A couple of years ago, my sister and I put together an album of photos for my Mum who was turning 70. I also wrote a poem. Apologies in advance to many of you for the Gaelic inserts, and for local references that probably will not make too much sense to the rest of the known world.
One thing might be useful though: The Castle is an actual castle in Stornoway, but has for many years been used as a college. My Mum and some of her friends were 'domestics' in the Castle, and they still talk with such fond memories of their 'Castle Days'.
For Mum - 70 years young
17th January 2008
Seventy years ago today
A baby came to Ness
What joy they felt in Emag's house
A girl for Nanag to dress.
Catherine Mary was her full name
After loved ones she was called
But very soon became Cathy Bheag
'Cos she wasn't so very tall!
Now growing up "sa bhail' againn fhìn"
Were plenty of youngsters back then
From the border of Habost to the loch near Cross
And the friends in 'taigh Fhionnlaigh Ten'
But then the Castle Days arrived
With Jessie and Cathie in tow
And Katag along with their other friends
The town girls were dealt some blow!
These country bumpkins just shouldn't be
Competition for town glamour queens
'Cò th' ann ach sinn?' was what they thought
But the boys seemed very keen!
Out on the town on a Friday night
So many new friends were found
From Back, the West Side and town itself
Pals that were really 'sound'!
But oh the boys, the lovely boys
Who came to the Castle to learn
No matter it seems where they came from
There were none as lovely as them.
To this very day, how often we hear
'Tha 'm fear 'ud cho snog 's a ghabhas'
'How do you know him?', we often ask
Then we see the look in the eyes.
'Oh', we say, 'please say no more
He must be a Castle Lad'
And we know of course there were none like them
No chance any of them were bad.
The dates were coming thick and fast
So many to choose from
I wonder if there would be any chance
Of mixing up who was with whom?
No surely not - not even Mum
Could go to a dance with one
And leave the place with someone else
I can't believe that was done!
But sure enough, I believe it's true
The night she started with Dad
A birdie tells the date didn't start
With him, but another lad!
Oh Mother, how could you do such a thing!
I'm glad I didn't follow your lead
Marina too would do no such thing
Your girls would do no such deed!
'Now isn't that true, wee Sis?', I ask
'We wouldn't have behaved like that!
At least we'd wait til the night was out
And then, we'd turn them down flat!'
But Kenny Boy was the one after all
That stole her heart and mind
And in '62 down the aisle she walked
With Jessie and Cathie behind.
Not long after that to twenty-three
In Swainbost they'd come
The home that Neil, Marina and I
Still think of as 'our home'.
So many good times were had in that home
So many friends would come there
Laughs to be had and food any time
With love and plenty of care.
At òrduighean beag' and òrduighean mòr'
They came from near and far
Good talks amongst the people of God
All churches on even par.
With Grampa and kids, and dogs and hens
And people in and out
Yet nobody felt the house too full
All, welcome, there was no doubt.
And then to town, Mum and Dad they moved
To Dad's old stomping ground
And there they started the B&B
And new friends were soon to be found.
They came from all across the globe
To Meadowbank B&B
Good food and plenty of comforts were there
For all who came to see.
And now in Lochs in a cosy flat
So easy to keep and to clean
How good God's been to you and to Dad
His love is so easily seen.
So now as you reach a milestone in life
It's easy to look right back
And see how God was taking good care
And seeing you had no lack.
And so we want to thank you tonight
Myself, Marina and Neil
For being our Mum, for all you have done
We really had a great deal!
But most of all, we have God to thank
For He's the One who is best
He cares for us like noone else can
In Him we can truly rest.
Here are some photos of photos! I should really scan them, and then download them, but .....well, the girls are busy!
You can see a hint of one of Mum's wedding photos, showing her three bridesmaids.
Mum and her two brothers, taken around 1950.
Aren't they elegant! Didn't the ladies dress so beautifully then.
Here is Mum (far right) with two friends sitting at the Castle. Jessie, on the left, has been her best friend since childhood. Although not related to us, she is Auntie Jessie to us, and is very precious to our family.
Mum and Dad on a date before they married.
Isn't Mum's dress gorgeous.
No wonder Mum looks at me, in my cut-offs and boots, and rolls her eyes, saying, 'Where did I go wrong? I don't know who you took your sense of dress (lack of) from!'
Here we are - all but my baby sister.
This is the only photo ever, ever, ever of myself that I actually like.
I did post a photo of myself here the other day, and it took all of my ..... my.... something to do it.
I can't tell you how I hate being on the 'other' side of the camera. Apart from my *major* phobia, it's probably my biggest dread.
This was at my wee sister's wedding. Mum looked lovely, though I have realised I'm now posting yet another photo of myself.
Maybe this is what they call Confronting your Fears. Be strong, Anne. Be strong.
I had to include a photo from Mum's one and only trip abroad.
In 2001, she and I went to Canada for two weeks: one week was spent in Ontario; the other in Vancouver. Here's Mum and I (again...gulp!), with Merle, who has since passed away, at the Niagara Falls.