Thursday, August 21, 2008

A gentle ramble through my family history

Whilst my father's side of my family is fairly well documented, my mother's is all a bit vague. As a result, the opportunity presented by our trip to Scotland to visit my mother's birthplace was not to be missed.

My mother was born in Keith, a small town about midway between Aberdeen and Inverness, famous for its distilleries, a quite good Highland League football team and not much else. And I have to admit, upon arrival on a grey, gloomy day with rain promised, not threatened, I wasn't wildly impressed. In fact, we missed the centre of town completely and got lost in a rather sombre back street before finally locating Mid Street, where all the action is (note - the use of the word 'action' is entirely relative).

Keith describes itself as 'The Friendly Town' - it even says so on the road signs that tell you that you've arrived - but I was in need of some convincing. However, a stroll past the shops and a few bits of shopping helped and, by the time we'd visited the museum of the Keith and Dufftown Railway (the most northerly heritage railway in the United Kingdom!), I was suffused with a sense that, despite the chill wind and the rain, the welcome was genuinely warm.

There are no obvious traces of my family, but it was nice to visit, especially as my mother hasn't been back since she left as a baby. You never know, she might be encouraged to make a return journey one day...

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