May 9, 2018 - 70 years, Blog, Just Now    No Comments

Three Score and Ten

Me at 8 months

On this day in 1948 at Sutton Coldfield Cottage Hospital which was a Sunday Michael Alfred was born a son for Arthur and Elsie Abbott. This mad world was joined soon after by two sisters Jennifer and Margaret.

Gosh how do you remember 70 years I can struggle to remember last week sometimes (age I think). My early years were ones of play in the my home village of Minworth all sorts of scrapes, 30 aside cricket matches on the village green and just as many playing football. I joined the Boys Brigade in Walmley which saw me in 1966 be awarded my Queens Badge and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold award which was awarded in Buckingham Palace on April 22nd. My mum was there in the Place ballroom to see me receive the award from Prince Philip.

My working life began as an apprentice Electrician with the Birmingham Tame and Rae Drainage Board (now Seven Trent) culminating in being given my papers to trade as an electrician in 1969. I moved to Glasgow in August 1969 and had jobs with Scott’s in Finnieston and Boroughs Adding machines in Cumbernauld before securing a job with the BBC.

What took me to Scotland – I had met Margaret the previous Christmas (see previous posts). The BBC job was the most exciting of jobs working in the Television Centre and lastly in Glasgow where I eventually moved from engineering to production in 1978 and promoted to Head Of Sport (1988) in BBC Scotland before reorganisation changes various titles. I was lucky to travel all over Europe and attend four Olympic Games from 1992, three Commonwealth Games from 1994, Winter Olympics in Nagano 1998, World Cup in  Rapollo, Italy 1990 and ran Scotlands coverage of Euro96 from Stratford upon Avon.

See blog posts else where re early retirement in 2004, Open University Degree 2012. 

Most importantly in my 70 years was the 45 years of marriage to Margaret and the birth and weddings of our three sons Steven, Philip and Matthew followed by 4 grandchildren. (See Blog for Margaret’s sad death in 2016)

Thanks to everyone who came along to my bash and especially thank you to Matthew and Fiona for organising it and me for not asking questions I had no idea who was coming.

The pictures are just some taken at the pre Birthday bash on Saturday May 5th 2018 yes that is me on the bouncy castle.

Thanks for reading – to be updated in many years at the next milestone in my life.

Mar 3, 2018 - Blog, Just Now    No Comments

Storm Day 3

Glasgow begins to move again. Trains were all off for a couple of days and gradually a limited service is operational. No post this week so far and supplies in shops limited but expect supplies will start getting through today Saturday. It will be a few days before the snow melts but the forecast is for cold nights with temperatures below freezing. 

Last week before the storm I had dug a fair bit of the veg plot and covered the new strawberry bed so no snow on it and placed cloches where the parsnips and onions will be sown and planted.

A bit of fun with some photos in the snow, Easter Island man has never seen snow, Gargoyle has got its hat on but cannot see and the duck just manages to see above the drift.

Who knows if we have a another dump this spring?

Mar 1, 2018 - Blog, Just Now    No Comments

Big Storm day 2

Well here we are on day two of the Beast from the East.

It would appear that we had a few more cm’s overnight with all my tracks filled in from yesterday. The Lexus is till with its snow coat on to keep it warm. The M73 motorway slip road near Carrick Drive was closed from early morning as vehicles could not get up the incline. Buses are running a half hourly service and I understand no trains at all on our city route to Queen Street.

No bowls for me as our street had very cars negotiating the foot deep snow, all turning to mush now but it is now so cold I have the icicles forming on the gutters.

One of the other pictures is our local co-op store with empty bread shelves I think it has been like this since yesterday.

Freezing temperatures overnight and Emma arriving from the south all makes an interesting overnight period.

Feb 28, 2018 - Blog, Just Now    No Comments

The Beast from the East arrives at Carrick Drive, Glasgow

Yesterday 27th we had what can only be described as a prelude to what was to come overnight. The day time temperature was very cold yesterday – we in fact had a power cut at the West of Scotland Bowling so home within the hour at 11-30 am.

Out a church meeting till 9 pm and no sign of what was to come during the night.

The pictures best describe the scene this morning I estimate approaching about 6” plus at the rear which faces east. The car will remain in its blanket of snow just now. It took me about an hour to clear a path through to the front of 62 – I only cleared enough snow for the wheels as there is so much.

Just as a comparison we had virtually no frost or snow in 2016/2017 winter period – we have made up for it big time and so late in the Winter/Spring cycle. Thankfully this late on it does not last long – I hope.

Jan 31, 2018 - Blog, Just Now    No Comments

Two Years on

It is two years today that Margaret passed away.
Each day that we spent together was a pleasure. The last few days I have re read my posts from last year reflecting on that week in 2016 at the end of January/February. I had so much support from my family and friends that made my loss that more bearable. 
This last couple of years have been ones of reflection and hope for what is to come for me and my boy’s families at the loss of their mother and my life long soul mate.

I picked up a card the other day which I wish to share the words with you which so summed up my feelings right now.

Caring thoughts,
A heartfelt message at this sad time, 
Our loved one will be remembered
Her beauty will always shine

For those we love stay with us,
even after they have gone,
And precious memories will never fade
For love itself lives on.

At a time when words can say so little
and hearts feel so much sorrow,
Caring thoughts are sent to give us all strength
and help us face each tomorrow.

Margaret love you always.

Dec 28, 2017 - Blog, Just Now    No Comments

49 years since we first met

December 28 in 1968 was the day Margaret and I first met at Croftspar Avenue, Glasgow. Our story is well documented on my website and select blog.
49 years later it is still a special memory for me especially what happened in the next few days that December. When Margaret passed away in January 2016 it left a big void in my life so young at 64 to be taken into the Lord’s arms. 
The memories that are with me and my three boy’s and their families are so special to us. The last two years have been a wonderful period as we have reflected together with her brother David and sister Sandra Margaret’s life despite some trying times as she coped daily with her deliberating condition of MS always with such a positive outlook.
Thanks Margaret will remember you always.
Dec 21, 2017 - Just Now    No Comments

Christmas 2017

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

May 27, 2017 - Blog    No Comments

Glasgae Monsoon 27 May 2017

The weather forecast had been for heavy rain about 5 pm. I was on the bowling green this morning and felt a spot around 11.30. I had not taken any waterproofs with me so I may get wet. Luckily that was all we got and finished our game just before 12.00.

Came home and changed in to shorts with the intention of going to do some tiding of bluebells in the garden but it started to rain and we had just a little bit of down pour around 12.45.

Watched a bit of the second half of the Scottish Cup final when it went a bit on the dark side and the commentator mentioned it was pouring at Hampden Park.

At 16.51 it started to rain a little at Carrick Drive and for the next 10 minutes the heavens opened, gutters not able to take the amount of water coming down on the roof of all the houses. The street was a wash to about 3/4 inches of water and running pretty quickly.

The video is from the Carrick drive security cameras.


May 18, 2017 - Aviemore, Blog    No Comments

Cairngorm Thursday 18 May 2017

Woke up to glorious sunshine after some heavy rain overnight. We were expecting it to be rainy today so hit the keys on laptops and tablets to see what best to do as it was so bright and inviting.

Decision made to hire bikes and hit the off road tracks near the chalets.

Loch an Eilen was a our first goal a distance of about 5 miles along lovely forest tracks in the morning sunshine, first spot was a wild deer and Jax heard cuckoo calls. Circumnavigated the western edge of the Loch before a bit of fun crossing a burn. Philip flew through a small burn and the challenge was on for Jax who went first and got stuck then a small crowd had assembled to see the old man try – it was camera videoed –  foot down and a little damp.

Almost completed circular route of the loch before we decided to go cross country to Loch Morlich. The tracks were again excellent with a lot more cyclists and walkers taking advantage of the great weather. We crossed the Caingorm Club Bridge before joining a small footpath which took us close to the loch before breaking out on to the forestry commission road and then to Loch Morlich.

Our route back to Pine Bank was via the old Logging road which gave us a chance to push the pedals a bit.

A great morning/afternoon out in the best of Scottish countryside.

Between 15/20 km covered.


May 17, 2017 - Aviemore, Blog    No Comments

Cairngorm Wednesday 17 May 2017

View from Ptarmigan Terrace

The Caingorm’s National Park and Aviemore has special memories for Margaret and I as a couple. We came here in December 1968 stayed at Kinguisse Youth Hostel with Anne Pryor her boyfriend Stan Watt and a friend of mine from Minworth, John Burford.

Since Margaret passed away in January 2016 I have chosen to spread her ashes in a number of locations that I felt would be appropriate in remembering her and to involve our three sons as well.

The first stop on this journey was Lamlash in Arran where she spent many holidays with her family. Steven, Yvonne and their family joined me along with Margaret’s sister Sandra. The weather was not kind with pouring rain most of the day.

Journey two was to South Africa in December 2016 to reunite Anne her best friend from primary school. The location was Vitomi Dam in The Kruger national park a very fitting place to spread her ashes.

Journey three was to Leuchie House where Margaret went for respite twice year from 2000. The many friends along with her brother David and Janice joined me for a very emotional reunion almost exactly a year on from when she was taken to hospital on her visit in 2016.

And so I am accompanied by Philip and Jacquei on this latest journey. I do not know exactly the location of the photo (to be added) which was taken in The Cairngorms in December 1968.  That period from December 28 to January 4 was to be our introduction to each other and finally married in 1970 and to over over 45 happy years together.

The picture shows me, Philip and Jacquei at the Ciste Piste area where we re-located to from my original plan of Loch Morlich. The vista was stunning showing the area at its best. 

A ride up the new Mountain Railway to the Ptarmigan restaurant for lunch again with stunning views across the national park to as far away as Inverness in the north and Ben Nevis just visible in the west.

I read this poem by Emma Atwell

© Emma Etwell

Please do not weep.
My body may not be there.
It has chosen to sleep.
I’m not that far away.
My soul lives on,
Looking down, watching over
You and everyone.
And when you feel sad
And life seems so blue,
Just remember
That my spirit has its arms around you.
And on those special days,
Times that you wish I could see,
That cool breeze flowing past you…
Well, that will be me,
So don’t be sad.
Have no fear.
God has taken me under his wing,
But I’ll always be near.
I still watch you
Every minute, every day.
My love and soul are with you,
And that’s where they will stay.


A great day viewing Scotland at its best.

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