Category Archives: Stories

A Kinrowan Estate story: The Man Who Wasn’t There

We indeed get some very queer customers in the Pub, particularly as the weather gets grimmer, but he was one of the oddest I’d ever seen for more years tending bar than I care to think of. Not that at … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Pumpkin Ale and Cheese

Dear Anna, Did you know the Swedes make pumpkin ale? I’ve been researching the history of it and thought that it existed not ‘tall outside of Britain, Ireland, and North America where various small breweries such as ours are doing … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Chasing Ghosts

His accent was thick, understandable if you listened carefully, English though it be, it sounded more Welsh in cadence than English. And he was a burly man, well over six feet tall and stocky to boot with grey eyes and … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Harvesting

Dear Love, I see from the papers that your tour with Leaf & Tree is getting glowing reviews across Canada. Hopefully this letter will reach in Halifax before your last performance there. (I know I can email you anytime but … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: A Hard Rain is Falling

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: Theatre in the Round (A Letter to Annbjørg)

Greetings Annbjørg, About that theatre I mentioned — we’ve had a theatre in the round for nearly forty years now, ever since the a particular Steward developed a deep affection for theatre. He noticed that the very old stone livestock auction barn either … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Clue

Remember the Clue film with Tim Curry? Well one of Iain’s Library Apprentices did remember it fondly and she decided to organize a similar game recently as she thought it’d make a splendid diversion in the Winter here. She limited … Continue reading

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A Global News Service story: Istanbul, 1926

Istanbul, Turkey 23rd of November, 1926 Global News Service It’s a cold morning here as I sip my Turkish coffee outside a small smoked-filled cafe near the Grand Bazaar. It’s been just three years since Ataturk and his military allies … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Strawberry Ice Cream

During the early Victorian Era, the Head Gardener at the time, Jacob Niles, persuaded the Steward to invest in a conservatory. According to the journals kept by him and the Steward, the deciding factor was that it could be used … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Twa Corbies

Oh, come on in and join us. Mackenzie and I were admiring the repair job our resident bookseller and binder did on one of the older Estate journals as I had need of the information on the proper apples for … Continue reading

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A Travels Abroad story: A Theatre Company

Overheard in the Green Room one night… There, my friend. I am not good company tonight, but if you can stand the long face, I’ll buy the rounds, all right? Here, Reynard — a pint for this compassionate one, the … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Did You Notice…?

Just past Midsummer, and life around the Kinrowan Estate offices has started getting a little weird. Oh, all right, a little weirder. I’m reporting in from the Estate building on a beautiful warm day. I’ve been noticing that the young … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Firewood

Though we have long since adopted new technologies here at the Kinrowan Estate for providing heat, including electric radiators from low head hydro on the river that runs through our lands, and deep thermal power pumps (expensive but worth it), … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Herne

Herne. His voice was like moss on the bark of an ancient tree… deep and smooth, making you expect velvet. And then you touch the bark and it is cold, cold and with a hardness like stone under it. I … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Thank You! ( A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, Katrina and I enjoyed our visit in Stockholm with you over the last fortnight. We hadn’t enjoyed the wonders of Stockholm since we were there nearly a decade back as it’s hard to get away for enough time … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Lost Empires

More Midnight Wine? A bit of smoked savannah slinker? Some snow-white strawberries from the other side of that Border? What tickles your fancy this fine morning? I was eating a very late breakfast with a few other Green Man staffers … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate Story: Writing Retreats (A Letter To Peter)

Dear Peter, Here’s my thoughts on the history of writing retreats here The first recorded one was in the Twenties, a small group of mystery writers, no one that anyone reads now, but who were all fairly well-known at that … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Musical Ganeshas

Dear Svetlana, Glad to hear that your trip to Ukrainian-speaking Canada went well. It’s amazing how much of their culture, including language, they’ve retained, as it’s well over a century since their ancestors settled there! So you want know about … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Fuck, That Was Strange

It was three in the morning, the time most babies are born and more people die than at any other hour. The Pub was empty but for me and The Old Man writing in his journal as His Ravens looked … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Booking Matters

From: Jack Merry, Booking Manager, Kinrowan Estate To: Simon Sterling, Agent for Banish Misfortune In talking to you last week about wanting to book one of the bands you represent, Banish Misfortune, I told you our terms for booking them … Continue reading

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A Travels Abroad story: Reykjavik, or busking in the cold

One of the finest ales I’ve ever encountered was while I was busking in Reykjavik one cold November day when it was getting far too cold to make a profit. I looked around and saw a pub near the corner … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Garden Planning

All the gardens here are by long standing tradition an ongoing collaboration between the Estate Head Gardener and the Estate Head Cook. So you ask, how does that work out? Quite well actually . . . Keep in mind that one is … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: A Hungarian Hamper

If you’ve got a bit of time to spare, I could use your help! Remember me mentioning a couple of weeks ago that the fellow violinists in the Huddled Masses Violin Ensemble (at their reunion somewhere in central Europe) insisted … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Danse Macabre

Greetings Anna, You’ll be tickled to know that Jack is putting back together the Medieval music group called Danse Macabre that he had here well over twenty years ago. Of course, there’ll be new musos including my wife, Catherine, joining … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Our Library Card Catalogue

A library catalogue is an index of all bibliographic items found in a library such as the one here at Kinrowan Estate. Our catalogue covers several hundred thousand or so books, chapbooks, maps and even art. The Catalogue includes data … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate Story: The Living Library, Part II

I was looking down the hallway when he appeared at my shoulder, silent as smoke. ‘Ah, the little mite — he’s fast asleep, holding onto his yarn for dear life. The room’s telling him Genji Monogatari — in the original … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate Story: The Living Library, Part I

I ran across him in a corridor I’d never explored before — the Library was on one end, but I’d never been down it and had no idea what was on the other. I’d seen him around, usually outside, occasionally … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate Story: Katrina’s Requests (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, My, I’m glad that you’re doing several years living in Stockholm as part of your academic research as it means that you can send goodies this way. With that in mind, here’s a list of things that Katrina … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Blizzard

A letter from Lady Alexandra Margaret Quinn, Head Gardener here in the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, to her botanist friend who is on an extended botanical collecting trip in the Ottoman Empire and elsewhere. She copied her letters … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate Story: Herne

Some hold that the Green Man is but a Celtic myth retold by the English as a sort of ethnic cleansing of the native culture. That is bollocks as there’s really no Green Men in English myth either, no matter … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate Story: Guest Lecturer

Well, now. Mackenzie has asked me in as this for tonight’s guest lecturer. He likes to keep these seminars going through the summer months, you know, when otherwise the staff and denizens of the Green Man get too caught up … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate Story: The Calamity Janes

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

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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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