Well the doctor said he did not believe in rest so I am tackling the Newsletter again.  It is a slow process as my right hand still does not want to do what it is told!!

The good news is that the Ceilidh is on and it is this Friday, February 5.   Please come and support it.  It will be a fun evening,

Winter - St Andrews Cathedral

St. Andrews Cathedral


A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.


The newsletters will continue being irregular for a while – at least till my right side recovers from the stroke.  But the Ceilidh dances will continue in February thanks to all the support I receive.


Many thanks for all the cards and well wishes I have received.   I really appreciate them all and only one duplicate card it is amazing.  I am very fortunate to have so many good friends.  I have been unable to reply to them all but they have done me good as I am able to do most things.  Typing and writing are the hardest but maybe that is a good thing as you can read what I have written.



The next regular Ceilidh Dance is THIS Friday, February 5, 2016 and I hope you can come.  Remember if you have a group of 8 or more and you contact me no later than February  3 then everyone in your group will get a $1 discount.


Flying truths

  • Aviation is not so much a profession as it is a disease.
  • The nicer an airplane looks, the better it flies.
  • There are three simple rules for making a smooth landing. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are, but it’s always a good landing if you can still get the doors open.


Jean Wagstaff has asked if I would advertise the following


Mans Heavy Weight Kilt
42″-44″ waist Length suitable for man over 6′ tall.
Muted Red MacFarlane tartan.

Prince Charlie Jacket & Vest, Black
Chest Size 48 / Long.

Kilt Jacket, Green Tweed
Chest Size 44 / Long.

Kilt Jacket, Tweed Mixed Colours
Chest Size 36 / Small.

Ladies Royal Stewart Kilted skirt
Size 12.

For further information contact:
Jean Wagstaff jeedwag@shaw.ca 604-371-1939



Interested in Robert Burns? Please check out this free online course offered by the University of Glasgow starting January 25. Information and registration to be found in this link:


Centre for Scottish Studies Simon Fraser University


Thanks to Steve at 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

There are always some specials at The Celtic Treasure Chest’s store on Dunbar & 41st. Check them out at www.celtictreasurechest.com

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.


Winter - Stob Binnein from Stob Coire an LochainStob Binnein from Stob Coire an Lochain



THIS is very serious. Britain, as most readers of this newspaper know, has long been populated by three warlike tribes, the Scots, the English and the Welsh. Much of British history consists of disputes between these tribes, particularly between the Scots and the English. Since the middle of the 18th century, after Bonnie Prince Charlie made a vain attempt to reclaim the kingdom for the Scottish Stuart dynasty, an uneasy peace has prevailed, based, in part, on the understanding that Scottish pride and Scottish feathers will not be unduly ruffled. But then, every so often, somebody threatens this delicate understanding with an outrageous suggestion. This usually happens in August, when newspapers have nothing better to talk about. And it has happened again this August.

The insult to the Scots this year is that haggis, the Scottish national dish, is not really Scottish, but English. Now this may seem a matter of little consequence to Americans, but how would the United States react if apple pie and turkey with cranberry sauce were to be claimed as the products of, say, French cuisine? Or if somebody asserted that baseball was invented by the Romanians (which it was)? These things are a matter of national pride, and people should take great care when talking about them.

The basis of the current claim is that an English cookbook of the early 17th century contains a recipe for haggis. This, we are told, was well before any Scottish recipe book gives similar information. Well, now, this assertion is so patently flimsy that it hardly requires refutation. Of course there was no published Scottish recipe for haggis before then, for the simple reason that it would have been quite unnecessary for Scots to publish a recipe for something that everybody in Scotland knew how to make. Why state the obvious? It’s as simple as that.

But if further proof is required, then it is there in abundance. English cuisine has always been very open to foreign influences, and still is. If one looks at contemporary English cookbook writers, what do they write about? French food, Indian food, Chinese food — anything but English food. And it was ever thus. So it is no surprise that early 17th-century English food writers should have written about exotic Scottish dishes rather than English ones. This is what these people have always done.

The haggis, of course, has played an important role in the Scottish national psyche — not as food, but as an invention. Scots like to console themselves with the knowledge that even if today we are a small nation on the periphery of Europe, an adjunct to a defunct empire, and chronically unsuccessful at something we would love to be successful at (soccer), we nonetheless have a great past as inventors.

Scottish schoolchildren are indoctrinated with the history of Scottish inventions. Television, they are taught, was invented by John Logie Baird, a Scotsman, and not by Philo Taylor Farnsworth, an American. The Irish did not invent whisky, and Irish whiskey is not the real McCoy; McCoy himself, whoever he was, was clearly Scottish and definitely not Irish. And golf was not invented by the Dutch — as misguided Dutchmen have a habit of claiming — it was a product of the Scottish genius for hitting things with sticks and counting the hits.

So the haggis is clearly Scottish, as Robert Burns understood full well when he wrote his famous poem in its praise. If one’s national bard writes a poem to a dish consisting of chopped-up offal cooked in a sheep’s stomach together with oatmeal and spices and secured with a curious pin, then that dish must be authentically national.

Haggis, haggis is also one of the national animals of Scotland along with the Scottish Wildcat, if there is more than one it is a couple of…

The real McCoy was Elijah McCoy who invented a locomotive lubricating device and he was an African American.

Well, if they hadn’t kicked those highlanders off their crags and out of their crofts, there wouldn’t be any haggis south of Hadrian’s Wall…

Anyway, even if there were doubts about this — which of course no right-thinking person would entertain — why take an iconic dish away from a national cuisine that has so little else of distinction in it? Yes, we have salmon and porridge, and one or two other dishes, but Escoffier would surely have been very unfulfilled had he been born Scottish.

Blithely attributing our haggis to a people who already have lots and lots of dishes — most of them terribly stodgy — in their national cuisine seems, if nothing else, to be gratuitously cruel. It would be like eating a mockingbird, if I may be permitted a literary allusion.

Never heard of haggis? Never tasted it? Try it on your next visit to Scotland, or even England. It is best taken with mashed turnips, which, incidentally, were invented in Scotland, and with a shot of whisky. The whisky is to neutralize the taste of the haggis, and the turnips are there for health reasons. Highly recommended.

Alexander McCall Smith is the author, most recently, of “Tea Time for the Traditionally Built.”


The next Ceilidh Dance is This Friday, February 5th, 2016.  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.  

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!!


You can join the e-mail list of the SFU Scottish and Celtic Society; the club connecting you to all things Scottish and Celtic at SFU and the community. As members of this mailing list, you will receive updates on events and learning opportunities. All are welcome to participate and enjoy. Facebook Group: As of today, our new Facebook Group is launched and available to join. It is an ‘Open’ group. Anyone can join and invite their friends. We will create Facebook ‘Events’ for all our occasions. Join today at this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/451447541666799/


Some fun and interesting sites: – note if you have a link to something you think others would enjoy please forward them to me.

Neat photography if U have a few minutes- and guts like some of the workers.

Helicopter lift . . . intense pilotage.




To all you old secretaries, commercial school grads, computer experts—this is for you and your kids and your grand kids….best I’ve seen for  long time…Look at the watches they’re wearing too..  What a smile!!!!



The next Ceilidh Dance will be this Friday, February 5th, 2016. 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.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&& We started out 2016 with 345 on the subscriber list now we are up to 347. Not bad at all but it would be nice to have many more. You can help to get the subscriptions back up again. Thanks for all your support. Out of 347 the last  newsletter was opened by 244 or 70.3%.

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.


COMING EVENTS IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS: Note: Please check list of classes for all start times and locations.

Note that the White Rock Spring workshop scheduled for March 13 has been cancelled

Feb  5 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 $12 (students $10)
Feb  6 Bellingham social
Feb 12 – 14 Annual Aloha Winter Weekend with Linda Henderson, guest instructor and the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a & Strathspey Society Band.   Info – email Melissa at: mlindsay@hawaii.rr.com  webpage www.RSCDSHawaii.org
Feb 13 Love to Dance workshop and Tea Dance in the Scottish Cultural Centre.   Morning cases with super teachers Ruth Jappy and Rebecca Blackhall-Peters and live music by Cathrine Conings, Deborah Jones and Julie Smith.  Warm up together at 9 then class from 9:15 to 10:45, a break then class from 11:15 to 12:30.   Bring your own lunch, tea and coffee provided.   Tea dance at 2:00 with the Tartan Players and afternoon tea at 4:30.
Feb 20 Vancouver Island SCDS Valentine’s Tea Dance
Feb 24 White Rock Heart party – wear red
Feb 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 $12 (students $10)
Mar  5 Burnaby Annual Spring dance Confederation Centre, 4585 Albert Street, Burnaby at 7:30 music by Vancouver Fiddle Orchestra.
Mar 12 Bellingham social
Mar 13 Vancouver Celtic Festival Parade
Mar 16 Walk through for Heather Ball at the Cultural Centre on Wednesday, March 16th, from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. Drop-in is $6.50.
Mar 19 Vancouver Branch Heather Ball in the Scottish Cultural Centre, 8886 Hudson Street, Vancouver at 5:45 with supper at 6:30 p.m.   Music by the fabulous Nicol McLaren Trio from Scotland along with fiddler Judi Nicholson.  Tickets $80 online at www.rscdsvancouver.org or from Fran at caruth@telus.com
Mar 19 Vancouver Island SCDS March workshop social
Mar 25 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 $12 (students $10)
Mar 30 White Rock St. Patrick’s party


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.

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. This is the first year in quite some time that there were no cancellations of Dancing in the Park
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

The next Ceilidh Dance is on this Friday, February 5, 2016 with live music by Calanaish.

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 – $12 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.


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

January, 2016 would be a wonderful time to come along and join in one of many Scottish Country Dance (SCD) classes as they will be starting up again. 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 www.rscdsvancouver.org or www,vancouverceilidh.org for a list of class locations and times.

St patrick's Day Dancers

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.

Classes will have started up again at various locations throughout the Lower Mainland and beyond but it is never too late to come along and join in the fun. Check for location, start date and time at www.rscdsvancouver.org

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, 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


Winter - Union canal (2)

Union Canal


Is it good if a vacuum really sucks?


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

Other announcements etc:
Seattle Branch
New Challenge Class season

1st Sunday of the month from 1 – 3 p.m. at University Heights, 5031 University Way N.E., Seattle, 98105 – Room 109

– info at www.rscds-seattle.org ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The next regular monthly Ceilidh Dance will be held this Friday, February 5, 2016 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 $12 ($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 2015/16 season shapes up as follows:
All on Fridays of course —

February 5 & 26
March 25
April 29

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 ($12 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.

Winter - view to the Cuillins from above CarbostView to the Cuillins from above Carbost

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.


 Winter Alness point

Alness point


This newsletter reaches out to some 347 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.




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

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

Duncan Mackenzie    ceilidh@rscdsvancouver.org