Sunday, April 02, 2017


No Sunday

Graham Harvey, The Forgiveness of Nature: The Story of Grass (2001; rpt. New York: Vintage, 2002), pp. 154-155, with note on p. 344 (my additions and corrections in square brackets):
But for most it was a happy time, this season passed in the fresh, mountain air far from the squalid and sometimes disease-ridden conditions of the 'township'. For all the hard work it was a sort of holiday, an escape from the routine and the humdrum, a taste of freedom and self-reliance amid scenery of immense grandeur. For some it was a release from the constraint of organised religion. In the shielings of Finglen in the central Scottish Highlands, a woman voiced her own delight at being far from the sermons and catechising of the minister: 'Fionna Ghleann mo chridhe, far nach bitheadh Didomhnaich' — Finglen of my heart, where there would be no Sunday.16

16 Duncan Campbell, 'Highland Shielings [Sheilings in original] in the Olden Time', Transactions of the Inverness Scientific [Society] and Field Club, [Vol. V,] 1895-9, p. 87 [mistake for p. 69].
Parish ministers looked after the sheiling population, and by field preachings at convenient stations afforded opportunities for general gatherings of the flitted and those left behind. But in the opinion of an old Chesthill wife, who could not say her catechism questions, and was bothered with sermons, the glory of Finglen in the forest was that it was outside the religious pale. Her hail to it was—"Fionna Glileann mo chridhe far nach bitheadh Di-domhnaich," "Finglen of my heart, where there would be no Sunday." She was apparently alone in her hearty heathenism, but although the religious influence was predominant it placed no bar on dancing, songs, tales of other days, or innocent amusement of every kind.

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