Saturday, 9 March 2013

Back to the Old House - the Revenge of Memory

Last week brought us back to the Dundee area. My OH is a Dronley lass, born with Auchterhouse muck on her boots. Her dear old mum, Jean,  died back in Dec 2009 and we've rarely been back up since the funeral, once was to see the gravestone in place. Not that we weren't thinking of the Sidlaws or Jean or Dundee (we have a McIntosh Patrick view of Auchterhouse Hill on our living room wall).

It was just that Work, a growing child, a Redundancy, a New Job and not actually having anywhere to stay (or even stop) in the Dundee area anymore, kinda put things on the back burner Dundee-wise for a while.
After a rainy visit to lay some flowers at Jean and Jimmy's grave in Liff Cemetery (passing the "Country Club" - Liff Hospital en-route) we headed on to our Blairgowrie Bed and Breakfast, for a few days idling in rural Perthshire.
On our return journey home we routed in a wee visit back to climb Auchterhouse Hill. It was a beautiful day. The views were panoramic taking in Carnoustie, Dundee, across the Silvery Tay lay Fife and The Lomond Hills, beyond that we could even make out The Pentlands. To the West lay Ben Lawers and Scheihallion.
Sometimes you get a sense of The Past tapping you on the shoulder. As me, my OH and the wee fella stood on the summit of Craigowl we could see her old home down below in Dronley. Someone else living there. No connection now. Just memory. Familiar surroundings and places, but no longer with any people we knew.
In the early 90's (before we'd had a our son) we'd walked up Craigowl and said "Hello" to Billy at the corner of Bonnybank Road (by the phone box) as he walked his dogs. A year or so later Billy was a memory.

We had briefly returned to Dundee back in July 2011, the approaching demolition of the Hilltown Multis was too much to resist. We returned to watch the action just for the day. Wow!

One of my OH's pals lived in the second block from the right. We hoped she'd had time to get out. We tried to cap the day off with a shot on the flumes at The Olympia but it was shut down. The last minute substitution of a wander round the play park at Camperdown was not sufficient to allay the disappointment on the wee fella's face. It was also a realisation that he was too old for most of the play equipment now. We didn't stay long at Camperdown. It was a different Life when we'd take him there with his granny. Times past. The journey home was a relief to each of the three of us, mibbe for different reasons.

Memory is a bitter sweet thing. The past doesn't go anywhere. We carry it around with us. But years on,  Memory can be more painful as the distance of Time grows, fading connections can become more painful and absences feel more acute. The gradual letting go is the hardest and most difficult part of all. It takes Time and there aren't really any short-cuts, easy ways out or quick fixes. It is a kinda drawn out coming to terms. I think that is why it is called Loss, and why years later when the immediate shock has gone, we can still feel things so strongly.

I'll be popping up a "Last Post" on March 27th 2013 on what would have been Billy's 56th Birthday. I'll hit my half century then too. The Whippetatthewheel Blog will be left as an info archive and a resource for people seeking details about some of the rarer material out there. I'll be starting a new blog about other stuff (not music).
Thanks to everyone for their kind comments, encouragement and supplementary material which helped this wee fan blog immensely over the years.

All the best

Sid Law

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