Born in Wick in 1958 (so 60 this year!) and grew up on a mixed farm with lots of family around. The farm provided a great learning for life and fun spending time with my father and uncle, sisters and cousins working at all the seasonal jobs. I can drive a tractor, once running alongside a combine as it disgorged all the grain. I can lamb a ewe and love feeding lambs. Spring was a special time. I haven’t shorn a sheep, but I can roll the fleece for packing.
Farming is a much harder job these days and I do have sympathy for all those trying to make a living.
I headed off to Aberdeen after school, to study pharmacy at Robert Gordon’s Institute of Technology, then followed by a post graduate year in Woking Surrey training with Boots the Chemists. While I enjoyed sojourns into London at weekends, it was too far from Scotland, so I returned north to Boots in Kirkcaldy.
One weekend I was invited to a cousin’s party in Edinburgh and there I met John Sturrock. We were married 16 months later (now 34 years ago). We then headed over the Atlantic to live in Philadelphia while John studied for a Masters in Law. I worked as a pharmacy technician in the University hospital. Part of the scholarship which John had was to travel all over America. Hard though it was we had to fill 10 weeks travelling at will round the whole country, a great experience!
We returned to Edinburgh and have been here ever since. We have 3 ‘children’, now well into their twenties and all working in London. We head off there as much as we can to visit.
I was baptised and brought up in the Church of Scotland and had a very happy church community. I enjoyed singing in the junior choir and took part in all the Sunday school activities eventually helping to teach in the primary section. While in America John and I attended a city centre Presbyterian church and was delighted on hearing the minister on our first visit was very definitely Scottish. Ernest Somerville had ministered in Alabama during the Civil Rights actions of the 60’s and then fortunately for us served in Philadelphia in his later years.
We returned to the church of Scotland in Edinburgh attending Mayfield Salisbury, but then joined St. Paul’s and St. Georges of the Scottish Episcopalian Church. This was as we believed to provide our family with the teenage support young people need. When we moved house in 2015 we also moved to Liberton Northfield being just over the road! We have had such a warm welcome and feel much at home over the last couple of years.
- What is a favourite hymn, and why?
A. Oh – difficult – I love so many both modern and traditional. It rather depends on words, which resonate at the time and so too the melody.
- What is an early church memory?
A. Aged 6 or 7 during a sermon leaning back against the church pew, raising my straw hat up and down in competition with my sister, to our mother’s horror!
- What’s your earliest childhood memory?
A. On the farm where I grew up, being outside on my own and bringing back new born mice on a shovel for my mum. The farm hands were threshing barley and found them!
- In an alternative life, what job would you have chosen?
A. Definitely nursing – it was my first choice – but finally chose pharmacy and headed to Robert Gordon’s in Aberdeen.
- What are you reading at the moment?
A. The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian McLaren. Dipping into this again – always refreshing and encouraging; and Death of a Gossip – a Hamish MacBeth mystery passed on by an American friend who loves Scottish crime novels.
- What would be your ideal holiday?
A. Somewhere warm – along with a pile of books, near a swimming pool or nice beach. John can come too!
- What is your most prized possession?
A. My engagement ring, had to have the claws repaired recently – they were worn.
- What luxury item would you take to a desert island?
A. My shower!
- What do you do to relax?
A. Watch a good film – cycle, walk or swim – or do a bit of gardening.
- What is a favourite quotation?
A. ‘To thine own self be true.’ – Shakespeare but first heard from my mum!
- What kind of music do you listen to?
A. Whatever John is playing loudly!! I enjoy a wide range.
- How would you like to be remembered?
A. As being loving and kind, oh and fun!
- What gets you up in the morning (apart from your alarm clock)?
A. Good coffee! Enthusiasm for life and the day ahead which always includes contact in some form with family and friends.