Archive for the ‘Scotland’ Category

It’s Mom’s 87th birthday, today!

We had a scare last week when we went out to see our friends in the band play and after a lovely evening despite her having found a band-aid in her pizza (her dinner and wine, including a complimentary wine to make up for the band-aid, was free). Just as we had gotten up to leave, Mom keeled over and passed out. We ended up calling paramedics and after passing out a second time and throwing up, they took her in to the hospital. After an overnight in Observation, they surmised that she simply “passed out” and that it took a while for her blood pressure to return to normal.

Since we are having a little party for her this weekend, we are hoping that she doesn’t have a repeat performance. However, to head that off I will ensure that she gets up and moves around frequently, this time.

We got a message recently from someone who is researching Scottish girls schools which were evacuated from Edinburgh estates around the countryside. Mom’s school, Esdaile, was one of those. He wants to get her story and reminiscences about their time at the castle. They were evacuated first to Ancrum House and then, when the woman who owned Ancrum complained about everything they did (including claiming that they fed newspaper to the horses!), they moved to Ayton Castle (had I a spare¬†¬£3 million…) where they spent the duration of the war.


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A few weeks ago, my sister loaned me the family photo albums and I have been hard(ish) at it scanning and uploading them to my Fotki albums.

It has been years since I looked at most of these photos and there are some I don’t ever (consciously) recall seeing before. I have to sit down with Mom and go through the albums and sort out some of the faces I don’t recall or don’t know. Sadly, there are only a few of my step-Dad’s family photos and none of them include anyone beyond his parents and sisters. I do remember a photo of his grandfather (which grandfather I cannot recall) but so far I haven’t located it.

Many of these photos were just loose in boxes in the past. Some had been in the old sticky albums which damage the photos. Luckily, there doesn’t seem to be any really bad damage, beyond some yellowing. I seem to have a lot of the negatives for the photos, myself. I am debating as to whether to put the photos and the negatives together or keep them separate in case something happens to one or the other. However, if they are scanned and uploaded, we will have one set of copies safe.

Great grandmother Margaret (Balfour) Tocher

Maggie, Mamie, Jennie (seated on floor), Nancy (baby) and John Tocher

Grandfather McIntosh and Mom

Aunt Amy, Aunt Mehru, and Dad, 1926

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A comment was posted to my previous post on showing Mom the Street View images of places she lives and where she was born.

Some links were shared to more photos.

Former United Free Church, Canonbie (Alan Reid)

This was the first church where my grandfather preached and beside the manse where Mom was born.

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For a few years, there was the hope that one day, I would be able to take my Mom back to Scotland to see some of the places that have featured so much in her stories of growing up. I have not seen the house she grew up in in Dumfries, Scotland, or the house she and her mother moved to when my grandfather died. She may have taken me there when we went when I was 5 but while I remember a great deal from that trip, I don’t recall that.

Thanks to Street View on Google Maps. I can now stand outside the houses, at least vicariously, with her and be able to reminisce with her about the places before they disappear from her memory.

I can also share them with family, as well.

The first is the house she grew up in. It is the one on the right. It served as the Manse for my grandfather’s church, though the church was down town.

You can even see that the old house name, before the houses were numbered is still there…. Halldykes

The second is the second floor of the right side of the building. When she lived there, across the road was an open hillside with pasture land for sheep grazing, might have been fallow or had a crop in, depending on the year. Now there is a housing estate on it.

And here is my grandfather’s church, formerly Buccleuch Street Church, now Bethany Hall, a Baptist church.

And here is where she was born… The Manse, in Canonbie. I can’t wait to show it to her in the morning…

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