Girls threshing wheat

Girls threshing wheat

By Fergus Walker

Wednesday morning dawned bright and clear. Up to that point the weather had been very changeable, with heavy showers, but this day looked set to be a scorcher. We were glad to be out on the road again – the B&B fare was starting to take its toll a little! The fact that it’s so difficult to find good quality food when you’re on the road I suppose highlighted our task. Typical situation: you can easily get five different kinds of meat in a factory-made bun, but you’re on a mission if you want to find a single vegetable!

We were delighted therefore to be treated with some tasty sandwiches on our arrival in Keith. We were to be set up next to their new community garden, next to St Rufus church.  We had blazing hot sun all day, and we were joined by a beekeeper and his stall, Moray Community Food, who walked round offering free fruit to all, a vintage Ford bakery van, and a piper who stood at the end of the road and generally heralded in a pipery way. We had our usual set-up, and REAP ran several workshops, including how to save seeds, and building a herb spiral at the entrance of the garden.

Iain helps with winnowing

Iain helps with winnowing

We got a fair selection of seeds too, including parsnip, some broad beans grown for many years by Ann and Charlie Davidson, some purple peas (originally from the Heritage Seed Library) and some Pak Choi seeds. Now I have heard of people having trouble with Pak Choi bolting, but on asking I was advised that as long as you sow it after midsummer, you’re OK.

The evening ceilidh was a really top class bill of entertainment, with some highly talented youngsters from the surrounding area – and some of them only knee high! There was music on fiddle, box, clarsach, piano, some beautiful singing, some hilarious ditties, some really nice arrangements.

The Seed Truck crew presented the Seed Kist, and Marie Louise told a great story of three daughters each of who are given a grain of corn, and how the eldest two store theirs carefully away while the youngest grows a field of wheat. Stories and seeds are just the same you see – you have to nurture them and send them out into the world to take root, not keep them to yourself.

There was also a film showing of vintage footage of the 1951 Keith Show, and teas and cakes provided by the boy scouts. It was a moving evening, with so much talent, and some people were moved to tears. We left safe in the knowledge that the musical future of Keith is in good hands.


Keith Ceilidh - Marie Louise tells how seeds and stories need nurturing

Keith Ceilidh – Marie Louise tells how seeds and stories need nurturing