Category Archives: Stories

A Kinrowan Estate story: Jack O’Lanterns

Botanically speaking, pumpkins are just large gourds (cucurbits) of which we raise many types here as they’re an intrinsic part of the Winter fare here being served up baked (butternut squash particularly is good this way), in pies and tossed … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate Story: All Hallows‘ Eve

All Hallow’s Eve is just a fortnight away, and the Staff is deep in preparations. Mind you, a lot of those are just fun and games: putting up decorations and scurrying around with secret costume plans. Some of the more … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate Story: A Punjabi Meal

Chandra came to the Estate several springs back with the intent of being here for a single growing season. I hired her as she had a deft hand with transplanting seedlings, something harder than it looks to do properly, and … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Why Contradances?

Dear Justina, You were asking quite some time back about how a remote Scottish Estate came to have contradances. It was nearly a month before Iain got back to me after I asked how contradances came to be here and … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate Story: On Tolkien

So, while Mackenzie’s off looking for the Victrola – yeah, we’ve really got a Victrola in here, as well as a 21st century sound system that’s practically sentient – I’ll sign you in. I’m one of the Several Annies, and … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate Story: Chasing Fireflies

Come on in, you,re just in time! We haven’t started yet. Don’t just stand there in the doorway, come in, come in! We have a contradance planned for tonight. I’m Kate, one of the assistant cooks here, but I’m also … Continue reading

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An Kinrowan Estate Story: Mushroom hunters

Well, here we are, are you ready? Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you were among my fellow mushroom hunters! How d’you do? My name is Kate, I’m one of the Assistant Cooks in the kitchens here, and I’m all dressed … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Oh That Biography

So you want to know about the Sandy Denny bio that Reynard was alluding to in the Pub earlier this evening?  Well I can’t give any specifics about it but I can tell the tale by changing the names of all … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Biscuits

BISCUIT JAM BUTTER  BISCUIT  On a t-shirt worn by an American tourist visiting the Estate Okay, let’s make one thing clear: an American-style biscuit is not the biscuit you find here in Scotland, which is more akin to the thing … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: The Wood, Part II

Ah, there you are! I’m so glad you’re back again, because now I get to finish the story Kit told me about the Handfasting of the King and Queen of the Faeries. Where was I? Oh, right — Kit and … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: The Wood

Hi there, it’s me — Robert. Here, come sit with me under this oak tree here. I was just remembering the other night at the Pub. It had gotten late and we were all sitting around swapping stories, and of … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Cranachan

Good Evening Ekaterina, Ingrid sends her love and hopes your trip to Canada is going well. Mrs. Ware cooked the traditional Scottish dessert that you love earlier tonight — cranachan which you know is made with oats, cream, whisky and … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: The Green Lady

If we’ve left the impression with you that we’ve only encountered only Green Men on this Scottish Estate down the centuries, that’s not correct. There’re stories about The Green Lady in Sleeping Hedgehog, our Estate community newsletter, as far back … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Palimpsests (A Letter to Justina)

Dear Justina, You asked why it’s so hard to say what the beginning of the Estate was. As you know, the accepted beginnings are a complete fabrication by a Steward some centuries ago who decided we needed a history that made … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Summer afternoon (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, So, Spring is waning fast, but summer’s not an event that just happens — it sneaks up on us like a barn own gliding past in the night. No, now we’re in the golden eternity, that endless perfect afternoon … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Midsummer

This time of year, my heart is full. Everything that can bloom is blooming, or has bloomed and fruited already, like mayapple and shooting star and trillium and the flowering trees that line my street. All the plants are up. … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: 3 a.m., When The Veils Are Thinnest

Sometimes I believe that the door off the Courtyard into the Pub here is just a little too close to The Border with, oh, let’s just call it somewhere else and possible somewhen else. It would certainly explains some of … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Our Cats

While our Kinrowan Hall is justly famous for the music that keeps the old place resonating nicely, we’re also home to a fair number of our feline friends. While some of the cats just come and go (not unlike the notoriously peripatetic … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Béla

I noticed that Béla was enjoying a meal of  goulash and dark beer, something that the Kitchen being fond of him cooks him frequently. (I’ve had that goulash — it’s as good as any I’ve had in Hungarian eateries!) Like … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Our very small art exhibition space

Well it is. Very small that is. And it’s been located here at the Estate for at least several centuries as the endowment that created it goes back that far. One piece of art, be it painting, sculpture or banzai … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Our Pub

It was a fairly typical evening in our Green Man Pub. The weather had turned sharply colder and that meant a steady flow of custom her which kept Finch, my lead barkeep, busy along with one of the Several Annie’s, … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Cold, Haily Day

If you’ve visited us and been here when it was raining, you know why we put in a modern heating system. Heating with wood was cold, really cold in the winter, and miserably damp when it rained. I mentioned that … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Of Bloodied Kings

There are stories of hauntings here at the Kinrowan Estate going back centuries. Of ghostly patrons of our Pub in the Kinrowan Hall who came back again and again at last call to hoist just one more pint of their … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: A Cookbook (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, I’m going to pitch a book for that culinary folklore seminar you’re teaching next Winter here for those visiting food writers, as I really tkink it’ll be a good addition to that endeavour. One of Several Annies, Iain’s … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: The Sleeper Under The Hill (A Letter to Ceinwen)

Dear Ceinwen, As a fellow librarian interested in all things mythopoeic, you’ll find this interesting. This is the month that I’ve got the Several Annies studying a myth in depth, this one being that of The Sleeper Under the Hill. … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: The Snug

Ah, you’re back! Now, where were we? Ah, the Snug: the Snug is a tiny room to the other side of the bar (served via a sliding hatch) which has a small wood-burning stove, a couple of old armchairs, and … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Mythologist John Campbell

I was watching a New Years Eve gig and it was clear to me how tribal it felt. Good communities are tribes. They have rituals and myths and those kinds of deeper realities that light up everyday reality and give … Continue reading

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A Travels Abroad story: A Visit to St. Petersburg (A Letter to Ekaterina)

G’Evening Ekaterina, It’s after four in the morning and I’m wide awake as my leg injury’s keeping me from sleeping long, long after your sister Catherine has turned in for the night. So I’m doing needed correspondence as I’ll get … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate Story: Nicholas

He lowered his head as he walked into the Green Man Pub from the Worlds Beyond on a much too cold late Autumn evening. An impressive thing to do given that door’s a shade over eight feet tall. Dressed mostly in … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Hedge Witches (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, As you well know, I, unlike you, was schooled in the university of the land. I don’t regret it but it was a very good thing that I apprenticed to Macpherson, the Head Gardener before me, as the … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Of Puppets and Their Masters (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, I was lusting after a wee dram of Laphroig very late one night as I wasn’t sleeping well so I got dressed, left my sweet wife sleeping, and made my way to the Pub. As you know, it … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: All Hallows’ Eve

Gus, here. All Hallow’s Eve is less than three weeks away, and the Staff is deep in preparations. Mind you, a lot of those are just fun and games: putting up decorations and scurrying around with secret costume plans. Some of … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Elven Contradance Band

It was one of the oddest contradance bands I had the privilege to call for, as it was comprised solely of musicians from across the Border. Now the Elves tell us next to nothing about their culture, so what we … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: The Calamity Janes

They called themselves the Calamity Janes. They were an Americana group that showed up here. Jack hadn’t booked them, indeed hadn’t even heard of them, but they decided to visit us one fine summer day as they’d heard they could … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate Tale: A Restless Queen

It was late at night when the green-cloaked storyteller told her tale. ‘ “Turning and turning in the widening gyre,” ‘ she said softly, quoting Yeats, ‘ “The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; The center cannot hold; … Continue reading

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A KInrowan Estate story: Blackberry Wine (A Letter to Catherine)

Dear Catherine,  Our gardens are full of the good things one finds there as summer wanes: small and large pumpkins, the last of the ripe cucumbers, chili peppers ready for drying, plump tomatoes for canning and drying, blackberries, and an infinity … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Our Greensward

One part of the greensward is set aside for a cricket field. We just refurbished this area last year as it was showing its age after nearly a decade sin E the last spruce up. Yes, I know that Scots aren’t … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Mama Kin

She was simply dressed in summer colours and she had a traveling bag over her back and a flute case as well. As per our Covenant regarding visiting musicians, we offered her a place to sleep, food, and her first drink in the Pub … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Our Wild Wood

It’s an unbroken region that we never touch — thousands of acres forested in trees that are many centuries old. Though we enter it from time to time when walking the Estate, we neither harvest anything from it save mushrooms and … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Of Puppets and Their Masters (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, I was lusting after a wee dram of Laphroig very late one night as I wasn’t sleeping well so I got dressed, left my sweet wife sleeping, and made my way to the Pub. As you know, it … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: A Punjabi Meal

Chandra came to the Estate several springs back with the intent of being here for a single growing season. I hired her because she had a deft hand with transplanting seedlings, something harder than it looks to do properly, and … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Chasing Fireflies

Come on in, you’re just in time! We haven’t started yet … don’t just stand there in the doorway, come in, come in! We have a contradance planned for tonight. I’m Kate, one of the assistant cooks here, but I’m … Continue reading

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The Summer Queen’s Address to the People  A Meditation on the Season

From the Archives, Written by Emma Bull, 2003 Every year at the Minnesota State Fair, a pretty young person with substantial hair is named Princess Kay of the Milky Way — a sort of dairy state Miss Thing. The young … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: A Night in Our Pub

Come join me. I’m in the back bar of our Pub, where the Neverending Session is in full flow. There’s an amazing Galician guitarist sitting in tonight, so I’ve (been) volunteered to write this journal entry while I’m here. Actually, … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: A Spring day

Finally, a day that really feels like spring — sunny, mild, light breezes — a perfect morning for a walk down by the Pond. It’s been a while since I’ve been there, so I want to catch up. The geese … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Our Orchestra

Indeed there is an orchestra at Kinrowan Estate that probably as been around as long as the Never-ending Session has been. I’ve booked them several times for private parties held in the Robert Graves Memorial Room. Musicians. You have to … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Yurts (A Letter to Anna)

G’Morning Anna, Some time ago I remember you asking about how the yurts out towards the north meadow came to be. It’s an interesting story, as they were here a decade before I arrived here thirty years ago this year. … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Leylines

The Kinrowan Estate has myriad ley lines, minor and major ones alike. I’m not sure if they are the reason that the Estate was originally settled but it certainly explains the long, eldritch history of the Estate. So let me … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Speaker to Ravens

Yes, a crow whisperer. Wipe that look of doubt off your face as the story I’m about to tell concerns one such being and his tale of what a crow whisperer is. Well, the tale is true as far as … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: A Gathering of Stitchers

I was watching the new reading group that had sprung up last Fall as they met in the Pub near the fireplace. They call themselves ‘A Gathering of Stitchers’. It was, not surprisingly, a reading group devoted to books on knitting … Continue reading

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