Annie Smith Mackenzie 1906 - 2000
“Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”
― Elizabeth Barrett Browning
When the History Group began it's researches into the history of Culbokie we were very fortunate to discover a book "Earth's Crammed with Heaven" written by a native of Culbokie, Annie Smith Mackenzie. The book can be down-loaded in pdf format here.
Annie was born at Ceylon Croft in 1906 and her description of her childhood in Culbokie was a source of inspiration and knowledge that we put to good use.
An interview with Annie can be found below in the Gallery and helped confirm where she was born as the book doesn't give that detail but gives lots of clues with distances from the house to various parts of the area, especially to the Alcaig Ferry.
Her stories of school life, visiting the various shops in the village and further afield, duties in and around the croft all made for fascinating reading and helped point us in the right direction for many of our articles.
One of the fascinating aspects of the History team is the wide range of interests they have and how they often overlap. One such case was that one of our team with an interest in beekeeping had met Annie just about as she was handing over the role of Secretary to the Dingwall and District Beekeepers' Association a position she held from 16th March 1961 to 15th May 1975 and so the appearance of the obituary on the 28th July 2000 was too good an opportunity to miss for the Scrapbook. The text reads; "Annual Report 2000/01 Miss Mackenzie Secretary for 13 years [sic] before Fred [Rattray]. 90 [sic] years old had a 3 acre croft at Loch Ussie. Funeral 27th June."
The following chapters all contain references to Annie; Village Centre, Rural Life Farming & Crofting and Good Templars.