Category Archives: Uncategorized

What’s New for the 12th of August: On Folkloric Matters

“But stories are fragile. Like people’s lives. It only takes a word out of place to change them forever. If you hear a lovely tune, and then you change it, the new tune might be lovely too, but you’ve lost … 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, Allison MacPhee, to invest in a conservatory. According to the Journals kept by him and the Steward, the deciding factor was that it could … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 24th of June: Ian Macdonald‘s King of Morning, Queen Of Day, ‘Kashmir’ by Page and Plant, Beef jerky, Baseball films, A Spanish Christmas candy, A Dragon honours Ursula Le Guin and other matters as well

I’ve always been impulsive. My thinking is usually pretty good, but I always seem to do it after I do my talking—by which time I’ve generally destroyed all basis for further conversation. — Conrad in Roger Zelazny’s This Immortal which started … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Memory Maps

What, you ask, are memory maps? Well, all of us use maps all our lives, printed or digital, be they for traveling, locating something, or just out of sheer curiosity. But memory maps are the other type of maps that … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Staging Shakespeare

Come in! Glad you got here in time for some theatre tonight. Let’s drop your kit off in the room you’re staying in for the next fortnight before heading out. It shouldn’t surprise you at all that we do theatre … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Pub Ghoulies

From the archives of Sleeping Hedgehog, the in-house journal published here for centuries now. Welcome, laddy-buck. Come in and find a seat here by the fire, and tell me your pleasure! Take a settle; they’re cushioned and wide enough for two, should … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: A Storyteller

Storytellers and those who read or listen to stories both expect stories to have a beginning, a narrative that tells the tale, and a more or less plausible ending. It’s too bad that that’s a fucking lie — stories are … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Busking (A Letter to Tamsin)

Greetings Tamsin, We’re in Stockholm right now, as Ingrid’s working on the tea and related foodstuffs that Jean-Pierre requested she procure. And yes, she’s got a lead on the botanical material you want. I took a fortnight off from the … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Estate gossip (A Letter to Tessa)

A letter from the journal of Lady Alexandra Margaret Quinn, Head Gardener here in the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India, to her friend … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Weavers and Stitchers

There’s been a group of stitchers here according to the Estate Journals for at least four centuries. And there’s certainly been weavers here for as well for at least that long. And certainly that’s why we’ve raised sheep here so … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Snow

Snow, especially heavy snow falling without any wind, quiets everything. And we’ve had such going on for three days now. It certainly changes the rhythms of this Scottish Estate! Every winter season this happens several times when a weather front … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Burns Supper

January and early February can be a rough timr. After the champagne glasses have been washed and returned to the cabinet following New Year’s Eve, it sometimes seems there’s not much to do but hunker down and wait for spring. … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 4th of February: Ursula Le Guin

Only in silence the word, Only in dark the light, Only in dying life: Bright the hawk’s flight On the empty sky. Ursula K. Le Guin in The Wizard of Earthsea  Before you read the rest of this edition, go to … 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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What’s New for the 14th of January: Comfort Food, The Bordertown series, Music from Nick Burbridge and other matters

Pick up a whistle and give us a tune, good man Mickey Tip on a stool in the old saloon, show them how it’s played It’s not too late to get right, there’s nothing to do but play all night … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Unreliable Narrators

So if you’ve been with us for any length of time, you no doubt that a lot of us here tell stories about a place in Scotland called the Kinrowan Estate, its inhabitants and what happens there. Some might sound … Continue reading

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What’s New for 7th of January: a Raga Guide, Elizabeth Hand on Chocolate, Ellen Kushner on Urban Winters, Music from Skerryvore, A Royal Christmas and other things as well…

A wild winter storm rages around a large house that is isolated from the rest of the world. Traditionally, the Wild Hunt appeared around the time of Epiphany—January 6 in the Church Calendar—when winter was at its most severe in … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Guild of St. Nicholas

So it was a long year. Looking forward to this one, though. All sorts of things I can stand seeing the back of, you can always hope, can’t you? You want another one of those, or do you want to … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Our Mill Pond

About fifty years ago, the Steward authorised spending money to rebuild the dam that had for a very long time been used to create a reservoir for the mill, for grain grinding and so that there was a place to cut … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 17th of December: Astrid Picks Her Winter Holiday Favourites

One summer morning at sunrise a long time ago I met a little girl with a book under her arm. I asked her why she was out so early and she answered that there were too many books and far too little time. … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Mrs. Ware Prepares an Eventide Meal

That man is going to drive me mad some day. What did you just say? ‘Perhaps he already has?’ If it wasn’t so close to the truth I’d swat you for that. Honestly, Mr. E. is a fine man to … 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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What’s New for the 26th of November: The Gypsy tradition of Serbian music, Kurdish pop, Music from Nightnoise, Hot Cocoa, Classic Fairy Tales, Slipstream, and It’s Snowing!

The odd thing about people who had many books was how they always wanted more. — Patricia A. McKillip’s The Bell at Sealey Head Yes that’s snow you see out the Pub windows here. And a quite serious snow storm … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Bonfires

Nothing warms my heart and body as much as a bonfire does. Oh I know that I could be inside with my wife Bree enjoying the warmth of the fireplaces in our Cottage , but I love, particularly as Autumn gives way to Winter, … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 19th of November: Of Dragons and Other Matters

I am Jomungand, the Last Dinosaur, destroyer, devourer, ravager of kingdoms and epochs, all greed and covetness, brooding loneliness. Once I was Dragon, but in this scientific age that is no longer stylish. The flames I kept for high drama. … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Kedgeree

I had an exemplary kedgeree for my breakfast this morning along with a lovely lapsang souchong tea. Now if you’re reading this in the States, you might be puzzled as to what I ate. And when you hear what it … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Icelandic Tunes

You up too? My old bones are aching far too much to sleep, so I thought I’d sit here in the Pub, a glass of something strong in hand, and listen to the Neverending Session who for some reason are … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 22nd of October: Some Nordic recordings, a new Brust novel, Bonbons, Crochet History, Got Boobs?, Kage at Christmas, Old Hag tunes and other matters

She looks like the wizened old crone in that painting Jilly did for Geordie when he got into this kick of learning fiddle tunes with the word ‘hag’ in the title: ‘the Hag in the Kiln,’  ‘Old Hag You Have … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Autumn is Here (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, I thought you’d appreciate this copy of Ciaran Carson’s Last Night’s Fun: In and Out of Time with Irish Music, which is the best book ever done on Irish traditional music. I particularly like the chapter on what … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Estate Gardener

Though I’m called the Estate Gardener, my job covers far more than that, as it’s been enlarged many times over the centuries. So let me detail what I do. Of course I’m responsible for both the edible gardening and the … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 1st of October: Organic Dark Chocolate Espresso treats, Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol, Clannad doing ‘The Two Sisters’, Arthurian and Welsh mythology, a Terri Windling interview and other Autumnal matters

A lot of the old folklore and fairy tales and myths are intensely dark, particularly once you get away from Victorian watered-down versions. Terri Windling in our interview with her Autumn for me arrives really when the middle of October … 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: Fall (A Letter to Tessa)

A letter from the journal of Alexandra Margaret Quinn, Head Gardener here in the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India, to her friend who … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 10th of September: It’s Definitely Late Summer!

Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. –– Henry James The piper at gates of dawn has resumed his or her ritual after taking most of the summer off. … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Cernunnos

I’ve rarely been scared deeply but I was upon encountering The Horned God while on a walk with two of the Estate Russian wolf hounds deep in the woods a few days ago. As you know, this Estate is big. … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Speaker for the 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 … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 20th of August: Aaron Copland’s ‘A Fanfare for The Common Man’ as performed by the Rolling Stones, Tanya Huff’s Peacekeeper series, a Zelazny collection, UK folk trio The Young’uns and some other matters

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood. — Jane Yolen in her Touch Magic: Fantasy, Faerie & Folklore in the Literature of Childhood We’ve a long tradition here on the Kinrowan Estate of giving storytellers who make it here … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Charles and Alice Pay a Visit (A Letter to Owyn)

I found this charming letter in a bundle of archival material that we were cataloging for the Library this past week. L.L. Littlesworth, Esq. was the Estate Librarian for most of the late Victorian era. From the letters of L.L. Littlesworth, … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 13th of August: Ray Bradbury mysteries, June Tabor’s jazz-folk trio, Béla Bartók, live music by Midnight Oil, Finnish jazz, libraries and Richard Thompson goes acoustic (again)

I decided to return to the library and see what I  could learn there. Besides, I like libraries. It  makes me feel comfortable and secure to have walls of words, beautiful and wise, all around  me. I always feel better when … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Border Postal Service (A Letter to Mauve)

Written by Robert ‘Robbie’ Macdonald, The Steward here between The Wars, to a friend, about the problems of getting postal service across the Border. The letter was reprinted by Robbie in his Journal, dated 2nd of June 1918. Dear Mauve, You … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 6th of August: “Classical” music — the twentieth century

I am quite certain in my heart of hearts that modern music and modern art is not a conspiracy, but is a form of truth and integrity for those who practise it honestly, decently and with all their being. — … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: A Guest Lecturer

Several Annies, do pay attention now as there will be a quiz afterwards! Well, now. Mackenzie has asked me in as tonight’s guest lecturer. He likes to keep these seminars going through the summer months, you know, when otherwise the … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Oberon’s Wood

For the longest time this year, summer fluttered her wings against the panes of spring. Now, sunlight lingers long and hot. Afternoons stretch like thrice-pulled saltwater taffy, and the days here at the Kinrowan Estate have become the drowsy, heat-sleepy days … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Hortobágyi Húsos Palacsinta (A Letter to Ingrid)

Evening love, You missed a wonderful eventide meal here last night, as Mrs. Ware decided that it been too long since Béla had been treated to a full Hungarian meal. And indeed, it included Hortobágyi Húsos Palacsinta, meaty pancakes! It … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: My Library

It’s not difficult to find the exterior alley-entrance to my personal Green Man library; not so difficult, if you know just where to brush aside the thick glossy leaves of winter ivy threatening to swallow the old painted planks of … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 25th of June: Beer Culture in America, ‘Love Shack’ by the B-52s and other Summery matters

If you see a faded sign by the side of the road that says Fifteen miles to the Love Shack, Love Shack yeah I’m headin’ down the Atlanta highway Lookin’ for the love getaway  ‘Love Shack’ by the B-52s Summer’s fully upon … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 18th of June: live music from Franz Liszt , Jennifer Stevenson on Summer:, Stephen Brust novels and other matters

The Palace was more than four hundred years old and had served its purpose; it would be unbecoming to despise it for showing its age. But there was now one spot within it of something new. Turn your thought to … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: A Unified Theory of Libraries (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, I overheard an interesting conversation in the Library this evening. Mackenzie was lecturing the Several Annies on the history of private libraries such as ours down the centuries in the British Isles. (He claimed that ours is the … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 14th of May: music from uilleann piper David Sproule and Americana music!

“We”re all misfits here,” he says, almost proudly. “That’s why I started this squat, after all. For people like us, who don’t fit in anywhere else. Halfies and homos and hopeless romantics, the outcast and outrageous and terminally weird. That’s … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 7th of May: Adam Stemple’s first solo novel, a look at John Denver, The Mythology of Shakespeare’s Weird Sisters, John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, music by Clannad and other matters

At any rate, the tune is not a story, but stories might lie behind the tune. For, as mnemonics, the names summon up a tangled web of circumstances; they not only help to summon the tune into being, but recall … Continue reading

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