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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




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

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
Jan 10, 2020 - Just Now    No Comments

Leuchie House 2019 review

What a year!

Well what a fun-packed year that was! So much happened; special visitors, new roles appointed, makeovers, fundraisers and events – it’s impossible to include them all here.

The support of the Leuchie community has, as ever, been overwhelming; the generosity of our donors, the dedication and commitment of our fundraisers and the time given by our volunteers will allow us to continue our commitment to providing unique respite breaks to those who desperately need them in 2020. 

A Royal visit.
On 4th July 2019, Leuchie marked its 8th year as an independent charity with a visit from a very special guest, HRH Princess Anne, Her Royal Highness. She was able to officially open the Aviemore Lounge, which has been restored in memory of former guest, Margaret Abbott. She also met day guest, Rachel Mylne who was celebrating her 84th birthday by displaying a selection of her beautiful artwork in the lounge.

Matthew and Michael meet HRH

Full pdf here

See Leuchie Facebook for more details

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. 

Sep 16, 2019 - Blog, Just Now    No Comments

Forever in my heart

This should have been published on Monday.

Today would have been our 49th wedding anniversary. In the last few weeks a number of things have come together to make today just as special as it was back in 1970

I would like to share my thoughts as I remember Margaret today.

It is always very difficult when someone close to you passes away and even more difficult to find a tangible way to remember them as the memories are so deep and forever.

We found Leuchie House in February 2000 a place that Margaret and I were looking for to combine both work and pleasure. For Margaret it provided a much needed opportunity to have all her needs catered for whilst she was there and managed at least twice a year from 2000 till her last visit in 2016.

When Margaret suddenly passed away in January 2016 myself, Steven, Philip and Matthew did not take long in setting up a ‘JustGiving page’ to raise money for a project at Leuchie House in Margaret’s memory.

Margaret was such a caring person that we should fund something that would benefit as many people as possible. The Aviemore Lounge was the project that is finally now complete, it was one of Margaret’s favourite rooms which gave her an opportunity to relax looking out into the woods and see the Roe Deer especially early in the morning.

So, it is in Margaret’s memory that as many guests will find the Aviemore Lounge a peaceful room to further charge their batteries during their stay.

Forever Michael

My thoughts are also go to a couple of special people Gill Hark and Dorothy Thompson on this day.


Jul 5, 2019 - Blog, Just Now    No Comments

Leuchie House new Lounge update

Yesterday 4th July Matthew and I were invited to a reception at Leuchie House, North Berwick. The main purpose was a Royal visit by HRH Princess Anne  as part of the eight years to the day of Leuchie House reopening after the closure by The MS Society. The closure caused great anxiety by all the guests who had come to look forward to their respite holidays at Leuchie. Margaret was especially devastated by the news of the closure as she so looked forward to travelling across to Leuchie and catching up with her friends. She would often book up before she left for the next visit.

The pictures in this gallery are from yesterday to show the room now completed. It looks very fresh and calming for the guests to relax. The view out the bay windows always excited Margaret as the roe deer would congregate early morning in the wooded area right in front of the windows. The sun travels round and spills straight into the windows for a good part of the day.

The room is dedicated in Margaret’s memory from donations on a JustGiving page which was setup after her death in January 2016.

Me and the boys were so taken aback by everyone who contributed so generously to make this room restoration possible.

I have as yet not mentioned the name of the room it will be known as Aviemore Lounge keeping the room naming already in place at Leuchie.

Why Aviemore?   In December 1968 we met in Aviemore for the first time and as they say the rest is history we were blessed with over 45 years together and three sons Steven, Philip and Matthew. The boys are now all married to Yvonne, Jacquie and Fiona. Our family now has four lovely grandchildren GG, WM, Logan and Ellis.


Just to complete this post pictures on Leuchie’s FB page


Jun 30, 2019 - Blog, Just Now    No Comments

30 June 2019

Margaret Abbott

This would have been your 68th birthday today. I remember celebrating your 18th birthday which was my first 50 yrs. ago today with you on the banks of Loch Lomond.

It is fitting that on Thursday this week Matthew and I will travel through to Leuchie House to be presented to HRH Princess Anne in the room that we (me, Boys and Friends) have renovated in your name. I have chosen the name Aviemore as the name after where we first met in December 1968 and later started our live together for over 45 yrs. I am sure that the guests will love what we have done to the upstairs lounge in your memory.

Some thoughts for today: –
‘I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.
© Helen Lowrie Marshall

‘When I am gone, release me, let me go.
I have so many things to see and do,
You mustn’t tie yourself to me with too many tears,
But be thankful we had so many years.’
© unknown

You are forever in my heart Margaret
Love Michael

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