Monday, 30 May 2011


On the 9th of May I wrote my first "People of the Land" Blog. I explained then how so little was known about my father's family history yet, there seemed a connection to the land - when he and  mum got engaged they holidayed at a farm and enjoyed fishing at a nearby river. In addition, before dad's memories began to drift away, he talked of herding cows to a dairy and a photo showed him carrying milk. In the early stages of dementia, it is true that people can remember memories from childhood but as health decreases the door to the past can close, photos then the only key. 

Interviewed about People of the Land on the radio - afterwards, I took a drive and found myself heading to the only named place I knew. But, in such a large area? I had driven past here before but without any clues. This time, I drew up beside the pub and went in with the total sum of my information: 80+ years ago dad was photographed carrying milk. 60+ years ago him and mum had holidayed here. The staff were very friendly but asked for more information. I explained I knew nothing more, I just had photos of mum and dad fishing. "Ah ha!" was the reply and I was told that the river behind the pub had trout and another recalled hearing that milk was once got from some place outwith the village. Some farm tracks driven up, more conversations were had with folk I met on my way and then I came home to piece together the jigsaw.


Yes, I had found the buildings that had once been the farm.

In addition to the farm discovery, I suddenly recalled
shadows which I had seen on the pool of a burn.

The 2011 shadows from a bridge
linking me to my dad's old photo of the 10th of August 1952

From 2011, I could now look back to 1952
- finally able to link the people in the photo to the specific place

"The 1952 Fishing Expedition"
L-R: Sonya, Minnie, Wullie, Jean (mum) and Nenny

With old photos, some detective work and the kind help of 'strangers' - a bridge to the past has been built. Eighty years ago, Hugh McMillan holidayed here as a boy. Year's later, he took his girlfriend here, Jean Thorburn. A year later they married and then, another ten plus years passed and I arrived. And by then the family holidays to the Sutherland had begun, (to Balnakeil farm, Durness and Kinlochbervie). Yet, looking down the East Lothian farm track to where my folks had fished all these years before - what a similarity between these places, not just in the look and feel of the land but in the friendliness and helpfulness of the people I met as a stranger.

As a child, regularly on holiday in Kinlochbervie, my beloved dog Corrie came from there. And I am left wondering, my dad's first dog - was this where he came from (the similarity I see of the farm building behind?). I'll never know for sure but sometimes I think, these small details don't matter so much as the importance of taking the journey, for me a journey from 2011 to 1952, 1930 and beyond.

My special thanks to all who gave me their time yesterday and now,
I very much look forward to going back there with my fiddle
to enjoy a tune in the pub and to meet new friends!

Saturday, 21 May 2011


I have travelled to many great countries, made wonderful friends and pretty much put down roots which keep special people and places forever in my heart. But, Scotland has always brought me home and here, there has seemed to be various homes - East Lothian where my mum's family came from, Edinburgh where I grew up and Kinlochbervie and Durness in the Highlands where my family holidayed. Yet, when it comes time to pack up a house, then you see: "home is where your parents house is." This I realised when, I moved to Inverness to accept a new job (168miles away). Moving to a most beautiful house - everything looked new and exciting but going forward was to stretch my ties to 'home'. As I prepared to leave, mum was determined not to be upset in front of me and said "I am so happy for you, so pleased for you to realise your dreams and we can talk on the phone, you'll visit when you can but oh, I will miss your smile!... So, with this in my mind, I took and printed off a life size photo of my smile (wrinkles and all!). A picture mum loved and one she kept beside her chair in the living room. A photo which also (at times) went with her through to the front room, where she liked to have a cigarette (in peace as we hated her smoking), and there, she'd look out to sea with her thoughts.

Mum at home, preparing to wave me goodbye
and, after Inverness, a safe return back to Edinburgh

2011, and thinking of her smile today, I looked out some photos such as this one. A photograph I took of her some years later, when she stood outside her home - ready to wave goodbye to me in May 2006 as I set out for Inverness for the last time. Planning to return to my house in Edinburgh (keen to get 'home' as, behind mum's smile, I thought I saw 'something' telling me that something was 'wrong'....)

Photographs, so very important - their content capable of messages which can convey to us so much more than our words ever can.

Mum celebrating her 80th birthday in May 2006
- on an adventure with me as we began "People of the Sea"

By Autumn 2006, I needed a new smile for my mum - a smile to try and match the needs of a worsening situation. Ever with her cheery disposition, mum would have us laughing but there was a marked change in her health and I believed she was preparing for something very bad ahead. Possessing remarkable faith, mum drew on her religion to keep her spirits up as again and again we'd take her in to hospital. We believed pains she was experiencing were a symptom of something being very wrong but doctors were reluctant to agree, the doctors told us we were all just worrying needlessly.

At eighty, mum was told to expect discomfort with old age but she was not a woman to complain so finally, after being repeatedly sent home from Edinburgh's main A & E, we took her to the Western General who kept her in. They wanted to conduct an operation to see what was going on. There were mixed emotions - finally we would have answers to our questions but also, of course, we were so very scared. Many jokes were shared to try and ease the tension!  Indeed, there is nothing like a hospital ward to see laughter as Nature's medecine for our darkest hours. Black humour can appear shocking to those outwith a situation but for those going through it - laughter REALLY helps! And, once in hospital, events with my mum's illness increased at an absolute mind numbing speed.

Sharing a smile in difficult times - the last photo I took of me and mum,
squeezed together so I could stretch my arm out and photograph us both

On the Sunday my mum had been sent away from A & E, on the Wednesday terminal cancer was diagnosed (and just 65 days were to follow). Told that her remaining time would be short mum's reaction was to radiate a degree of strength I had never seen before and, in her final days, she consistently chose laughter over tears. Back home, she asked me to sing to her but that first time, when I thought she had fallen asleep, my voice broke and I couldn't finish the song. Her eyes flashed opened and she asked "Are you crying?" "Yes" I said "mum, this is really hard" She replied in the strongest tone "It's a bloody site harder where I'm sitting! There'll be time enough for tears but for now, time is far too precious and you must BE STRONG".

That night when I went home I got out my camera and I practised a smile - a smile which would reflect the strength my mum was showing to me so that, in turn, I could do my part to let her leave this world as she wanted to. Mum explained she had felt scared and unable to cope when her mother fell ill but as she said to me "it's the way of the world and you will find the strength you need to help you get through just as everyone else has to do when this time arrives".... (and that was true) Yes, I did go out to a book shop to try and find a book, something I could read which would help me find a way to get through that time, something to help me but, in the end I found that I could actually be my greatest help. Just by taking one day at a time the difficult days would pass and eventually sunshine would return.  I knew I had seen my mum grieve for her mother but, before granny passed on, I had seen mum fight not to let her own sadness spill through in to granny's last days - so too then for me, I knew I had to try and be as strong. AND I am no different from anyone else - the strength comes to us to tackle things we would think we can not endure. And for me, my challenge began with a smile on my face for my mum when my heart was so heavy inside.

Granny & Granda with Venture
Granny and granda, gone by the time I was 17, mum gone five years ago, my dad (in his 90th year) now lost to dementia. Our culture can shy away from talking about such things but death is as much a part of life as birth. And, as my mum said to me "it's not that death should be feared so much that some will reach that final chapter without ever having really lived". So for me, when I reflect on those gone, yes, I can shed a tear but more often I smile. I remember the good times, I prefer to celebrate the lives of those who have gone before.

I choose to smile, I smile because life is precious and by creating your own sunshine - it may not brown the skin but it sure can warm the heart. A smile is like sunshine, from and for the heart!

Thinking of my mum's smile, I remembered her laughing and singing with her mother. I also recalled my granda' singing to granny her favourite song "The sunshine of your smile!" I found myself smiling as I recalled it and the two of them laughing. How granny would say "Oh Billy be quiet" when he would sing to her - but smiling with a pride which told him she loved the song and him singing it. My mum in turn, after granny and granda' were gone, how she would sing the song recalling her parents and then today, me with the same song thinking of her.  Yes, we can be sad when those we have loved are gone but we can also be so very glad that we have known them and they have shared these special times with us to enrich our lives. In addition, how special it is for us to know, that those who have greatly touched our lives, they still live on with us in our hearts, our thoughts, our memories. True love is a bond that forever endures until, as in the words of the song,  life itself is gone.

It seems to me that the power of a smile is something really remarkable, its value is never to be underestimated. Indeed, my philosophy for life being :-D SMILE and pass it on. Life can never run smoothly but when we understand that, we can actively seek to make life better. Positive thinking, it's all in the mind and something as simple and as beautiful as a smile is something that we all can benefit from. As my mum so often said "I pass this way but once, any good I can do then let me for, I may not pass this way again."

The Value of a Smile (anon)

A smile costs nothing but creates much.
It enriches those who receive without
impoverishing those who give.

It happens in a flash and the memory
of a smile can last a lifetime.

None are so rich that they can
get along without a smile and,
none are not so poor,
that they cannot afford a smile.

Yet, a smile from the heart cannot
be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen.
For a smile is of no earthly good until
it is given away

And if ever it happens that some
are people too tired to give you a smile
- then why wait for them but give them
a smile left from you to them

For no one needs a smile so much
as those who have none left to give

:-D SMILE and pass it on!

I was previously asked by a Cancer Charity to share my experience of losing my mum. However, some things can only be shared when the time seems right. Five years on (and very happy in my life) I chose to share this story today because at some point, someone may be faced with a difficult situation, as I was when I looked for information from others to help me. Yet, until that time comes, we really don't know just what we are capable of and how strong we can be. Therefore, I would hope that what I have written proves a comfort in some way to another. In life we all have to pass through difficult times and now it always helps me to remember the phrase "and this too shall pass".  The phrase applies equally to good and bad, saying that we should both find comfort from the fact that our troubles will end just as our good times should fully be enjoyed whilst they visit. Time is indeed so precious, we need to live life to the full and of course, those we have loved would never wish us to be sad but let our pain go so we can reach out and embrace our life - Carpe Diem (Seize the Day!)

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


The more I have looked at sunsets, the more I have learnt to 'read them.' Each is unique in it's own way but still, something beautiful can come from even the most cloudy evening. As clouds drift across the sun, it might appear that the best of the day has gone but knowledge, patience and perseverence are worthy attributes to hold...

If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again.

Some spectacular sunsets I have missed because I wasn't in the right place at the right time. But now in my life, when I see and am able to photograph so many beautiful sunsets - does that imply that my luck has changed? My mum used to say "what's for you won't go past you" but, as with all these sayings there's a lot more to understand. To create one's 'own luck' needs a combination of many things and not the least of these is effort, the motivation to keep trying. That thought came to me today, as I looked back through my photos from last night (what hard work goes in to creating your own good luck).

A PHOTO ESSAY: Changing light, fishing and 'goodluck'

I like to catch the light as clouds turn pink - we need some 'clouds across the sun' to show up the colourful parts of the sky at its best. When a day clouds over, if the sun sinks below the cloud line, it shines back up and the clouds turn pink. Seeing the banks of cloud build up yesterday, I knew if I waited then 'luck might be on my side'. Finding an area of the shore that would give me a good composition I prepared to wait (and wait and wait and wait). I must have been there for over an hour but I enjoyed watching the birds flying around. I've always wanted to photograph a tern diving for fish but they're so fast. All I could do was line up the shot and try to photograph the moment I saw them turn and dive. Did I get the shot? No I didn't. I was disappointed as I thought I might have got it 'just above' the water  (but all I caught was the before, the splash and then after). It's too difficult I thought... But what if the tern missed a fish and decided, no, it's too difficult? The tern will repeat, repeat and keep repeating until it is 'lucky'. And somehow, then the three photos I took seemed to tell a bigger story - a story about life and that "what's for you won't go past you" - as long as you try, try and try again. Goodluck rarely visits by chance (a tern knows that).

The small shape of the tern, on the right against the cloud,
beginning it's dive for a fish (click to enlarge photo)
Shona McMillan © All Rights Reserved

SPLASH! The tern enters the water
- but I missed the point I was trying to capture
Shona McMillan © All Rights Reserved


The tern emerges successful with a fish
- and I will try to capture the photograph I seek another time
Shona McMillan © All Rights Reserved

After my wait on the shore, I hadn't managed to capture the tern (just inches above the water) but, I did learn from my experience. On the first look at my photos I thought "ah, it's too hard" but from a second look I see I am nearly there and with all things we want in life, when the knock backs come we just have to dust ourselves off, get back up and try again. So, did I get the "pink sunset" that I had gone their to capture? Yes, "I was lucky" but then again, I've taken more photos of sunsets than terns. It's all the sunsets I missed which have pushed me on to keep trying to improve. NO FILTERS, NO PHOTOSHOP, NO TRICKS, every single photo in my Blog has been captured by me through the colours of natural light, trial and error.

A pale pink sunset over the Firth of Forth
Shona McMillan © All Rights Reserved

Monday, 9 May 2011


Hugh McMillan - fetching the milk at the farm
When growing up, the past (even the recent past of your family) can seem something that's very far removed from the life you are living. But, the older you get - the more you realise that you and your generation are not 'unique' in the personal relationships that are built.

Life is like the land and the four seasons which shape our year, here in Scotland: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Like a life itself - the seasons reflect to us the chapters of our life. And if we look, we can see that old family photos can reveal so much to us about our here and now and the legacy that we have inherited from the generations who have lived before. Yet, "to look" is not always so easy because - to do so objectively - we must consider our changing world. And if we want to capture aspects of life for the future - we need to record these while we still can.

Dogs, horses, cows - my dad was always so relaxed around animals
and loved to take our family out in to the countryside
sharing with us his appreciation of nature

The first photo of my dad above used to sit near the piano in my family home. The picture showed my dad as a boy, an ordinary photo then of him walking with his dog, carrying back milk he had collected at the farm. As a young person, "I knew everything" about that photo that had been taken in Garvald. Yes, all the details of "my dad getting the milk with his dog at the farm" but no specific details in answer to the more searching questions I have today as an adult...

My Dad told me how very, very happy his childhood had been as a young boy. Working outdoors with his dad growing vegetables, his dear dog Sweep helping him to herd the cows to the milking at the dairy near to their home by Arthur Seat. 
How much as a boy my dad enjoyed living in this Edinburgh which was (back then) so very different from what it is today. Sheep grazed at Arthur Seat (back then called the King's Park) and from the McMillan home they had a clear view of the Fife coast and in Edinburgh, the fields sloping down to the sea at Seafield and Portobello.

By the time I grew up, houses had spread out in to the fields but at least a golf course (and the fertile volcanic slopes of Arthur Seat) still ensured a large area of green vegitation. The golf course, just above the beach,  "the sands at 'Porty' where my dad enjoyed family days out. Taken by his mum, the portrait above showing my dad in the middle, his father on the left and dad's sister Freda on the right (and of course Sweep the dog which went everywhere with them). Happy family day trips to the beach and then, as an older boy, dad also there with his friends to catch the horses exercised on the sands by troops from Piershill Barracks. (See Mike Kelly copyright notice).

17th Lancers exercising their horses at Portobello beach

After the exercises were finished, the horses would be left to relax on the sands and then, when ready to go - the young boys would help to catch the horses by their reins and for this the troops would give them pennies to spend on some sweets. Life was good! And also, as my dad's dad, was a well known and popular tram driver, my dad would go to see him at work and hitch free rides around the town.

Days seemed full of sunshine and in the evening's dad's mum would often sing and play the piano. Described as a gentle creature, Mary Hardie had actually grown up in the next street to Fred McMillan. They had met young, fallen in love and married but sadly, the life enjoyed took a severe change of direction when my dad was just ten.

Out of the blue my dad's father died of an anurism. One day he went out to work and then he was 'gone'. The shock and financial burden on his young wife was tremendous. Wanting to help, and now "feeling he had to be the man of the house" my father thought he must do something and so an approach to the RAF was made. At just 11 years old, my dad was accepted in to the service but immediately he was posted down south. My dad's experience was not a happy one. As a family, we heard of his childhood and then his life after meeting mum. And, what is not spoken about but left to go undiscussed - these memories can eventually fade away and maybe be lost forever.

It seemed to me that from the moment my mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer my dad began to 'drift' away. 65 days from that diagnosis to her being gone and, after more than 50 years of marriage, my dad was very lost. Increasingly he would ask me questions about the past. The project I started for mum "People of the Sea" - this was a great help because it would bring back memories but not of his life before mum. Painstakingly I searched for photos, read pencil scribbles on the back of them (thanks to Mary McMillan for writing things down!) and then on Father's Day I surprised him with the launch of his very own exhibition for ONE! His reaction was so dramatic, I was taken aback. "You've given me my life back! All my life, the memories before I met your mum that were slipping away, I remember it all, a flood of memories pouring in."

A window opened in my dad's mind as for more than two hours he spoke without stopping about everything. Details I knew that even mum had never heard - the eighty plus years of the jigsaw puzzle of his life coming together. His loving mum, so gentle, young and happy until he was ten. But sadly, how much the years had aged her when he travelled back up from England to see her again in Edinburgh for that short hello and very distressing long goodbye. How much this photo must have been treasured until - too painful to look at, it was safely put away and then the years passed it by (photos without their story).

The personal cost of economic hardship and the cruel realities of war.  Away for a couple of more years, my dad abroad then told his mum was critically ill and given compassionate leave. But rushing to see her, arriving at the hospital  "they were leaving her room" - his mum had passed away in that last ten minutes he'd been tried to reach her...

Hearing my dad's full story was pretty shocking - and the great irony was that I was preparing to launch "People of the Sea" (inspired by my mum and only now I was really learning about my dad). Yet suddenly, I understood SO MANY things that explained other parts of my own life. Without any family left around him, when my dad had married my mum from the fishing community, yes, I could see why his concentration had moved to talk only of her family and not want to discuss the extent of the personal loss he had known. Losses which had ultimately distanced him from the opportunities for him to discover details about his ancestors and "People of the Land".

L-R: Aunty Chrissie's friend, Aunt Chris Thorburn, Hugh and Jean McMillan,
Christine Telfer (cousin), Crissie and Billy Thorburn 

As a young dating couple, yes I knew my Mum and Dad went on their first ever holiday together to Garvald - but exactly why that had been a special place in dad's childhood I didn't know and don't today. Do I have family there? Who knows... Entering his 90th year, my dad 'technically' lives on but all stories once shared have faded away as the cruel clouds of vascular dementia have rolled in. Too late for new questions, only my own patchwork of gathered information remains to tell me that my dad's folk were once "People of the Land". Recent generations settled in Edinburgh, Musselburgh (East Lothian) and on the far side of the Firth of Forth, the McMillan's worked on farms in Fife, near Kinross and over to the west, perhaps in Stirlingshire. 

If the hills could talk, what stories would I learn but recently (looking at the colours in this photo), a memory came back to me. Sitting in my dad's car some years ago he was outside and had opened the door "Jean, where's my tin?" Mum, reached in to the glove compartment and passed him a travel sweets tin. I didn't pay much attention until I saw mum wink and affectionately say "Aye, Johnny Apple Seed".

When the door closed I asked her what she'd meant. She laughed at their secret "Have you never seen yer faither go one of his wee walks when he stops the car? - He gathers up seed pods from the brightest flowers and then pops them into his pocket. After drying them out at home he collects up all the seeds and they go in to the tin he's gone off with. He'll take a walk, disturb the soil and scatter the seeds in other places so he spreads the flowers around the land" "Really?" I said, absolutely amazed - "Oh yes, he's been doing his bit for nature for years". Quite bemused by this I thought it over and then asked "And so he goes back to see the flowers in bloom?" "Och no" said mum, in a knowing way "that's not the point, he's just trying to leave the world a better place than it was when he came in to it."

The Road Home?
In the distance, the farmland from where the McMillan's came from.

Just last week I went back to the area where 'I believe' some of my dad's people once worked the land. I looked at the colours of the fields and the brightly shining crop of yellow Rapeseed in the distance which more or less marks that spot. I thought of the flowers which plant themselves, the seeds that are scattered by the wind. But then I smiled as I also recalled the sunshine yellow and  orange poppies which mysteriously arrived in to my own garden (quietly dropped there along the border of my path by my dad). Such a small effort to spread some colour in to another person's life and yet, each year when I see yellow and orange poppies flower it makes me smile.

Likewise, it was both the McMillan and Thorburn  interest in photography which has given me photos I can appreciate and share - like this one taken by my dad of myself, then just a baby in my mum's arms. Looking back, it was on mum's 80th birthday (May 2006) that she asked that her present be a celebration of the People of the Sea. That promise was given by me in laughter without any vision of what would be achieved: exhibitions visited by 12,000 visitors, 2010 Compendium Album of the Year, Creative Project of the Decade 2000-2010 and in 2011, Culture Sparks social media award for Marketing Impact. And now this weekend, my Celtic Reflections blog has had it's 10,000th visitor... So much has come out of the last five years of this work but now, for me personally, a time to begin a new chapter in my life as I take up an exciting new longterm project (quite by chance: my new job beginning on my dad's birthday and from an office overlooking the farmland that my dad's folks came from).

Wishing a Happy Birthday in 2011 to my Dad, Hugh McMillan
"People of the Land is inspired by you"

Looking on the personal work I have been doing (before this new job) I realised that increasingly, I've seen myself taking photographs of those who work on the land. Indeed in 2010, I took the opportunity to specifically go and photograph various friends who were working the land in the Highlands (a second home where I have holidayed all my life). Very keen to take these photos, thinking at the time that the people's skills (such as Peat cutting) the 'know how' to do this was being passed on to less and less folk with each new generation.

In 2010 - 2011, I've been photographing people working the land in the Lothians and Scottish Borders. However, when over in Fife I had an experience last week which signalled to me it was time to start doing something with all these photos. Wanting to know more about my dad's past, I asked a farm labourer who I might speak. Away in the distance of the land behind me, he pointed to a farm saying "ah, you really need to go and speak to the old guy that lives on the hill up there". As I followed the directions and the farm grew nearer - I wondered what to say but we'll never know. Getting out my car I shouted to someone, "which house does the old guy stay in" and the person called back "oh I'm sorry, he has passed away"...

After that conversation, I sat by the field of Rapeseed that I had first seen from the distance. Watching the sun set over the crop, I felt philisophical about what had happened and decided. Yes, it may well be that I discover absolutely nothing more about my own roots but "no matter to that". I think, just as my dad planted seeds to flower for others to enjoy. Maybe then, my photos will plant positive seeds of thought with those who see them. My photos and stories, maybe nudging some faded memory back in to flower or even, just passing on a smile.  Whatever, I am never short of reasons to get out with my camera and enjoy a walk in Scotland's beautiful scenery. I love talking to folks I meet on these walks and also, now that I must surely know nearly every inch of the Edinburgh to Eyemouth coastline - well, I can now look forward to discovering so much more about the People of the Land on BOTH sides of the Firth of Forth, as this new chapter in my life will allow me to.  (Anyway, more about my new job in a future blog - as for now, I go to post photos to my Facebook page of this evening's very beautiful sunset - check out in my May out and about album. The sunset by the Forth tonight, so 'perfect' this evening, it seemed almost to be a Celtic Reflection of the lovely day that I have enjoyed outdoors).

9.05.11: Me enjoying this evening's sunset by the Firth of Forth

A New Chapter Begins

Friday, 6 May 2011


Today’s election has shown a landslide swing to the Scottish National Party.

The political map in Scotland has changed overnight So, what does that mean for each of us on a personal, individual level?

A time to
begin again?

A time for
new beginnings?

Here, I share with my readers some emails exchanged today. Quiet congratulations from an English woman, to a Scottish woman.

To put these emails in context - Lets face it, “us Scots” we are NOT perfect and I can feel ashamed of some of the things we can say and do. By this I refer to anti English, racial statements and equally unacceptable ignorance (by the minority) in the form of religious bigotry. Also, in the way that we live... too many Scots place too much emphasis on alcohol and our overall track record in health leaves a great deal of room for improvement. Scottish people we have our failings but I think also that we have our great strengths and most admirable characteristics too. Therefore, at the dawning of a new political landscape, here is a new opportunity for us (as individuals and as a nation) to work together for a better future. Let's not focus on the divides between our political parties or the differences between Scotland and other countries, let's focus more on the benefits of working together in partnership to initiate positive change for the future. In this election, Scotland's people have come together to speak with one voice. This is a proud day for Scotland!

In looking at the bigger picture of our nation's future, as individuals, lets also see the smaller picture - with that in mind, I share the emails exchanged between two women, one English, one Scottish.

Hi Shona, I am so pleased for the Scots! They have their lives back! England? We lost our nation years ago and have little identity left eg: not even allowed to put up our own flag up as when we do we are accused of racism! You Scots have it right! My daughter is half Scots, having a Scottish father (not clear which camp she will fall into now!)
Better to go with the Scots for a new chance and a fresh start!
Good luck to you all!!!

Hi, my thanks to you, that's a LOVELY email! Goodness tho', I feel quite WASHED OUT by all this good news - such elation and then some tears too that my mum can't be here to see this proud day.
A day Scotland has waited on for hundreds of years...

Yes Shona, my former partner (my daughter’s father) he wanted home rule too but he passed away some time ago and now, too late for him and all who have gone before to see this day. But, here is
the chance for the new generation to pick up the flag of their forefathers. The English today will be so wishing it was them!

My Scots ancestry is limited to the 12 century when we fought and lost - lost our land in Scotland and ended up in England and became English as our new generations followed, like the many who settled here from other countries. And others in my family they emigrated abroad. But, for the ones who stayed, today is a day when a new nation arises! Good luck to all of Scotland for her future and from everyone here down south we will be thinking the same (even if secretly!!!) The birth of a new brave nation arising from the old, it’s great!!! Have a good weekend, I have a bottle of champagne and I will toast to my daughter’s new independent country!!!

Thanks for reading my Blog and I leave you with one of the greatest songs written by Robert Burns, this version sung by Sheena Wellington at the opening of the Scottish Parliament on the 1st of July 1999. Today on the 6th of May it is the start of an equally proud new beginning. Now as we move forward – let us do so in partnership. Let everyone pull together for Scotland’s future, for Scotland’s people. This is a new beginning and a new nation arises.