Thursday, March 9, 2017

A Wee Scotch Grannie’s Story




A Wee Scotch Grannie’s Story
It was a warm summer day in Greenock and neighbouring Gourock along the banks of the River Clyde. Something that wasn’t totally unusual but then again Greenock was known more for its rainy days than for its sunny days. Grannie Coupar looked for days like this to take her two younger grandchildren, Ewan and his younger sister Heather, down to the riverside in Gourock on Sundays where she had a favourite spot to sit and watch the children as they played among the rocks and shells. Grannie had a friend among those rocks, one in particular, Victoria who was a Rockkin, a female druid priestess who been given the form of a spirit in the distant past and so now existed in the form of a kind of Faerie. Grannie Coupar always took a jeelie piece for each of the children and usually a bottle or two of Barr’s Iron Bru in case they were thirsty. When the time came for them to take a break from rock throwing and shell collecting they sat down around Grannie ready to eat when suddenly Ewan said “Gran I have a question.”
“Well I’ll see if I can answer it for ye so ask away.”
“Well every time I say aye instead of yes Aunt Betty, (Aunt Betty was Gran’s sister), always corrects me and tells me to say yes instead of aye. She says it’s not proper to talk that way. Yet I told her sailors say aye aye captain, not yes yes captain.”
“Let me give you a wee history lesson.” said Gran. “But first of all it's better not to argue with your aunt Betty. Just let her have her ways. You see a long long time ago Scotland and England were two separate countries. And it way up in the Highlands of Scotland people spoke a language known as Gaelic but in some of the lowland areas we spoke what was referred to as Northern English. And the people that spoke northern English were known as Scotch. The people in the Highlands were more often referred to as Scots. Now the Scotch people for the most part were poor hard-working and honest folk. They had little money and not always were there many schools that they could go to so they would thought of as being illiterate. Och there was farmers, shepherds, weavers, fishermen and fishermen's wives and all sorts of hard-working lowly folks. Some of the richer and more elite folks that lived in the bigger cities like Edinburgh and Dundee and so forth looked down their noses at the lower working-class and so it got to be that being Scotch was a station in life that was undesirable. Now this northern English they were speaking was called Scotch or Lallans which meant lowland Scotch, sometimes called Doric. To tell the truth when a lot of them were sent to Northern Ireland by King James VI they were given farms with low rents and a lot more freedom to prosper which they did. But for a long time it was still just not right to be Scotch and to speak the way they did. So to say aye instead of yes was one example and they tried to get away from being called Scotch. But you know some of the very famous authors and poets in Scotland constantly used the word Scotch in their writing. Authors like Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, James Barry and even Robert Burns continue to use the word. Even the famous Harry Lauder called himself a Scotch comedian. He wrote one of my favourite songs called Mary Ma Scotch Bluebell. So you see it was fine to be Scotch and to speak the Scotch tongue. But folks like your aunt Betty are a bit too prudent to admit that. You see your Grannie’s side of the family actually comes from a very Scotch area over to the east in Edzell and Loch Lee.”
“I see.” said Ewan. “So it’s OK to say aye?”
Aye.” said Gran, “Just not in front of your Aunt Betty.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Now's The Day And Now's The Hour second edition is available now on amazon.com

I have just released a second edition of a book that was first published in 2004 all about the Alamo and the Scottish influence there. It was preceded by a double CD called Scotland Remembers The Alamo with music that was played in and around Texas and the Alamo that was originally Scottish, English and Irish.
Nobody understood the concept of the double CD so I had to do a follow up with the book called Now's the Day and Now's the Hour which was a line that Sam Houston used in attempting to get volunteers to Texas at the time. Sam Houston was a big reader of Robert Burns poems and songs so we know where he got that line, (from Scots Wha Ha'e). The music and songs feature the original Scottish, English and Irish versions popular in Texas and the US at the time then go on to feature the Texian versions written to these songs and tunes. Included here is a copy of the front cover and the cover of a 2008 book entitled "Music of the Alamo" written by Alamo historian William Chemerka and Allen J. Wiener with and introduction by Phil Collins and a foreword by Fess Parker. Fess Parker who is no longer with us was featured as Davy Crockett in the Disney TV series of Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier. Phil Collins of course as we all know is an award-winning vocalist-instrumentalist and composer is and an avid enthusiast of the Alamo story. The Music of the Alamo book comes with a bonus CD with 8 tracks. Tracks 2 and 3 are from my double CD.

Now's The Day And Now's The Hour A unique collection of history and music that connects the spirit and the background of the Alamo defenders to Scotland. From the beginning of Scotland’s freedom wars, with Wallace and Bruce, we see the trend carried forward to the Texas and the Alamo. With piper John MacGregor and the fiddler of the Alamo the men’s spirits were maintained with the music of Scotland that contained a history of a fighting spirit. These songs were then used as the tunes for ballads and stories written about the Alamo and the Texas Revolution. This Texas freedom fight has its roots in Scotland’s freedom wars.

Of the Alamo defenders 12 were English, 9 were Irish, 4 were Scottish and one was Welsh. Up to 80% of the others were of Scotch-Irish origin.
Both books and CDs are available on amazon.com.
Cheers, Carl

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Latest update on Ewan Colin Coupar and a Touch of the Faee

The review in the book section of the Reading Eagle February 12th. 2017
http://www.readingeagle.com/books



Reasons for writing the book “Ewan Colin Coupar and a Touch of the Fae”
I’m not sure I can come up with any one good reason or who I was writing for but I’ll try.

Some of the story includes things and incidents and people from my distant past as a child, facts that I turned into fiction.
But I think the main reason is that I started dreaming a series of dreams when I was living and working in Montreal during the 1970s. Dreams I had over a period of time that lasted for about two years. Dreams that were sometimes two weeks apart and some about two months apart, totalling maybe twenty in all. What was unique about them was after I had dreamed them they stayed fresh in my memory, not like other dreams that usually fade fairly quickly. Also they seemed to connect with the previous dreams like a continuing story. I kept thinking to myself I should be writing these down and I eventually did but not until quite a few years later.

The part of the book that comes from the dreams involves Gorvic the traveller from the Norse countries. He was seeking some secret information in the islands across the North Sea, in the land which is now Scotland, but was not at that time. The dream took place in a very distant past, a long, long time ago.

How it morphed into Ewan and his friends with a Touch of the Fae I have no idea. That’s what I had originally thought but then I remembered that I had started an autobiography which I think sparked the story of my early life and somehow connected it with the dream series.

 I do recall one of our neighbours in Trafalgar Street who kept telling my Grandmother that I was a different child from most of the others in the neighbourhood. Just what she meant I’m not sure. The neighbour was from Holland; she was a big Dutch woman called Mrs. Van something or other. I can’t recall her proper name, but she had a heavy Dutch accent that made you think there was something mysterious about her. Turns out that there were others around that were like me or so the story goes. I do know I believed in Faeries back then but I often thought that the reason I was different was my English accent, for which I was picked on a lot.

I had no one age group I was writing for, nothing like that in mind. Just whoever wanted to read a good wee fantasy tale. It took me about ten years to finish it from the time I started until I finished it by the end of 2016. To tell the truth I wasn’t sure I would ever finish it but now that I have I found that I had written enough to continue the story into book two and maybe beyond. We’ll see.

Oh and the book cover, I’m asked. Well the cover photo was taken last June on the old Roman road above Greenock on Whitelees Moor. The road goes toward the Corlic Hill and Cairn. When you reach the bottom of Corlic Hill you can either turn Left and head to Lurg Moor and the remains on an old Roman fort or go straight up the hill to the top. A good climb. However if you turn right instead you will find the ruins of an old farm, Burnside farm, where years ago the Rankin family had a wee teahouse there. The rock cluster in the photo is one of many along the road. It kind of depicts the home of some Rockkin spirits and the star effects in the background sky indicates the presence of the big Faeries, the other worldly beings.
 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

January past

Well folks, it's been a busy January. My book release on Jan. 12th. on amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.uk and Europe. Hope you all buy a copy, help me get on to the best seller lists and please leave a review on amazon. I'm already working on book two. It'll be awhile though, need to get the first one out there and into your hands.

At the Grand Canyon
I had two Burns Dinners to perform at this year, one in Tucson, AZ, Jan. 21st, where we took extra time out there to see Tombstone (The OK Corral and all that), The Grand Canyon and visits to other National Parks areas in the Saguaro Desert (where the bird video, at the end of the blog, was taken) and the Casa Grande Ruins. My thanks to Randy and the folks out there for inviting me back for a second year.
At Saguaro National Park

My second dinner, Jan. 27th, was in Little Falls, NY at the Overlook Mansion Bed and Breakfast and Event Center. It was built by a Mr. Burrell back in the late 1800s who ran a cheese manufacturing empire. Little Falls was once the cheese capitol of the US. Thanks to Mik and Maggie for having me out there. The mansion is magnificent. The Erie Canal runs through Little Falls. Wonderful audiences at both dinners. 

Oh, a parting thought, please buy my book and give me a review on amazon. To all my twitter followers or FB friends out there who do book blogs or have book promotion sites please contact me.
video