Family get togethers: Kinship matters
‘As a family owned, and run, castle we are used to entertaining large family gatherings of between 10 —100 people! Sir Stuart’s House down by our lake and sleeping 14 people is often hired by people celebrating Grandma’s (or Grandpa’s) birthday so that they can have all their grandchildren together under the same roof. More ambitiously larger family get togethers hire all Fingask for a week-end of informal entertainments and renewal of family ties. Cousins hardly knowing each other, their children and sometimes grandchildren can gather informally and without pressure for a week-end.
Because the whole estate can sleep 70 people in different buildings, which are walking distance apart, the week-end can be without the pressure and stress of gathering in one building.
The usual form of such a week-end would be a buffet supper on the first (usually Friday) evening, together with a relaxed reeling lesson for children (we can arrange a good teacher). The next day can be spent exploring this rather magic place, possibly followed by an informal family football match, teams divided by wearing yellow, or blue balloons tied to wrists. Numbers on each side can vary from 5 to 30. (Grannies often choose to play goalie, while small children volunteer to play centre forward. Young men sternly told not to run over the tiddlies. Football can be followed by a picnic lunch, possibly down by St Peter’s Well, a mediaeval pilgrims site in our dell. Some families choose to hire busses to explore local sites.
Saturday can be finished with a smart dinner, often with Burn’s night food of haggis, nips and sweeds, followed by raspberries and ice cream, and then the chance to show off reeling skills learned the night before. The great thing about reeling is that everybody gets to dance with everybody, granny with grandsons, fathers and babies, and shy young people dancing with each other, quickly loosing their modesty with the excitement of turning, or being turned by each other. Sunday can be an as you like it day. Some families go on mass to a local church – giving them warning beforehand – to celebrate, and give thanks, for the kinship of extended families.