My father,from Fankerton,near Denny and my mother from Errol,Perth-shire moved north in the early 1950`s
to a place called Batten,near Foxhole,Kiltarlity in Inverness- shire. It was my father`s first posting as a forester with the Forestry Commission.
They moved into an army built wooden "house" with kitchen lean-to built amongst tree-stumps in a forest clearing. Mum`s father,who had moved up with them, said "Now,Joan stop crying,Bob`s got enough on his plate just now". The house had`nt been swept or cleaned and there were building materials and shavings lying in piles in all the rooms.They were the first "incomers"
to that area and it took the locals and them a while to understand what each other was saying.I came along in 1953,born in Inverness,the nearest town.We were
very poor because dad,although the forester,was not allowed to do piece work like the men in the squad and he often took home less money.Mum`s father was so shocked at dad`s poor pay,he gave them part of his pension every week . And that was after mum had lied and told him dad took home £7 a week instead of £5 (old money).They also had rent to pay on the house and dad had to cycle
up and down a steep hill,3 miles every morning and night to get to work.
The Trapper gave us rabbits and we lived on rabbits and potatoes for a couple of years.
Mum and Dad dug up tree-stumps and timber left behind by the Canadian saw-mill workers,during the war and stacked it in "wig-wams" to dry.Dad built a stick shed. Mum had to show dad how to plant tatties ("but don`t make it obvious that`s
what you`re doing,I don`t want the neighbours knowing") Mum carried pails of better soil,she`d dug from the road side and made flower -beds.A visiting "coal-porter" was selling bibles and religious tracts and was laying forth about how St Peter could be likened to a rock,mum told him " Well the Forestry Commission certainly knew a thing or two about building on a rock",
and the next day the whole neighbourhood knew what " the new woman on the hill "had said!.
Dads father,James,me and dad
Me aged 3
My sister Irene was born when I was two and when I was four, we all, including the budgie,moved over the hill,(in a snowstorm) to Shenval,in GlenUrquhart.
Go to the SiteMap