Nicola Sturgeon visits Crieff Nutcracker Christmas Shop

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon Visits Crieff Nutcracker Shop

UK politicians are on the election campaign trail, kissing babies, shaking hands and asking the public, ‘can I rely on your vote?’
Blue Noun English Language School were delighted to learn that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was visiting Crieff, Perthshire. We made sure that we were amongst fans gathered at the Nutcracker Christmas Shop, Crieff to welcome her.

Read on to discover how one little Blue Noun member stole the show!
Comrie Apple Festival Perthshire Food and Drink

Looking pretty innocent…

Our English Language School Talks Scottish Independence

In English class that morning we’d prepped by looking at the biography of Scotland’s First Minister.

We discussed how the skills of a lawyer would translate into politics. Then we looked at the diverse social demographic she represented within her constituency of Glasgow Southside. Also, we read online about her motivations as a politician, sharing the relevant language as we went. 

This language class conversation also looked at the powers held by a devolved Scottish government, including the SNP led campaign for Scottish Independence.

Finally, we took a detailed look at just one policy and manifesto pledge (tree planting) in a bid to learn more about the SNP and the environment.

A Charismatic Woman

Personally, prior to her visit, I’ve admired Nicola Sturgeon as a smart, direct and eloquent politician.
I now want to tell you how warm, charming and funny she is. She lit the room up with her pleasure at meeting her supporters. She twinkled as much as the Christmas lights around her.
Here’s the story of our encounter.

It features Blue Noun friend, Lynne Crawford Knight and Blue Noun’s youngest member, in a rather fabulous unicorn hat.

Here’s Lynne, waiting for Nicola Sturgeon to arrive.
Crieffs Cowches Artist Katy Galbraith

Lynne Crawford Knight | Crieff Nutcracker Christmas Shop

Excitement Builds…

The crowd is growing and local SNP campaigners pass out flags and flyers.

The children, who have mostly come straight from school are as high as kites, and not only about the imminent arrival of Scotland’s First Minister. The displays at the Nutcracker Christmas shop are remarkable, festive and friendly. A relaxed atmosphere abounds.


Comrie Apple Festival Perthshire Food and Drink
Comrie Apple Festival Perthshire Food and Drink

Nicola Sturgeon visits Crieff Nutcracker Christmas Shop

Here am I… (with my stealth unicorn).
Crieffs Cowches Artist Katy Galbraith
Crieffs Cowches Artist Katy Galbraith

Suddenly, the Show Begins…

After a period of waiting, there was an influx of people with large and professional-looking cameras and lenses.

Then two film cameras backed through the swing doors, and Nicola Sturgeon was amongst us.

Crieffs Cowches Artist Katy Galbraith
Crieffs Cowches Artist Katy Galbraith
Crieffs Cowches Artist Katy Galbraith
Crieffs Cowches Artist Katy Galbraith

Fastest Wins

The fastest kids got their selfies with her before she was fully through the door, and I slightly lost her in the tall crowd as I stopped to admire their first photos.
Crieffs Cowches Artist Katy Galbraith

Nicola Sturgeon at Crieff’s Nutcracker Christmas Shop

I expected Scotland First Minister to stop to meet only a few people, and I was quite slow to realise that she would happily meet every single person in the room.
Babies were cuddled and adored, toddlers were high-fived.

She posed with kids and their parents for selfies.

Whenever she was introduced to a person, she had a chat with them. I noticed that she held their eye contact and attention as if alone, and touched their arm while she listened to them.


Although I’d been planning to keep in the background taking photographs (my comfort zone), my young unicorn likes to sit on my shoulders when we are anywhere remotely crowded, so she had scrambled up.


Soon, I was trying to move around the crowd wielding my camera, getting hot and sweaty and feeling out balanced and top-heavy.
Crieffs Cowches Artist Katy Galbraith

Lynne Crawford Knight | Crieff Nutcracker Christmas Shop

No Fair City 

I stood with Lynne who had brought Nicola Sturgeon a copy of a book she had illustrated (‘No Fair City: Dark Tales from Perth’s Past’ by Gary Knight).

Lynne is a businesswoman who, with her husband Gary Knight, runs History and Horror Tours.

They do fantastic, scary ghost walks in Cultybraggan, Perth and now Dunkeld, (which our language learners love).

Lynne eloquently introduced herself to Nicola Sturgeon, told her briefly about her ghost walk business and gave her the book (which she seemed delighted to receive).
Crieffs Cowches Artist Katy Galbraith

And then a Whole Roomful of People Laughed at my Head…

I was next in line. I was psyched up to say, “I’m from Blue Noun, a new kind of language school based here in Crieff,” when all attention went upwards towards my young unicorn instead.

Nicola addressed the young unicorn, complimenting her on her hat.
Now, this hat has a hidden mechanism that makes its ears wobble. If you press its paws (hooves surely?) its ears flip up and waggle about.

My girl is pretty shy. She didn’t speak back (I don’t even know if she smiled – probably not), but together we waggled the unicorn’s ears at the First Minister in reply.
Suddenly we had the attention of the room: the press, all the cameras – and the First Minister of Scotland, in front of me, staring up at my head, all laughing.
Crieffs Cowches Artist Katy Galbraith

A Well-Documented Moment

These hats are pretty ubiquitous now, but at the time this hat was a real novelty – brought over from Australia by my sister.

Nicola Sturgeon admired as the unicorn waggled its ears some more, while I did a terrible job of keeping my eye contact on her (and not the rest of the room staring back).

In case you don’t know, the unicorn is the national symbol of Scotland. I desperately wanted to proffer the unicorn hat to the First Minister but knew what my daughter’s (not unreasonable) reaction would be.

Divided, I did nothing, the moment passed. She thanked us and moved on.


Much later, she passed by a second time, gave the ears a fresh wiggle and thanked Lynne for her book a second time.
Whatever you think of her politics, she’s a skilled people person. 

A Happy, Happy Heart

Here’s a picture of just Lynne after Nichola Sturgeon held both her arms and wished her a Merry Christmas!
Crieffs Cowches Artist Katy Galbraith

What A Party! 

I was impressed by the warmth and friendliness that our First Minister showed everyone.
As she was leaving, she took time to write a personal note to a local SNP member who’d been in hospital that day.

Nicola Sturgeon left us all with the impression that her brief stop in Crieff had been a joy. It had felt like a bit of a party.

There was a wonderful sense of community and happiness while she was in the room, that I’m sure we all took home to our individual houses.


I’m certain the ambience of the wonderful Christmas displays at the Nutcracker helped, but I know too what she brought into the room. I’ve never experienced it from a person before.


thank you message

Thank you Nutcracker Christmas Shop for hosting, and  the local SNP campaigners for organising this visit.



And thank you Nicola Sturgeon for the calm and kindness that you are.


But don’t just take my word for it…

Oh, and we made the local paper too! 

Nicola Sturgeon visits Crieff Nutcracker Christmas Shop Newspaper
red text further reading
Find out about History and Horror Tours here.
Link to the Nutcracker Christmas shop here