About me

I was born in 1945 and grew up in Edinburgh. My father was a Marine Engineer in the Ben Line for many years, sailing as far as Kamchatka, in the then USSR. On leaving the Merchant Navy, he then became the Head Engineer of a cold store in Leith. Always a very hard worker and inventive, he designed among other things, a conveyor belt to move items to and from the cold store and lorries outside, items for the home and garden, and toys for my sister and myself. My mother, always busy in the house, was a fabulous cook, baker and a versatile dress maker, making anything from pretty party dresses to knitting swimming costumes for her two daughters. My parent’s work ethic, skills, Christian faith and inventiveness had a strong influence on me and inspired my love of arts and crafts.

My parents gave my sister and I a wonderful childhood. Most Saturdays, weather permitting, Dad would take us for a drive, either to the beaches near Edinburgh if it was warm or inland for walks, exploring, or in autumn to gather brambles. Summer holidays were always spent away from home getting to know Scotland or the North of England, and one year to Holland, where my mother’s sister lived.

We were always encouraged to do our best. My sister went to work in a bank, and I went to Moray House Teacher Training College, as it was called then, to achieve a dream I had when I was about eight and we were on holiday at Sanna, Ardnamurchan - a dream to be the Headteacher in a small, rural school. And so, for thirty years and a day I taught in a number of schools in Scotland, first as a class teacher in a large city school, in a two teacher school in the far North, then as Headteacher in several schools moving eventually to the North East of Scotland to be nearer my mother after father died.

My mother then developed Alzheimer’s disease.  My sister, husband and family had moved to Shetland, so Mum soon came to live with me. This was in the eighties, and there was not much support. I did get a former nurse to come in some of the time to be with mum, not an ideal solution and so I had to look for a permanent, long term care placement. A place was found for her, and she was in that nursing home for just over a year before she passed away. During that time the care she got from the nurses and care assistants was wonderful and the support I got from them too was much appreciated.

Time moved on, I got married, moved to a school nearer the village where we lived and were there for nine, hectic but happy years. I then took early retirement, like many other Headteachers in that region, as things were changing in education.

My husband and I had discovered the delights of Cornwall, while holidaying there, fell in love with the area and moved there. Shortly afterwards, I saw an advert which changed my life - a year long course called ‘Access to Art and Design’ at a nearby college. I applied, was accepted, and so for three days a week I became a student again, learning so many new skills and experiencing so many interesting things which, twenty years down the line, are still shaping my life today.

After we were down there for about eight years, my husband became homesick for Scotland and we returned there. Having hobbies such as embroidery and felting one quickly makes new contacts who soon become friends, sharing ideas preparing for exhibitions and occasionally selling some of the exhibits.

Below are some samples of my work done, before and during the lockdown.


Wildflowers by the roadside
Flowers by a garden wall
Colours of the rainbow

My diagnosis

About two years ago I was beginning to have sight problems, I noticed this when trying to read to a friend in a care home, when looking at road signs and on other occasions. I consulted my doctor, then eventually a consultant. I had a brain scan which confirmed that I had early stage Alzheimer’s disease.  I was told “don’t worry, you’ll be given Post Diagnostic Support,” and was given the booklet ‘Living with Dementia’. I read the book, or tried to, but there was so much information to take in, and then I waited. I eventually phoned one of the numbers and was told they would get back with more information, and once again I waited. Two weeks later, a phone call, an apology, a talk and promise of support. Contact had been made, and over the past year, has developed. Just before my year’s post diagnostic support was coming to an end, I was given the booklet ‘Post Diagnostic Resource’ which was co-produced by the Scottish Dementia Working Group. I wish that I had had access to this booklet sooner, as it is full of practical advice.

Becoming involved with the Scottish Dementia Working Group (SDWG) has been so good for me. I feel like I have the chance now not only to be involved in things, but to help make thing better for others living with dementia. I also meet other people with dementia fortnightly for a walk, it's good to see how they are coping and we can share our experiences with each other. My embroidery and felting hobbies are so important to me as well – they give me so much pleasure.

If I was to say just one thing to other people who have just received a dementia diagnosis, it would be “Don’t give up hope and carry on!”