sky.
Rain falls on the misty mountains.
The cold frosty morning makes you think that
snow will soon be coming.
by Megan, Charlie and Ms M
On an autumn morning the crisp mist freezes the
You can hear the glistening water from the
waterfall crashing on the rocks.
As the wind blows through the bushes and the
trees, the geese fly overhead in arrow formation.
Small birds tweet happily in amongst the trees.
In the forest the sweet smell of pine cones and the
fresh sap from the trees smells like heaven.
Different shades of brown leaves crunch when you
step on them and you can find huge conkers as
they crash down onto the ground.
Fireworks burst into the dark sky as the crackling
bonfire melts the paper Guy Fawkes.
by Jacob and Rory

Hall Committee AGM

Hall Committee AGM
by Maria Trygger
It is hard to comprehend that almost a year has
passed since the new hall committee was formed.
This year was busy and successful and enormous
thanks must be extended not only to the dedication
of the committee members but also to the tireless
efforts of the many supporters without whom the
events such as the Strathconon Games, several
ceilidhs and the craft fair (to name but a few!)
simply would not happen. The committee may
make the overall decisions on these events, but we
cannot make them the successes they have been by
The Hall Committee AGM will be held on
Tuesday 1st December at 7.30pm.
The AGM agenda will be simple: to review the
year and to fill committee posts. As per the
committee’s constitution, all post holders must
stand down at the AGM although they can (and
hopefully will!) put themselves forward for reelection.
Some current post holders are not able to
offer their time for another year for various
reasons, so please consider volunteering for these
posts. Some current members may wish to be reelected
in a new role, and that’s fine too. The main
thing is that we have a full committee by the end
of the evening.
If you absolutely don’t want to be a committee
member, why not consider volunteering for one of
the working groups instead? These groups are the
committee’s first port of call for additional
assistance with the various events.
It is proposed* by the current committee that a
separate meeting be held on Wednesday 9th
December at 7.30pm to plan the Glen Christmas
Party [*but check with a Committee member].
So, thank you once again for your support over the
past year and I hope to see you all at the AGM.
Remember, the Hall Committee is here for you! ~