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Montrose 2-1 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Links Park, 15/2/20.

I was about to report that we’d failed to score – again – but then PJ Crossan got one back in injury time. So that’s three for this year so far – and two of those were in the one game.

At least nobody below us won.

Our next two games, at home to Forfar and Clyde, are real must-not-lose affairs if we’re not to be drawn into the relegation equation.

Dumbarton 0-0 Airdrieonians

SPFL Tier 3, The Rock, 8/2/20.

Not a win, but not a defeat either. A clean sheet is welcome too.

And we’ve nudged four points ahead of Peterhead with the same no of games played.

Next week against Montrose at their place is going to be tricky. I’d take a point now, but fear worse.

Dumbarton 0-2 Montrose

What the football gods give, the football gods take away.

We won 2-1 at their place earlier and were hanging on a bit towards the end. Since then they have really hit form so I wasn’t really surprised by this result which means they have leapfrogged us so we’re back down to sixth.

That makes next week at Forfar a must not lose.

Scotland’s Art Deco Heritage 44 (ii) Montrose Again

I was up at Montrose again last summerand wnadered the town centre a bit further coming across these three buildings. The middle block here may be 1950s but the left one has the Art Deco style:-

Art Deco Shop, Montrose

That left-hand one has Critall style upper windows, still. The marble effect round the shop windows with the geometric line design also has the look:-

Montrose, Art Deco

This is entrance to the Ladbroke’s I pictured in my first Montrose Art Deco post. Lovely Art Deco detailing here:-

Art Deco Shop Entrance Montrose

Maryton War Memorial

Maryton is a very small village on the A 934 just to the west of Montrose and south of Montrose Basin. The Memorial is inscribed with the words, “In grateful memory of the men who fell in the wars 1914-1918. Their name liveth for evermore. 1939-1945.”

I spotted it while I was passing through the village en route elsewhere.

Maryton War Memorial

There is a school memorial lying right next to Maryton War memorial but laid into a wall. It is inscribed, “In proud and grateful memory of the boys of this school who died for their country in the war 1914-1919.”
Below the names are the words, “Glorious their fate, splendid their doom, their time an altar. Honour them, weep not, give them praise, not pity.”

Maryton School War Memorial

Brechin City 1-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Glebe Park, 12/1/19.

I’ve the feeling we’re doomed.

This was a mustn’t lose.

We lost it.

That we ought not to have lost it is neither here nor there. If we can lose to a team as abject as Brechin things are beyond bad.

Okay, extenuating circumstances, we had only three subs on the bench – only two outfield ones and only one of those actually fit to play. Plus Michael Paton was drafted in to right back and Cammy Ballantyne shifted to the left to cover for the absence of Willie Dyer.

It was Paton who made the day much harder than it needed to be when he dived in to bring down an attacker when he’d already been booked. Down to ten men was going to make the win all but impossible. (Not that his first booking was much of one but you don’t dive in when you’ve had it.) I must say the ref was reluctant to wield the yellow card to any of the home defenders making loan signing Ben Armour’s debut a trial. Armour was himself booked before any of his tormentors was. His substitution by Brad Spencer near the end might have been to try to make sure the ref wasn’t tempted to give him a second too. By the time the ref did start booking Brechin players it was too late and he spread the cards around.

The odd thing was we looked a better attacking force after the sending-off than before – possibly due to Cammy Ballantyne being on his natural side of the pitch. But I was always aware we were short of numbers whenever Brechin counter-attacked.

We were the better team throughout in any case – even if we didn’t actually threaten their goal much. Their keeper made a great save from an Andy Dowie header from a corner to stop us taking the lead. (Dowie, it seems, was making his last appearance for us, his new day job commitments meaning his availability isn’t guaranteed. That leaves us with the sum total of zero centre backs available for the Montrose game in a fortnight – unless long-term absentee Craig Barr recovers in time for that. Or some other miracle occurs.)

We kept them out reasonably well till injury time when we began to look a tiny bit ragged. The goal though, from a corner we couldn’t clear, scrambled in with the second last kick of the game (the last was the kick-off which followed) was cruel in the extreme. The players (the ten still on the pitch anyway) didn’t deserve that. It’s the sort of thing that happens to a team on whom Lady Luck has turned her back – compare our late winner in the first game at the Glebe last season when Brechin were the sufferers.)

By my count that’s four points we’ve dropped on this ground this season. We ought to have had three in the first game and at least one here. But combine that with the six Brechin gained from the two games and we could have been more than comfortably ahead of them. As it is we’re not.

And we’re down below the bare bones now.

This season feels like revenge karma for the good times in the tier above for so long. I hope something turns up before January ends or we could be staring down the barrel of a second successive relegation and that could be a disaster for the club as the rot might not stop there.

Scotland’s Art Deco Heritage 44 (i): Montrose

This looks like it was once a Woolworths:-

Montrose Former Woolworths

This one’s now a Clinton’s:-

Art Deco Shop, Montrose

And this is a Ladbroke’s:-

Another Art Deco Shop, Montrose 3

The glazing on the Ladbroke’s is good:-

Glazing, Art Deco, Montrose

Tales from Angus by Violet Jacob

In Flemington and Tales from Angus, Canongate 2013, 269 p; including 9 p Introduction, 1 p Acknowledgements, 9 p Notes and 6 p Glossary.

 Flemington and Tales from Angus cover

Jacob was born into the Kennedy-Erskine family of the House of Dun near Montrose (and published the family history The Lairds of Dun in 1931. In the memorable stories of Tales From Angus her sympathy with, and compassion for, those born with fewer advantages, her intimacy with and love for the landscape of Angus, shine through. The summaries below do not capture her facility nor her powers of description. Again, the book’s introduction mentions some of the salient points in the stories. Read that afterwards.

Thievie. An old skinflint would do anything rather than hand over his life savings – even to his daughter.
The Disgracefulness of Auntie Thomson. On the arrival in town of a well-dressed stranger the daughter of an upright but proud couple (to flaunt their wealth they take a carriage to a further away Kirk rather than attend the one backing onto their land) turns down her suitor on the grounds his guardian, his Auntie Thomson – is too coarse. The twist here is obvious long before the end but enjoyable just the same.
The Debatable Land. An orphaned young woman taken in as a servant by a woman the attentions of whose son she finds abhorrent finds refuge with a traveller.
The Fiddler. A beautifully constructed tale of a woman haunted by her aid to one of the rebels hunted after Culloden and the fiddler who is the only other person in the know.
A Middle-Aged Drama. A widower takes on a housekeeper and gradually comes to appreciate her. But she has a secret.
Annie Cargill. A man visits his godfather’s house and is spooked by a grave in the adjacent cemetery. A fairly straightforward, but admirably written, ghost story.
The Watch-Tower. A shepherd shelters for the night in a watchtower and finds there an old acquaintance whom he perceives to be the notorious sheep-stealer recently escaped from a nearby jail. Others are on the hunt.
The Figurehead. The mate of the brig “William and Joann” is struck by the resemblance of a girl he sees on a stairhead in Montrose to his ship’s figurehead and starts to court her.
Euphemia. A young lass organises women to bring in a harvest on a Sunday when the men refuse supposedly for Sabbatarian reasons but really for the money.
The Overthrow of Adam Pitcaithley. The son of a farmer strikes up a friendship with a travelling lad but ignores him when in his Sunday finery. Not a wise move.
The Lum Hat. The manuscript of this story – of which a few pages were missing – was found in Jacob’s papers and first published in 1982, many years after her death. The missing pages do not affect the story’s thrust. Christina Mill has led a sheltered life in the house of her father (whose favourite ‘chimney pot’ hat provides the story’s title.) Her disastrous marriage to Baird, a sea captain, and thankfully swift widowhood when his ship founders, leads her to cling to the familiar.
The Fifty-Eight Wild Swans. A man all but bed-ridden with arthritis is struck by a desire to view the many swans newly arrived on a loch just out of sight from his house.
The Yellow Dog. A tale mostly at second hand as the story of the yellow dog, which may or may not be a ghost, is related by one of three men in a smiddy.
Anderson. The boy of the title rescues a kitten from the gaggle of boys about to take great pleasure in drowning it.

Among Jacob’s bons mots are, “No woman, no matter of what age, can be quite cold to the charm of a new garment.” “Hard-working men do not analyse one another much; they either do or do not accept one another, and that is all.” “He was one of the many old men in Scotland who always allude to death as a joke.” She also writes, “Scottish people are addicted, perhaps more than any other, to nicknames,” and repeats the same sentiment elsewhere. Is that a particularly Scottish trait? Her acute observation is particularly evident in The Lum Hat. “In a small town a stranger in church is a godsend.” The cook objects to Christina’s help because of “her passionate belief that the gentry should keep the pose thrust on them by God.” “The stars in their courses fought for Baird, as they do for most thrusters.” “…men married their wives for convenience mainly, and were lucky if they got any attraction thrown in.”

I note that throughout Jacob employs the word “wean” for a child. Hitherto I had thought this a predominantly West Coast usage. On the East coast “bairn” had seemed to me to be exclusive. (It certainly is in Fife – and in The Sunday Post.) Perhaps its use stops just north of Dundee.

Pedant’s corner:- chrysophrase (chrysoprase,) standing in the white patch that then moon had laid, tried is used in the text where treid (the Scots for tread) appears in the glossary.

Flemington by Violet Jacob

In Flemington and Tales from Angus, Canongate, 2013, 291 p, including 16 p introduction, 1 p each Acknowledgements, Note on the Text and Author’s Note, 14 p Notes and 6 p Glossary.

Another from the 100 Best Scottish books list. Again from a local (well, 9 miles away) library. The novel was first published in 1911.

 Flemington and Tales from Angus cover

As soon as the years in which this is set, 1745-6, are discovered certain expectations might arise, a focus on Bonnie Prince Charlie or his entourage, following the rising tide of his fortunes from the standard raising at Glenfinnan through his initial triumphs to Edinburgh and on down to England before the fatal loss of nerve at Derby and thence to his downfall. Jacob, however, is more subtle than this. The events of that last Jacobite rebellion are present here, to be sure, (the Battle of Prestonpans – here rendered as Preston Pans – the advance to and retreat from Derby, the Battles of Falkirk and of Drummossie Moor, otherwise known as Culloden, the bloody and vengeful aftermath of that final battle on British soil) but they occur offstage. Jacob’s focus is relentlessly on individuals, not the broad sweep of history or “great events”. Though the Duke of Cumberland does appear in Flemington’s pages as a character (and not in a flattering portrait) the Young Chevalier never does, except as the driving force for the dilemma into which our titular protagonist falls. The action takes place exclusively in the county of Angus and specifically in the area linking the towns of Forfar, Brechin and Montrose. It is in Montrose harbour that the sole military engagement described in the book – a fictionalisation of a very minor naval incident in the ’45 rebellion – takes place.

To prevent his mother compromising Prince Charlie, protagonist Archibald Flemington’s father was badly used by the Old Pretender in exile at St Germain. Archie was subsequently orphaned and put in the care of his grandmother who, due to those earlier experiences, is now a full supporter of the Hanoverian dynasty. Flemington is a painter but also a government spy trying to discern the plans of the rebel James Logie; to which end he turns up at the door of Logie’s brother, a retired judge. While Flemington is still undercover Logie reveals to him a personal confidence – unrelated to any Jacobite sympathies. This engenders in Flemington a sympathy for Logie which he will not thereafter compromise and so the central tragedy of the story unfolds.

The novel is full of well-drawn and memorable characters: Flemington; his grandmother; Skirlin’ Wattie, the no-legged bagpiper who travels about on a cart drawn by dogs; Callander, the Government Army officer who is dutiful to a fault. Despite his confidence granted to Flemington, James Logie is a shadowier character, though his brother Balnillo is portrayed in all his preposterousness. Wattie is the only one who speaks broad Scots. The context provides clarity enough but the glossary is there if needed.

One chapter begins, “April is slow in Scotland, distrustful of her own identity, timid of her own powers. Half dazed from the long winter sleep, she is often bewildered, and cannot remember whether she belongs to winter or to spring.” How true – especially redolent when reading it in Scotland, in April, and the passage is characteristic of Jacob’s writing which is especially strong on landscape description.

Flemington is an illustration on an individual human scale of the dislocations and traumas, the disruptions, which a Civil War brings in its train and of how character can both resist circumstances and be a victim of them.

I took the precaution of not reading the introduction before the story. Wisely, as the usual spoilers in such things were present.

Pedant’s corner:- I found the reference to English parents strange in a passage contrasting the thoughts of a Scots woman who had spent a long time in France with those who hadn’t. Also mentioned were English dragoons at Culloden. (I haven’t checked. Any dragoons may have been English, though certainly a large part of Cumberland’s army was Scots.) Dulness with one ‘l’?

Jinx?

Dumbarton lost only seven league matches last season.

Yet I was at four of them. (The two against the Shire at Ochilview, the January game in Cowdenbeath and the March game at Montrose.)

Until April I had only seen us win one league game (at Montrose in October) plus the penalty shoot out against Annan in the CIS way back in August. There were two draws along the way though.

On the face of it that would suggest I am a bit of a jinx.

But I can only really get to away games since I live so far from the Rock and the likelihood is always that the away team doesn’t do as well as it does at home; so that sequence wasn’t really a statistical quirk just an inevitable consequence of being a long distance supporter.

But in a triumph of perseverance – and hope firmly suppressed – I then saw us win two games in four days; at Ochilview against Stenny and at Forfar. The championship became a possibility that week because Cowden were not winning.

The rest is history.

All in, in the league I saw 4 wins, 3 draws and those 4 defeats.

As I mentioned before, for me eight out of nine of the away venues are travellable next season. Will I see more than three away wins?

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