New Years Day 1969 Margaret and I with a group of friends had made it back to Newtonmore Youth Hostel following bringing in the New Year in Aviemore. There was deep snow on the ground and the youth Hostel was not open till 06-30 it was bitterly cold in the car waiting for the hostel to open. I had only met Margaret 3 days previously and the next 5 days or so till I made my way back home to Minworth, Warwickshire seemed to go so quickly.
What was to follow for the next 45 years until Margaret’s death on 31 January 2016 was a journey that we both took openly, first immediately re locating to London , then to Farnborough Hampshire and finally back to Glasgow in 1974. We had three boys I am now dwarfed by them but I know that Margaret’s influence on them is so apparent, kindness, thoughtfulness and respect as they make it in the world.
This is my 5th Christmas and New Year without Margaret and was focused so much the other day when Ellis my youngest granddaughter had said before we left their house on the 28th December to release two balloons in memory of her Gran’s. It was quite an emotional moment as we watched the balloons fly high into the night sky finally seeming to join up making their way into the heavens.
2022 who knows masks may still be visible for sometime but lets hope we move on and can once again meet our families, rekindle relationships much more than we have done in the last two years.
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.
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.
16 September 2020
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
|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
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.
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 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
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
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
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
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.
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.
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.
My thoughts are also go to a couple of special people Gill Hark and Dorothy Thompson on this day.