Our year in retro specs . . .


Looking back over the year!

Well, Morag!

I see I wrote our last blog post no less than 20 months ago! And I started it with the admission that it was TWELVE WHOLE MONTHS since the previous one! Clearly not a pulse I have my finger on! I am not cut out to be a regular contributor, it would seem! I believe the one before that was bemoaning the end of ‘flower power’!

So . . . I rashly promised on our Facebook page that I would write a review of our year!! So here it is . . .

2016 – that year of infamy – started off quite normally. You were trying to avoid the attentions of your paramour, Norman (I really don’t know what’s going on there, dear, so do tell!) while doing your fabric and textile ‘thang’! And I was pursuing my seemingly disparate interests of basket weaving, whittling, Lancaster bombers and Premiership football.

And so the year began . . .


Those lovely people at Dementia Friendly Middlesbrough requested us to make a ‘cameo’ appearance at their awards ceremony which, by an extraordinary and fortunate coincidence, was to take place in Middlesbrough. We ‘warmed up’ by dispensing tea and coffee as the worthy recipients assembled, confusion etched upon their bemused faces. (It seems our advance publicity did not arrive until the following day!) Then we gently tottered from table to table, smiling and congratulating as we went, before gently exiting stage left!

A smooth start but the month took a frantic turn a few days later when we we received an emergency call from Team Wiggins. Sir Brad, it appears, had pulled a muscle – and a sickie! Would we take his place on the third leg of the Tour de Yorkshire? Naturally we were overjoyed to jump into his lycra but the crowds that appeared at the news of our surprise appearance prevented us from pulling ahead of the peloton! Drat!


Our new van!


Have we got the right day?

We did, however, win the tricycle category as the sole entrant! (Where is the trophy, dear? Is it that silver thing you are keeping the doggie treats in on the kitchen window sill?)


We had a quiet month, mercifully! The medical treatment made necessary by our exertions on the Tour de Yorkshire was lengthy and painful – for you anyway. My body, as you know, is a temple, and my vigorous physical regimen renders me immune to anything harmful that may come my way. As to you, however, one of your hips had ‘popped’ again on the ‘King of the Mountains’ stage which saw you in traction for three weeks.

Thankfully, you were match fit quite soon, thanks in no small part to the restorative powers of tea and the odd sponge finger. Consequently, we were ready to take part in the inaugural Orange Pip market in Middlesbrough a few weeks later. There, we vied for attention with a giant walking white horse puppet and two young ladies with lickable tattoos! Not to be outdone, I had smeared a lovely pâté de saumon on my thighs but had no takers apart from a couple of stray cats who wouldn’t leave me alone!! You did somewhat better with the packet of macaroons that you strapped to your person – although I am convinced you ate them all yourself, dear!!


Jean horsing about!


The season started to hot up as we pedalled south to Harrogate at the beginning of the month for the Victoria Kitchen – a street food event organized by our good friend, Lulabelle! Or, as I prefer to call her, ‘The Lady In The Van’. After bonding with all of the foodie people and ‘pigging out’ – your phrase not mine! – we burnt off the excess calories, you may remember, by pedalling as fast as we could up and down one of the adjoining streets, in order to inform shoppers of the vast array of wonderful food available just around the corner! Oh . . . and joining our new Mexican friend in the singing of various ditties to the same shell-shocked shoppers. (Try saying that after a tequila or three!)


Morag considers new career!

The approach of a community policeman brought an early end to this burgeoning reincarnation of the Three Amigos so we returned to the food stalls. Well, it was tea-time by then!

Oh . . . looking back at our busy 2016 schedule, I almost forgot that we were on national television on 9th June. The BBC no less. The reason for it almost slipping my mind – a regular occurrence these days, sadly! – is, of course, that it wasn’t really us but, rather, our alter egos! It was those two people, Jane and Terry, who occasionally double for us when we need stand-ins through general tour fatigue. (To be frank, Morag, I do despair of their refusal to ‘get into character’ but I guess they are just enthusiastic amateurs. More am-dram than glam-dram, I fear!


Jane . . . somebody or other


Terry . . . thingamajig

Mind you, Jane proved herself to be eminently skilled and adept at the making of lampshades. (Had you been giving her private lessons, I wonder?) It was just a shame that Terry spent most of his time playing to camera and making a right arse of both himself . . . AND his lampshade.

A busy weekend followed this foray into the televisual world, with Hull being the first port of call. T’was our third annual visit where we are now de rigueur for any Lord Mayor’s event. Extensive roadworks prevented the usual parade this year but a happy time was had by all, especially during the mini-parade in the Castle Gardens. So tortuous and snake-like was the procession that I swear we passed ourselves at least three times!


‘You sure this delivery note is right?’

Strangely enough, even as I write these words, there is another ‘tortuous and snake-like’ procession winding its way through the city centre! They are erecting a 250ft wind turbine blade slap-bang in the middle as an artistic installation, part of the City of Hull’s elevation to City of Culture 2017. Lampposts, traffic lights and all manner of ‘street furniture’ have had to be taken down to facilitate its insertion and erection! (Oo, er!)

I do hope it is high enough for us to pass beneath it on the tricycle! You know how I have a tendency to snap things off on street furniture! (See South Shields Parade in July) I would hate us to be responsible for demolishing the centrepiece and focus of Hull’s cultural year! I can see the headlines now . . .


Police take down their particulars.

(“It had no right being there!”, exclaimed frail, 89 year old ringleader, Morag)

Re The Blade! Given that it is one of a set of three, I now have this mental image of a wind turbine somewhere atop the remote North Yorkshire Moors, struggling to maintain equilibrium with one of its limbs having been cruelly amputated. Some day soon, it will falter, fall from its perch and the remaining two blades will career down the hillside, decapitating a herd of Wensleydales in its path! The unseen cost of culture!!

Incidentally, I firmly believe that the elevation of Hull to the status of UK City of Culture 2017 is due, in no small part, to our cultural contribution over the years. Clearly, they have forgotten your sudden and unfortunate attack of incontinence in 2015. The problem that year was water-works rather than road-works! It now means, of course, that we have to include a possible re-occurrence of this on our Risk Assessment. And those spare Tena Pants take up so much room on the tricycle, next to the fire blanket! (Maybe we could do without them both ie you could put any fire out yourself!! Just a thought!


Morag has a wee problem!

The following day, back to back with Hull, was Her Madge’s 90th birthday celebrations on Stockton High Street. And, you will remember dear, there was cake, cake and more cake!!


The Great British Cake Off!

Once again, we relented to numerous requests by the celebrities present to have selfies taken with us! And we got to meet the lovely Pam Royle. As you know, Pam and I go back a long way. I remember her coming to me for advice and support when she was just a simple newsreader on Tyne Tees Television and now look at her – Deputy Lieutenant of County Durham, no less.


Little Pammie trying to muscle in on our official photograph with the Mayor and Mayoress of Stockton on Tees. Bless!

(Pic: thenorthernecho.co.uk)

‘Pammie’, I used to say, ‘Pammie. Be your own woman! Don’t try to be a copy-cat of me. I’m willing to be your role model, naturally, but there’s only room in this world for one Jean McPherson!’ She took heed of my advice and sends me a signed photograph every year on my birthday as a wee memento of our time together. I only need three more and I can finish wallpapering the wall of my study!

Just a few days later, our good friend and style guru, Mr Wayne Hemingway, asked us to assist him with the official opening of a ‘village wot he designed’ on the banks of the Tyne at Dunston Staiths. I understand he took some his inspiration from Jane’s lampshade for the vibrant colours he used. (Copy-catting again, my dear, we just don’t seem able to avoid it!)

Next on our frantic itinerary was South Shields. The town is almost our spiritual home, I sometimes think! It’s always good to meet up with the indefatigable team there, led by the indomitable Karri! Security is tight there though!


She usually takes the ‘patting down’ very seriously . . .


. . . but not always!

This was to be our first visit of the year where we joined in the festivities and merriment at their Summer Fayre. All went well until, having consumed too much tea, I needed to visit the loo. A perennial problem!


Jean has a wee problem of her own!


And back to South Shields early in July, this time for the Parade – with a nautical theme! The parade has always been a bone of contention, you will remember, as I always interpret the word ‘parade’ as meaning ‘race’. An assertion hotly contested by , despite the fact that we managed to get from a grid position of 16th, right up to a podium finish for Bronze Medal the year before.

Obersturmbannführer Prinn gave way this year by, counter-intuitively, placing us in pole position on the starting line outside the Town Hall. Clever! It took the wind right out of our sails, as you know, which is probably just as well as by then I had snapped our mast off by trying to manoeuvre beneath some street furniture! So sails we had none!!


Jean with the mast she snapped before we could set sail!

So we led the parade from the off. Only constant weaving and retreating and watching and waiting, prevented us from entering the Stadium (or Bents Park as it is locally known) a good hour ahead of the ‘peloton’!

Because of our ‘good behaviour’ on the Parade, we were invited back just two weeks later for one of their concerts in the park. Our role here is to entertain ie warm up, the crowd before the concert, share their picnics, pose for photographs and – though not written into the contract – pose for selfies with whatever musical celebs are headlining that particular concert.

Do you remember our joy to discover that the top act that day was our nephews, Charlie and Craig Reid aka The Proclaimers. Why, didn’t we help them with the lyrics for that ‘500 Miles’ song of theirs? Bad news though, dear – we are not credited with any contribution at all!! I know they changed the opening line from ‘When I wake up, well I know I want some tea’ but all the same! (Did you notice how they avoided us throughout the concert? In fact, we had to share our green room with two seagulls and some dancing sailors!)





The end of the month saw us in the wee town of Saltburn by the Sea for yet another Food Festival! There is something strange about Saltburn! Something other-worldly’, evidenced, almost, by the alacrity with which they regard us as ‘normal’! I believe that, for once, we were entertained more by them, than t’other way round! Nice food though and nice people!

Morag ‘pulled’ . . .


. . . but Jean spent a lot of time in the shop window!



The month did not start for us until the bank holiday weekend. Friday and Saturday saw us at the StrEat Food Festival in the Valley Gardens in Harrogate – arranged, as was our last appearance in this beautiful city, by Lulabelle, our Lady In The Van. There, we enjoyed all that was going on, working alongside a man in a red box, two people pretending to be a privet hedge and some lovely Dutchmen who gave children rides in a water-filled bathtub towed by a tractor! (See earlier section on incontinence!) I think all of this happened. Either that or my mind was altered by the mushrooms I had with breakfast!



The following two days saw us once again in our ‘sailor suits’ for the Tall Ships event in Blyth. It was there that we finally embraced the belief that the Great British Public will stand and watch absolutely anything. At this point, it may help, dear reader, if I explain our firmly held conviction that we do not have an act, in the conventional meaning of the word. The GBP is perfectly willing to watch us do all that we laughingly call our ‘repertoire’, which comprises of singing (with gusto), dancing (with abandon), and tricycling around (without due care and attention) and haranguing everyone we pass.


A crowd gathers!


Our roundabout antics made the local news

(Pic: Kay Coverdale)

On this occasion, we were laying out a table for afternoon tea on a traffic roundabout. (Fret not, traffic had been already stopped!) We do it to music à la Morecambe and Wise breakfast sketch but there then comes that point where one of us has to say ‘That’s it, folks! Nothing to see!’, followed closely by ‘Have you no homes to go to?’ But nothing happens, nobody moves, tumbleweed skitters across the scene. They don’t believe us; they want more; they are greedy for our gifts, hahaha!!


Morag had her eyes on these two, for some reason!


Local fishermen are no longer bothered by EU quotas!

(Pic: Angie Jackson)


September means our annual trip to Vintage by the Sea at Morecambe. A lovely place with lovely people, with the iconic art deco Midland Hotel the jewel in its crown. The weather did not play ball this year with a torrential downpour on the Saturday but we made the best of that, with a picture of us huddling under an umbrella and wearing rain hats making it to the Daily Telegraph ‘Picture of the Day’ on September 4th.

Apart from all our ‘vintage’ friends, we met up again with fellow entertainer Viv the Spiv (not ‘arf)  . . .


A right spiv!

(Pic: Ray Doull)

. . . and the lovely Mr Hemingway (see June at Dunston Staiths). He even cadged a lift to a business meeting on our trike. And, as luck would have it, we have footage of the ride on our GoPro camera.


Mr Hemingway clambers aboard!

I have always wanted to ask Mr Hemingway if his book A Farewell To Arms is in praise of sleeveless dresses. Maybe next year, I will. Although we may be in his bad books after gate-crashing, nay flash-mobbing, his fashion show. We had to come in out of the rain so, like kids who can’t ‘play out’, we got bored and made our own entertainment.

Thankfully, the weather perked up on Sunday and the event resumed its usual magic.


Early in October, we ditched the tricycle and did the Alzheimers Society Memory Walk in South Shields. We took our wee pooch, Teabag, with us and she thoroughly enjoyed the outing, albeit being slightly stressed that there were no lampposts on the coastal paths that we trod. We are very pleased to report that we raised about £1100 for this worthy cause – one that is very close to our hearts! So thanks again to all who contributed to that total!


Stepping out! (Teabog has her ‘lamppost radar’ on!

(Pic: Alzheimers Society)

October means Halloween and, looking wickedly witchy, we descended on Preston Park Museum where mayhem reigned. A return invitation next year will largely depend on whether or not the parents of the children who were traumatised by Jean cackling at them and making them cry, decide to sue. There were 16 in total and several of them are still under counseling for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder!


The stuff of nightmares!


It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas – at least as far as Middlesbrough Council were concerned. The Reindeer Parade at the end of the month provided Morag an ideal opportunity to glam up the tricycle with baubles, bells and a light display that could be seen from outer space. To be honest, she needs only the flimsiest of pretexts!


Do we have a fire blanket, dear?

We bonded and bothered the Middlesbrough crowd all morning and then took part in the parade itself which wended its merry way through the town centre for about two hours. Everyone who is anybody was in the parade including, of the course, the Man in the Red Suit with six of his reindeer team– Happy, Grumpy, Dozey, Beaky, Mick and Tich. (The first team squad was in winter training so Santa was giving some of his up and coming youngsters a run out. Rudolf was at a Red Nose event that day)


Looks like rain, dear!


And now it really is, nearly, Christmas with two back to back events at Kirkleatham Hall, Redcar and, once again, Preston Park. On the opening weekend of the month (We quivered that they would recall the pending Halloween PTSD law suit hanging over our heads but all was well!) Although there did seem to be a heavy police presence . . .


Special Branch members disguised as a brass band!

There was much festivity at both events – we carol sang, we mulled wine, we wassailed and we yuled logs to our hearts’ content.

And then it was back to Middlesbrough the weekend before Christmas for their Christmas Market. More of the above Christmas carousing and the last gig of the season.

It was during this month that we were asked by the Britain’s Got Talent to audition for the show. To strut our stuff, in due course, in front of Cowell, Holden, Dixon, Walliams and a theatre audience. We felt that discretion was the better part of valour and declined. Street acts do not work on the stage. There’s a clue in the title – street act! Our act – if indeed we have one, and we would argue with anyone who thinks we do have one! – is NOTHING without the aforementioned Great British Public and the craic, banter and badinage that ensues. It’s big, peripatetic, mobile but, in a strange way, intimate! Exactly, in fact, what we could not replicate on the stage! So . . . nice to be asked but it would have been ‘car crash television’ and no insurer would cover us for that kind of collision! And we have seen it happen to street acts we have worked with, on BGT. It was excruciatingly painful viewing, especially as these were acts who we know are very good ‘on da street’!

December also brings our calendar. It is a Herculean effort to trawl through the thousands of images that we seem to accumulate throughout the season which, in 2016 at least, was nine months long. We do it for two main reasons – a) we want to share with you the fun that we have had the previous year and b) to market our ‘act’ to those who kindly book us to turn up and do silly things. What meagre profit we make will be donated to the Alzheimers Society for whom we did the Memory Walk (see October)


It would be remiss of me not to point out that we still have a few left if anyone would like one. Full of jolly japes, wizard wheezes and guffaws galore! It’s a real treat and equally full of necessary important, yet boring, stuff like dates, bank holidays etc. A snip at £7.25 – and you won’t want to throw it away when it’s finished!

So, 2016 is done – a great sigh of relief form all of us, I’m sure! – and 2017 is already toddling around the room with faltering steps

As for us, you, Morag, will be falling back (not literally!) on resting your hips and weaving your magic with fabric and textiles while I will be enjoying my new hobby of basket weaving and trying to differentiate plaiting from coiling, wicker from splint . . . it’s a quagmire! But expect my new range of basketware very soon!

Ah, but Morag! ‘We Need To Talk About Norman!’ (There may be a book in that! A tense psychological thriller drama, perhaps? Hmmm!)

In closing, dear reader, we have big things planned for the early part of this year but I am not allowed to divulge any details at this precise moment. Let me just say that negotiations are in progress!

And on that bombshell . . . . .

Water under bridge! (And a torrent on its way!)

Well, Morag!

I see with some horror that it is TWELVE WHOLE MONTHS since I updated our blog! When I think of all that we have done since then and NOT recorded in this blog, I flush with embarrassment. And, at my age, that is not something I do often!!

In the last year we have entertained at the retirement of two very worthy teachers (a noble profession but I couldn’t do it!), mixed and mingled with the good citizens of South Shields for a really fun summer weekend (I still have the heat rash!), performed at the wonderful Thrift festival in Darlington (I am so proud of the personally signed poster of Wayne Hemingway on my bedroom wall!), relieved the monotony of the Age UK AGM (again!), assisted in the launch of the Dementia Friendly Stockton campaign (although you were under the impression all along that we were opening a new DFS furniture store!),  greatly amused the celebrants at a wedding reception (Anglo-German although we did mention the war – several times!) and, a few weeks ago, returned to South Shields to bear witness to the opening of their new coastal defences!!

Oh . . . and in November, we appeared on the television – that’s the square, shiny thing in the corner of your sitting room! – supporting the People’s Millions bid for the transformation of Saltburn Theatre.  They won – and I am not talking pennies here, it was £50,000! Modesty forbids but I like to think that we played our part in that and we are the ‘figureheads’ of the theatre’s ‘sponsor a seat’ campaign!! I can’t wait to see the transformation of that wonderful old theatre which has been at the heart of the Saltburn community for so long! It’s older than you, Morag!!

And I’ve worked out just how much we are in demand again this coming ‘season’!

We have the launch of the Halcyon Center in Stockton in a couple of weeks (a scripted do so learn your lines, dear. I may as well!). That is followed immediately by the Distinctly Delicious food festival in Darlington over the bank holiday weekend, 24th to 26th May (details on our Facebook page – Jean-Morag Tea-Ladies). And then in June we are actively involved in the Lord Mayor’s Centenary Celebrations in Hull on 28th June (and in the parade!!), the activities to celebrate the arrival of the Tour de France in Yorkshire (le Grand Depart) in Knaresborough the following day. The weekend after that we are once again in South Shields for a reprise of their family fun weekend on 5th and 6th July. Beyond thaton Sunday 3 August is possibly the Saltburn Food Festival.

And yet another Thrift festival in Morecambe of all places, the wonderful Mr Hemingway again, on 6th and 7th September!

And there is a hint that the Fire Brigade need us in October!

What larks, Morag!!

Jean x





I do hope you are well. It seems so long since we actually communicated. To my horror I see that we last did so in March – almost three months ago!!

But I will cut to the chase, dear, as I know you tend to nod off during my longer epistles. I have enrolled us in this thing called Twitter. I am told it will be invaluable for our ‘marketing’ and ‘raising our profile’. I’m not sure exactly what I am doing but I have already ‘tweeted’ several times – and one or two of them have been ‘retweeted’!! It sounds very odd – the terminology I mean – as if we were a couple of old hens tweeting and clucking and laying eggs. I doubt they are much concerned in ‘raising their profile’ – they can hardly flap their way over the fence! Maybe that is to be our image now – two elderly spinster chucks making a lot of noise but achieving little.

There may be some truth in that for you, my dear, but I rather see myself as a strutting rooster. I have all the female equipment and accoutrements, of course but I think I also that I am well in touch with my masculine side. Not to the extent that I leave the toilet seat up, naturally, but there are times when . . . well, I won’t go into that here!

But I digress as always. I see we are to have a busy summer and it prove to be even more occupying if this Twitter malarkey proves as useful as they say.

So . . . our next public gig is next Saturday 15 June, 11am to 4pm on the green field at South Avenue, Dormanstown, Redcar, near to the school. We can try out our new purple parasol if the weather should prove clement!! And we may by then have some of the teabags that those nice people at Yorkshire Tea have promised us!! (I have been a little cheeky and asked them for a teapot as well!).

And then of course we have a whole weekend at South Shields on 6th and 7th July, not to mention various other events leading up to that wonderful wartime Weekend in Whitby in October. And don’t forget our very own “An Evening with Jean & Morag” which is heavily pencilled for Saturday 31st August.

Exciting times, Morag! Who would have thought that at our time of life we would be texting, Facebooking, blogging and tweeting! But we should not be afraid of all this ‘social networking’ as they call it – it could rejuvenate us, dear, give us a new lease of life. God knows, we both need one!!

I have packed a plentiful of Jean and Morag commemorative tea towels for next Saturday. At £4 they are an absolute bargain, I think!! Well done for organising that, my dear!! How about some other merchandise? Maybe we could get the Saltburn Yarnstormers to run us up some nice wee tea cosies? And how about some mugs?? Or perhaps teacups would be more in keeping?


Finally, I understand our friendly bicycle mechanic, Mr David, has now fixed our chain guard and pumped up our tyres – the back ones were well deflated apparently, you really must try to shed a few pounds – so we are ‘ready for the road’!

See you soon, Morag!

Jean x


Well done, Morag! Meemoh, here we come!!

Morag . . .

Well what can I say that would do justice to those images you sent me!!

I do not think, however, that you should dally any further with portaiture – although you have certainly captured my chin on the initial charcoal study! But I look so morose on both of the portraits, dear! Is that how I appear to you??

Your landscapes are better. I have to confess, though, that I know not the Loch of which you speak. Do remind me! The memory is not what it was.

As to Mr Meemoh – my friend Mr Beighton – I am sure he would be interested. And I am sure we should have an exhibition of our works. (I say our works as I myself have a few daubings in the attic that ought to see the light of day). And don’t forget there is the Saltburn Arts Fair on the weekend of the 1st and 2nd June. The Laird, I have to say, will be extremely interested in these developments. Given our unsuccessful foray into art criticism, I can hear him exhorting us . . . “If you can’t beat them, join them”!

Well done again, Morag. I am going on a wee bus trip with some of my old gentlemen pals tomorrow to the Theatre Royal in Newcastle upon Tyne to see High Society. I hope they don’t get too frisky on the coach on the way back. Some of them get quite aggressive on rejection!

Toodle ooh!!

Jean x

My art!

Dear Jean
I am forwarding you my latest sketches. They say that when you start out to become an artist, you should work with things you know. So I started with you, dear Jean.
I am sorry the first sketch is not a great likeness but I was experimenting with my mark making.
The second was a sketch of our favourite Loch – yes you know where!!!
The next is Jean in coloured crayons which I am particularly pleased with, the crayons not so much but the drawing.
And lastly my favourite, which is actually from memory and I have included a deer in that one (which wasn’t actually there I copied it from a nature book).
I hope you will speak to either the Laird or Mr MeeMoh about my endeavours/
Morag x

Mea culpa!

My dear sister!

I am so sorry for the protracted delay in replying. I have been fraught, Morag! Fraught, yes, that can be the only word that adequately describes my condition at this juncture! An aged and, sadly, perplexed old gentleman of my acquaintance required my assistance. He is the father of one of my previous beaux – now departed, I’m afraid – who left me with strict instructions on his death bed that I was to care for his father should he ‘lose his mental faculties’ as he put it.  That day came and I was called to serve. He is now, I hope, in a safe and secure place where he can come to no harm and, at least, get three square meals a day while he is there.

I will not bore you with the details, my dear, but it is important that you know of this situation in my life. I seek your patience and forbearance in this regard.

Now then, Morag. Although our short career as arts critics seems to have dropped, burning Icarus-like from the skies, I understand that you have taken up the cudgels and ensconced yourself as an artist in your own right. Your medium, I gather, is crayon and pencil on paper. Still . . . everyone has to start somewhere and I do admire your inventiveness. And who knows? Maybe soon the name Morag will be uttered in the same breath as Pollock, Hockney – Picasso even? Are your works abstract, dear? I can’t wait to see them whatever they are.

I have to say, though, do NOT try to enter the world of soft furnishings – your attempts at new curtains for your lounge are . . . how can I put this? . . . nothing short of disastrous! What did you use to measure up? And aren’t they supposed to cover the whole window – drop and width??


So I leave you now, in eager anticipation of your artistic oeuvres.

Your loving sister, Jean




13 Abbotsford Crescent

Here are those pictures, Jean!

our room

Our room – oh the memories!! You used to sit on the blanket chest at the window and gaze out at the street for hours during the night!!



And here is the room I am staying in – father’s study!! I do believe that is the very blanket chest which they must have moved from our room! And there are father’s bookshelves. Always full of learned works on apothecary. Very boring we thought! And the desk was where the bed is now.



The view from the bottom of the garden! Not much has changed – except I half expected to see two doll’s prams on the lawn!


garden 2

This is where the cludgie used to be. An improvement!


Oh, this has been a real trip down memory lane, Jean. I do wish you were here to see it. You would have different memories, of course. By the way – no sign of a piano!! And they have bricked up that cupboard on the landing. We always did wonder what was in there!!

See you soon!

Morag x




Back home!!!!

Oh hello, Jean

You will not believe this but I was just about to write to you when I received your last message. Yes . . . I am in Edinburgh. And yes . . . it was indeed to escape Norman. He was becoming rather possessive and a bit of a control freak. Can you believe this? He actually told me to give up the ukulele in favour of playing on his horn!! I told him what he could do with his horn and I don’t think I will be seeing him again. You were right about him all along, Jean. I am so glad to have your constant advice.

So . . . you can guess that I just did not have time to tell you of my sudden departure to Edinburgh. The rather racy blue saloon you mentioned was, in fact, a taxi which took me to Darlington station. I know that I could have got a train from Saltburn but Norman lives there and I did not want to meet up with him or any of his cronies.

But wait till you hear my news!! How strange that you should mention Morningside!! As I had not booked ahead, I got off the train at Waverley and took those foreign coins to a dealer just off Princes Street and he gave me £150 for the lot!! He said they weren’t worth that much but as I looked like a nice old lady, he would take pity on me and take them off my hands for that sum. He was not a good businessman, he said, as he had too soft a heart!!

As you can imagine, I felt that a cream tea in a lovely old tea-rooms was on the cards. Followed by a cab to Morningside and straight to Abbotsford Crescent – number 13!! As luck would have it, our old family home is now a bed and breakfast!! And the sign in the drawing room window read ‘Vacancies’. My heart was in my mouth! I rang the bell and a lady called Lucy let me in. I told her our story about it being our family home and she was fascinated. She showed me around! My, how it has changed!! I took some pictures and will try to attach them here.

She lives there with her husband who is some kind of architect and very knowledgeable about Auld Edinburgh. He met his match with me, of course, and he said that I had added to his “store of knowledge”! They also have a cat called Rabbie which speaks in different languages. And get this, Jean!  My room is actually father’s old study on the first floor!

I must go now, dear. I am about to go down for breakfast – scrambled egg with smoked salmon!! I’m going to try the kedgeree tomorrow morning.

I’ll see you in a few days. Hope I can attach the photographs properly.

Much love.


PS Shocked at what you and The Laird have been talking about. I haven’t even met a gay person, let alone performed in front of one. (to my knowledge!). Will they appreciate my ukulele do you think?

Edinburgh, indeed!!

Oh, Morag!! There you are!! I went round to your wee house this morning and couldn’t get an answer. I was beginning to get quite concerned. I thought that you had either succumbed to the vapours or Norman had turned ugly (he’s almost there already!) and was holding you as his sex slave like one the girls in those ‘penny dreadfuls’ that you read!

I was about to leave you a note when I was accosted by your neighbour. She was quite the busybody!! She kept me standing on my varicose veins for over 20 minutes telling me in full technicolour detail of your latest comings and goings!! It seems, if I were to believe her, that you were ‘picked up’ in a rather racy looking blue saloon and that you were off to Edinburgh for a few days!!

Edinburgh!!! And you did not think to share that with your sister, never mind ask me to accompany you!!! Well, no matter, I am rather busy at this juncture. The Laird has been an almost constant companion – though I stress the relationship, if there be one, is strictly platonic. He is proving to be rather a whizz on the computer. In fact, dear, I think he would leave your Norman standing. Indeed, with his legs, that’s about all he could muster in the ambulatory department. I know he is supposedly the Rudolf Nureyev of Zumba but, after all is said and done, that activity does tend towards the stationary!!

But more of The Laird. It has moved on apace. Far from him wanting to manage me, he is now desirous of managing us both! He sees us as an ‘act’! A ‘sister act’, I suppose, hahaha! He feels that we would be very welcome and a novel attraction at clubs where gay people assemble. I am sure that our dear father would be revolving in his crypt but, were he here, I would tell him that we are all God’s creatures and that variety is the spice of life. Times change and would not the world be a miserable and boring place if we were all of the same persuasion??

I suspect, given the opening comments in your last communication, that you may have fled to Edinburgh to get away from Norman and, if so, I congratulate you on your prompt action!! I long to hear all about it anyway dear. Do try to call in to Morningside and revisit our old home at 13 Abbotsford Crescent. Take some pictures if you can!!

I must apologise, dear, for upsetting you with my disparaging remarks about your ukulele playing. It really is very good. You may only know three songs right through but you do know them very well! And they were very well received!! I have one picture that you will love – sent to us by a lady who was there!!  I have asked her permission to send you one or two so hopefully I will be able to do so with my next missive.

As for our ‘social calendar’, I am afraid, sister dear, that the cupboard is bare – apart, that is, from our planned ‘An Evening With . . .’ which I hope we will be able to present in the summer months.

More anon – in the meantime, I am burning to hear all about your little jaunt to Edinburgh.

Yours affectionately