Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A walk in the past continued

It was at this time my mother fell pregnant and my youngest brother Stephen born. It was also then that it was discovered that my mother had advanced chronz disease , she ended up having half her intestines removed and was chronically ill for decades after. I was fostered out for a few months . my brothers staying with my mum in convalescent hospital. My dad was on duty, Cyprus was falling apart and division was occurring.
My father managed to get himself transferred to Rosythe and home duties due to my mothers health and having young children. Transferring to the submarine corps, he eventually ended up In Helensburg, my dad base ,being in the Loch. I have an image of watching the arundel castle being towed to the breakers yard down the Caledonian canal, we are sitting in an old Morris waiting for the bridge to open. It was the same boat that 5 years before I sailed to England on.
Scotland was a completely different world to us, we moved into a gate house of a laird. One room down one room up, narrow winding stair scarcely big enough for a child to go up, no kitchen just a hearth with a small coal stove, one deep metal sink with one cold water tap, which was having to be defrosted as it froze up continually. Bath was either a small metal tub in front of the fire or hang your arse in the sink. The toilet was literally an out house, built on a small island ,where the river which the house sat over and the loch. It took a brave person to use it in winter, a long drop it emptied directly into the burn. As I said before, our one water pipe used to freeze solid , luckily there was a well , if the well had iced over as well ,hot coals were put in the bucket and lowered onto the ice gratefully it was temporary after winter we moved to Helensburg My school was the Hermitage where Logie Baird of TV fame was schooled. I had a glorious 2 years living there. Totally free, in a safe environment I was in the hills all the time, There used to be a group of dogs that would come and fetch me and we would roam as a group ,I was perfectly safe and well looked after. This was a time of adventure and exploration, making forts and huge jungle swings using hawsers washed up onto the beach. This was a time of going into the black pine forests and finding a stream so you could walk down the middle of it and get back to the loch. It was still a time when kids were safe and doors not locked, when every one pulled together and shared , a few pennies here a cup of sugar, a homemade hair do, hand made dresses. Going out, so all the adult friends getting together and finding a mishmash of clothes so mum or one of the others looked nice. It was a time when being poor and not having was not looked as a shame, it was a community. Dead, gone and buried in the past, never to revive. What HAVE WE BECOME, we are not the better for those gone days. We learned self reliance to innovate and make do, to share with others to feel comfortable inviting yourself to some ones home. Today we phone first, we apologies for disturbing ,we feel uncomfortable as intruders in some one else's space, with all our wealth today how was it there was always room at the table when an uninvited guest arrived or popped round, you knew there was hardship in others homes so without asking a small dish of something was allways ready to go when they left. Nothing asked nothing said.
It wasn't unknown for mum or a kid to visit neighbours to ask for a potatoes, carrots, an egg, a bit of fat, veggies it was done without having explanations and returned in kind when the request was made by others. It was hard days, it built character, community, respect and appreciation of what you had. Look at our children how we have spoiled them by giving too much, they never grow up find responsibility and respect foreign words and want everything given to them without putting any effort. Our fault, also Advertising, it is the single most destructive force on the planet. Think about it, it only creates a demand and adds nothing of value.

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