My great aunt

I never really had a grandmother growing up. One had died when I was small, one lived in Canada and was hardly spoken of. But I had my great-aunt, and she was enough. She was Miss Margaret Murray, to most of her acquaintance: she worked for forty years in the Department of Labour, voted Conservative most of her life, read the Daily Telegraph, and retired to live with her widowed mother. She went to the local Presbyterian Church on Sundays and grew roses in her garden.

Continue reading

How Do You Get To Be A Rebel?

Recently, on a night out in a city centre pub, an Irish singer was entertaining us. Deedle-de-de music is great for a sing-song and we were having a ball. During the chorus of one song, lots of folk started shouting “IRA, IRA”. I was shocked and speechless. These were young people. Scots who weren't born when we were watching the horrific Irish troubles on our TV screens in the 70s, 80s and 90s. How did they become so passionate about a rebel cause? Did they think about what they were glamorising or simply join in?

Continue reading

The Rebel with the baby soft hands

What is a rebel?

What is a rebel? Was I a rebel? Am I a rebel? Are you born a rebel and if so, do you stay a rebel? Or does life with its kicks and knocks, whack the rebel out of you, leaving a conformist in its wake? Who wants to be different anyway?: an outcast in society, a rule breaker, a refuter of what others have to say. 

Continue reading

Best Pals

Yes this might go very Clockwork Orange. There are so many rebel stories I have to share, the question is which one do I share?

Best way to jog my memory was to have a guid auld chin wag with my best friend from back in the day...

"Julie Bradley – the one from Libby High school? How about 'Merry Christmas Liddell', you will need to help me refresh my memory...”

Continue reading

To be young

On the hot summer day
almost 40 years ago I sat
in a wooden box with my
feet in the cool mud,
the white wall reflecting
the sun all around me,
Mother telling me to get
out of the mud and put
sun screen on.
Dad is mowing away at the
bottom of the garden
bobbing up & down.
I look up to the drone and   
See planes move overhead.
Dirt swims & oozes beneath my
Toes and splashing up my legs
Soothing and gleeful.
My grandfather Looks on in
amazement and horror.

Continue reading


When I was young I went through a hard time involving abuse. For the rest of my life I’ve been running away to find...I don’t know what! 

I used to jump out of my bedroom window all the time, climb out onto the garage roof and run away up the road. I would meet my friends and just hang around with them, having fun and a laugh. Sometimes we even went to the pub – anything to avoid going home. However, nearly always I would get found out and brought back home. I rebelled and went straight back out and did the same again! 

Continue reading

identity, memories, ownership

I Was Never a Rebel . . .

I was never a rebel
Well except that time
I wore lipstick and stockings
Stayed out past my curfew well after nine
But I didn’t dare light a cigarette
Until I was at least twenty-three 

I was a rebel, there’s plenty to say
Scramming apples from trees at the big house
Catapulting stones across the wall, crack
Being sent to my room then escaping
Down scaffolding surrounding my house
And running away to play 

Continue reading