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What I talk about when I talk about history…
I talk about love/hate, hope/fear, power/weakness, wealth/poverty, peace/war, tribe/aliens, friendship/enmity, affinity/aversion …

Before I came north over 30 years ago, I’d only been to Scotland once. My parents took us on holiday to a small town near Dundee – home of a distinctive fruit cake, and the Dandy comic. I was 10, my brothers 9, 8, and 2. We gazed from under the hoods of our matching blue anoraks, bare knees wet and mottled with cold. We wore shorts, in case it cheered up later. It didn’t – it rained through 12 of the 14 days. Mum and dad argued over our heads.

 

We chewed wet sandwiches, watching the other holiday makers, and wondered whether we could return to our Guest House in time for ‘Animal Magic’. The town bustled with grannies and grandpas. Pac-a-macked ladies flowed from cafes to coaches. Their men, in camel slacks and windcheaters, followed in their wake, heads bowed against the wind. I loved to watch them. They reminded me of my grandma and granddad.

I returned to Scotland to marry into clan Fraser of Lovat (twice), give birth to 4 more of the tribe, and write about yet another, the most notorious clan Fraser chief: Lovat of the ’45, ‘the Old Fox’. We educated the children through the medium of Gaelic. I began to learn the language, and wrote a PhD on obscene Gaelic poetry (I probably knew more than nearly anyone else in the world about it when I finished.)

A huge part of my life now revolves around the fact I’ve been a carer for the last five years – one of the growing army world wide. My beautiful new husband woke on November 17, 2011, stood up and, … well, sort of left. He left himself, left me, left our old world. He’d suffered a major, life-changing stroke. The disabled and their carers do heroes’ work. They build a new world in the ruins of the old, trying to avoid disturbing the ghosts of the past. All this feeds into my writing.

 

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