Monday, March 19, 2007

Nae Langer Tae Lie Hodden In a Pauper's Grave

Peter Milne - Fiddler
Originally uploaded by fitaloon.
Taken from the Press and Journal on the 17th March 2007

Riches denied, thy boon was purer joys What wealth could never give nor take

Inscription on Monument to Peter Milne

AS A LAD that lo'es the traditional fiddle music o wir ain country an specially fae oor North-East neuk, I hae dauchl't in reverence eence or twice at the monument tae Scott Skinner (1843-1927) in Allenvale Cemetery and the een tae Peter Milne (1824-1908) oot in Tarland bearin the inscription as abeen.

Dash't tho, I wis nivver sae touch't as at the unveilin at Nellfield Cemetery on Sunday efterneen, o a granite heidsteen tae Milne, dubbit in's day, the Tarland Minstrel.

That the Lord Lieutenant o Aiberdeenshire saw fit tae be there made it aa the mair impressive bit fin young Eilidh Anderson, aa spruc't up in her clan tartan kilt, gaed forrit tae lay a posy in front o the heidsteen, it got till's - maist o ye wid o seen the photo in Monday's P &J.

Eilidh is the niece o the lad that bears the accolade o the modern day "Tarland Minstrel", Paul Anderson, an it wis aa throwe him that at last Milne wis nae langer tae lie hodden in a pauper's grave.

PAUL, jist noo, a research Fellow at Elphinstone Institute cwidna lat things abee as his myn wis set tae find far Peter Milne wis beerit haein deet in the Aiberdeen Peerhoose an dumptit wi ithers somewye in the toon.

The ootcome wis that Paul's researchin pyntit tae es spot in Nellfield cemetery and raisin siller throwe concerts an donations wis able tae mark, in a fittin wye, the contribution Peter Milne made tae oor music.

Ere's links wi the self-styl't Strathspey King, James Scott Skinner, fa started oot as an aucht-eer-aal playin in Milne's band at dances roon aboot Don an Dee.

Skinner wis tae reca in articles for the People's Journal those days o yore far the barns the dances were held in hid earthen fleers, plunks laid on tap o secks o corn wis the seatin an myn transport wis shank's meer or the bike.

Aboot fower in the mornin, they aa made for hame an Skinner wis tae write 'I often wonder how I, a boy of eight or nine years, survived the physical strain and the loss of sleep . . . it was nothing for Peter and me to trudge eight or 10 weary miles on a slushy wet night in order to fulfil a barn engagement'.

Weel they were tae gyang their ain roadies an Scott Skinner's career his been weel documentit bit lang overdue his been the acknowledgement o the debt we owe tae Peter Milne for pittin his mark on oor unique fiddle music, describit as 'perhaps the very best interpreter of Highland Strathspey Deeside could ever boast till the after days of the vastly popular Scott Skinner'.

Foo than did sic a talent fa on hard times? Weel apparently Milne wis said tae tak tae opium as a cure for rheumatism fin workin doon in Manchester an syne a daft caper in a pub fin somebody ruggit a cheer fae oot aneth him cripl't him, spennin the hinmaist ten eer o's life in hospital.

HE DIDNA write aa that mony tunes bit the eens he did were toppers. Een that comes tae myn is 'John McNeil's Reel', composed for a celebratit heilan dancer an still play't ower an ower the day, a tune that fun its wye ower the Atlantic far the French Canadians claim't it as their ain, bit they jist ca'd it 'Big John'.

Ay, nae only dae we owe a debt tae Peter Milne bit tae Paul Anderson for the valuable darg an gran tae see the name Elphinstone Institute on the gravesteen at Nellfield.

Noo fae greats o the past, lat's get richt up tae date wi the news es wikk o twa freens o mine that hae made their mark in their ain lifetime an for that, richtly honourit in their ain circles.

First, congratulations tae that gentle giant o the hivvywechts o the Heilan Games scene, Bill Anderson, on bein inductit inta the Scottish Sports Hall o Fame anent sic like as Ally McCoist an Yvonne Murray.

WELL deserv't and acknowledgin the Heilan Games scene at last - toorist billies tak note.

Syne there wis Jim McColl bein recognis't at the Royal Television Society Awards as bein best Nations an Regions presenter, es efter the eident darg ower 30 eers in front o the cameras.

That they be MBE's afore jist rubber-stamps their achievments athoot ony cash-for-honours capers.

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