Just recently having just completed some Christmas shopping I was driving home the reality that this would be the second Christmas without Margaret hit me. It was one of those moments when you think of your loss at this joyous time of the year.
Margaret loved Christmas meeting up with all her family and having her boys and their families to share the day with her.
The card you can see I thought summed up what this time of the year is really about thinking of those who are no longer with us to share the joys of Christmas and other magical moments in our lives.
So, look up into the night sky at the stars – just choose one it is your star and just say a wee prayer to your loved one and maybe say thanks, we miss you so much and thanks for all the wonderful memories you gave us.
In memory of Margaret
Well I am always up for something new. Decided to try a walking holiday with Ramblers UK and plumbed for this one week in northern Spain with a group of unknown people – a dip into the unknown.
Arr here April 1 after joining up with group at Malaga Airport. Flight from Glasgow was with Jet2.com leaving at 06-50. Group assembly was made with fellow Ramblers UK clients and guide Ursula. The group members came from London, Manchester and Canadians.
A journey by coach of about 1.5 hrs up into the Axarquia district from Malaga got everyone introducing themselves to within the group of 19 persons. Ursula the guide gave us an update of the surrounding area and what was to happen in the evening before dinner.
After checkin and a short rest it was off to do a check of the town of Competa with Ursula and the group.
Back to hotel Balcon de Competa for our nightly debrief for the day ahead.
Full instructions of the week ahead and the task/objective for tomorrow April 2.
Day one local circular walk via Canallis.
Day two up via Peuteo Collobro and then upwards before descending back into Canallis.
Day three short taxi ride to begin route around to Arabic town of Salares.
Day four was a rest day.
Day five a route to Frigiliana about 17km.
Day six a high local ridge route.
There will be spelling errors and photos to add at a later date.
After reading I will update as and when possible.
On this special day we remember our mothers who perhaps had the most influence on our lives. This is the second mothers day without Margaret my wife and mother to our three boys. So I want to share with you the words from my card I brought.
Taking a special moment to think of you
Some people can’t help but bring warm thoughts to mind …
They are known for ways they are caring and kind.
For positive outlooks and laughter they share
For others feel better whenever they’re there ….
Special to know and spend time around, too,
they’re the ones who are nice to remember – like you (Margaret)
I am so grateful for the wonderful gift of you (Margaret) in my life.
All my love always
This is the name I have given the culprits who violate our personal space in and around our homes.
Yesterday at the unearthly hour of 4am my house alarm goes off I proceeded to the kitchen to deactivate within 30 secs to be confronted with a very cold kitchen as the doors and windows were open. It is fair to say my brain was not at its best at that time trying to piece together the doors and windows. I did close them and drop snips the night before. Look in the conservatory and it is easily apparent someone had made entry to the property.
Police called and arrived within the half hour with an update as to their progress by telephone. They were doing a sweep of the area before coming to me.
Best I could tell at that time in the morning only my wallet and a mobile phone was missing.
The rest of the day was spent making statements calling various agencies and insurance company to secure the property.
I was asked by the police if I had lost a pair of binoculars, looked in conservatory and a small set was missing.
Police called round last evening at 11-30 pm to ask me to identify if a set of binoculars were mine, they were and someone had been taken into custody following the sweep in the morning in a street just behind Carrick Drive.
Scumbags whoever you are violating our personal space and causing in the grand scheme of things minimal damage to property which can be repaired you cause us an enormous amount of stress and anxiety. Persons less able than me are in fear of living in their own homes as you appear to make repeated returns to add further stress to an already difficult situation.
Luckily I did not encounter the person/persons involved but at that time in morning nothing is happening in the correct order but I would have inflicted as much injury as possible to the person/persons but dressed in my best PJ’s was not exactly Kung FU attire.
Well here I am on my blog after a little time away. It seemed right to launch into a rambling as on this St Andrews day 2004 I retired from the BBC.
Ten years where has it all gone? Many people ask do I miss it Yes of course I had a wonderful time in my role in BBC Sport Scotland forging many links with friends both in the sporting world, the many technicians who made it all look so simple whether it was camera shots, audio work or the mystery of video editing on both film and videotape.
The many commentators and pundits that I met were some of the most knowledgeable in the art of communicating the action to the viewers.
One of the reasons I decided to retire before my sixtieth birthday was to look after Margaret full time. She has supported me all the time I was dispatching myself to Olympic, Commonwealth Games, World Cups, European Football championships and various sporting events around Scotland for the past twenty five years’ – time was to take stock as her Multiple Sclerosis condition was not getting any better and more help was needed from yours truly.
So what did happen in the last ten years?
If you have followed some of the threads going back to the winter of 2010 when the snow came in a vengeance and seemed to last forever was the start of the Ramblings from Carrick Drive as a way of communicating to our three boys scattered around the UK at the time.
I started my Open University Degree in the 2005/06 which at the time I had no idea which direction it was going to take or the time taken to complete. Going to Glasgow concert Hall in April 2012 to receive my Honours degree was one of those days in front of my family was very special.
Margaret and I managed many cruises and great holidays in the last ten years. The highlight would be two to mention the Hurtigruten journey up the coast of Norway which spread over the midsummer when we had six days of 24 hour sunshine. The sun never setting was too much to take in.
The other trip was the canal journey on a barge (Reine Pedaugue) in southern France around Dijon. The barge was a converted coal carrying barge from the Rhine with a stannah stairlift to get down to the bedrooms. An open bar and food you would not believe cooked in the smallest galley kitchen in the world – 12 days of total relaxation. We managed as part of our trip to take in my grandfather’s grave in Bethune near Arras he was killed on December 23rd 1916.
So what have the family been doing?
Steven and Yvonne now have two children. Matthew is now married to Fiona and now have one child born in November 2013. Philip at long last took the plunge and married Jacquie in August 2013.
When Margaret and I look back as we will do in just a few weeks’ time at the start of January 2015 we will see our family flourishing and making their own way in the world.
So ten years have disappeared in a flash with great memories to reflect on.
So I start the next chapter 1 December 2014.
I was inspired recently by the report from the Channel Islands about the repatriation of Christmas messages sent by the German troops finding their way home after (BBC link) 71 years.
I recalled one I had that my dad had sent my mother whilst he was in the Mediterranean during the war. The card shows the foot of Italy which the Durham Light infantry 16 brigade were involved. (Durham Light Infantry) Some pictures of my dad during the war from a site administered by Tom Tunney shows the history of his father during the war with the Light Infantry.
I started this Blog some two years ago when we had a substantial snow fall here in Scotland and a way of keeping the family informed how their Mum & Dad were coping with the weather. So it seemed a good time to update with the latest weather report from you know where – snow has fallen last evening 2 December only a 2 cm’s but a covering none the less. It has been quite cold of late with -4/6 overnight making the latest fall quite slippy underfoot.
We have been a little plagued of late with some telephone interference on the line which has at last been traced to a faulty incoming cable to the house – we are sailing along with nearly 8mb’s download speed for the first time ever.
I went to a BBC reunion of all the young pups who have retired recently etc. I have been on holiday for exactly eight years on November 30th last and what a lot I have packed in those eight years. The Blog is a good reflection of that.
The picture I am posting is one that I think was taken at a golf event of all the BBC Scotland crew – I will endeavour to locate the exact date when I can speak with the photographer.
One other piece of info is to alert all my readers to Leuchie House Christmas appeal. This holiday centre which Margaret goes to twice a year to get away from yours truly to R & R. Yours truly goes off to do some mad activity as my entry (I am not forty any more but think I am) so please support if you can this very worthwhile centre in only its second year of charitable status after the MS Society withdrew funding.
How I got there
Why did I do it? Personal satisfaction had no time whilst working at the BBC so when I retired in 2004 after a holiday as I called it – time to have a go as they say. What was I going to do I looked at a number of OU courses and eventually decided on an Open degree in Social Science.
February 2006 came upon so quickly after the books arrived for DD100 a foundation module in Social Sciences and before I knew it an exam had taken place and I was into choosing the next module.
DD205 globalisation which I found really interesting as it include climate change and how the world was interconnecting between continents and the ramifications of such connections.
DD200 Governing Europe was taken the year before the European elections which gave me an insight to the workings of Europe in Brussels and how the changes are affecting the European project – my studies coincided with the Lisbon treaty but those doing the course at the moment will have different aspects to consider with Greece and the financial situation cross the Euro Zone.
Half way now to the goal of 360 points for Honours. I needed to upgrade to level three courses for which I chose AD317 Religion – Modernity, Tradition and Change – this was not so much about the textural nature of religion as we know it – but how the differing religions co-exist in society around the world. The size of some of the pentecostal churches in South Korea and USA are staggering. Considered were the breakaways that have occurred throughout the millenia even in our own country was an interesting area discussed.
The other level 3 course was DD304 Understanding cities which was in effect a follow on to DD205 a very interesting module focusing on the mega cities throughout the world, Shanghai, Mumbai, New York, London, Sydney, Mexico and Paris. This course fully elaborated on on what we had studied on DD205 but took it to a new level – communications, influx into these large cities and how the authorities dealt with it and the citizens role in moving from what was from a rual environment. Still they come in their hundreds of thousands daily. Then there is the problem of how does the popualtion move from these cities to another country ie Mexico to USA for instance and people movement around the globe.
The final course was T215 Information Communication Technology – to be honest I did not find this particular module all that stimulating. We had some difficulty on the module with collaboration between students on a website as well as using some rather outdated software packages but in the end I reached my goal 360 points.
Michael Abbott BSc Hounours (Open) what next I do not know but will think of something in the fullness of time.
I have been trying to think how to put this in words for a few days now, can I be humourous, struggle on that one, just be serious possible or just blog as it comes into the head – that is my usual way so here goes.
The date was 14 April and the graduation ceremony took place at Glasgow concert hall in the afternoon. Philip & Jacquie from Northampton, Matthew & Fiona from Glasgow along with my wife Margaret were able to join me. Steven, Yvonne and children were unable to attend as it was the end of the school Easter holidays but Steven posted a nice piece on my Facebook page and a congratulations card arrived shortly afterwards – I know that they were there in spirit.
Having received my gown, bit and pieces plus photos taken we had a bit of time to kill till the ceremony at 3pm. The picture shows the hall full of guests and those receiving their certificates an acknowledgement of their work.
After the usual preamble it was down to the business of the day and what an occasion the Vice-Chancellor of the Open University Martin Bean made of the afternoon he went to great lengths to encourage the guests to give their respective recipients a great Glasgow welcome.
I sat there for quite a while till it was my turn to go and I thought will they or won’t they – the Abbott rent a crowd hold back – Oh! no Oh! no they didn’t – of course the Vice-Chancellor as he had done on a number of occasions wanted to know where the
mob was shouting from – arrests were on going as they were loud but it was great fun – thanks to them. So we had rapturous applause and a great Glasgow welcome for all 200 + graduates all afternoon – great fun.
The Vice Chancellor’s closing remarks hit home to quite a number of people as a way to encourage us to go forward now that we have gained our qualification in what ever discipline.
So to the gallery pictures just a few
He is not going with more – OH! yes he is. for that you will need to go to the next post.