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Memories of Kilbride by Margaret Small Allan

Margaret “Tich” Small Allan grew up in Oban in the 1950s and 60s, spending much of her time, especially in the summer, with her uncle at Kilbride Farm. Margaret currently lives in Lothian, and has been writing her memories for Friends of Kilbride. 

‘It’s been a long time since I was playing at Kilbride Farm, where I was mainly brought up in the 1950s and 60s. Kilbride is approximately three miles south of Oban, and has an old ruined church and graveyard with the private burial aisle of Clan MacDougall standing within it, and the farm had buildings around the old drystane dyke around the built up graveyard. I had various jobs to do- feeding the poultry, gathering eggs and feeding the dogs and cats in the old barn. I nursed orphaned lambs in the old range oven, with the door open, and as soon as they warmed up, they were brought in a corner of the kitchen, and then they too went into the barn. I could milk the cow, which was called Elaisech, and an old gelded garron called Bodach and she were firm friends. The largest part of the farm was a piggery, where the Griffin family have built their home. It held 100 pigs, and there were always sows farrowing (having piglets). In the evening my old Uncle, who I refer to as He himself would not take the shortcut through the cemetery, which I did, and was there well before him. As there were no other children in the glen, and had not been one for many years, I busied myself by cleaning grave stones from lichen moss and liked to keep them nice, so all who were interred there were my friends. The special one was “Old MacDougall”

Iain Ciar. He, his wife Mary and I shot every redcoat in England, and we were always up to some sort of mischief. They listened to all my woes and celebrated birthdays, and never once did them or the others in the graveyard, ever clyped on me or give me a scolding. At that time, the council grave yard team would come and cut the grass monthly in the summer, and it was well looked after. A little story about my first memory of the church and graves goes as follows: There was the family of Daniel MacLure, whose children all died in infancy, and the man was cutting the grass round the stone, It was a scorcher of a day, and I had a white cotton dress on- no shoes, blonde headed, and small for my age, I had spotted a green van at the gates, so off I toddled round to where he was, and he looked up at me, and I asked him if he was coming down for a drink of tea? But he did not answer, and I thought better get He himself, so I ran down to the house where Himself was having a well earned cuppa, and told him a man was funny looking in the cemetery, and we ran to the poor man, who thought that it was one of the youngsters in the grave, who wanted him to go into the grave for tea. So it was a large dram that he was given, and returned to normal. That is it for now my friends, stay tuned for another addition in the future. Take care and enjoy life, as we only have this one.


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