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 Maggie and the 'Troops'.........

We  got married in September 1961 (I think....could it have been 1962?) ) did Maggie and me, and from the start Maggie helped me overcome my natural shyness!    I mean like when it came to the bit when I was supposed to say 'I do', Maggie said 'you will'....and...... 'I have' ever since!    I remember I once 'spoke back' (strangely enough that was nearly 47 years ago too) but I soon got out of that.......and round about then I invented 'Alberto the Hero' ...  'he' has been my constant companion (and adviser) ever since.      Where I fear to tread 'Alberto' boldly went......sometimes...and always quietly....when Maggies wisnae lookin'.
Maggie lived in Earlsferry all her life except for 5 years working in Edinburgh as a comptometer operator with the Post Office.    I worked in Edinburgh for two years after we were married.    In 1963 we moved back  to Earlsferry.... Michael was born (in Craigtoun Maternity Hospital) in March of that year.    Iain was born in Ivy Cottage in March 1965 and that was the Lawrie family complete.    We had one cat and three dogs over the following 40 years or so.    Snagglepuss (cat), Shep, Morag and Bonnie.     The boys also had pet rabbits, and at one time guinea pigs but Snagglepuss ate them so they were short lived things.
1965 - 1998 years are being 'worked on and will be inserted as soon as....
In 1998 Maggie was being troubled by double vision and her optician said “you can’t go through life with double vision I am going to  get you a head scan”.       The head scan was done at Kirkcaldy and a small tumour was found ...situated on/near the pituitary gland.    After tests which showed it wasn’t malignant we were sent to Edinburgh to have a more detailed scan which was to be followed a month later by a visit to the Neurosurgery Department of the western General.

    I think in was in March 1999 that we first met Mr Statham the Neurosurgeon who told us that Maggie had a meningeoma and had probably had it since 1980 or so.    I remember the first time we saw the meningeoma  in Mr Statham’s consulting room at the Department of Neuro Sciences .    It was about 2cms in diameter...and showed up as a white blob on the computer screen.       As it was sited on the pituitary gland there was not much Mr Statham could do except monitor it’s progress so we had to go back the following year for another scan followed by the visit to Neuro Sciences Dept a month  later.     This time he decided we didn’t need to go back for two years.   I think we both at this time began to realise that the length of Maggie’s life depended on the speed that the meningeoma grew at.     However it was a slow growing thing but not slow enough.

    The last time we saw ‘it’ on the computer screen was on May 25th 2009.    By this time it had grown to about 5cms in length, through a loop in the main artery to her brain.    Mr Statham said       “ we don’t need to see you for two years”  which came as a relief at first.    We were only in the consulting room for about two minutes that time...the shortest time we ever talked to Mr Statham.   We both walked out, happy I think would be the best way to describe how we felt at that time.     As we walked down  through the western complex to get a bus back to Edinburgh City Centre Maggie said to me, quite calmly “I think Mr Statham’s just waitin’ till I die!”    By this time I too had thoughts along the same lines but I said to her “No Mag, I really think he does expect to see you in two years”.

We caught the bus to the City Centre and got off at the Waverly stop where we went into the Princes Centre to have her favourite ‘treat’ anytime we went to the Western.    A “Harry Ramsdens” Fish Supper.   Not very imaginative but always what she wanted and liked.    We left the Princes Centre happy in the knowledge that we wouldn’t need to go to the Western for two years but –planning to come back to Edinburgh on the bus from Elie to ‘do’ Edinburgh Castle etc in September.    She was already ‘planning’ 09/09/09 our 48th wedding anniversary.

    Not only had Maggie the meningeoma to contend with, (as if that wisnae enough) in September 2006 Maggie was diagnosed with breast cancer, which she seemed to cope with  remarkably easily, whilst I  took about nine months to even start to feel normal again.   One local lady knew how I felt because  she lost her husband to cancer two years ago, and, after asking about Maggie always  asks me  how I feel.    That simple question does me a lot of good and I really appreciate her asking.   So, anybody out there in a similar situation, ask the partner how they are coping because a health threat is one of the most catastrophic things that can happen to a couple!  (We have been married 47 years).  Anyway, after her operations last year and the Radio Therapy at the start of this  she was very tired and I became the chief cook.   Now baking scones and biscuits I have always been able to do, but cooking as in 'greasy stuff' was something else.   Out came my wok - in fact out came both my woks - and Ken Hom's cook book.   In nae time Ken and I had Ivy Cottage smelling like a Chinese takeaway with all kinds of stir fries being attempted.    They say that a wok is nae use unless it is really black - well we now have two really good woks and a freshly painted kitchen ceiling!

    We have four gorgeous grandchildren who manage tae keep us busy doing things we would probably rather not do, - but all the exercise "keeps you young Grandad" they say!      Emily is our oldest Grandaughter (19)     She is gorgeous and 'in love', and is the sister of 'JB' (16) who has me moving mountains of sand on the Ferry beach every time he is up from Sussex.   This September Kingsbarns beach became the favourite  because it has a burn running through it which requires diverting after every tide.    'JB' assures me he is sometimes 'in love'.    Next is Hazel (9) who lives in Aberdeenshire and is really into computing.    When she was nearly four years old she was playing a computer game called 'splat the rat' or something like that, and said to me "Grandad, it's easy, you have a shot"  - so I gave it my best 'shot.'   After about 1 minute Hazel says "Grandad, the rats are winning,  you had better give it back to me."     Now we come to No 4 - Catriona (7 coming on 70).    She is a dancer and 'moves' to any music you like to put on, and expects Grandad to do the same.    I still give it a go but the auld knees are not what they used tae be!   



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