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The effectiveness of public rebuke?

The Kirk Session of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland played a major role in policing the behaviour of parishioners in past times. Fornicators, adulterers, drunkards, sabbath-breakers, quarrelsome characters and the like (seeĀ  Walls Kirk Session records for examples) could be called to account for their behaviour, fined and eventually readmitted to communion. Public rebuke, chiefly  |  more…

Grandma’s elderflower wine

Jessie Sclater, my grandma, and her sisters, “the aunties o Kebro”, were all very competent women: working on the farm, managing the house, baking, cooking, brewing and, in grandma’s case, making elderflower wine. Nothing evokes the long, light, summer days of my Orkney childhood like the fragrant, sparkling taste of grandma’s elderflower wine. Food and  |  more…

The black sheep of the family?

My great great uncle Nicol Slater was the black sheep of the family. He left his young family in Orkney, went off to Canada and never returned. The name Nicol, shared with his father and grandfather, was not used again for two generations. I’d assumed that he left and never contacted his family again so  |  more…

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