A little local trouble

A weekly round-up of rural rumpuses

A Church of Scotland minister got into trouble this week for distributing cups of tea. The Rev Jim Benson is minister of Balquidder, Perthshire, which happens to be both picturesque and the home of Rob Roy's grave. The village has been inundated with tourists since the film Rob Roy was released earlier this year, and the minister has been kind enough to give them free cups of tea in the churchyard. However, the village's two tea shop owners are not happy that money that would have come to them is instead disappearing into the church's collection boxes. One of the owners, Daphne Gompertz, said: "We've been hit really badly. There's no doubt the Rev Benson is cashing in on the success of the film to our detriment."

However, the minister defended his refreshments in a letter to the village magazine: "The church exists to offer the love of God to people who are not its members. This lies behind all we attempt to do in worship, music, art and in refreshment offered to the traveller." He and his wife plan to continue the teas until October.

News of a sad freak accident, also in Scotland. At the Lairg Crofter's Show in Sutherland last Saturday, a terrier, Beenie, got in the way of a caber. Eileen MacKay, secretary of the show and the dog's co-owner, said: "The competitor tossed the caber and unfortunately it did not go the right way. Everyone scattered immediately. Beenie had been running about. We called her but she never heard and it landed right on top of her." The local vet was called but, sadly, Beenie had broken her neck. "It was a tragic end to a great day," said Mrs MacKay.

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