Managed to find a few early pictures - from the top left is my sister Tinny, myself as the baby, and my other sister Alison. In the shot of us in the garden (not a kilt to be seen sadly, as it's the summer) is Robbie, Alison, Tinny, me - and our very important and much loved Jason, badly behaved but very affectionate springer spaniel. In the school Christmas party shot we're all in our very very best clothes - I can remember most of the names of the children in this picture. I'm third from the left on the bottom row in a checky dress (one of my favourites).
Forgot to mention earlier the other, hilarious holidays we used to have. My father bought a wooden "hut" in the Cheviot Hils for £100 with his best friend Jimmy Mitchell. It didn't have any electricity or running water and was about 5 metres square divided into three "rooms" - all the children there slept on wooden bunks (8) built into the walls. Robbie who was a baby, slept in a bunk with a cage door so he couldn't fall out. We carved our names into the walls surrounding our bunks. We had baths in the "burn" and used candlelight at night. Water came from a handpump which connected directly to a nearby boggy stream. We had to put a strainer over the water spout to catch the water beetles and other creepie crawlies but we didn't mind. We would spend weeks up running wild - fishing for trout and minnows in the burn, racing up hills, using eye-spy books to chart birds and wild flowers and playing at the farm nearby where there was always a selection of collie puppies and kittens. I don't want to paint a totally idyllic picture - I can remember longing for some shops at some point - or somewhere to buy sweets - I still have a diary which I wrote when I was 10, which tells of a day which we spent there when "everybody was in a bad mood apart from Robbie and Jason" but on the whole it was really good fun. The place is still owned by the family now, but we're not nearly as hardy as our parents and have installed electricity and running water - although we still don't have a telephone there (and there's no signal for mobiles) and we don't have a tv there either.