Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A Work in Progress


I opened the door to see a nicely dressed woman about my age.

‘Hello – I’m Margaret Scott and I live just up the lane!’

That was twenty two years ago when we had just moved into our house and it was my first sight of the woman who is now my close friend. Odd really because we had lived in the same county – Kent - for years and unknown to both of us, she had even been a customer in my shop. Lucky for me Margaret had the old fashioned habit of calling on new neighbours to welcome them; she took me under her wing and even persuaded me to join the Guild. She is the driving force in our quartet of friends with whom regular readers will be familiar.

When Margaret was a young Norland nurse she met Malcolm a forester. They fell in love, married and had three children – two girls and a boy. Like most families they had ups and downs with one of the children being seriously ill for a long period of time. They were interested in country pursuits, gardening, antiques, old books and postcards. They retired early to Somerset where they could follow their interests in natural history and conservation. Malcolm with the help of volunteers developed the Woodstock Gardens Nature Reserve and won two Conservation awards in 1991 and1994.

Whilst retired they have created two beautiful gardens which they have opened each year for charity. Margaret runs a gardening group – one of the most popular offshoots of the Townswomen’s Guild.

One by one the children married and eventually both daughters and their husbands settled in the West and the son with his wife in Scotland. The eldest daughter had a son, their first grandchild and then there was a very sad time when she became very ill, with influenza and pneumonia, and gave birth prematurely to a little boy, who died shortly afterwards. During her daughter’s illness, Margaret and later Malcolm upped sticks and went to help nurse their daughter back to health and eventually she and her husband were blessed with a daughter.

When the son was awarded his two degrees he and his wife flew out to Peru and Brazil for some months, for a back – packing holiday. Some years later they adopted a little boy in Guatemala, who had been placed in care for adoption. Later on they adopted a sister for their son.

The youngest daughter who had spent seventeen months back-packing round the world settled down to be a law librarian and married a dealer in second-hand books and memorabilia. They have just been out to China, after a long arduous vetting to collect their adopted daughter. All the family visit Margaret and Malcolm regularly and have inherited their parents love of the countryside.

Many of us record our family life on video, photograph albums or in diaries; forget the Bayeux Tapestry – below is the wonder of Margaret and Malcolm’s Tapestry which she started during an enforced three year separation when Malcolm’s retirement was delayed.


R. Sherman said...

What a nice idea. Unfortunately, that reminds me, we've got twenty years of photographs to organize.


Guyana-Gyal said...

What amazing work. Tell Margaret I am in awe. That tapestry speaks volumes about her energy too, her zest for life.

I wish I knew how to do tapestry, I saw some in a museum in England and was fascinated.

PI said...

randall: How about getting the children involved?

GG: my Dad did a cushion cover after he had had a stroke - drove us all mad. I did a stool cover so I am absolutely certain you could do tapestry although I would quake at the thought of dong anything larger than a cushion. Thank you ! I ;will tell Margaret.

Sam, Problemchildbride said...

What an amazing record for her family to treasure. That's incredible.

I remember seeing your stool cover a while back, Pat. It was gorgeous.

PI said...

Sam: thank you - I'd forgotten I had used it. I'll be repeating myself ere long:)

Anonymous said...

Love the tapestry - have you seen the Overlord one at Southsea?

What wonderful stories you tell ... !

Happy 2008


Cream said...

What a great, great idea!
And a lovely family history to go with it, too!
The Bayeux Tapestry brings back funny memories which I will one day post about.

PI said...

Rasneath: thank you:) No I haven't seen that one. My late first MIL lived in Southsea at one time.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

That is an AMAZING Tapestry....(Or is it two?) Whatever....these are Magnificent with history, aren't they? It is so lovely to have good long time friends with whom you still share so very much, isn't it Pat? Nothing can replace the "history" you have built with others....I find long-term friemndships very very comforting.


I think if I did one I'd be arrested ;-)

PI said...

Cream: don't forget - I'll look forward to that. I took my elder son when we were touring France together and he ripped his jeans whilst waklking past a parked car.

4d: it would make interesting viewing:)

PI said...

Naomi: I think it's three altogether; two are framed and one being worked on.
Yes you are right about long term friends. Most of mine are far away and I feel so lucky to have Margaret near.