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This year began celebrating Chopin's visit to Scotland earlier and in a different form, by walkinh in early spring to the ruins of what once was Wishaw House sadly demolished in the 1950s - a home of Lord and Lady Belhaven hostind the forlorn Chopin in early October 1848. Graham Butt and John Smillie, from Wishaw's Campfire History Group, and other members of Coltness Community Council were already waiting for us to take us on a guided walk in the nearby woods to the the ruins of the forgotten Wishaw House.

Completely demolished, or perhaps one should say, barbarously savaged some 60 years ago, Wishaw House is there no more. You can see the traces of the mansion, though. As we were approaching our destination we were shown the remains of a dove court or the bureau of a former coal mine. And by remains I mean few moss-covered stones. And then a heartbreaking sight emerged: the place there Wishaw House was once located was now a touching area covered with the woods and other plants. The ruins of the Belhavens' once spectacular residence have now been covered with moss, symbolically illustrating the power of nature that has taken over the area in the past six decades. To think the place where our Great Romantic stayed 171 years ago could so easily fall into oblivion.

The walk culminated in a campfire with hot coffee and marshmallows served. In the walk there also participated Mrs. Catherine Stihler, a former member of the European Parliament, who altogether with her family invited us afterwards for a dinner at a local golf club. Our hosts were interested in our concern about Chopin's visit to faraway Scotland, which we discussed with great pleasure over the meal.

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