Here is the link for your Christmas card:

Snow has fallen, but fortunately not as the hymn says “snow on snow” but just five or six inches or whatever that is in centimeters.   It arrived on Thursday night and is already melting fast and it looks like it will be another green Christmas here again.

Winter - Countesswells Woods

Countesswells Woods
Here are link another two Canadian regiments which were part of the decorations at the Lady Aberdeen Tea Dance on November 11, 2013.

Lady Aberdeen 11       Lady Aberdeen 10

Alison commented “The information was gathered off websites etc. It is only the basics of the wealth of historical and current information available. I included only the older ‘regiments’ – there are many other corps and units, plus naval ships and Air Force squadrons – and Engagement or Battle Honour information up to World War II. There is much more about each regiment’s more recent activities in Korea, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and many Peace-keeping duties.” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Spanish Teacher was
explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated
as either masculine or feminine.

‘House’ for instance, is feminine: ‘la casa.’
‘Pencil,’ however, is masculine: ‘el lapiz.’

A student asked, ‘What gender is ‘computer’?’

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether computer’ should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The men’s group decided that ‘computer’ should definitely be of the feminine
gender (‘la computadora’), because:

1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;
2.The native language they use to communicate with other computers is
incomprehensible to everyone else;
3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and
4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.


The women’s group, however, concluded that computers should be masculine (‘el computador’), because:

1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;
2. They have a lot of data but still can’t think for themselves;
3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and
4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little
longer, you could have gotten a better model.

The women won.


Winter - Cove Harbour

Cove Harbour

The only thing left in 2013 is the Betwixt and Between dance on Saturday, December 28 (see information below.)   All members of the Vancouver Branch are admitted free of charge thanks to the generosity of a former member, Mary Wattum.  For many years Mary always paid for the band for this dance and she wanted to make sure this would continue more or less forever.  We are very grateful to Mary and continue this dance in her memory.

You can download the crib notes for this dance at

If you have not already done so you should be ordering your tickets for one or both of the Burns Suppers listed under “Coming Events” below.   There are many Burns Suppers of course but two are put on by Scottish Country Dance groups.   The first one is the 20th edition of the Tam O’Shanter’s Burns Supper which will be held on Saturday, January 25 in the Star of the Sea Hall in White Rock.   Tickets are $55 and can be ordered by contacting Duncan at   The second one is one week later on Saturday, February 1 and is hosted by the Vancouver Branch and held in the Scottish Cultural Centre.   Tickets are $55   via PayPal at or from club rep or even .   I can recommend both these events.

An article in a recent edition of the National Post is applicable to the Ball and to Scottish Country Dancing in general. Check out Thanks Gill for the tip.



The dance competition has now closed and a group of dancers will meet to try out the dances that have been submitted.  If you are interested in being part of the decision making please contact Jean – or Fran – note that those who devised a dance will not be included in this group.   Good luck to all the devisors.


Winter - Cromarty Firth sunrise

Sunrise on the Cromarty Firth

BRAINS OF  BRITAIN (these are  real)

Jeremy  Paxman:
What is another name for  ‘cherrypickers’ and  ‘cheesemongers’?


Jeremy  Paxman:
No. They’re regiments in the  British Army who will be very upset with  you.


    Jamie  Theakston:
Where do you think  Cambridge University is?

Geography isn’t my strong  point.

Jamie  Theakston:
There’s a clue in the  title.



The Highland Games Committee still needs volunteers for next year. They need to fill these positions: Children’s Events Co-ordinator – organizing the line-up of events which is pretty easy to do, and day of just making sure everything runs smoothly Programs – this job takes more work in the last couple of months prior to the games, making sure all copy is submitted, having it put into a program and submitted to a printer. Sponsorship/Advertising and promotion – Cher is going to do the social media aspect, Mary Jane may be around to help out again for sponsorship and advertising, but we need extra help. Someone to develop an advertising plan, to find new advertisers and sponsorships, and to be responsible for writing requests for grants and sponsorships from a list that the City of Coquitlam has provided.

Any volunteers can contact Jim – Joan – or myself. Glenna Urbshadt –


The Vancouver Branch RSCDS has found a webmaster.   Many thanks to Mary Ann McDevitt for agreeing to take on this task.

§§§§§§ §§§§§§ §§§§§§ §§§§§§ §§§§§§ §§§§§§ §§§§§§ §§§§§§ §§§§§§ §§§§§§ §§§§§§ §§

Winter - Crowlitsa in Uig Bay

Crowlista in Uig Bay

With the snow on the ground I drove Margaret to the Soup Kitchen.   No it is not what you are thinking – she volunteers there very Friday.   It was the big Christmas lunch so I packed my snow shovel but someone had already cleared all the sidewalks.   I stayed to see if I could help and started by handing out Christmas cards then graduated to rolls and later to emptying the dishwasher and putting the dishes, pots, etc. away.   I think they said they served close to 150 lunches which, as we had some too, were very good.   It was ham with potatoes, lots of veggies, apple sauce, coleslaw, buns etc. and there was cake and ice cream as well with coffee, tea, juice too.   It was a busy place for the three hours we were there.   A good friendly atmosphere.

There is no lunch next week but a couple from Calcutta came in to volunteer to prepare an East Indian Curry lunch on January 1 if there would be enough volunteers to help so I am signed up!

We took our 100+ year old friend to see Philomena last night.   It had been showing in White Rock for the past few weeks but unfortunately they dropped the early showing so we went into Silver City in Richmond which was quite an eye opener for our friend who still lives by herself and is Margaret’s winter bridge partner.   Quite the Gal!   We brought her back for a cuppa and it was nearly midnight by the time I got her home so we could have gone to the late show in White Rock after all!



- snow

Yet another of these pictures of Scotland that I have been sent without any note as to where they are. Last week’s picture brought no guesses so here it is again. In these days of face recognition someone must have come up with software that recognizes places!!    Send your guesses to  You can look back at prior newsletters and see previous mystery pictures going to our website



The next Ceilidh Dance is the on Friday January 10th, 2014.   Right at the end of the festive season.   A great way to work off all those goodies you have eaten as well as to have a great evening of fun, exercise and laughter.  Please call all your friends and arrange to bring them along to the Scottish Cultural Centre, 8886 Hudson Street, Vancouver to the class from 7 – 8 p.m. and the dance following from 8 – 11 p.m. with the live music of Calanais.  Admission at the door is only $10 (students etc. $8).  No partner or experience necessary – just bring your smiles and I would suggest flat, comfy shoes.

Michelle has very kindly made up a Facebook event page for the Ceilidh which you can forward to your friends.   The link is:

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!!


There were some very good pictures taken at the January 4, 2013 Ceilidh Dance which have been posted on the RSCDS Vancouver Branch Facebook page. If you do not want your picture on that page please contact The link for the pictures is:


SFU’s Tartan Day celebrations featured the launch of the long-awaited “Scots in BC” website with information on how you can add your family history to the site. The website can be accessed at: It is well worth a visit.


Winter - Dawn Glasgow from Queen's Park

Dawn over Glasgow as viewed from Queen’s Park which is near where I was brought up

Some fun and interesting sites:

I loved this!!! And we spend a small fortune on expensive instruments………..

This is something you don’t see every day.   Nice to see kids away
from their computers.   They do this flawlessly and take great pride in what they have
accomplished.  That’s the kind of fun kids are supposed to have . . . working together.

Notice: the 600 students are clean-cut looking, and obviously well-disciplined to carry out this routine….very impressive.  Click the following….

Often a dolphin will assist divers, but it’s not often a dolphin will ask a diver for help.    This video is a testament to this mammal’s intelligence. A great video.

Something to make you ponder a while!



It doesn’t hurt to have a little Biblical humor to start the day….

Q.. Who was the greatest female financier in the Bible?

A.. Pharaoh’s daughter. She went down to the bank of the Nile and drew out a little prophet.


Auld Country Tours are a big supporter of our Ceilidh Dances James Johnson []




Winter - Dumbarton Rock

Dumbarton Rock

The next Ceilidh Dance will be held on Friday, January 10, 2014. Same time, same place, same price, 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. We need to improve the attendance to make the dances financially viable. Please do your best to spread the word. Let me know if you would like a poster to put up.

Winter - Fingal Road, Birse, Aboyne

Fingal Road, Birse, Aboyne

An elderly man goes into a brothel and tells the madam he would like a young girl for the night.
Surprised, she looks at the ancient man and asks how old he is.
‘I’m 90 years old,’ he says.
’90?’ replies the woman. ‘Don’t you realize you’ve had it?’
‘Oh, sorry,’ says the old man. ‘How much do I owe you?’

A new website for kilts and accessories. Prices seem excellent, no idea of quality or trustworthiness though:


Now, after the purge, subscriptions are back under the 400 mark. This newsletter will go out to 375 people in many cities, provinces & countries. Now my goal is still to get to 500!! Please pass along the website to your friends and maybe they will subscribe –

I thought that at least the % of people opening the newsletter should be higher after removing over 50 “subscribers” who were inactive but despite that only 210 people (56.5%) opened last weeks newsletter!!   That is a lot lower than some previous weeks.


Note: the Celtic Treasure Chest has just received large orders of Christmas items. For information on specials etc. call one of the stores – Vancouver 604-261-3688; Delta 604-940-5366 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

An online contact for dance and marching shoes (ghillies, pumps, brogues, etc.) is Bruce Griffith at






Events happening in the immediate future include the Betwixt and Between on Saturday, December 28. – see website for date, time and location. Please see “Coming Events” below for all information.

Note:  Please order your tickets for both the Tam O’Shanter’s and the Branch Burns Suppers soon – all information is shown below.

Winter - frost on fence post

Frost on a fence post


If anyone has any suggestions or complaints regarding the newsletter, please let me know – 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.


Dec 28 Betwixt & Between Dance in the Scottish Cultural Centre with   music by Mary Ross — 7:30 p.m. FREE for all RSCDS Members – $15 for non   members.   A small offering of seasonal   fare would be appreciated.
Dec 28 — Jan 5 New Zealand Branch Summer School in St. Peter’s School,   Cambridge, NZ — info website
Jan 10 Monthly Ceilidh Dance of the season at the Scottish Cultural   Centre, 8886 Hudson Street, Vancouver.     Class at 7 p.m. and dance following from 8 — 11 p.m. and all for the   fantastic price of $10 (students $8) — info 604-536-9481
Jan 25 20th Annual Tam O’Shanter Dancers Burns Supper in   Star of the Sea Hall.  Tickets $55 —   contact to order yours.   Note tickets will sell out fast!!
Feb  1 Vancouver Branch Burns Supper — Scottish Cultural Centre, 8886   Hudson Street, Vancouver.   Tickets $55   via PayPal at or from club rep or even Bar 6 p.m. Dinner at 7 p.m.    A great   evening of entertainment and dance.
Feb  7 Monthly Ceilidh Dance of the season at the Scottish Cultural   Centre, 8886 Hudson Street, Vancouver.     Class at 7 p.m. and dance following from 8 — 11 p.m. and all for the   fantastic price of $10 (students $8) — info 604-536-9481
Feb  8 Note:   This workshop is already Sold Out!!  I only received the info on Tuesday.   A waiting list is being started. Ladies Step Dance mini workshop “The Basics & Beyond” with Mary Murray   and musicians Janet Wright & Alma MacDonald.   1 — 4 p.m. in the Scottish Cultural   centre, 8886 Hudson Street, Vancouver.    Cost $15 includes tea!  More soft shoe Ladies Step open to dancers   interested in an energetic afternoon with a focus on different steps and   different musical tempo. Previous Step Dance experience NOT required but must   have some proficiency in another dance form.     RSVP Fran 604-922-6842 or   Kay
Feb  8 Bellingham monthly Dance
Feb  8  Hold the Date for the   San Francisco Branch RSCDS Annual Valentine’s Ball.   We are looking forward to this year’s Musicians:  Muriel Johnstone and Keith Smith.  Ball Date is February 8, 2014 at our   favorite venue: The Oakland Scottish Rite Center.   There will also be a Friday night dance in   Berkeley with Muriel and Keith playing. Stay tuned for more weekend events in   the works. Registration Forms will be available shortly. We anticipate a   large turn out so sign up early this year to avoid disappointment!
Feb 15 Love to Dance Scottish Workshop and Tea Dance.   Teachers Mary Murray and Simon Scott with   music by the Tartan Players.     Registration forms will be on website — mid November.   Info 604-922-6842

Note: Please check list of classes for all start times and locations.

The calendar of events is always being updated so you should check it out from time to time on our website at


“““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““ “

Murphy says to Paddy “What ya talkin to an envelope for?”
“I’m sending a voicemail , silly.




  Winter - Glen Isla

Glen Isla

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

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.

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

Winter - Glen Sligachan

Glen Sligachan

The next Ceilidh Dance is on Friday, January 10, 2104 with live music by Calanaish. You 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:   and here is a link to the Facebook advert:

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. The price is only – $10 or $8 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.


For those who enjoy listening to Scottish music, song, banter etc. try this is a radio programme that you can get sent to you and listen any time you want. Andy is asking everyone to send in their requests so if you have a favourite Scottish tune, song, recitation, band, performer, choir or whatever send an e-mail to


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

It really is never too late to come along and join in one of many Scottish Country Dance (SCD) classes and well any time is a great time to do it. 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 next week. There are classes all around and on different nights so GIVE IT A GO! Go to either or www, for a list of class locations and times.

Christmas train

For those who don’t know SCD is a fabulous pastime which 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 below. 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 or 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, 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 –




For upcoming events see and

Winter - ice flower

Ice Flower

Other announcements etc: Seattle Branch – info at A monthly Challenge Class is held on the 2nd Friday each month in the upper building, Room 7, Phinney Neighbourhood Association, 4532 Phinney Avenue, North Seattle at 7:30 p.m. Info at   Next class:  January 10, 2014

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The next regular monthly Ceilidh Dance will be held one week on tomorrow – that is on Friday, January 10, 2014 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 12 or more and we can give them a discount!!! This will be the third regular Ceilidh Dance of the 2013/14 season and it would be great if we could double the attendance of the dance last month.

We Really NEED YOUR HELP to advertise the Ceilidh Dances!!!! It only costs $10 ($8 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 or the Face-book page

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

dancing tree 2

Thanks to good attendances last year the finances for the 2012/13 season will still allow the cost to be the amazingly low price of $10 or $8 for students and we provide refreshments although we do ask for your donations towards their cost.  We always need your support both by coming along and by helping us to advertise these dances by whatever means you use to communicate with your friends be it e-mail, Face-Book, Twitter, Text or even telephone! 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 2013/14 season shapes up as follows: All on Fridays of course —

January 10
February 7
February 28
March 28
April 25

Come along and get some great exercise while also having lots of fun. We are still working on improving the strength of the smile muscles as well as the bows and curtsies! 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 need to attract students from UBC, SFU and all the other colleges and universities. Somehow we have to get word out to these students. 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 ($10 or $8 for students.) You should check the website – – 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 – – 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 Please check the website – 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 If you know of anyone who would like to be on the mailing list please send them the web address – 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 375 subscribers (at long last we are over the 400 mark!) 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.


An Irish priest was transferred to Texas.

Father O’Malley rose from his bed. It was a fine spring day in his new Texas mission parish. He walked to the window of his bedroom to get a deep breath of the beautiful day outside. He then noticed there was a jackass lying dead in the middle of his front lawn. He promptly called the local police station. The conversation went like this:

 “Good morning. This is Sergeant Jones. How might I help you?”

 “And the rest of the day to yourself. This is Father O’Malley at St. Brigid’s . There’s a jackass lying dead in me front lawn. Would ye be so kind as to send a couple o’ yer lads to take care of the matter?”

Sergeant Jones, considering himself to be quite a wit, replied with a smirk, “Well now father, it was always my impression that you people took care of last rites!”

There was dead silence on the line for a long moment. Father O’Malley then replied:

“Aye, tis certainly true, but we are also obliged to notify the next of kin.”


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 –

Winter - ice on Rannoch Moor

Rannoch Moor

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

Xmas Duncan