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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.

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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

Video

Psalm 51, for Harold xxx

29 Mar

The sweetest of song to escape from the Sistine Chapel…

The Choir of Claire College, Cambridge.

I had the joy of listening to a performance last year

at Douai Abbey, Woolhampton, Berkshire.

Sweet sweet tears…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miserere_(Allegri)

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Little Evelyn…me when wee in the drawing room Glen Eden, Cove, 1971?

7 Feb

Little Evelyn...me when wee in the drawing room Glen Eden, Cove, 1971?