TRAVELLING THE COUNTRYSIDE

   With our new Ford, we expanded quite a bit.  The old Morris gave up the ghost eventually, and in 1959, we determined to buy a new car and settled on a Ford Prefect -- a pale green one with whitewall tires and full, chrome hubcaps.  This broadened our horizons somewhat and we were able to travel to places we wouldn't have tried with the old Morris.  The first long trip we took was to visit Hal and Jan and family in Solihull, Warwickshire.  They had visited us and we reciprocated.

   We used the new Ford to go away for the long holiday weekends and we took in a lot of places that were only names on the map before.  The whole of Scotland north of Glasgow and all the Southwest were open to us.  I mentioned before that we had a neighbour across the street -- McPherson by name.  John was a small man about 5 feet, 6 inches,  and his wife was a tall, dignified lady who was a first-class pianist and organist.  John worked in John Brown's shipyard all his life as a shipwright and he liked his little dram, while his wife frowned on it.  Occasionally, I took them out for a drive on a Saturday, and one summer day, I took them to Inverary Castle, which was always open to the public for a small fee.  On this particular day, when we drove in, the car-park was full and we were lucky to find a slot.  When we reached the main entrance, the attendant said "nobody pays today."  It was the day of the Clan Gathering of the Campbells and the Duke of Argyll was the Clan Chief.  There were Campbells from every corner of the world -- Canada, New Zealand, and every conceivable place in between -- as the visitors' book showed.  When we went into the Great Hall, the Duke was making a speech of welcome to all his clansmen.  After this, the crowd broke up into smaller groups for a conducted tour of the castle.  The Duke's son, Lance, who was about age 20, was the guide for our group.  Of course, they had a great spiel, probably learned by rote, of all the artifacts, pictures, armour, and furniture, etc.  One room contained all the artifacts and gifts acquired by Queen Victoria's youngest daughter, Princess Louise, who was a former Duchess of Argyll.  One suite of furniture, a wardrobe, dressing table, bench-seat and other things had been made from the body of a large coach.  The place is steeped in history and, to me, is always a pleasure to visit.  After seeing all around the three upper floors, including some of the family's private apartments not usually seen, we were escorted down to the old kitchens in the basement, where all the old copper pans, boilers and such were stored.  As we came out of the kitchens, which was the end of the tour, there was a sign pointing to a room along the passage which said "To the Bar."  When McPherson saw this, his eyes lit up and he said, "Would you like a drink, Bill?," but knowing his wife's aversion to it, I declined as best I could.  He turned to the wives and said, "What about you girls?," but, as expected, they also declined.  So John said, "All right, I won't be the odd one out, I won't have a drink either."  Whereupon, we made our way back to the car and home to Clydebank.  Next day, I was out doing some clipping in the garden and McPherson was working around in his garden.   When he spotted me, he went to the house and came out with the "Sunday Post," which he brought over and pointed to an item on page 2, under the headline, "Clan Campbell Gathering."  It told of the hundreds of Campbells visiting, and the Duke's hospitality, which included a "free bar in the old kitchens," and "High Tea" in a local restaurant.  McPherson said, "Look at that, free whiskey and you wouldn't let me near it!"  He was quite annoyed and I don't think he got over it for some time.  The McPhersons had two daughters, Rosemary and Annette.  Rosemary emigrated to the United States sometime in the early 50's and lives in New Brunswick.  She worked at Union Carbide.  

When the McPhersons moved into Attlee Avenue, I left the house about 6:50 a.m. to go to work.  One day, McPherson asked me if I would mind coming over to knock on his door when I was on the way out, because he said they all had difficulty getting up in the morning.  So I got into a routine of backing out the car, then knocking on their door before I shut my front gates.  Rosemary emigrated to the U.S. after a while, and later, when home on a visit, she told me of the time when she and some of her colleagues at Union Carbide were chatting in the office.  The subject of getting out of bed in the morning came up, and of course, different folks have different ways of dealing with the problem.  Rosemary said to them that  back home in Scotland, the man across the street "knocked me up" every morning!  Of course, that phrase has a different connotation in the U.S., so poor Rosemary had to explain what she meant.  Rosemary and her mother, Rose, attended Margaret's wedding in Philadelphia when Rose was over on a visit.  Eventually, the family moved away to Dalmuir, after their son, Ian, was married to a girl from Giffnock.  Bessie and I attended that wedding -- a large ostentatious affair at which John McPherson felt completely out of his league, as he told me on the way home.  It was all too "pseudo-society" for John, who was more at home with a foot on the brass rail at the local pub!