Back together..
24 January 2022

We met on the 24th January and It was a joy to be able to meet in person again - albeit observing all legal requirements and guidance regarding Covid precautions. It was a great pleasure to chat to friends without the constraints of Zoom.

We were delighted to be able to use the spacious members lounge area at Anstruther Golf Club and many thanks to the Golf Club for making it possible.

Catering as usual was provided by The Rockies restaurant, with a menu augmented by a seasonal  supplement of haggis, neeps and tatties. 

Following business, we were treated to an outstanding talk by club member Ian Brunton; a farmer and someone deeply interested in - and with an encyclopaedic knowledge of - the life of Robert Burns.

Ian took a most unusual look at Burns’ life and times, comparing agriculture and the way of life for farmers from Medieval times through the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries - and then on to current practice. We were taken on a fascinating journey that reminded us of just how precarious life then was, with the constant fear of bad weather, poor harvests and of famine. A reminder too of how privileged we are to live today. Despite troubles, complaints and concerns, a golden age. 

Burns lived in a time of revolution; political certainly, but also in science, engineering and exploration. The French revolutionary wars; the Seven Years war; James Cook mapping New Zealand and Australia; Adam Smith publishing his Wealth of Nations; Richard Arkwright building his first water powered mill; the Industrial Revolution starting, with profound implications for the rural way of life;  new and efficient ploughs being designed. And so much more.

Altogether a fascinating and extremely well-researched talk. Following questions an appreciative vote of thanks was proposed by Bill Batchelor. 

 

Best Wishes for 2022..
10 January 2022

10th January saw the first club meeting of 2022 - which sadly due to the omicon covid variant had once again to be held via Zoom. The meeting did however serve to highlight just how well technology serves us, as the meeting was very successfully chaired by President Eric, from his holiday ski chalet in Switzerland.

It was a business meeting and the main item was to review the ‘Christmas Post’ project, which raised £1500. It was agreed to donate this money with £500 each to Cancer Research, RNLI and the local Scouts, who are having to carry out major work to their meeting hall.

The possibility of being able to again run the ‘Coastal Path Charity walk’ was also debated; with the hope that it might be possible, maybe in May of this year. However with covid restrictions still in place it was concluded we still have to ‘wait and see’.

Christmas..
13 December 2021

December 13th was the club’s Christmas meeting. A group of 42 Rotarians, partners and friends gathered to enjoy a traditional Christmas meal; but it was an evening that this year was carefully managed to have in place all necessary Covid precautions.   

Guest, Revd Gordon Craig, delivered grace - in an East Neuk accent - and explained why two graces were often said in the Royal Navy.

Club President Eric Govan introduced our speaker, Revd Robert Harley, who has recently retired from St Mary's Episcopal Church in Kirriemuir and now lives in St Andrews. A ‘teaser’ was incorporated to test everyones knowledge of the stained glass windows in St Mary's. In the way of Rotary this led to funds being raised! and these are earmarked to go towards the costs of a beautiful carol booklet produced by the club choir’s musical director Miss Jessie Lyon. Sadly this year it was not possible to enjoy singing the carols because of Covid. 

As Robert is currently president of Kirriemuir Rotary club we exchanged banners at this point. In his talk, Robert looked at Christmas from various new angles and had sections on feet! Rupert Bear! and shepherds & cowboys! - during a well balanced, humorous, informative and much appreciated talk.

During the meal a quiz prepared by Ian & Carole Brunton was completed; such was the prowess of the company that a tie breaker was needed to decide the winners.

What was an excellent and most enjoyable evening concluded with an appreciative and comprehensive vote of thanks proposed by Elizabeth Riches and a closing toast proposed by president Eric.

A salty tale..
15 November 2021

At the meeting of 15th November and following a meal, plans for the Christmas meeting were discussed, as well as more detail of the club’s Christmas Post. Following these business topics, we enjoyed a talk from Darren Peattie, who is founder and managing director of the East Neuk Salt Company.

Darren provided a hugely enthusiastic insight to his crowd-funded enterprise, which was founded in 2019 and produces around four tons per month of the highest quality sea salt. Total capital of £238,000 is invested.

He explained that the core of the company is all about promoting and collaborating with other local businesses to celebrate the vibrant food scene of the East Neuk. Darren made reference to the 250 year old history of salt production here and to the remains of the old salt pans at St Monans.

It was interesting to see photographs of the salt production equipment - a vacuum evaporation process is used, meaning that water evaporates at 40 degrees, rather than at the normal 100 degree boiling point of water. The cleanliness of used filters attested to the quality of the local sea water used. Salt concentration is typically about 3.5% by weight, meaning that 1000 litres of water will yield 35 Kg of salt.

We heard of Darren’s ambitious plans to market this high quality salt via a range of specially developed products and through a number of local enterprises. Altogether a most impressive story.

Following questions Steve Blaney proposed a vote of thanks.  

 

Stardust..
01 November 2021

Following a meal and business the club enjoyed a talk from club member Steve Blaney about his recent project to repair, refurbish and bring back to life the sailing yacht ‘Stardust’. 

A labour of love unfolded with photographs showing the sadly neglected state of the ‘Newbridge Navigator’ boat, then named as  ‘Skinny Malinky’. From what was definitely not a seaworthy craft - along with an even worse trailer, Steve worked his magic. Thoroughly cleaned and with underwater fouling removed, new engine and gearbox fitted, interior rebuilt and with modern electronic navigation aids added, the yacht was transformed and absolutely deserved and needed its new persona.

Steve had assembled fine photographs of the boat, of Comrie, Loch Earn, Ben Vorlich, St Fillans and 20 Shilling Wood - and really captured the beauty of that most picturesque part of Scotland.

It was great to see a fine craft rescued and, following questions, Roderick Skinner proposed an appreciative vote of thanks.

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