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.
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.
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.’
You are forever in my heart Margaret
This time of year the memories of Margaret just keep flooding back. I seem to see and hear her in many different places as well as the influence she had on my life then and now. I found this track on one of my searches to find something that would fit especially for today.
Loved then always will. Michael
I was sitting in church last Sunday with mixed feelings as the 31 January was soon upon me. I wrote on the 28th December my thoughts about meeting Margaret for the first time 50 years ago. What was to unfold over that week in 1968/69 and more importantly the next 48 years was beyond my wildest dreams. A dream it was to spend and to be married to such a wonderful and caring person.
I was reading the other day how much you can learn from each other in a relationship, no matter what is thrown at you as a couple you adapt and learn to cope.
I was blessed to have met such a wonderful person, words can never really describe how much I loved Margaret and so miss her smile and raucous laughter.
I hope these words convey my feelings: –
© Louise Bailey
Published: February 2006
I feel a warmth around me,
like your presence is so near.
And I close my eyes to visualise
your face when you were here.
I loved the times we spent together,
and they are locked inside my heart
As long as I have those memories
we will never be apart.
Even though we cannot speak anymore,
your voice is always there,
because every night before I sleep,
I have you in my prayer.
Loved you then, always will
It is hard to believe but on this day 28 December 1968 I was to see Margaret for the first time before we went north to Aviemore. There was some joking on the way north at my expense getting me to pronounce some Scottish names I was doing not bad until they asked me to pronounce machine I fell for it pronouncing it as MacHine etc no just plain old machine they quipped.
What happened over the next few days was to change our lives forever. I remember the snow came around NEW YEARS EVE such that we were locked out of the youth hostel at Newtonmore it was cold we had to wait till 6.30 till we could get in.
Even 50yrs on it is hard to explain what was taking place between two young people other than we found something that was to bond us together for the next 48 yrs.
Margaret and I were to have a wonderful life together till she passed away on 31 January 2016.
It is that time of year when I have to come to terms with my thoughts as the 16 September approaches. Over some recent weeks listening to music tracks or hymns at church that have a resonance with me and remind me so much of Margaret. In the last couple of months, I have been in been some dark places and it is only thanks to my family and friends that I get the help I need.
When I was putting together the video to take to South Africa in December 2016 I read all the letters that Margaret and I wrote to each other over the period from January 1969 till September 1970 – 200 in all. In reading them I found a poem that Margaret wrote in April 1969….
By he was desired what in me he shall try
To find. For we know what the other has dreams of
The longings ambitions and feelings so strong
For love between two, which will not be destroyed.
By time, or man, not even death,
The growing affection and love of two bodies,
The one and the other are united as one.
Yet the miles set between us don’t hinder, but nurture
This growing love growing deeper with each thought and deed
As if geared to tomorrow, its hopes and its sorrows.
Together we two will be united as one.
This was just a short extract but it sums up what this day on 16 September 1970 meant so much to us and thanks Margaret for 45 wonderful years.
What on earth was happening last Saturday – Matthew let me know that he was doing the Tough Mudder at Drumlanrig Castle near Thornhill, nr Dumfries. Do you want to do it dad – no but I would love to come down and watch. So an early start for Matthew and his group and yours truly a 40 plus mile round trip. Now when I say mud I mean mud and plenty of it. The heavens opened up for most of the morning and not all that warm either just in consequence to make it mudder or could I say murder. Now this is not counting the twenty obstacles they had to complete.
Arrived just about 9 am and missed Matthew starting so sort out map and made my way to about mid point again no idea where he was – kept asking what time did their group start and eventually got close to 9 am about 2 hrs in I could see him coming down the hill with the Awesome Team in tow.
They were about 4 miles in so made a rendezvous to meet him guess where the mud smile so they went to complete loop 1 and I trekked up the hill to meet them there. It took me about 20 minutes so I guessed about 1.5 hrs before they would arrive.
Now the mud smile is a series of open ditches with knee deep water and lots of mud which is followed almost immediately with a 200yards of mud ankle deep. A chat and off they went to complete second loop see you at the end.
To complete they had to mount the Pyramid to the top but first get into knee deep water (actually cleans the legs) but makes the slope wet. The team did very well as a team getting to the top.
I can only congratulate them for a BRILLIANT TEAM EFFORT not sure about the smiles maybe of pain and yes we did it The Tough Mudder.
Postscript Matthew said on Sunday morning I feel as through I have been hit by a truck.
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.