Perhaps I had ambitions to be an MP - or an undertaker!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008



Some people,
no matter how old they get,
never lose their beauty—
they merely move it from their faces
into their hearts. (Martin Buxbaum)



In the 1970s my parents had a caravan at Callander and our family have happy memories of holidays and week-ends in and around the town.

Last week-end Jean and I spent an enjoyable few days there, and were glad to find that much of Callander remains the same - the River Teith with the swans and ducks, the mound where Margaret and Fiona used to sit playing their guitars and attracting the attention of interested boys, the main street with the big Dreadnought Hotel, numerous gift shops and cafes (many of them closed at this time of the year). And of course looking down on the town the imposing Ben Ledi with a little snow on its summit.

Some things have changed of course - the church with the tall steeple is now the Rob Roy museum, the Ben Ledi café is now a fish and chip shop, and the little sweet shop where we bought "soor plooms" is no more.

We were most fortunate in choosing that particular week-end, for up till then the weather had been continuously bad, and just the week before our visit there had been quite a bit of flooding when the Teith overflowed.

Here are a few photographs I took over the week-end.

On Tuesday I began a new Haiku blog called HAIKU HOMESTEAD and today's posting includes a photo taken at Callander.


Some months ago I referred to the fact that there were very few motor cars when I was young. Most of the goods vehicles were horse-driven. However, more and more bus services were being introduced, and, as the streets gradually became busier, it was clear that certain “rules of the road” would be needed.

So it was that in 1931 the government issued a booklet which detailed instructions and regulations for road traffic. The illustrations it contained are rather amusing and here are a few from that very first edition of THE HIGHWAY CODE.


It’s interesting to note that for many, many years Kirkintilloch district had three institutions for mentally deficient people. The earliest was Woodilee Hospital (known to us as “the asylum”) which functioned from 1875 till 2001. Then came Waverley Park Home 1906 -1993, and from 1936 till 2002 Lennox Castle Hospital.

I knew Waverley Park very well, for I entertained there on many occasions. When it opened, its purpose was to provide for the “Care of Defective and Feeble-minded Children”. In practice it was a home for girls and women, though I suspect that the women had been in the home since they were quite young.

The girls were always thrilled when visitors came to entertain, and enjoyed taking part.A church dramatic club which always performed comedy plays was very popular, and my violinist friends and I provided music between the acts.

A few of the girls who were more intelligent worked outside as domestic helps, and one in particular was employed by a local doctor for many years. All of them went out en masse each week, on Sunday mornings to church, and to the cinema on Saturday afternoons.

I used to dread meeting them in the street. They walked in a long line two by two, and, if they happened to see me across the road, they would nudge each other and point over to me. If I saw them before they saw me, I would take avoiding action by darting into a close, and wait there till they had passed by. Remember - I was probably aged 15 or 16 at that time.


This is a great video for relaxing, with the music turned down soft in the background. The paintings are by Yao Fenh Shakya and the music by Karunesh.


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