Today, my stats show that The Hazel Tree has reached 100,000 views.   What a fantastic total!   What this means to me is that this blog is being read and enjoyed regularly, attracting new visitors, and giving lots of pleasure and interest to thousands of people.  That is something I never thought I would be able to say!

Skipness CastleOne of my first posts was about Skipness Castle in Kintyre

I would never have dreamed, when I started off in July 2011, that I would get so involved with it, find so many new friends, and have such a ball.   Doing this has transformed my confidence, and shown me quite clearly where my interests and passions lie.  I still have a hard job trying to describe exactly what I do write about.  “History, geology, wildlife and one incredibly nosy little cat” – either you’re going to think I’m crazy, or you’re going to take a look!

If you are one of my friends and followers – and if you’re reading this, I’m sure you are! – this is a very big ‘thank you’, for liking, commenting and sharing my posts so regularly, and for helping The Hazel Tree to flourish.  I’ve had so many nice comments, both here and on Twitter and Facebook.  Thank you, because they mean a lot!

Glen DochartGlen Dochart

I was delighted to be contacted last month by a lady called Maggie McNab who is compiling a history of the McNab clan in Australia;  she had come across my post about the McNab graveyard in Glen Dochart purely by chance.  A couple of weeks later, I had an email from another lady, Moira Goodman, whose McKinlay ancestors are buried in that beautiful little graveyard of St Bride’s, near Callander, which I wrote about recently.   Mrs Goodman was kind enough to send me a photo of the same graveyard, taken in 1910, and I have updated that post with the new image.   How wonderful, to have such a lovely place in your family’s heritage.  I was absolutely thrilled to hear from her.

Callander graveyard (1)St Bride’s in September 2014

St Bride's in 1910, courtesy of Mrs M GoodmanSt Bride’s in 1910, courtesy of Mrs M Goodman

And there have been lots more people who have written to me over the last few years, saying that they have a family connection with Kintyre, or Islay, or Lismore, or Skye… and they have been able to find out more, through The Hazel Tree.  This is a blessing that I never foresaw at all!  If you have a link with any of the places that I write about, I would love to hear from you.

As for Purdey, she now has the worldwide following of a true celebrity, which is why she’s asleep on my office chair and I’m making do on any old chair that I can find.  I can truly say that stardom hasn’t gone to her head, because she already had all the aristocratic self-assurance of Downton Abbey’s Lady Grantham.  The Dowager Countess, I mean.

Purdey  11 (1)“Well, of course, these days, servants are very hard to find.”

I hope you’ll stay with me and Purdey for many years to come!