The Banff and Buchan Collection

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Tape 1993.015 transcription

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[Fiddle Music; applause]

[Robbie Shepherd] It's magic, absolutely great, great stuff there, and a fine start to wir second half again. Eh, when I mentioned to some people here tonight, that we having met a lot more at the interval, it's absolutely tremendous as far as I'm concerned. An see the tradition going so well, but keep going on aboot this, ye've got tae keep on aboot it because, ye've got tae keep the North East tae the fore. And eh we have, with us tonight, members of the Buchan Heritage Society who do so much for the cause, and the new president Peter Buchan. Where are ye Peter, sitting doon ere, where's Peter, he's there somewey. Peter delighted tae see you [clapping]. And a patron of the society and a man that we all admire for his works and the written works David Toulmin, David is with us as well, delighted tae see ye David, thank you.
     And as you've heard me said before, we are delighted, we are lucky in fact in Grampian region that eh we have a director of education whos interested in the cause as well, we have James Michie with us, James thank you for turning up tonight thank you. If I miss onybody oot fae that, well, ye can tell me later on but at's jist the folk that I happened to meet at the interval there just now…. Before the next artist comes on when ye're when wir speaking aboot the North East culture and the music of the North East, ye know, when ye get wrapped up in the music isn't it an awfa lot better than the culture that's being crept into our country from America where they've got all-night television [clapping]. Dinna clap sae loud, ye hinna heard the story yet [laugh], but ye hiv the all night television and they've gone to the depths of despair now when we're trying to keep our culture alive an we get whit dae we get, hardly ony time on telly at all fur fiddle music or whatever in this area nothing really, eh apart. But in America ye'll find a whole channel, a whole channel going live round the United States fan a' these boys saying my God I have sinned [laugh]. Ye get the, yes ye do, a religious channel goes right round America, never mind the Scottish fiddle, its there the American channel and there wis it six month ago that this boy come on an he wis the greatest since sliced loaf wisn't he eh [laughs]. An he come there and said, now have ye just touched this television screen and touch my hand you shall be saved within a wik [laughs], within a week, for any visitors here within a week, there wis the news that this same preacher had been caught by a photographer gaan into some den of iniquity [laughs], wi this lassie awa there in Dallas or someplace like that. So he had tae come on the telly next week with another million dollars of a fee and he says, my God I have sinned, an the water dreepin doon here every ???. An his wife in the front pew going [laughs], littin him aff wi the haill exercise, at widna happen, it widna happen in Buchan wid it [laughs]? There's a helluva a deathly hush here just now [laughs]. It widna happen up here ye see, it couldna, couldna happen up here.
     There wis the Buchan fermer gaed doon tae the Smithfield show and someb'dy told him tae go an visit this lady in Soho, so he went into this address,…Greek street and he guid intae Greek street in Soho and he met this young lassie and she says, come in, so he went in ye min if I switch off the licht, he said no no switch aff the licht gin ye like, ye min if ye sit close tae me on the sofa. They're sitting close on the sofa an there's suddenly a spark, he says, whit's that? Don't worry, jist afore you came in I wis doing a bit of ironing an I've got a short somewhere in the circuit here, jist a short off my iron. Don't worry jist a short off the iron. Sit a wee bit closer, so he sat bit, another spark. What's that? This time, she says, well I wis watching television an it's jist the ye know it wis coming down to that last little wee blob there on the television at's what it is, nothing tae worry about at all. This happened the whole half hour he wis there. There wis another flash, anither flash. Back home, he came tae Aberdeenshire fermer awa there enjoying himsel fine, when this lad come up from London, city gent wi the pinstriped suit, an immaculate tie, an says, Are you Geordie Macintosh.
     He says, I am. Wis you doon at the Smithfield, wis you doon [laughs] ach well ye ken whit a mean, did you go down to the Smithfield show?
     I did aye.
     Did you happen to go into number, em, certain street?
     I did aye.
     Did you happen to be sitting on the sofa?
     I did, aye, something wrang wi her electricity, ye, ken an there wis jist flashes a ower the place, an she didna understand, there wis something happened there, ye ken?
     Don't you believe a word, said our city gent, he said. I have come up here today because I happen to be the husband of that lady that you were in that flat in Greek street in Soho, and…the flashes that you saw, flashes of me taking photographs of you with my wife on the sofa, what are you going to do about it?
     So he took a look an he says, well, he says, I think I'll take twa o that een [laughs; applause]. Deathly hush is now over [laughs].

Let us go on to the next item on the programme, that's to introduce the last pupil, the last pupil of Hector MacAndrew, and a tremendous fiddler he has turned out to be, He comes from Durris, and eh Hector gave him the tips and he has certainly taken off on his own line now and we're delighted tae welcome him here tonight with, on piano we have Hugh Melvin, Alec ??? on fiddle.
We'll jist let Alec get a wee bit of titivation in there, the little wee bit of tuning up, and I can explain tae ye whit he's going tae be playing. Three of the tunes in fact from the first set will be compositions of Hector's, at I didn't know but I've heard on record Hector playing, Mrs J. H. Alexander and J. H. Alexander. It wisna till I spoke to John Junor and eh to Harry Smith earlier on this week that I realised the major influence in Hector's career that J. H. Alexander was. We're trying to discover, he certainly wis a seedsman. We think he wis a director of Dobbies the Seedsman come up from Edinburgh when Hector was working in this area and J. H. Alexander, trained classically, passed on a lot of tips to eh Hector. In turn Hector passed them on to, a lot o tips to Alec T. Bain. The first tune will be Gight Castle, by Hector, a slow air at'll be followed by Mrs J. H. Alexander. The third tune, The Duchess of Manchester's Farewell tae the Highlands of Scotland an then J. H. Alexander. Alec T Bain. [Applause]

[Alec Bain] Fiddle Music


[AB] Thanks very much going to play a slow air now, Mrs Scott Skinner, and a march called Mrs H. L. Macdonald of Dunach, em Strathspey The Miller o Hirn and a reel The Auld Wheel.

[Fiddle Music; applause]

[RS] With him he's got Doug Mathew and Fiona Aitken now they're there quietly taking recording there, and eh hopefully, some of the recordings will appear, some will appear on Shepherd's Fancy next Tuesday night. But the point I wis gonna make, wis not so much the recording their taking, but I've been a great devotee of the whole area whither it be the ???, the music, disna matter which instrument. It's a' tied in; we're of the North East we ken how we're built. An there's a lad gonna tell me of the time that Hector and him stayed in the same Fyvie, now Fyvie when Hector wis there, sixty years ago perhaps, look at the environment, what happened in Fyvie when Hector and Hugh were loons.

[RS] Hugh Taylor, come in Hugh. [Applause] He tells me he's a young loon; he's aboot eichty. Whit ye admitting till?

[Hugh Taylor] Eichty five.

[RS] He's admitting tae eighty five, but he says, [applause] anither skelp o Brylcreme on his hair he wid pass fur sixty-two, he said. [Laughter] Hugh, come on, tell us something aboot this Fyvie o your earlier days, man.

[HT] The eh, deein the Fyvie bit first, well eh

[RS] Well up tae you sir.

[HT] Aye, the, I was well aquant wi Hector MacAndrew and his father, I knew them very well. I've been in the bothies many a time an a' through the ???. An eh they gave a lot o pleasure tae thousands and thousands o people during the years that they lived, and eh it wis really a pleasure tae listen tae their fiddling. And not only that, the great love that they had for flowers and everything. There wis two different chaps that I'm going to mention. I wis on the phone with one on Sunday, eh, that wis, eh, Bob Anderson at Forres. The training tae got under the MacAndrews, it wis really great. He became head gardener at an estate up in Forres, and eh, I wis on the phone wi him on Sunday and he said it'd been really a pleasure tae come along here tonight. And the next one is Kenneth Mackenzie; he did his training at Fyvie castle. He wis married tae a cousin o mine. He died a few years ago an he become head gardener at an estate down in, in Dunfermline. An it wis a' due to the training they got through the MacAndrews at Fyvie castle. Twas really a pleasure tae meet the MacAndrews, because I knew them very well. Been through the hothouses and everything; it wis really a pleasure tae see a' thon place yonder, so with that I suppose we'll hae tae get on tae the rest o wir story. [Laughs]
This is eh my first visit to Aden Park the, it's quite a number of years ago, an the caretaker and another lady wis trying to get a' the Scotch words oot o me, but, eh, of course, eh, I knew a' the different things ??? spades an a' the different things, but this is made up after I left my, a certain chap there aboot who wis visitin Aden.

The day wis baith dull an cauld,
If the sun wis sweir tae shine,
When steppin doon through the close,
Came a man fae lang lang syne.

He didna stop tae speir a lot,
It guid richt in till he's stride,
Tae tell's aboot lang ago,
And far he used tae bide.

He telt's aboot his grandfather,
An ??? further back,
When Cumberland's troops come through the toon,
The hens wis jist ???.

As a loon he rose at the scraik a day,
Tae tak his turn at the farm,
A bowl o brose an a jeely piece,
An aff tae the schuil he ran.

On he guid wi a great lang spiel,
Aboot ???,
And fu he travellt fae Fogieloan,
Tae be able tae see Gight games.

He set oot aboot as darkness fell,
He wis newsin till's a' the time,
Wi said haste ye back Hugh,
Wisht they wis mair o you wi yir news o lang lang syne.

[HT] This is eh, this is eh, stories aboot ministers, of course ye've tae take in the ministers as well as abudy else. This wis a minister, his text wis to be on the dove. Well the budy he wis supposed to be up on the rafters, an ??? tae pit in a white dove. The minister he announced his text, "And the dove descended from heaven."      Nothing happened, eh he announced it a second time, "And the dove descended from heaven." Third time, "the dove descended from heaven." [The man] put his heid inta the hole. He says, "the black cat's etten the fite doo though in the back ??? [laughter].
There wis anither een, anither een, anither een. He wis awfa keen on a certain minister getting this vacancy an so, there wis jist the two o them an so this minister particular minister got the vacancy. He said wis it ma sermon? Na na, man, he said, yon ither een wis a little mannie, he says, and you and me's aboot size and your auld claes wid fitted me best. [Laughter]
     So, an, there wis, this wis awa back lang ago when ye wis getting drams in the back shop, and this wis ootside Fyvie jist, and eh this wis a fella that went in and the vet wis in afore him, and an eh ye'd tae mak different excuses and the vet wis needin a bit rope. An he…says ye'll have to come through and see what length of rope yer wantin. Oh well, through he gaed and back he comes an, Come away then George, he says tae this ither een, what are e wintin. Oh, he says, oh I'll take a daud e the tow that the fairrier got. [Laughter]
     So eh there wis anither occasion, they were asking aboot words, eh when I wis wi Macintosh o Forgue in 1927 an on the Forgue express, the steam wagon (there wis three steam wagons). Ae particular day, one o the drivers, on a Friday night, he landed at the pub at Rothie an he didna hameower or the next morning, an the briggers got on til him whit the deuce he wis deein at he wisna hame. Oh, the boy says, ye perlagit me (at's the word perlagit me) last Saturday and this Saturday, but ye winna dee it anither Saturday, he laughs he wis ??? that he perlagit.
     Here's anither one, ootside Fyvie there that I knew very well, an eh, he wis running drunk one day, ye see, and somebody come on him an said somethin till him. He says the Lord spake unto Moses. Says, what did he say? Take up thy bed and walk, he says, what the devil way can a drunken man take up his bed and walk [laughter]. There's nothing much more that I can add folks….

[RS] There's an awfa lot mair you can add, my mannie, a lot mair you can add, because a man eighty-five there and I would, I would dashed near, you'd be the first body I would apologise to thenicht, ye see, because you were determined ye only got five minutes and ye gonna push it through as quick as ye could, but ye're nae. I'll spik tae ye a whilie langer, Hugh Taylor, Hugh Taylor. Well done, eighty-five [applause] cause I happen tae know, having spoken to you tonight, that Charlie Taylor, that did an awfa lot o work for the Aberdeen and Strathspey and Reel Society, wis yer brother.

[HT] Yes, that's my youngest brither.

[RS] Yes, and did you play the fiddle yersel?

[HT] No, I played an aul fashioned melodeon.

[RS] Were ye good?

[HT] Well, eh ach at meal an ales and things o that kind.

[RS] Good enough tae get by.

[HT] Aye, aye.

[RS] I would have thought, aye, but ye mentioned there, come in aboot beside me, come on inboot, ye mentioned there Macintosh o Forgue jist now because there's some o young folk I mean we're baith in wir eighties .

[HT] Aye, aye, aye.

[RS] Macintosh o Forgue in one day, I've seen, I've haen books handed in to me in the last year two years published by Macintosh o Forgue. It's so much of an institution, that ye've got these local books an it says eh Macintosh o Forgue published it. Now whit did Macintosh sell or fa wis this mannie Macintosh?

[HT] Macintosh the brigger, eh at Forgue, he dealt amon binders, a' blinkin things. Ye get, an eh the trouble wi him wis, ye gaed awa in the morning nine[?] the clock e mornin and ye wis lucky if got hame three o' clock e mornin, a poun the week and yer maet [laughter]. And ye got nae extra recompense, only time that ye got, that ye landed better wis if ye wis awa fae hame mair than one day, ye maybe got yer denner fae somebudy, and ye pit it a' in yer book, ye see, ye made a shilling or twa at wey, but [laughter].
He one thing aboot Macintosh, no, out at the shire, he knew where everything was and he could ging in ask fur something and he could get anything. There wis one case that I know fae eh, somebudy who wis needin eh particular wheels at the time at I wis there, and this fella oh I jist hiv the very ??? wheels but they were on a hearse an this boy widna hae them. An syne ??? got him oot aboot; he the ??? got the wheels aff an repainted em an selt the mannie the wheels aff the hearse [laughter].

[RS] laughing, I've heard it said in my young which is jist aboot the some, oh no I'm very very far awa fae you, in my young day that Macintosh used tae [hae] athing fae a needle til an anchor

[HT] Aye.

[RS] Wis that true?

[HT] Aye twas true.

[RS] Mean whit did he nae sell, or whit did he sell?

[HT] He some eence sought an anchor, and he hid the anchor; he got een fae a ship fae some o the boats and he'd an anchor at nicht [laughter].

[RS] That night?

[HT] Aye, an I'll tell ye anither een, now there wis a fella went one day tae buy a dog.

[RS] Carry on.

[HT] Aye a dog, an a dog that's nae trained, it won't go round the sheep; it'll go right up the centre. And the Macintosh says tae the dog tae bide. The dog jist gaed richt up the centre, and the sheep flew aff [laughs]. An then the boy gaed awa, thocht the dog kent fine, wi nae being a' trained, that that's the first thing it would dee, and so when he left, he said, at dogs niver seen a sheep but he's seen een noo. [laughter; applause]

[RS] Hugh Taylor, thank you very much. Well the dog maybe hisna seen ony sheep but ye've seen a character, and at's one noo, Hugh Taylor, well done. [laughter; applause]

[RS] The Buchan Heritage Society are delighted at the response, the folks that wanted to pay tribute tae Hector MacAndrew and eh, I know in my early association wi Hector and my early association wi the Borland family of Inverness, how much they appreciated the advice they got. An I think o the three sons now, when they were competing. One of the sons has gone on to do great things in folk groups, but still retaining that traditional atmosphere through his playing, and he's travelled all the way up from Edinburgh tonight just so he could take part in paying tribute as his thank you to the advice he got from Hector, eh on piano is my wife Esma Shepherd. [applause]
     But all the way up from Edinburgh to play for ye the set starting off with Donald Maclean's Farewell tae Oban, Earl Grey and Waverley Ball, will you please welcome Gregor Borland. [tuning up]
Often wonder how that hair dos wid go wi Hielan dress but I ken now. I'm only jealous I've nae hair. Once again Gregor Borland.

[fiddle Music; applause]

[GB] I'd like to play is, a ??? an a Strathspey and Reel, the ??? I composed myself. Its called Mr and Mrs E H R Borland, eh the Strathspey is called Maggie Cameron and the Reel is ??? Castle.

[fiddle Music; applause]

[RS] Smashing there, and if anybody tells me aboot the youngsters playing now, just cos Gregor's got a better haircut than me, that eh they spik aboot the youngsters playing now, what they're doing, ye've got to take the groups that Gregor's playing in and groups like Capercaillie. They keep the traditional, [but] at the same time they do their own thing and probably widen it out a wee bit and that was tremendous playing there from Gregor Borland. Greg, thank you, Gregor, for coming. We've got less examples o people that's willing to experiment, eh, in the years bridging if ye like the folk music and the traditional Scottish music. We have one, he was born in 1873 I think and he's still living, he coming on tae play for you jist now, because that's the introduction that I'm sure Hector would like me tae give for this next artist, an I dinna mean the piana player cos that happens tae be ma wife again, Esma, you come back for a start please, thank you.


[RS] A'm nae spikin' aboot you, no [Applause], I happen tae be spikin' aboot the mannie, and I say the mannie we've hid mony a tune together in ceilidhs wi Hector and this next artist and me. But again through the Dickie family…. Jim Dickie [is] ninety-three years old I think, when the last time that we saw him before he died. An Jim Dickie used tae say that his brother John, wis eh [that] Alec Green wis the nearest tae brother John that he hid heard. Now, that is praise indeed I'm sure you'll agree with the expertise within the Dickie family. So here is brother John's prototype, if ye like, to play the tin whistle for you right now. Starting off with tunes of Pipe Major John Stewart followed by John D. Burgess and efter that he's going tell ye, and he telt me tae shift at mikes boys.… He can please himsel. Come on an play for ye now, on tin whistle, Alec Green.


[Alec Green] Twas ower far awa fae the piana ye see.

[RS] Aye.

[tin whistle; applause]


[AG] Hello, and thank you, can you hear me at the back? Almost, well I'd like to play some slow airs, eh, perhaps simpler slow airs than have been played on the fiddles or violins, jist, I would like to play The Cradle Song and the Flower of the Quern both by Skinner and finish up with a Hornpipe the name of which escapes me at the moment.

[tin whistle; applause]


[AG] thank you again very much an I'd just like to finish with em a traditional Scottish music set a march Strathspey and Reel. A simple march, it's played every year at Ballater games for the march on, its called The Invercauld March, the Strathspey, The Rose Amongst the Heather and the reel Sir David Davidson of Carntrae.

[tin whistle; applause]

[RS] Alec, thank you to you Alec, eh, I only gave ye that vicious introduction cause I've known him for years now, an he shifted ma mikes, at's why I did it, and I'll take it back across here now [laughs] but eh, he's the one lad that eh, I mean, been a pal o mine fur years, but a think I should say he's the one lad that bridges the piping, fiddling and accordion world, eh there's no spans with Alec, he he takes the moo o the pipe or he takes the moo o the fiddling, a tremendous artist in his own field: Alec Green. Once again for Alec Green.


[RS] Times wearing on but not before we give you these traits of tradition once again, I introduced earlier in the programme Alistair Hardie and that fine line of the Hardie fiddlers. I'm delighted to welcome along with Alistair now, his dad, now left Aberdeen but now down tae Edinburgh, determined to come up to be part of the Hector MacAndrew memorial concert. Bill Hardie.


[RS] And once again Alistair Hardie.

[Bill Hardie] ??? fit this.

[RS] I'll let them settle down, their sitting down, Mary is at the piano and let the two o them sit doon there and I'll tak this thing doon a wee bittie if I can, if I canna, I canna an I'll curse a' the time. I'm deeing my best ye ken but nothin happening here, ach it'll no matter I'll pit it doon here beside him right up here and then we'll have after the first selection a solo from Alistair himself, but we are delighted to welcome back a great friend of the Buchan Heritage Society, this mannie. He's got a bit o fungus in his hair noo, [laughter]; at's whit happens tae aul seventy-eights, you know, the aul seventy-eights they get that sorta green bit, no at's grey bits there…. Bill and Alistair starting off their first set for us and that'll be Macpherson's Lament followed by the Keelrow and The Flowers o Edinburgh with Mary Milne on piano. Father and son, Bill and Alistair Hardie. [Applause]

[Fiddle music; applause]

[RS] Once again we have this common link as I shift the mike up a wee bit, cause Alistair's gonna stan up and give us a slow air just now, but that common link is to John Junor and starting off our show tonight mentioned that he recommended at the time, in the early fifties I think it was, two great fiddlers to show off of the North East Hector MacAndrew one and this gentlemen the other, Bill Hardie, once again for Bill.


[RS] Alistair's coming forward now, this time to give us a slow air, great Marshall tune Chapel Keithack.

[AH] Um this is a slow air that was a particular favourite with Hector and we would like to follow that jointly with a composition by Hector which he [made] for my grandfather; it's called John Hardie's strathspey. It obviously means a great deal to us to have a direct musical link with Hector. Then we will follow that with The Firth House Hornpipe. But first the William Marshall slow air.

[fiddle; applause]

[BH] thank you very much indeed ladies and gentlemen. Now, Alistair and I would like to conclude our contribution by playing two tunes which were composed by my late great old musical friend John Murdoch Henderson which he dedicated to Jimmy Dickie of New Deer. The first one is The Wonderful[?] Boy, James F. Dickie's Delight followed by James F. Dickie Reel, thank you.

[fiddle; applause]

[BH] Thank you very much.


The Diamond is a ship, me lads, for the Davis Strait she's bound,
And the quay it is all garnished with bonny lasses roun;
Captain Thompson gives the order to sail the ocean wide,
Where the sun it never sets, my lads, an darkness dims the skies.

And it's cheer up my lads, let your hearts never fail,
As the bonny ship, The Diamond, goes a-fishing for the whale.

Along the quay at Peterhead, the lasses stand around,
With their shawls all pulled about their heads and the salt tears running down
Well don't you weep, my bonny lass, though you'll be left behind,
For the rose will grow on Greenland's ice before we change our mind.

And it's cheer up my lads, let your hearts never fail,
As the bonny ship, The Diamond, goes a-fishing for the whale.

Well it'll be bright both day and night when the Greenland lads come hame,
With a ship that's full of oil, me boys, and money to our name;
They'll make cradles for to rock and the blankets for to tear,
And every lass in Peterhead sings "Hushabye, my dear."

And it's cheer up my lads, let your hearts never fail,
As the bonny ship, The Diamond, goes a-fishing for the whale.

Here's health to the Resolution, likewise the Eliza Swan,
Here's health to the Battler o Montrose and The Diamond, ship of fame;
We'll wear the trousers o the white and the jackets o the blue,
When we return to Peterhead, we'll hae sweethearts eneuch.

And it's cheer up my lads, let your hearts never fail,
As the bonny ship, The Diamond, goes a-fishing for the whale.

And it's cheer up my lads, let your hearts never fail,
As the bonny ship, The Diamond, goes a-fishing for the whale.

[RS] Thank you very much indeed,

[ME] Right well I don't really think we should get through this night without singing the Bonny Lass o Fyvie-o

There was a troop o Irish Dragoons
Came marchin down through Fyvie -o,
Oor captain's fall'n in love wi a bonnie, bonnie lass,
They called her the bonnie lass o Fyvie-o.

There's mony a bonnie lass in the Howe o Auchterless,
There's mony a bonnie lass in the Garioch-o,
There's mony a bonnie Jean in the toon o Aiberdeen,
But the flooer o them lies in Fyvie-o.

Well come doon the stair, pretty Peggy, my dear
Well come doon the stair, pretty Peggy -o,
Well come doon the stair, comb back your yellow hair,
Take a last farewell o yer Daddy-o.

There's mony a bonnie lass in the Howe o Auchterless,
There's mony a bonnie lass in the Garioch-o,
There's mony a bonnie Jean in the toon o Aiberdeen,
But the flooer o them lies in Fyvie-o.

The colonel cried, mount, boys mount,
Tarry says oor captain, oh tarry-o,
Oh tarry for a while, for another day or twa,
Till I see if this bonnie lass will marry-o.

An as we passed ower the bonnie braes o Gight,
The band played The Lowlands of Fyvie-o

And lang ere we got tae Old Meldrum toon ,
We had oor captain tae carry-o,
An by the time we got tae bonnie Aiberdeen,
We had oor captain tae bury-o.

Well green grow the birks upon bonnie Ythanside,
An low lies the lowlands o Fyvie-o,
Our captain's name was Ned an he died for a maid,
He died for the bonnie lass a Fyvie-o.

There's mony a bonnie lass in the Howe o Auchterless,
There's mony a bonnie lass in the Garioch-o,
There's mony a bonnie Jean in the toon o Aiberdeen,
But the flooer o them lies in Fyvie-o.

[ME] Once more.

There's mony a bonnie lass in the Howe o Auchterless,
There's mony a bonnie lass in the Garioch-o,
There's mony a bonnie Jean in the toon o Aiberdeen,
But the flooer o them lies in Fyvie-o.


[ME] Thank you very much indeed thank you.

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