Ah, the effect of semantic nuances. For example you’re pigheaded but I’m resolute, you’re foolhardy but I’m brave, you’re a terrorist but I’m a freedom fighter, you’re miserly but I’m financially careful. Which segues into the concept of the canny Scot. The word ‘canny’ is actually a Scots word meaning ‘steady, restrained, gentle, snug, quiet’. But nowadays its usage has changed, to ‘careful and shrewd, especially where one's own interests are concerned; cautious in spending money; frugal’ . All this is background to the story of 85-year-old Scottish widow Jean Eadie (pictured). In 1928, when she was three years old, Jean accompanied her mother to buy an artificial Xmas tree. And the same tree’s been set up each Xmas since then [2, 3]. (The record for the oldest artificial Xmas tree is 124 years, but that tree hasn’t been used each year .) It matters not that Jean’s tree’s never been a living tree. Think how much carbon’s been fixed by the 82 trees that haven’t been cut down because of Jean’s choice. Not all stereotypes are true. Or complimentary. Jean may or may not be a ‘canny Scot’ – however defined. I don’t care. It’s wonderful that she intends to bequeath her tree. Thus it’ll continue doing its good work for our planet. Not to mention the warm feelings it’ll engender in future generation of Scots who’ll look at a tree that’s witnessed every Xmas since 1928.
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