Walking my way over the snow covered mountains here in Saarland this morning with my dog I got to thinking about your suggestion of suitable tales of Panmure.
This story goes back to the late, hungry '40s, but was related to me by the two involved parties only in the early '90s.
I had returned from overseas after some years and drove up to Carnoustie to visit old friends and sample the Station Hotel (Carnoustie) beer. On the list of people to visit were two old acquaintances, both by then in their very late 80s or early 90s. These were Mr. Braithwaite, the long retired head-keeper of the Panmure Estate & Ned Soutar (spelling?) who was the dry-stone dyke builder for the estate. Ned, who was originally based in Newbigging (village, south of Monikie) had, after the death of his wife, moved to Wellbank (west of Monikie) to live with his daughter, while Mr. Braithwaite had, despite suggestions from his son and daughter to live with them, had moved into an old folks' home situated to the north of Kirriemuir, (in Angus).
When I finally caught up with Ned he'd aged tremendously from the spry 85-year-old who'd taken my shotgun from me when we were shooting pigeons one evening in the wood overlooking Newbigging. He told me "this is how you do it lad" bang! bang! - two pigeons in the air both dead. He really was at that time, in a remarkable condition - more akin to being 58 years rather than the reverse.
Well, I found Ned sitting in a low chair in the kitchen with his new
Springer spaniel bitch lying under it - the dog was named Cora, which in itself was interesting as I also had a
Springer bitch with the same name.
Years ago he'd been building a dyke when he came upon a pheasant,
squatting just beside his hand. The temptation was too much, the bird was grabbed
and it's neck rung. Then, to his horror, he spotted the head-keeper lower down the field, walking up towards him! What
was he to do? He then noticed a large puddle beside him and put the bird in the puddle, placing a large flat stone over it.
Both men died within a few days of my seeing them.
As I was once again overseas, unfortunately, I missed both funerals. However I have it on record from both Bill
Braithwaite (son and the then head keeper (Jim??) of Panmure Estate) that, as the coffin of
Mr. Braithwaite was lowered into the grave, a cock pheasant launched itself from the corner of the graveyard
and flew right over the grave cock-cocking all the way.
More information about the Panmure Estate and its history, together with information about some notable buildings on the Estate, photographs, etc. can be seen above and elsewhere on this site, Panmure 1, Panmure 2, Panmure 3, Panmure 4, Panmure 5 Panmure 6, Panmure 7, Panmure 8 and Panmure 9.
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