Aside 14 Oct


Today I ask for your forgiveness…

As a child, I snuggled in your fur…I wrapped my arms around your neck.

I played, in awe but fearless.

Pulled dagger teeth, poked  glassy eyes, grasped languid razor claws.

Hard plaster tongue & snout; lifeless, chipped, dusty.

Pelt limp, spreadeagled trimmed with felt, balding, bullet scarred & faded.

Bones broken, missing; Death.

I did not think of  you alive  White Tiger Skin Rug. 

 

 White Tiger waves

 

 

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Enjoying Grantchester…

15 Sep

 

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Sidney Chambers is a charming clergyman who turns into an investigator when one of his parishioners dies under suspicious circumstances in this drama set in 1953. He partners up with gruff, down-to-earth police inspector Geordie Keating, whose methodical approach to police work complements Sidney’s intuitive techniques of getting information out of people. The two partners — who bring different insights into the crimes they start to unravel — form a true friendship as they work together. As he is beginning his new career, Sidney’s personal life comes apart when he finds out that Amanda, the woman with whom he is secretly in love, has become engaged, making him think he has missed his chance with her.

PAY-James-Norton-Morven-Christie

Heart Attack!

7 Jul

Kewpie doctor

Ward 3 Vale of Leven Hospital, Alexandria

Saturday 10th February 1990 7:30pm

Dear Evelyn,

How nice to get the fancy things from you. I at once put on the Marabou band thing- it’s a lovely idea. I first put it on the head, then as a collar. I love the little card; its what is called découpage. I remember Granny was in to that.

I am in the cardiac section of ward 3. I am the only female, all the rest are men in various stages of decay and illness. I am okay now and up walking about thankfully. I did not feel well last week. Mrs Shutt thought I looked ill. I had a lung pain (sometimes) and sore breast bone, at times. I know now that was the making of a heart attack. It was at 3:30am Tuesday in the study bed (high winds) that I took chest pain and arm pain and heavy profuse sweating. Things happen when one is alone. Luckily I just happened to know the name of the hotel in Aberdeen; luckily CV was delayed there for the night as ship was delayed with bad weather. I got directory enquiries to get me the number. I just lay still after getting up to make tea & fill hot bag. I did not get the doctor right away as I lay still thinking about Steps to take. Quite a thought.

I knew I would have to be put away to hospital also CV would have to get back home and before he got away on the ship to be told about it. Was that the right thing?

I lay exploring all the ways. No ambulances! Who will take me? Wills, Lydia? McGarry? I plucked up courage at 5am & phoned the doctor. He said I should have phoned at 3:30am.

I phoned Imperial Hotel. “I’ve taken a heart attack” No ambulances- only Police vans. Dr Doyle says. So I phoned Dr Will! Kil. 2166. They both came round and Dr Will set off with me leaving Dorothy to shut the front door. Oh yes, I also phoned David Henderson! Laura to come at once- key in lamp hiding place. I even put a furious Dennis out, luckily, as Laura didn’t arrive ‘till 4pm, (things would have been bad by then!).

I got into hospital at 7:30am.

It’s very nice and nice food. I am complicated by diabetes of course and blood sugar counts.

I have my Kewpie beauty bag and even nail varnish on my toes.

I put powder in my hair so as it don’t get greasy, and brush it up very fluffy. Eliz Boyd & Marilyn Wylie are supposed to visit me. I may get out on Tuesday. What happens then I just don’t know. If only Punk could drive. I wont get driving for a few weeks.

So if you ever get a sore breastbone and lungs, pain down the arms, it’s a Heart Attack.

The first time C.V. alone at Glen Eden was last night. No Ghosts! So he says. He’s at home tonight, as it was afternoon visits. He was to light the Library fire for TV with Punk /Dennis.

So Evelyn, I can see I may soon be much better. You can have a lovely holiday and I hope you enjoy it with V&L and with Emma. Don’t get sold into slavery, it’s a bad wee spot Turkey so they tell me. Hope to be better when I see you again,

Have fun – your loving Mother

My Great Grandmother Jeannie McKechnie’s demise in the Asylum 1903-1952…

7 Jul

Gartloch3

Gartloch Asylum Glasgow.

Dear Miss Moir

It transpires that your Great Grandmother had a very long history of mental illness.  As the records are either not in a fit condition for copying or are in very heavy volumes, I have transcribed the salient passages.

She was admitted to Gartloch Asylum on 4 Dec 1903.  Her next of kin was recorded as being her husband.  Two doctors who examined her provided the following reports for the Sheriff of Glasgow (who authorised her admission):
1. “Incoherence of speech: thinks that her children are poisoned by her neighbours.  Voices continually speak to her.”
2. “She is dull, irritable & excitable & she is incoherent in her talk & has delusions of suspicion & persecution.  Her husband states that she neglects her household duties & has been very strange in conduct for several years.”

Her husband provided the following:

“Illness began 12 years ago – restlessness at night: would go away very early in the morning to see her father, leaving an infant.  Since lost oldest boy (14) in July last – he was accidentally drowned – has been much worse: thinks her neighbours had boy murdered for £100.  9 children, no miscarriages.”

On 25 Feb 1904 she was transferred to Govan Parish Asylum at Hawkhead (later re-named Leverndale) because under the Poor Law system Govan was the parish responsible for her.  The doctor who first examined her there wrote, “She is often unduly depressed and confessed that she is under the influence of delusions”.  She remained at Hawkhead, at least until 1917.  There is a gap in the records between 1917 and 1921.

On 30 Jul 1921 she was re-admitted to Hawkhead.  She is described on admission as a 55 years old widow, previously residing at Dalmary Cottage, Gartmore.  She is diagnosed as suffering from “Dementia secondary” and is said to have been insane for 18 years.

On 8 Oct 1929 she was transferred to the mental wards at the Southern General Hospital (also run by Govan Parish Council).  These wards were generally used to house chronic cases of incurable insanity, especially amongst elderly people.  Her next of kin is recorded as being her sister, Mrs Miller of 225 Holmlea Road, Cathcart.  She remained at the Southern General Hospital until her death, 1952.

I hope that this will help you.  Please bear in mind that it is very unlikely that we will be able to provide answers to whatever supplementary questions may occur to you.  For instance, the records do not state whether she was buried or cremated, nor by whom.  Nor do they indicate who visited her.

Yours sincerely

Alistair Tough

 

Tough

Mr Alistair Tough,

Greater Glasgow Health Board Archivist.

 

 

 

 

Artist Horace Mann Livens c. 1902

3 Jul

Two Children Playing c.1902 by Horace Mann Livens 1862-1936

One of the many studies of the artist’s children. The eldest son Leo was born 24 May 1896 and his daughter Evangeline in 1897.

My Father has a similar picture of Leo and Evangeline, sourced by my Mother many years ago.

Horace Mann Livens 1862-1936, is probably best known today for having painted the earliest recorded portrait of Vincent Van Gogh. Livens had become friends and lodged with his fellow student Van Gogh whilst studying at the Academy in Antwerp in 1885/86 and is known to have kept some contact with the Dutch artist after his move to Paris. Livens returned to England where he was a founder associate of the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers which was founded in 1898 with Whistler as its first president. H.M.Livens’s own highly accomplished work as both painter and printmaker is now little known due to the fact that many of his works were lost during the blitz and a further group was destroyed in a fire at his widow’s home in Harrow in 1957.

RAF USAF Greenham Common and Me…

3 Jul

Galaxy

I took a summer job at Greenham Common, late 1980’s, at the Tailoring and Alterations Shop, sharing space with Viacom Video Shop, so when we answered the telephone it was “Viacom Video and Alterations”.

 

Down stairs was the Uniform and badge store, so one could be sent upstairs for fitting and badges to be sewn on.

 

I lived to the south of the Base, but drove to the North gate every morning so I could drive the runway at speed, if it was “All Clear” no planes landing or departing…I passed the Control Tower every day, and on one occasion a Russian plane had landed and was parked up on the far side of the base, close to the Control Tower.

 

Remember one day seeing the Galaxys being loaded up by the Silos. A heavy laden Galaxy took off and flew over TESCO car park and several car alarms were set off!!!

 

I still have my entry pass, for my little red Seat Marbella.

 

I particularly enjoyed a lunchtime walk to the Base Burger Bar…can of BUDWISER and a burger luncheon.

 

Close to the Tailoring Shop was the Base Nursery, and all the kiddies would be taken out in a pull along cart!

 

I helped Mr Bhatti close the Tailoring Shop as the Base wound down.

How Finlaystone House changed the course of my life…

18 Jun

Finlaystone

Finlaystone House, Langbank, Scotland. Home of the Chief of Clan MacMillan…

Unsure of what to do when I left school, Mother saw an advertisement, Lady MacMillan, Finlaystone House, Langbank, looking for a gardener…went for an interview but she had already employed Benedict Thierrie, to work alongside Hugh Sweeny, head gardener. She asked if I could cook, and I said no, but was willing to learn.

 

I arrived at Finlaystone on my 18th Birthday, 25th October 1977.

 

Caroline Lucken taught me cookery and I quickly managed, with team work & Mrs Beaton’s Cook Book and Finlaystone’s wonderful cooker and Victorian kitchen, also garden work, bees and floristry.

 

Lady MacMillan wrote the menu out for the week on a little chalk board. Lady “M” had us making seasonal jams, marmalade, chutney, bottled fruits and honey. Lots of baking and fresh made bread. Little balls of butter made with butter pats and served in shell shaped dishes, cream skimmed from a big bowl of milk.

 

I met Richard Birch, Ranger at Finlaystone, and we kept in contact, enjoying some excellent botanising, bird watching and fossil hunting trips over the years. He is now Dr Richard Birch, Senior Ecologist.

 

One day in the news paper in the dining room I saw an advertisement for B.A. Degree Home Economics, my WORST subject at school, but exactly what I was learning at Finlaystone…applied & got accepted, so after a wonderful year with the MacMillans I left for Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh.

 

In the summer holidays, twice running, I went to Virginia USA to live, visit and work with & through Finlaystone friends of the family…Kay & John Pollard, the Oliva family, Laura MacMillan, Frances Ehrlich, Jane Baskerville, Lelani and Andrew MacMillan NYC.

 

Met my life long Virginian sweetheart and penfriend Wardell Carter.

 

Did not want to teach Home Economics, and on a trip back to Finlaystone, just before graduation, Judy Hutton asked me if I was interested in becoming a Preparatory School Matron, as her daughter Alice had had a job offer she did not need…I took the position and worked 10 wonderful years, 9 as House Matron, at the school Robin and Judy Hutton’s son and cousins had attended, Horris Hill.

 

Later, when I had my son James, I saw an advertisement for Horticulturist, and with my Finlaystone garden experience, I applied; 10 years Horticulturist in a lovely garden with Mrs Newton, who taught me so much, & I was able to take my son to work pre-school, and in school holidays.

 

As my walking deteriorated, as I was born with a dislocated right hip, James’ father David trained as a Tree Surgeon and I supported his business, my horticultural experience invaluable.

 

David, James and I visited Finlaystone with grandmother Doreen from New Zealand, and were greeted by Chief George and Jane MacMillan.

 

I still have so many dear friends connected with my year at Finlaystone, and keep in contact with the MacMillans every Christmas

Funny how old things pop into one’s head!

16 Dec