Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Mining the Archive/Alistair Campbell/Getting My Priorities Right

As you know isleoftiree.net is still online (under new ownership and in a new format) all the old pages are retained by me. Recently I’ve been having a look at some of the old reports and photographs I filed back when I had the original site.

This week’s rummage in the vaults came up with thie grandly titled Tiree: It's Airport and History from September 2001. Actually there's not much history on this page but there are some fascinating photographs such as the one above taken by Iain Knapman in 1969.

ALISTAIR REMAINS A SCOT AT HEART: Here's an interesting little snippet which appeared recently in the Sunday Mail.

SPIN doctor Alastair Campbell has REFUSED to play for England in the celebrity Soccer Aid match - because he was desperate to team up with Scots chef Gordon Ramsay.

Tony Blair's former communications chief was born and brought up in in Keighley, West Yorkshire.

But he qualifies as a Scot thanks to his Gaelic-speaking father Donald, the Hebridean island of Tiree, and his mother Elizabeth, who is from Kilmarnock ...

Something happened in January this year which changed our lives forever. Joanne, my wife, suffered a mild stroke.

I dropped in to see her at the Co-Op one afternoon just to say hello. She told me about this strange tingling sensation all down her left side.

I took Joanne to the surgery. The Doctor confirmed what I already suspected – Joanne had succumbed to a Transient Ischaemic Attack or ‘mild’ stroke. The next thing we knew we were boarding a tiny Islander two prop plane and heading for Glasgow where Joanne was to be admitted to the Southern General Hospital.

I’m glad to report that Joanne soon recovered the feeling in her left side. Her concentration is not as good as it once was although this is improving and her energy levels are greatly depleted. But she should be back to full fighting fitness within the next few months.

In a sense we’re grateful that this happened the way it did. It could have been so much worse. All she has to do now is keeping taking the pills and hopefully there won’t be a reoccurence.

We both got a fright though. Something like this makes me wonder why I don’t appreciate things much more than I do. If you’re like me you’ll spend far too much of your time worrying about things which might never come to pass and dwelling on the past and wondering if you could have done things better. We seem to spend so little time in the present.

Marcel Proust, the 19th century French novelist, once wrote something along the lines of ‘the true voyage of discovery consists not in travelling to other lands but in seeing with new eyes.’

Every single second we’re alive is a rare and precious gift beyond compare.

I’m so glad that we are members of the close knit and vibrant community that is Tiree. I’m not renowned for being wise but the idea to move here with my wife and my daughter is one of my more smarter moves. That was nearly 14 years ago and I still get a kick out of being here. Sometimes I don’t even mind going to work and that’s saying something.

But being part of a small community can also hurt. Already this year the island community has had to suffer more than it’s fair share of tragedy and sadness. I still find it had to accept that Neil MacKinnon of Balevullin is no longer with us and miss him very much as do many others.

Of course the reason why we hurt when tragedy befalls a member of our community is simply because we care for each other.

Living in a small community like ours has often been compared to living in a goldfish bowl. But for me it’s more like being a part of great big family. That certainly doesn’t mean that we all get along swimmingly all of the time. But what it does mean is that that when it comes down to it, when push comes to shove, we will look out for each other.

That’s why you wouldn’t get me to live anywhere else, not for all the tea in China.

Thanks to Doctor Pringle and Nurse Storm Kemp for looking after Joanne so well in the immediate aftermath of her illness and to the Nurses and Doctors at SGH.


Aileen Lamie said...

Hi Gordon

Just read what you had to say re Joanne. What a guy you are. Speaking as your sister-in-law (we all have our crosses to bear ha ha), I thought you spoke with great feeling about the trial that both Joanne and you went through at that most trying time in your lives. You take care, and one of these days you will see us on Tiree, albeit 14 years later. love

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