In the blood

Must be something genetic. I am Scottish. Despite having changed my “official” nationality to French there is no denying it. No, I’m not a tartan-lampshade ex-pat Scot who wants to be more Alba than the ones still living there but for sure there is something in my soul that responds to the call of the old country.

Yes I hadn’t lived there for most of my life but I was raised in a purely Scottish household. The accent around me was Edinburgh, the food we ate, even though grown in Cornwall was old fashioned sweeties and stodge like my Grandma made. With it being St. Andrew’s day today I thought it would be amusing to tell you of  a revelation I had last night. Given the date, Classic FM radio were having a suitably themed evening.

The music above, that very rendition, came on and I realised something. I have never been afraid of death. All my handshakes with him have been cordial enough to make me consider him an old acquaintance so when he comes for me for the last time I shall be happy to go if I can have this music to march off to.

I was back in Edinburgh as a wee gurl – maybe only three, with my pigtails and Royal Stewart kilt, watching the Black Watch march home to barracks. I joined in. I couldn’t help myself. I tagged alongside one of the pipers and marched with him while mother, having realised I was missing, raced along the pavement shouting my name and trying to find me. NO chance; I was off in a world of my own, being a soldier and I’d have gone miles with them.

tricycleLast night, I had a vision of myself as a dying patient. Out of the bed I skipped in that kilt outfit as the music started and I knew the band were going to march me to the Rainbow Bridge to pick up all my departed friends. Perhaps they would even accompany us across the bridge as Gubbie and Brac, the two biggest hounds, positioned themselves on the outside to stop me falling off the edges. Briefly it crossed my mind that I was sad to leave my red tricyle behind as it would have been super fun to peddle like stink up the bridge and wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee down the other side.

I’m sure now – it will be like going home. Pipes and all.

With my tortoise George
With my tortoise George


5 thoughts on “In the blood

  1. Nit Scots , but my dad’s name was Steward, which I am infirmed were stewards to the Stuarts. Right or wrong, we are all one island, one peoples, basically, even adding Ireland into the mix.

  2. I enjoyed this piece, Ailsa. That’s a most comforting way to look at death’s coming. Looks like you’ll be fine. I was one of those children with a red tricycle also, and I love bagpipe music. One of my paternal great grandfathers was an Armstrong, born and raised in England, but I read that the Armstrong name originated in Scotland. It was my maiden name. Happy St. Andrew’s Day. 🙂 — Suzanne

  3. Thank you all – each of us sees death differently. Some see it as the ultimate end, perhaps a chance to finally get a decent sleep. As a child I decided that when I died I wanted to go and live in Narnia. Well maybe I will xxxxxxx

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