Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #10

Here are this week's Friday Fun Facts about Diana Gabaldon's books. This is a collection of some of my favorite items from previous FFF posts. In honor of the OUTLANDER TV series, this week's collection includes items from OUTLANDER only. I hope you enjoy them!

4) This photo shows what a Scottish wildcat (Felis silvestris grampia) looks like.
"Lord help us, it’s the young Scottish wildcat! I thought I’d dealt with you once and for all! Back healed after all, did it? And this is your wife, you say? Quite a tasty little wench, she is, quite like your sister.”

Still shielded by his partly turned body, Randall’s knife-hand swiveled; the blade was now pointed at my throat. I could see Jamie over his shoulder, braced in the window like a cat about to spring. The pistol barrel didn’t waver, nor did he change expression. The only clue to his emotions was the dusky red creeping up his throat; his collar was unbuttoned and the small scar on his neck flamed crimson.

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 21, "Une Mauvais Quart D'Heure After Another". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.)

Here's a brief video about Scottish wildcats.  These beautiful animals are on the verge of extinction, due to interbreeding with feral domestic cats.

From Wikipedia:
The wildcat is considered an icon of the Scottish wilderness, and has been used in clan heraldry since the 13th century. The Picts venerated wildcats, having probably named Caithness (Land of the Cats) after them. According to the foundation myth of the Catti tribe, their ancestors were attacked by wildcats upon landing in Scotland. Their ferocity impressed the Catti so much, that the wildcat became their symbol. A thousand years later, the progenitors of Clan Sutherland, equally impressed, adopted the wildcat on their family crest.
Several different clans, including Sutherland, MacPherson, and Mackintosh, have wildcats in their emblems.

2) Remember the injury Jamie suffered just before Claire met him for the first time? Here's an X-ray image from Wikipedia where you can clearly see that the shoulder joint has come out of the socket.
"You have to get the bone of the upper arm at the proper angle before it will slip back into its joint,” I said, grunting as I pulled the wrist up and the elbow in. The young man was sizable; his arm was heavy as lead.

“This is the worst part,” I warned the patient. I cupped the elbow, ready to whip it upward and in.

His mouth twitched, not quite a smile. “It canna hurt much worse than it does. Get on wi’ it.” Sweat was popping out on my own face by now. Resetting a shoulder joint is hard work at the best of times. Done on a large man who had gone hours since the dislocation, his muscles now swollen and pulling on the joint, the job was taking all the strength I had. The fire was dangerously close; I hoped we wouldn’t both topple in, if the joint went back with a jerk.

Suddenly the shoulder gave a soft crunching pop! and the joint was back in place. The patient looked amazed. He put an unbelieving hand up to explore.

“It doesna hurt anymore!” A broad grin of delighted relief spread across his face, and the men broke out in exclamations and applause.

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 3, "The Man in the Wood". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

The diagram above shows the difference between a normal and a dislocated shoulder.  Click on the picture for a bigger view.

This video demonstrates several different methods of treating a dislocated shoulder when you can't get to a hospital.  I believe what Claire used was the third method shown.

3) Sporrans come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. This is a Jacobite sporran, circa 1745, made of leather and brass. (Photos by

Jamie picked up his sporran and began tucking in the loose bits of things that had come out when he pulled out the pearls. Finding a tangled length of fishing line, he upended the bag over the bed, dumping everything in a pile. He began to sort through it, painstakingly winding up the bits of line and string, finding loose fish hooks and firmly re-imbedding them in the piece of cork where they normally rested.

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 31, "Quarter Day". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

This is a badger-skin sporran, used by the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders regiment during the First World War.

Here's an article about a 2009 law banning the use of sealskin sporrans in the European Union. For more about sporrans, look here and here.

Leather Tawse

2) Remember Jamie telling Claire about his being beaten with a tawse when he was a schoolboy?

"I didna like being beaten at all, of course, but if I had a choice, I’d rather my Da than the schoolmaster. We’d mostly get it across the palm of the hand with a tawse, in the schoolhouse, instead of on the backside. Father said if he whipped me on the hand, I’d not be able to do any work, whereas if he whipped my arse, I’d at least not be tempted to sit down and be idle."

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 22, "Reckonings". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Millport Primary School Tawse

The photos above show what a tawse looks like. Top: tawse from the Seafield Residential School, Ardrossan, Scotland. Bottom: late-19th century tawse used at Millport Primary School.  Both of these straps were donated to museums in Scotland. (Photo credits: North Ayrshire Council, on Flickr.)

The Lochgelly tawse was widely used in Scottish schools for about 100 years, until corporal punishment was banned in the 1980s.

5) I always have to smile at this bit from OUTLANDER, because Jamie's too happy (and too obviously in love <g>) to be self-conscious about his singing voice.
He patted one of my rounder bulges and left for the stables, singing rather loudly the air from “Up Among the Heather.” The refrain floated back from the stairwell:
“Sittin’ wi’ a wee girl, holdin’ on my knee--
When a bumblebee stung me, weel above the kneeeee--
Up among the heather, at the head o’ Bendikee!”
He was right, I decided; he didn’t have any ear for music.

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 24, "By the Pricking of My Thumbs". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
If you click on the video above, you'll hear an audio recording of the Irish Rovers performing "Up Among the Heather". The lyrics to the Irish Rovers version are a little different from Jamie's, but it's recognizably the same song.

I hope you enjoyed this 10th installment of the Best of the Friday Fun Facts! Here are the previous collections:

Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #1
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #2
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #3
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #4
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #5
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #6
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #7
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #8
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #9 

Look here to see all of my Friday Fun Facts blog posts.

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