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5 Years on

Margaret Abbott

Coming to this week in the calendar will always be a week of reflection as I remember Margaret and her life we had together. However, this past year has been even more difficult as I have been very much on my own due to the Covid 19 Pandemic restrictions. There has been a handful of occasions in between enforced restrictions where I have been able to meet up socially. Thankfully I had golf to go to post lockdown one in May 2020 but that has come to an end just now. No bowls or badminton for over a year. The hardest thing to come to terms with is not being able to travel to Northampton to see Philip and Jacquie. The last time I saw them was in December 2019.

OK, Zoom, FaceTime and Skype are available which is some comfort, but I need to see my boys and their family smiling bouncing around making fun of the old man is sadly missed. To have that hug from them is so important just now.

Pauline Graham

Sadly, as this week began, we got very sad news of someone who had been part of the family for over 30 years had passed away having contacted the coronavirus. Her name was Pauline Graham. Pauline was our hairdresser who came every week to do Margaret’s hair. It was the only time in the week apart from the district nurses that Margaret would get a chance to have that time in girly talk.

Pauline has been coming for so long she is really part of the family- seen the three boys get married watch as their families grew, she would bring her nephew’s and nieces to pick strawberries and play in the garden. I recall one time coming home from work after Pauline had gone, Margaret’s hair was lovely, but Margaret was left with rather large dark eyebrows, it was so funny Pauline had forgotten to wipe off the dye etc.

Reflecting on this week and especially Sunday 31 January I recall going to church early and sitting their quietly, praying, wondering what today was going to be like before we travelled across to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary to see Margaret. It is difficult to put in words the feeling that this day was going to be last time I would see and hold Margaret’s hand, talk to her, wipe her lips and try and be positive.

There was an item on Newsnight in the week in which the programme closed with a poem to reflect on the figure of over 100,000 deaths due to the pandemic in the UK.

The closing line spoke about the hand of loved ones no longer with us but will always be with us always.

That is so true and more difficult just now with many not being able to say their goodbyes, have a reassuring hug or just sit with them. So sad.

Finally listen to this audio/video track we recorded in our church ‘Be Still in the presence of the Lord’ sung by my dear fiends Maureen Sharp and Liz Milne with Ian Sharp on piano.

© David J. Evans, The Oxford Choir  Mission Praise 50

Our family have happy memories of our dear friend Pauline and send our condolences to William and all the family as they come to terms with their loss.

God bless Margaret at peace but never forgotten.

 

 

 

 

Sep 16, 2020 - Blog, Just Now    No Comments

16 September 2020

16 September 2020

Today would have been our Golden Wedding Anniversary. A lot has happened since that day in 1970 in Eastbank church when Margaret and I were married.

In our early years we were in London and Farnborough Hampshire till our move back to Scotland in 1974, strangely amid another crisis petrol rationing, books were issued but no rationing.

The birth of our three sons Steven, Philip and Matthew and their growing up getting married and their respective children were a delight to us. Margaret and I were so delighted that perhaps we did get something right in developing these young men to be proud off.

Sadly, Margaret was diagnosed with MS around 1980/81 which was a blow to us as a young family and something we had to learn to cope with over the years following. We had no idea how this was going to impact on our lives together as a family. Margret and I set ourselves a target of trying our best as we could to not let it stop our three boys being as independent as possible. To Margaret’s credit she was the driver, she had a vision of what she wanted and how to go about it, our three boys are a credit to that that vision she had.

The loss of Margaret in January 2016 was a loss to me and the family that even to this day in 2020 is still raw emotion each and every day.  Who knows how we would have copied in the face of current restrictions because of covid-19 – self isolation for all these months from March this year?

So, as I reflect on my life with Margaret it is one of great joy to have met her way back in December 1968, 13 weeks till we saw each other again, communicating by snail mail over 200 letters we sent to each other, and that other thing called a telephone – put coins in a box then pressing button B to connect. The cruises we had latterly were a joy and pushing the wheelchair up some big hills in Istanbul and Malta nothing was really impossible. She saw Disney world, Cayman Islands and a lot of Europe including a rather expensive ice cream in St Mark’s, Square Venice.

As I close this, I remember two very dear friends Dorothy and Gill who have the same Anniversary date as Margaret and I 16 September.

Thinking of you always Margaret

Michael

 

 

May 22, 2020 - Blog, Lockdown    No Comments

Lockdown week 5 and on and on

Well here we are several weeks on. 

I have not been able to travel very far at all the same as everybody else in the country. So, in short nothing much has happened in the previous weeks. I have been busy in the garden as the weather at least has been very good for the most part.  

I have been collecting the odd picture from my area that shows the extent of the lock down. Check out the gallery. 

I had a birthday two weeks ago my 72. It was planned as a full selfie on my own but Matthew and then Steven and the crew appeared separately social distancing observed. It was great the only people I have seen in 8 weeks other than those at the shops. 

I did write on the Scottish Parliament website a comment about the lockdown going forward as I would be very annoyed if I am confined to barracks for an indefinite period due to my age. At least I got it off my chest.  

As we approach going into the tenth week of the lockdown there might from Thursday 28th May onwards the chance that we will be able to move a bit farther afield and maybe hopefully get swinging the golf clubs. 

Update after Thursday –  You may hear the cheers from Scotland 

May 8, 2020 - Blog, Just Now    No Comments

VE Day 2020

Thank you mum and dad for everything. ‘Lest we forget’ we will remember today and always.

Our day May 8th is somewhat different in 2020 as celebrations will not be the same as we are in lochdown for another 3 weeks

Apr 20, 2020 - Blog, Lockdown    No Comments

Lockdown week 4

So here we go with the announcement on Thursday that we are to be self isolated for another three weeks till May 7th 

Leading up to the announce on Thursday was not a surprise with the week going well. One trip to Morrison’s on the Monday looking for flour after trying all three shops no flour. Yeast packets arrive courtesy of Jacquei’s mum in Welwyn Garden one loaf made with flour I had. The garden has been keeping me busy all week and over the weekend.  

I have a little touch of sciatica due to all the bending etc. Managed to fill the green bin up within 5 minutes of it being emptied by the council refuge collectors. 

Thursday evening a clap for the NHS and all the people who are keeping the country in some form of normality but a special thanks to all those who are on the front line wether in hospital or care homes. 

Read many stories this week in The Times and on Jeremy Vine radio programme. There were two that brought home to me so many feelings at this time.  

On the radio a lady was relating a story of her husband who was in a care home ringing her to ask why she had not been in to see him. A story the lady had difficulty getting her husband to understand that she cannot visit him due to the lockdown. He had dementia and was seeing all the hospital staff coming and going. Such a touching story. 

The other was a family writing a sort a blog of their experience during the lockdown. The husband and children were brought into the hospital and were told to say their goodbyes to his wife and children’s mother. The medics view was that she would only survive a few more hours. After a discussion the medics asked if they could try something and the family left or home. A phone call in the morning from the hospital to the family dreading the worse update possible that his wife and the children’s mother had died. The message was such a surprise to them to be told that their mother was on the mend after they had turned her onto her front. A few days later she was home with a lengthy recuperation.   

Such a touching story to me as saying goodbye to some one I loved so dearly over three years ago is still raw in my memory. 

An article in yesterday’s Sunday Times had a worrying notion to me:- 

‘However, ministers warn that the over-70s and those who are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus will be stuck on a “red” light for months. They will have to wait until there is a vaccine before resuming normal life. This third phase may not be possible until the autumn of next year.’  

This is a theory being banded about over a three colour traffic light scheme to end the lockdown. 

This would be very concerning to me to be asked to self isolate for over twelve months – no access to family, personal relationships just to name two.  

That is in future so I can only hope that it does not come to that.  

Till next week 

Apr 13, 2020 - Blog, Lockdown    No Comments

Lockdown week 3

Palm Sunday service from the manse and uploads to website done by evening on Sunday.

Gardening and tidying the garden is moving apace now with some dry weather. Lawns scarified again with new scarifier and fertilised – replacements ordered fertiliser and grass seed. Plants arrived from Thompson and Morgan – fuchsia and begonias all potted up quickly.

Set about in the midweek to install TP link router to work with Virgin Media router now reconfigured to modem mode. I had been having a problem with VM router dropping out over the last few weeks. It turns out that by coincidence there seems to have been a service issue in the area for a while according to VM engineer I spoke to in the street on the way to shops.

TP link installed and then set about configuring all the devices to cable and Wi-Fi. Found a few issues but with help from Philip managed to get all working again. The one thing I found is that I am using Cat6 cable which meant any RJ45 plugs I made up were faulty, so new crimper and plugs purchased – arrived and now new cables to garage made and working. CCTV cameras all operational again.

A little help from Steven on Sunday re the Synology NAS – more assistance required to configure correctly so that it is seen on all devices MAC’s, PC’s, iPad and iPhone.

Almost at the end of third week taking a moment in the afternoon sunshine and a cuppa surfing the net and came across some sad deaths announced Peter Bonetti the Chelsea goalkeeper had passed away. I remember seeing him many times playing for Chelsea and England. Stirling Moss had also passed away although I never saw him race on television, he was a name that epitomised the skill in his sport at a time of open car racing.

Finally, before calling it a day I listened to the Queen’s audio message I found it so uplifting on this Easter Sunday as I did with our Sandyhills Easter Day service from the manse this morning.

We now await as we go into week 4 whether restrictions are going to change, I suspect not.

Here’s to next week

Apr 6, 2020 - Blog, Lockdown    No Comments

Lockdown week 2

Getting use to the restrictions at the start of the week. The church service yesterday came from the manse streamed live on YouTube. I followed this by doing an audio download and editing the service for Podcast and website upload.

The usual gardening etc around the Abbott estate taking advantage of the good weather when I can, the greenhouse and propagators are full.

Disaster stuck on Tuesday when the oven decided to break down right in the middle of cooking honey roast ham with 1.5 hrs to go. Looked up on AO.com and was fully prepared to buy a new oven. A call to my friend Walter managed to source a new element and back working again later in the afternoon. Then to cap a day of breakdowns the lawn scarifier decides to give up on me. Sorted new one on order.

Wednesday spent cleaning the oven it now sparkles almost like new.

The part that I find the hardest to get to grips with is no golf or bowls which I enjoy interacting with others in sport. I have contact with the grandchildren and their families as well other friends by phone and text, but it does not make up for personal contact.

here goes week 3

Mar 30, 2020 - Just Now, Lockdown    No Comments

Lockdown week 1

It is just over 10 years that I have been running this blog. I started in 2009 when the snow came to Glasgow in December to keep contact with the boys.

We are just one week into a lockdown in the whole of the UK due to Covid-19 pandemic so it seems appropriate to keep a note of my self-isolation routine as the weeks develop.

I find the pandemic quite scary to contemplate the conditions that are slowly unfolding around the UK and the whole world. There are so many issues that we are being asked to cope with especially as history shows that the UK was not shut down to this extent during WW2.

I was on holiday via Singapore to Australia from January 13 to February 19. The only time we saw anything relating to testing was on arrival at Singapore Airport. There was temperature taken and all the airline staff were wearing masks. We went to the Australian Open tennis with over 800000 spectators and nothing re isolation etc. Obviously, we were being informed re the situation in Wuhan, China via the internet. It had not reached the level it is now, but I believe somebody knew something on January 13 hence the precautions in Singapore.

So, one week has now gone very quickly only been past the gate twice to the shops and a couple of walks in our little park across the road. I have been busy in the garden getting ground dug ready for potatoes and other produce. Spent a few hours in the greenhouse getting beans started, Broccoli, cauliflower and herbs. Tomato started in the propagator in the garage. Spent the last couple of days thinning bamboo but not able to get the debris to the tip as it is closed and no brown bin pickups now due to restrictions.

On Sunday 22 March I set up a live stream of the church service from Sandyhills church. This was put together over three days with a lot of cameras and cables from my hoard of bits at home. On the whole it was quite successful, but the lighting was not as good as it should be, and the main camera was not of sufficient quality. I recorded the service on my cameras and did an edit and uploaded to YouTube by the midweek.  The service is now being done the minister from the manse as I am taking self-isolation seriously.

So, one week down will update in a week’s time.

Jan 31, 2020 - Blog, Just Now    No Comments

Remember for ever

As the lyrics recall there are so many place I remember that we went to as a family and on our own when I retired from BBC Scotland. Moments I will cherish especially the last twelve years we had together.  You are always in my thoughts no matter where I am or doing at any particular time in my life just now. Obviously there are times that bring back those memories we shared especially around our wedding anniversary in September and family gatherings when there is a place missing at the table.   

In my Life

There are places I’ll remember
All my life, though some have changed

Some forever, not for better
Some have gone, and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends, I still can recall
Some are dead, and some are living
In my life, I’ve loved them all
But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life, I’ll love you more
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I’ll love you more
In my life I’ll love you more
 
 
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul McCartney
In My Life lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Dec 25, 2019 - Blog, Just Now    No Comments

Christmas 2019

This time of year, we are reminded of the nativity story and the star that came to rest over the stable where Jesus was born. The wisemen followed a star also to pass on gifts.

 I think of the stars that shine in the sky the brightest reminds me of Margaret and that star shines in my heart forever. Fifty-one years ago on December 26 1968 Margaret and I met for the first time and had a wonderful life together. Margaret loved this time of the year she was a star that shone always. 

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