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. I met my beloved David Christopher Abel at 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 and despite being registered blind, with a rare eye disorder Chief George responds immediately to my email with great affection.

Funny how old things pop into one’s head!

16 Dec

Artist John Lavery 1883…

25 Jul

At Langside

Mary, Queen of Scots at Langside.

Mary Queen of Scots Rosneath

Dawn after the Battle of Langside 14th May 1586.

Mary, Queen of Scots sheltering under the Yew trees at Rosneath. Did she ever visit Rosneath?

Shadow…our first & best Ferret.

23 Jul

Son James became interested in Ferrets as a young teen and his mentor Linda found him Shadow. A lovely, and probably deaf wee soul, so gentle and sweet, smelled of honey and very cuddly. He was one of 4 we had, twin females, very small, and one huge one who managed to escape. Here is Shadow…died a few years back & sadly missed x

Shadow

The Bodyblade Classic…

22 Nov

bodyblade-classic-product-large-2965

Bought this Bodyblade Classic to work my upper body. A hearty workout for my arms, shoulders & neck…have only tried it sitting down so far, and keep it by my desk so I can pick it up easily at least once a day. Nice and refreshing to use, good bye bingo wings?

bodyblade-700

At last…the perfect way to stop smoking.

3 Nov

vype-eTank

The Vype E Tank

Looks good, feels good with its smooth silicone skin, and gives a similar puff to cigarettes…NOT the HUGE VAPE of some high tech devices. Complete break from smoking by my friend Edward, and he now, after three weeks PREFERS his VYPE to the old smelly tobacco. Good job, well done.

Weeks have passed & still smoke free!!!

The Price of Insight

16 May

A Mind Divided

I'm OK

A prominent feature of  schizophrenia and bipolar disorder is anosognosia, a sick person’s unawareness that he is sick. — Algis Valiunas, New Atlantis, Winter 2009.

No one really understands why those of us with serious mental illness struggle with insight.  Current medical theory holds that it’s actually a core feature of our neurobiology.  It’s not that we’re in denial or stubborn—we simply can’t see.

This seems ridiculous to those observing from the outside as our behavior becomes more risky and disjointed.  But those are the times when our insight is most impaired, because anosognosia is also a symptom. We lose insight just when we need it most.

Lack of insight is relative.  It fluctuates as the illness fluctuates.  When we are in remission or in a more stable state, we can often see that we were ill.

Lack of insight is listed as the leading cause of non-compliance…

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