Ferry to the Isle of Arran arriving at Ardrossan

You may have gathered that I, we, were away for all of September and into October but all went well in my absence which only goes to show I am not needed and the ceilidh dancing will continue.  Thanks to all who helped make the ceilidh dance on September 28 with our guest musician John Carmichael successful.  That is not to say we would not have appreciated more dancers but that will do for the first dance of the season.

I hope we will have many more come to the nest Ceilidh Dance on Friday, October 26.  The Ceilidh will follow the usual format with the “class” from 7 – 8 pm and the dance, with Calanais providing the music, from 8 – 11 pm.  Mark your calendars NOW!  If you have a group of 8 or more everyone in your group qualifies for $1 discount off the amazingly low admission price of $15 ($10 for students).

You have to let everyone in your group know the password you have chosen which you then relay to me (ceilidh@rscdsvancouver.org) before midnight on Wednesday, October 24.  So get busy, put a group together be it student friends or a faculty celebration, or an office get together, or a bunch of friends, or a birthday/anniversary/start of a new semester celebration, or whatever, we ‘d love to have you.

There are refreshments/drinks (including beer, cider, juice, etc.) available for a donation   So apart from the fun and great exercise of Scottish Ceilidh dancing there is all the ingredients for a great evening.

No need to be scared if you don’t know how – we will teach you and you won’t be the only newbie.  Two left feet? we will show you how to use the right one – it doesn’t matter, no ones watching anyway!  You will be a star before the night is out.  Make it a date – it will be a night you won’t forget.

Pladda Island & Ailsa Craig from above Kildonan

For those new to ceilidh dancing the class is a great introduction and you will soon find out you are not the only one who does not know their left from right or back from front!!  We teach everything and the dance follows the same format.  Everything is very relaxed so you don’t have to worry about anything.  If you can walk; you can dance.  Wear flat comfy shoes and loose, layered clothing as it is warm work reeling and spinning.

What is a Ceilidh dance? It is informal, easy Scottish Country dancing in a relaxed style for all ages. We teach everything, no experience or partner required just a desire to have fun an ability to move to the wonderful beat of the lively music and to enjoy the company of other like-minded folk.

The ford at Upper Corrie

The next Ceilidh dance is on Friday, October 26, 2018 at the Scottish Cultural Centre, 8886 Hudson Street, Vancouver with the usual class at 7 pm and the dance following from 8 – 11 pm. Pay at the door – $15 ($10 for students). Tell your friends etc. about the dances, they are lots of fun.

  • The other dates are:
  •   October 26
  •   November 30
  •   January 11
  •  February 22
  •  March 29
  •  April 26

The dances are all held at the Scottish Cultural Centre, 8886 Hudson Street, Vancouver (73rd and Hudson which is between Granville and Oak Streets). They are all held on Friday evenings and where possible the last Friday of each month – the exceptions are December (as we never schedule one) and January (because of Burns.)


The Royal Mail van takes the ford which has been swelled by recent rain

A Short Neurological Test 
1- Find the C below.. Please do not use any cursor help. 


2- If you already found the C, now find the 6 below.


3 – Now find the N below. It’s a little more difficult.


This is NOT a joke. If you were able to pass these 3 tests, you can cancel your annual visit to your neurologist. Your brain is great and you’re far from having a close  relationship with Alzheimer.



You might have gathered by now that our trip took us to the UK where we visited our son and partner and their 3 daughters.  We spend 10 happy days with them in Surrey before heading north to Scotland.  I promised my wife a trip to the Isle of Arran in the Firth of Clyde – a favourite place for a family holiday and one with lots of happy childhood memories.  We took her sister and partner, or rather they took us as they had the car! and we stayed in a far more luxurious hotel than the boarding houses of their youth.

My family did spend a holiday but unlike my wife we did not have so many happy memories as it rained for the entire fortnight!!

Arran (not to be confused with Aran which is in Ireland) is not a big island – 167 square miles – but it takes a while to navigate to narrow, twisting roads.  You can, and we did, drive around the island and there is a road cutting through the middle across the mountain valley aptly named the String.  The highest mountain is Goat Fell at 2,866 feet – we did not climb!  The weather was typical September in Scotland with showers, bight sunshine, clouds, cool, more rain and a storm (Helene) which necessitated an extra day on the island as the ferries were cancelled.


The next regular Ceilidh Dance is the 4th FRIDAY of the October – October 26, 2018. – I sure hope you can come and bring lots of friends.



The village of Upper Corrie is up an unmarked steep, gravel road which we were willing to walk up but Jim tackled in his car but turned back at the ford.  It was like taking a step back in time though they now have all mod cons as can be seen by the TV arial.


answers at end

Thanks to the Celtic Treasure Chest there is now an online list of all the Celtic societies as well as a calendar of events:

List https://www.celtictreasurechest.com/links/index.php
Calendar https://www.celtictreasurechest.com/celticevents/index.php

The Celtic Treasure Chest on Dunbar is open 7 days a week and stock includes haggis imported from Scotland and many of your favourite foods.

Celtic Fashions on E-Bay – go to https://www.CelticFashions.com



The Scottish Cultural Centre is a pretty unique and wonderful asset and space is available for rent to anyone or any group. The Centre does not run itself but is actually run by the United Scottish Cultural Society (USCS). Memberships in this Society are for individuals only and presently cost $10 annually. Membership Application Forms may be obtained either at the Centre or on the USCS website – www.scottishculturalcentre.com . The cost is only $10.

Any person may join USCS and Scottish Country & Ceilidh Dancers are encouraged to show their support by doing so. If any USCS member would like to be more involved, then, Darryl Carracher, the Manager at the Centre, will be pleased to give you further information.  The annual general meeting is on Wednesday December 12 come along and learn what is going on.


More of Upper Corrie


The next Ceilidh Dance is Friday, October 26, 2018. That will be the second one of  the season. There is lots of time for you all to get yourselves and your friends organized to come along for another fun, filled evening. Come and dance, it is lots of fun and really easy. Everything is taught from scratch – you won’t be the only newbie!


yet another


Michelle has very kindly made up a Facebook event page for the Ceilidh but you need to “Search for Vancouver Ceilidh on Facebook and “Like” us to receive updates on upcoming Ceilidhs and other events”. Then, if you “Like” the Vancouver Ceilidh FB page (do as described above), you too will receive updates AND be able to share those updates and events on your personal Facebook page to your friends and ask that they “Like” and “Share”, etc. Ceilidh Dances are great ways to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries etc. Invite all your friends to come and join you at the Ceilidh. You are welcome to bring your own cake and we’ll even sing for you!!



Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English soldiers. Without the middle finger, it would be impossible to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore they would be incapable of fighting in the future. This famous English longbow was made of the native English Yew tree, and the act of drawing the longbow was known as ‘plucking the yew’ (or ‘pluck yew’).
Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won a major upset and began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the defeated French, saying, See, we can still pluck yew!  Since ‘pluck yew’ is rather difficult to say, the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a labiodentals fricative F’, and thus the words often used in conjunction with the one-finger-salute!  It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows used with the longbow that the symbolic gesture is known as ‘giving the bird.’


Some fun and interesting sites: – note if you have a link to something you think others will enjoy send me the link. Sound on, full screen:


Read this first, then click onto the attachment!

How numerals 0 – 9 got their shape – Interesting !

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 

Do you know why numbers look like they do? Someone, at some
point in time, had to create their shapes and meaning.
  It is really very simple and quite creative?  You have to admire the intelligence of a person or people that created something so simple and perfect that it has lasted for thousands and thousands of years?When the presentation gets to the number “seven” you will notice that
the 7 has a line through the middle of it.  That was the way the Arabic
7 was originally written.Click on the attachment and be amazed


Good pupil –


Dogs at work/play


Canadian postal workers decided to have a little fun. They rigged a van so that the people on the driver’s side could only see the driver….who is a dog. The real driver, who is on the passenger side, cannot be seen. Partway down the street, in a residential area, the van stops and a man (obviously in on the deal) approaches the driver (the dog) and starts giving him directions, as though the dog is lost. This is cleverly done.


COMING EVENTS IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS: Note – please check the Branch website www.rscdsvancouver.org for and last-minute changes.

Oct 20 Gleneagles Tea Dance at 2 p.m. in Christ the Redeemer Church Gym, 599 Keith Road, West Vancouver – $15
Oct 21 White Rock SCDC Fall Workshop – Intermediate to Advanced dance level 10 a.m. To 1 p.m.  Info:  604-944-6678  Cost $15 at Sullivan Hall, 6306 152nd Street. Surrey – Teacher Maureen Lyon
Oct 26 Ceilidh Dance at the Scottish Cultural Centre, 8886 Hudson Street, Vancouver – no partner or experience required – live music with Calanais – refreshments available – class from 7 – 8 p.m. followed by dance from 8 – 11 p.m. – all dances walked, talked and called – admission at the door $15 (students $10)
Oct 26 – 28 RSCDS San Francisco Branch and the Asilomar Committee invite you to join us at Asilomar. We are now accepting applications. Find out more and apply at www.Asilomar.rscds-sf.org 
Oct 27 Centre for Scottish Studies 20th anniversary celebration at SFU Harbour Centre, 2:30 p.m. The event will feature Dr. S. Karly Kehoe, Canada Research Chair in Atlantic Communities at Saint Mary’s University. Dr. Kehoe will present: “Histories of the Scottish Atlantic: Plantation Slavery and the Scottish Diaspora.”
Nov  9 Tympath/Ceilidh at the Cambrian Hall, 215 E 17th Avenue Vancouver with the Rattlebone Band.  7:30 to 10:30 p.m. admission – adults $10 children $5
Nov 12 Lady Aberdeen Tea Dance, Scottish Cultural Centre 1:15 – 5:00
Nov 24 Delta Borderers Tea Dance
Nov 27 Fort Langley St. Andrew’s Dance
Nov 30 Ceilidh Dance at the Scottish Cultural Centre, 8886 Hudson Street, Vancouver – no partner or experience required – live music with Calanais – refreshments available – class from 7 – 8 p.m. followed by dance from 8 – 11 p.m. – all dances walked, talked and called – admission at the door $15 (students $10)
Nov 30 – Dec 2 The December Weekend in Portugal – www.dancinginportugal@gmail.com – with Raphaelle Orgeret and musicians Keith Smith & Peter Shand
Dec  9 – 1:30 p.m. in Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.  Buffet lunch; dancing to the Vancouver Fiddle Orchestra then a buffet dessert – $125
Dec 10 Vancouver Branch Christmas Ceilidh
Dec 11 Glenayre Christmas dance
Dec 28 Betwixt & Between in the Scottish Cultural Centre – 7:30 – 9:30





 The next Ceilidh Dance is Friday, October 26th, 2018. Same time, same place, same amount of fun and entertainment. Now it is up to you all to help by planning on coming along and bringing loads of friends, family, acquaintances, etc. Please do your best to spread the word. Let me know if you would like a poster to put up.

View from Upper Corrie


What a great gift this newsletter would make (and it is free!!) Please pass along the website to your friends and ask them to subscribe. www.vancouverceilidh.org

Please keep opening the newsletter!! Any and all comments and suggestions are welcome.


 A cat died and went to Heaven. God met her at the gates and said, ‘You have been a good cat all these years. Anything you want is yours for the asking.’  

The cat thought for a minute and then said, ‘All my life I lived on a farm and slept on hard wooden floors. I would like a real fluffy pillow to sleep on.’ 

God said, ‘Say no more.’ Instantly the cat had a huge fluffy pillow. 

A few days later, six mice were killed in an accident and they all went to Heaven together. God met the mice at the gates with the same offer that He made to the cat

The mice said, ‘Well, we have had to run all of our lives: from cats, dogs, and even people with brooms! If we could just have some little roller skates, we would not have to run again.’

God answered, ‘It is done.’ All the mice had beautiful little roller skates.

About a week later, God decided to check on the cat. He found her sound asleep on her fluffy pillow. God gently awakened the cat and asked, ‘Is everything okay? How have you been doing? Are you happy?’ 

The cat replied, ‘Oh, it is WONDERFUL. I have never been so happy in my life. The pillow is so fluffy, and those little Meals on Wheels you have been sending over are delicious!’

If anyone has any suggestions or complaints regarding the newsletter, please let me know – ceilidh@rscdsvancouver.org Please do not complain to your server that this is junk mail. There is a link on the e-mail should you wish to unsubscribe.

Sannox Church

We stopped for a cup of tea at the Glen Sannox Golf Club, which operates on the honour system for golf fees.  We asked the way to the church which my wife vaguely recalled.  They said the path was just across the road.  When we crossed the road there was a path leading to a series of stepping stones across the Sannox River which was about 20 feet wide.  We managed across after a few wobbles but the path only led to the beach.  Apparently we had to go up a bit to a driveway leading to a campsite and the church.

The church dates to 1820 and is in need of a lot of repair.  A lady kindly opened the door to let us see inside.


Come Scottish Country Dancing – it is lots of fun. Just ask anyone who came along to the Dancing in the Park. We had great audience participation so I hope you will all come along and join one of our great classes or at least come to one of the Ceilidh Dances.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Bun is the lowest form of wheat …

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

The next Ceilidh Dance is Friday, October 26, 2018 (i.e. the last Friday of the month) with live music by Calanais. This is the second of the season. We need huge attendance  to welcome me back! with everyone coming along for a really fun evening.

The Glen Sannox church was built on ancient worshipping ground as evidenced by the Standing Stone right beside it.

You still have time to spread the word about all the Ceilidh Dances as that is the best (and cheapest) form of advertising. It is great exercise and fun, for all ages, too. Here is a link where you can watch a short video of a Ceilidh Dance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MvUwZnY9Ms and here is a link to the Facebook advert: https://www.facebook.com/events/597360563665264/597360566998597/
The format for all of the regular monthly Ceilidh Dances will be the same with the class from 7 – 8 p.m. and the dance from 8 – 11 p.m. and all dances will be walked and talked through.

They are all held at the Scottish Cultural Centre, 8886 Hudson Street, Vancouver. The price is only – $15 or $10 for students which, for what you get is a super bargain – everyone is welcome. No partner is required and you should wear FLAT, comfy shoes and loose clothing. Children are also welcome but should be prepared to dance with other people as some of the dances require a change of partner. Don’t forget to bring a few extra $$$$ to help defray the cost of the refreshments which are otherwise free.

Lochranza Castle with the Mull of Kintyre in the background


The Branch has opened a Facebook Page at “RSCDS-Vancouver” – check it out there are some good pictures etc. www.facebook.com/rscdsvancouver. There is a link on both our website www.vancouverceilidh.org and the Branch website www.rscdsvancouver.org


Those who jump off a bridge in Paris are in Seine


Scottish Country Dance (SCD) classes will be starting again very soon.  Try the link to “classes” or go to www.rscdsvancouver.org and check for a class near you or one that has a convenient time and try it out.

Dance - blue

Come to a class this October – You will be made very welcome. Many classes have a policy that the first night is FREE! Plan to come along to try out a class. There are classes all around and on different nights so GIVE IT A GO! Go to either www.rscdsvancouver.org or www,vancouverceilidh.org for a list of class locations and times.

For those who don’t know SCD is a fabulous pastime (much better and lots more fun than golf!!) and is super exercise for body and mind. SCD is, naturally, rooted in Scotland but there are groups in almost every country so you can learn here and then dance with other groups when you vacation or travel. SCD is not to be confused with Highland Dancing which is more solo dancing. SCD is usually done with a partner in groups or sets however you do not need to come with a partner. It is more akin to Square Dancing.

It takes a year or two of classes, workshops, etc. to learn the basics then you can hone your skills in advanced classes. You start by learning the steps and formations. Dances (of which there are over 13,000) are made up of these formations so a good grounding will give you the ability to learn a new dance fairly quickly. SCD has its HQ in Scotland and is known as the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS) and there is a Vancouver Branch of the RSCDS under which there are many clubs throughout the Province (there is also a Branch in Seattle).

There are a great many classes and the ones in the Vancouver area are listed on the website. Come along – check us out – the first night is usually free and thereafter it will average about $6 a night and that’s for a 2 hour class!   You will find many friendly people who will be eager to help you and welcome you to their club. You never know you actually might like it!!  Check the list of classes at either at www.vancouverceilidh.org or www.rscdsvancouver.org. Note that the latter website has the latest updates to temporary changes to times and locations.


as well there are classes all up and down Vancouver Island, a number of the Gulf Islands, the Cariboo, Okanagan, Sunshine Coast, etc. etc. and there are various groups all over this great Province, Country, World and who knows where else! Check the Branch website for all these details – www.rscdsvancouver.org


A row of cottages known as the Twelve Apostles near Lochranza


A man’s home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.


For upcoming events see www.vancouverceilidh.org and www.rscdsvancouver.org.

Other announcements etc:
Seattle Branch
– info at www.rscds-seattle.org ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dijon vu — the same mustard as before.


The next regular monthly Ceilidh Dance will be held Friday, October 26th, 2018 in the Scottish Cultural Centre, 8886 Hudson Street, (73rd & Hudson which is between Oak & Granville), Vancouver,

We need everyone to help us get as many new comers (as well as former Ceilidh Dancers) as possible to come and join us. The Ceilidh Dances are a great way to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Invite all your friends along. Contact me if you will have a group of 8 or more and we can give them a discount!!!

We Really NEED YOUR HELP to advertise the Ceilidh Dances!!!! It only costs $15 ($10 for students) – it is worth so much more in fun, exercise and camaraderie. Use any access to free adverts etc. You can also use things like the YouTube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bh2HV3OPBgw or the Face-book page https://www.facebook.com/p.php?i=116203315&k=Z5C5Y4TZPT6G6BD1PKZZTWQQQ6BAW26L34AV&oid=164741310207760 https://www.facebook.com/events/597360563665264/597360566998597/

Suggestions to improve our advertising are always welcome. Don’t forget to tell them about the website www.vancouverceilidh.org and get them to “subscribe” to the newsletter.

Most of you have been to at least one Ceilidh Dance so you know how it goes. You don’t need a partner; you don’t need any experience; you should wear FLAT soft soled shoes; we walk, talk, and call every dance and you should come to have fun and have a good evening of exercise and entertainment and maybe even to learn!

There is a FREE class from 7 – 8 p.m. and the dance from 8 – 11 p.m. with music by Calanais. Remember to bring some extra cash so you can make a donation towards the cost of the refreshments. Without these donations we will have to increase the price of admission again!!

The schedule for the 2018/19 season shapes up as follows:
All on Fridays of course and, except for January, it is the last Friday of the Month —

October 26
November 30
January 11
February 22
March 29
April 26

Come along and get some great exercise while also having lots of fun. We hope to have lots of new Ceilidh dancers. Remember to bring your smiles and wear flat shoes.
Please do your best to assist us in letting as many people know as possible. Use Face-book, e-mail, telephone or even word of mouth and tell everyone you know what a fun night it is.

We would like to attract more young adults and students from Universities and all the colleges. Somehow we have to get word out to these students etc. Please do all you can to help us. Come one, come all to the same place (Scottish Cultural Centre, 8886 Hudson Street, Vancouver) and the same time (7 p.m. for the class and 8 – 11 p.m. for the dance) and the same amazing price ($15 or $10 for students.)


You should check the website – www.vancouverceilidh.org – from time to time as you can find various pages listing “Ceilidhs and Events;” Classes:” Duncan’s List;” etc. On these pages you can check all the upcoming events, where all the classes are located, times, etc. and some places to find Scottish things or some local trades, etc. I will continue to highlight the more current events in each week’s newsletter but, as stated, the calendar of all events will be available on the website.

You should also have a look at the Vancouver Branch website from time to time – www.rscdsvancouver.org – as there is always useful information on it and it is a very good-looking site.

If you have any questions regarding the Ceilidh Dances send them to me at ceilidh@rscdsvancouver.org Please check the website – www.rscdsvancouver.org for updates, pictures and news.

Dance – it is good for your health.


Keep sending jokes, pictures and info you wish to have included. Don’t forget to look at our web pages at www.vancouverceilidh.org If you know of anyone who would like to be on the mailing list please send them the web address – www.vancouverceilidh.org and ask them to subscribe.

If anyone has good pictures from the Ceilidh Dances please send them to me so I can put them on the web page. If you have any announcements please send them to me preferably in Word; Times New Roman 12pt format with a layout similar to the one used in this newsletter. I occasionally hear of an event somewhere in our beautiful Province, on the Island or in the Interior, but don’t know all the details.


This newsletter reaches out to some 380 subscribers from all over the Province, Country and to many other countries as well, so please send me the details of your event and I will only be too happy to include them.


Practice safe eating – always use condiments


Storm Helene whipping up the waves between the Mull of Kintyre and Arran


Enjoy yourselves – come Scottish Country Dancing – for it is good for your health and you never know you just might …..!

See Coming Events on the website for info – www.vancouverceilidh.org

The ferry comes to take us back to the mainland – well not quite.  Because to the day delay we were booked on the 5 p.m. ferry but we came about 1 to see if we could get on an earlier one.  We were in the standby lane and a ferry came in, unloaded and proceeded to leave empty.  Turned out the other ferry was approaching and as only one berth was in use it had to wait.  The new and larger ferry unloaded, loaded the waiting cars but not the standby then left allowing the smaller ferry to come and pick us up.  We were still 2 hours ahead of schedule.

May your troubles be one, may your blessings be more,
and may nothing but happiness come through your door.

Duncan MacKenzie ceilidh@rscdsvancouver.org