Wednesday 25 March 2020


This morning, I received a lovely email from Sean at the Scottish Banner. Here's what he had to say:

Dear Friends,

During this unprecedented time, we are very anxious of what is happening across the globe. With Scottish events being heavily impacted by postponements and cancellations worldwide, members of our Scottish community organisations cannot get out to attend and celebrate Scotland as we have all enjoyed in the past.

Please find attached the latest issue of the Scottish Banner which you are free to distribute to your membership,  which I hope may play a small role in helping to keep members feeling connected to Scotland in this time of social distancing.

If your group has any general news or is doing anything specifically during this extraordinary time, please share it with us so we can share with our readers and followers as now more than ever is the time the Scottish community needs to stand together and support one another. We host the world’s leading international Scottish events listing and our site is being updated daily, if your group has an event change please let us know so the wider Scottish community can keep up to date.

I look forward to when our community can get back to normal and celebrate our great culture, in the meantime the Scottish Banner stands ready in any way we can to assist and support Scottish community organisations both now and in the future.

Best wishes,

Sean has sent me links for you to download FOUR FREE ISSUES:



MARCH 2020

APRIL 2020

As their motto says, the Scottish Banner is "uniting Scots around the world" Perhaps more now than ever.  

*with thanks to the Scottish Banner team

Monday 16 March 2020


We are living in extraordinary times. Extraordinary. I don't alarm when it comes to disease. I read, I listen, I study. I have a well informed understanding of how viruses work. This one is working as it should, but the depth and breadth of it is unprecedented. It is being compared to the Spanish Flu and Polio in terms of the impact on a global level.

I am still not alarmed. But boy have I been sobered. Listening to and reading from an ICU doctor in Italy say he had to decide whose life was worth saving because there simply weren't enough resources to save everyone.

Reading and watching the UK government's plans to switch a car manufacturing plant over to making ventilators. And how they have asked hotels to be on standby to convert to hospitals should the need become overwhelming for existing hospitals.

Listening to people in Europe try desperately to get a flight back home. 48 hours on hold on the phone. Airlines not answering. Online being asked to pay in excess of $5000 for a one way trip that was direct and didn't go through any of the countries currently on lock down. People unsure they will get home and not sure where they are going to stay if they end up being quarantined because their vacation place can't renew.

I have made the very difficult and unprecedented decision to cancel both the Edinburgh and Orkney tours that were scheduled for May 2020. It is incumbent on me to ensure that other's don't need to risk their health and well being to go on a research tour. 

I hope that by September, we will be living in a state of new normal that will allow the September tours to carry on. 

Sunday 15 March 2020

Self Isolation Doesn't Need to Mean SOCIAL Isolation

We have been asked to stay in and to avoid gatherings. The size of the gatherings depends on the community in which we live. But self isolation doesn't need to mean social isolation. Many people who are retired are conscious of the need to stay active, to stay socially engaged in order to hold depression and even dementia at bay. Knowing we can't right now is heightening anxiety which then may lead to the very things we are trying to keep ahead of. 

I was scheduled for two conferences in April. My schedule has now been completely cleared thanks to cancellations. That, too, has provided me with a unique opportunity. I subscribe to GoToWebinar and have for a number of years. I have, in the past, on a case by case basis, partnered with societies to be the host of a webinar so that they can provide a virtual presentation without having to invest in a platform. This has also allowed them to have speakers for their groups or societies that they might not otherwise be able to afford. It is cheaper to pay the speaker fee  than to pay their fee, their travel, their accommodations, their meals etc. And that makes having them present much more affordable for societies. 

If you are a member of a society that is wondering about programming while we are all being asked to self isolate, I am offering the same to you. Free of charge from my end. You find the speaker and pay them. You, the speaker and I agree to a time. I set up the links and send out the registration information. And at the agreed on time, I run the webinar so that you and your society/group can watch the presentation of your speaker. 

I am also aware that some of you are members of societies where many in your group aren't very skilled with technology and will feel overwhelmed by this. I am also aware that it doesn't have to be that way, and I am open to giving a presentation to your society to help those members feel more comfortable with the web. I will, in an email, walk them through the registration process. Then during my presentation we will look at the free resources that are out there that can be accessed to keep their learning up, to help them fill the time and to help them feel a little less isolated. 

If you are interested in taking me up on either offer, please check my availability HERE then contact me to set things up. (Yes, I literally have the entire month open!)

ps: I am also available to BE the speaker. If you have an interest in having me be your presenter, check the calendar above, send me an email and we can work together to keep your members actively learning. Here are my current topics:

It's Time to Coorie In

We are living in extraordinary times. I am not going to debate the pros and cons of our request to self isolate. There's loads of that happening on social media. I am going to offer you an opportunity during our government’s request for us all to Coorie In.

This has been a year for the books and we are only in March. Unprecedented fires in Australia. Impeachment of a president. Nuclear disaster warning in Southern Ontario (falsely sent). The death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant. And now Coronavirus/Covid 19.

In decades to come, our descendants will wonder how we coped. How were we, personally, impacted?  Were we worried but the events?

Being Cooried In provides a perfect opportunity for us to write up our own story, to share our worries, fears, thoughts so that future generations will know first hand how we felt, how we coped during this extraordinary year. Take the guess work out of it and leave your story for your descendants by starting a journal. Look back on the recent events and put your thoughts to paper. You can do this. And now you have the time. Take it as a gift and seize the opportunity.

Sunday 1 March 2020

Can YOU be ready for May 2020?

I have had a very last minute cancellation for May 2020 (17th - 23). If YOU think you can be ready to head to Scotland to research your Scottish ancestors in 10 weeks, let me know! As with all openings, this one will go on a first come, first served basis.