Scary night at Rotary meeting – 30 October 2018
After the usual club preliminaries in came the pumpkins with their owners who, having cut, gouged, skewered and even sawn the soft skin in an attempt to produce a winning lantern, carefully laid their illuminated, artistic efforts on a table for judging. The proud entrants then stood back to allow the Savoy Park Duty Manager, Geoff Russell, to examine the exhibits and to decide to award first place to the black cat lantern. Douglas Haddows’ hand immediately shot skywards and beaming with delight at winning this annual pumpkin lantern competition he accepted, appropriately enough, the prize of a box of Black Magic chocolates.
Ayr Rotary member and nearby parish minister, Ian Stirling, then took centre stage to regale his audience with tales of spooks and witches. He began by telling his audience of an incident earlier in his ministry days when a woman requested he visit to exorcise a ghost from her home. This story led onto a roller-coaster of thought-provoking images and anecdotes including explanations of the Mexican “Day of the Dead” and Scottish cultural “Thin Time”, both meaning getting closer to your deceased loved ones. Then, showing photographs of Lewis’s Callanish Stones, Iona Abbey, and a Celtic cross, Ian challenged his audience’s belief systems by proposing that there can be a sense of unexplained power when encountering these iconic artefacts. Next, the existence of fairies and witches was examined through the prism of JM Barrie’s works, our very own Tam o’ Shanter’s encounters, and by testing his listeners’ recognition and understanding of Dunvegan Castle’s Fairy Flag. In conclusion, Ian reminded his interested audience of the 30-metre high Falkirk Kelpies; mythological beasts typically taking the form of a horse and reputed to delight in the drowning of travellers.
Douglas Haddow thanked Ian for his talk and hoped that the members would be able to sleep easily that night.