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Born Elizabeth Walton Aitken 1941 Durham Bank, Bonnyrigg

MaMy dad actually drove the tractors with the bombs in them all over Scotland. When there was a blackout he had to tape up the lights on the tractor to the size of a thumbnail. Scary stuff if you think about it. MaMy mother was just mamy mother. There were three of us. MaMy brother John, sister Mary and me.

In Durham Bank there was four rows of houses. We had three bedrooms and a mobile bath. We filled the bath with buckets of water, boiled with a kettle on the fire.

That's me in BonnyriggThat's me in Bonnyrigg think a wis 18 years oldMe as a lassie

 

 

We used to go raiding the orchard next to the Rose'sBonnyrigg Rose football Club football ground. Mr McDonald lived next door to the orchard and he had apple trees as well so we raided him taetoo. That was our favourite Saturday morning pastime. There were a group of us all from Durham Bank that went aboot the githertogether. When we were coming home from the GuildryGirl Guides one night one of the girls, Elizabeth Mitchell, was assaulted. A man came up to speak to her and a suppose you would call it a sexual attack nowadays. There were not many streetlights then. I think they got him afterwards though. That was quite unusual in they days. MaMy dad wiswas mad when I went hamehome to tell him.

Me when a was single wish I hadnae smokedSchool wiswas school. Oh ayeoh yes (I remember), yeyou just went and come hamehome . A just can mind oof no liken it. Miss Bell and Miss Frazer were mamy first teachers. Miss Frazer came from Eskbank. She wis an awfy tall was very tall woman. She wiswas a bit strict but she wis gidwas good fun though. At the end of the day she would let us do some drawing. There was another teacher at the time, Miss Gowan, my sons had her as well. She was supposed to marry one of the other teachers. She didnae did not remember me though. Ma laddiesMy Sons who are twins were spoilt rotten at school.

A left Bonnyrigg school to go to the one in Penicuik. We had actually moved to Penicuik. I liked that school. Mr Curry was a good teacher. After qualifying I went to Lasswade senior secondary.That wiswas a language school. YaeYou were supposed to learn French. I can mind some of it but no very much. I left when I was fifteen to got to a comptometerA comptometer was the first commercially successful key-driven mechanical calculator. training school. Miss Wood who was the trainer was a right stickler. It was mainly adding, subtraction, multiplying, just general maths. This was something I did like doing. After my training I got a job at Dryburghs. I got free beer once a month. Milanda the bread makers and Murchies Creamery were mamy next jobs. I did the accounts for them.

Ah canny mind where thon horse isI used to go to the Regal in Bonnyrigg on a Wednesday and Saturday night. Sunday I went to the Dalkeith Empress. It was always mobbed on the Sunday. It didnae did not matter if you had work in the morning. There wisnaewas not any drink at the Empress. I couldnae could not afford it anyway. It was all live bands wiwith modern music. There was very seldom any trouble. Not like now. I only really went aboot wiwith one chap and he was from work, David Bathgate. He came from Roslyn. He wiswas a surveyor of some kind who worked for the coal board. I must have been eighteen when I last saw him. I met Ian my husband at the Bonnyrigg Regal. It’s got a lot to answer furfor. Ian wiswas an apprentice engineer at the time. We saw each other for two years before we got married. We got married on the day Scotland got beat by England nine goals to three. Ian ayeregularly says he would have been better off goangoing to Wembley that day. Our honeymoon was in Largs in a hotel right at the sea front. We were having our dinner on the Sunday and an older couple sitting at the next table had stayed there for their honeymoon years earlier and they wished us aweall the best. Huh. When we were driving through to go to the hotel Ian picked up a hitchhiker. We dropped him off before we got to Largs.

Just monkeying aroundWe lived wi mamy parents in Bonnyrigg for two years. I wiswas all right because it was my family but for Ian it was awkward. MairMore than awkward at times. Ian fell oot wi maout with my dad loads of times and if I fell oot wi maout with my dad Ian would just join in. We had the twin boys Roy and John when we were there, then we got a house in Muirfoot view. It had outside stairs. It was terrible. If ahI needed any coal for the fire I had to go up and doondown the stairs. In the winter it wisnaewas not funny. We had hot running water and a toilet though. Mandy our daughter was born in the hoosehouse. Ian made tattiespotatoes soup when I was giving birth. He had never made soup before and it was absolutely rotten. A’ve never let him forget it since.

Me going to a posh doWhen we were living wi mamy parents Ian worked for a while in Southampton and then he was offered a job in Brazil. I was still a young lassie wi two bairnsGirl with two small children, so I dinnae did not go. As you can see Ian dinnae did not go either.

Mandy was about five when I went back to work at Adam's the butcher, opposite the bus station in Dalkeith. I worked in their office doondown the back street as well. The vans went ootout delivering and I had to add up what they sold. We have always had dogs, greyhounds and the like. Ian used to pickup sheep’s heeds at the back of the shop for the dogs. Ihad to cook them and the smell that used to come off them wiswas revolting. Ian widwould split the skull and take the brains ootout and I widwould cut the tongue up into chunks. The dogs loved it. I had to keep the doors shut so the smell widnae travel through the hoosehouse. Rabbits and chickens got skinned and plucked taetoo.

We got a new hoosehouse in Beach Loan, Bonnyrigg. Brand new. Ian put pine on the ceiling but before he put the pine up one of our dogs, a Pekingese, walked all over the varnished wood. The paw marks were still there when we left thirty years later. They were pekin doonsticking down. That dog was fearless and would face up Alsatians, greyhounds, anything at aweall.Lanzarote on holiday One of our neighbours thought he wiswas an ornament on the back of the chair until he moved. We had some gidgood times up there. We were at a dance one night and my mum had been babysitting the bairnsYoung Children at her hoosehouse. We had left Mandy in the pram with her so when we picked them up I got in the pram as well. It was a twin pram 'cause the laddies had it first. I had quite a lot to drink but we got home a lot quicker. Ian's legs are a lot longer than mine.

We moved doondown to Woodburn five or six years ago into Ian’s parent's hoosehouse after they died. They had built this hoosehouse in 1961. Eighteen month ago I had a stroke so I cannaecan not move about as much as I used to.

My daughter works for Sky across in Fife. Roy works for the Royal Bank of Scotland as Head of Corporate Finance Division and John is a Quantity Surveyor. They are all very good at divorce taetoo.

Ian and I have worked all our lives but we don't know what the future holds for the young of today. We still manage a holiday every year at Lanzarote although everything is going up in price.

 

Elizabeth

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Adapted by Iain Tait