Bobbie's Behoof

Thursday, March 23, 2006

M.P.S and D.S.S at BARRY 1966 - 1981

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M.P.S. : Iona Cottage, Barry Village, Carnoustie, Angus. : 7 May 1966 :

Dears Marlene and Bob,
So many thanks for all your letters
which were joyfully read but not answered during the throes of flitting. We had MAC and HELEN [McIntosh, M.P.S brother and wife from Canada] during the last week in Iona and they were storm-stayed and just got away when the packer arrived to do the china and glass. So little room here but otherwise pleasant.

MAC and HELEN went on to The Rigg [Martins,Teviothead] and then to Honiton[Scotters] and Cambridge [Moffatts]. They landed unfortunate for weather - a very cold wet spring but things grow inspite of. I hear PEGGY N’Dola has elected to stay in Winnipeg so you’ll have to acquit yourself nobly with 2 nieces and a brother all at same College.

MEG and ALI [Macdonell] been so kind. ALI attended to painters and all the house was fresh and they Both gave us a good days work on the day of Removal. ALI is super with the screwdriver. It’s a great thing a screwdriver. The surveyor found some dead wood so the joiners are still working.

How lovely to be back to the amenities of the mainland - calling for orders and delivering everything within shopping distance and a traveling van 3 times a week and bananas everywhere. How difficult everything was in Iona and how expensive with freight and postage.

Dad is already in great demand - preaching next two Sundays in Meigle and taking Tarves in July, August when ALI and MEG and family [RUTH 10, JEN 8, HILLY 6, DAVE 3] go to Cambridge and a locum coming along -- a young minister died suddenly. Well, O.K., if he feels he can, who am I? If I had knees!!! Rejoice in your knees you young things.

OLIVE[Spark Stiven] and the SHERRARD family[Olive’s d. Mary and son-in-law Rev. John and Dane +Olive] all here yesterday. I now have a ‘minister’s wife’ v. friendly and helpful and the church just 20 yards from our back door.

Lovely photo of Glen. What a friendly happy boy he is. Much Love to you all 3. Mummy S.”
M.P.S : Barry : 23 March 1966 : “Darlings,
Always so glad to get your news and lovely photos of your charming son. What a happy soul he seems to be.

Floods in one place and droughts in India and so cold for May it is here. Perhaps only me but not really. Everything very far behind. So glad you’re going to paint Granny Dunn’s house. Grannies need help. How she will gloat over Glen. Please Bob read Blackwoods Magazine of 17th May - gorgeous article by MARY LUSK (now Levison) [Inveresk Assistant 1954] showing up a Committee of Church of Scotland and a good one by Barclay[William, theologian] about a friend in Canada. Barclay is so good, eh no?

We go off to Assembly[General Assembly of the Church of Scotland] tomorrow for a whole week. Dad at Royal Scots Club and me at JANET’S[Lamond]but she is away holidaying so I will be with JENNIFER but I’ll be out most of the time and can go to OLIVE’S [Stiven] any time. She has her g’child OLIVE [Sherrard] staying - as she can’t get peace in her home manse in Dundee! so has to go to her granny’s. Sorry writing so awful but so cold.

BEADY[Scotter] comes for her 1/2 term weekend when we come home. I’ve really nothing in common with her and the world she lives in so different from the world when I was 17. Not fair for her. Next year we will have 2 g’daughters at Varsity and still one son. But we will get our trip next May. Marlene says you’ve done O.K. Stick in Bob. Much love to you ALL 3. Mummy S.”

M.P.S : Barry : 4 June 1966 : “Darlings,
Beaucoup Jolis - 4th June and I feel so ashamed to have forgotten your birthday. No excuse but we seem to be bogged down with grandchildren. Went to St Andrews to MYRA’s [11] sports two days ago and then Dad called for MYRA and BEADY y’day to bring them here. BEADY to stay mid term w’end here and MYRA to go with MEG to Tarves. This p.m. BILLY LOVE phoned Dad to ‘Sash’ the Honest Lad and Lass[Musselburgh]. He said, ‘You know Dr Stiven twelve years ago today you married me and this is Bobby and Linty’s birthday!!!’ Well really is it left to Billy Love to remember my twins b’day! Linty usually reminds me but she is bogged down having her in laws and g’granny Fleming - they were due to sail Ist June to Jamaica to take up running a boarding house there and had all linen and silver at docks and lo! the seaman’s strike calls off everything. They’re going to lose a lot of money as the staff whom they’ve taken over are idle and no bookings.
We were going off to Tarves this a.m. with BEADY and lo! the starter wouldn’t start and it is still in the garage being mended and poor BEADY - how worried she must be. Not good spending half-term with G’Parents - tell Glen David!

Hope you are enjoying the summer at camp [Robertson, Gimli]. Did you GET THROUGH??? your exams. Could you DO IT? Is this a good church (capable of presenting a challenge) David is going to? Much Love. Beaucoup Jolis. M.S”

M.P.S. : Barry : 13 July 1966 : “Darlings,
Thank you for writing. I’ve been falling down on mine. Very different this business of adjusting oneself to to the retired life. Poor Dad he is quite lost. After some gardening - nothing to do all day except ‘patience’[cards] tele and reading. I have still my chores and can potter around. Dad never been good in the sink and I feel never will take to it, alas! Other retired men ‘do’ chores I believe. He is preaching most Sundays - here at Barry and after that three Sundays at Tarves where we shall be going to stay for three weeks.

We go to Edinburgh next week to stay with JIMMY and GRETA SIMPSON [twins used to watch the Musselburgh horse races from their window at Levenhall]
Dad is to ‘Sash’ the Honest Lad and Lass at the Musselburgh Mall on 20th. His predecessors Lords and Earls etc. A great honour to have been asked. We are going to tea with BILLY LOVE on one of the days and an Overseas tea - all in the Honest Toon’s Festival Week. We are going to MEG’S tomorrow for the day. ALI and RUTH [10] and JENNIFER [8] all away at camp so MEG all alone with her two youngest [HILLY 6, DAVE 3].

Looking forward to DAVID’s coming on 13th Aug. He goes to JEAN’S [Honiton]
off the plane - then to LINTY and some other friends and then up here. I’m to put up JIMMY [11] thee others [MOIRA 16, PEGGY 14, FIONA 8] all going into a caravan and two rooms along the road. I’ll manage to feed them all mid-day.

Photo from Karachi of ROLAND [8months] - SO like Glen it’s not true - fair and beautiful. MAC and HELEN [McIntosh] had a beezer time at Cambridge and Honiton and Tarves. Has Marlene met them yet? Can’t remember did they? --yes, MAC - go to your wedding? Looking forward to our trip next May so stick in. ARE you doing any reading at camp? Where there’s a will there’s a way. Much Love to you all. Mummy S.”

M.P.S. : Barry : 19 August 1966 : “Darlings,
Having a breather while Zambians [David and Jean, Moira 16, Peggy 14, Jim 11, Fiona 8, Shelagh 3] off to Tarves. Hope you’ve got a house for them Zambians! The kids are sick of moving and want to stay put in a room of their very own.

My word they are a handsome lot all seen together. People used to tell me I had the best looking family they knew. I think (maybe not) I’ll pass it on to DAVID and co. Of course five is impressive all looking so well. Jean pretty and healthy - think the living is good in Rhodesia. Anyway black help gives one time to have a life of ones own.

We had a gorgeous sunny day y’day when Queen Mother opened the new Tay Road Bridge - what a boon it will be.

Just written a line to KAY-TESS [Karachi]. Their wedding anniversary and HILDA’S birthday [4] August 29th. I lost my list of B’days in the flitting but have found it again.

We had a gorgeous three weeks in Tarves. Everybody so hospitable and kind. Hope you’ll have some money to feed us when we come next May as I don’t think we can get money across. DAVID found it too difficult. We are such a poor country we cannot part with money.

Do you know where you are to be Assistant in Sept? Who is the Dean? Name?
Anyway back to the BOOKS and stick in. Yes I do think GLEN and ROLAND look alike. But there are other sides to the family - MARLENE and TESS in face.
Much Love to you all three. M.S.”

D.S.S. : Barry : 23 August 1966 : “Dear Bobby and Marlene,
The gang fared forth for Prestwick about an hour ago, spending the night in Edinburgh in the hope of reaching Prestwick about 11:30 tomorrow forenoon to leave about 12:30 on Wednesday 24th August.

They mean to go to UNCLE JIMMY’S [and Aunt Helen’s] at Brighton [Ontario] for a day or two and also to their friends and partners in Orilla [Ontario] where, I think, their large and Moffatt-like Ford car will await them.

They are a stunning bunch and bonny too and all good fun. I think that SHELAGH will be glad to get settled down. She was feeling just young enough [3] for so much helter skelter and so many late hours, though, mind you, she has stood up to it better than any one of her age I’ve seen.

See and get a breather before the routine of the regular grind begins. It makes demands on different faculties than catering etc [Church Summer Camp Manager]. Pat Moodie in a recent letter spoke kindly of you all. Love to all. Daddy.”

M.P.S. : Barry : 25 August 1966 :

[On an air letter begun by one of the Zambian children (to Caron) and discarded]

“This left behind and can’t bear to waste it. The difference between our generation and the next. We were all brought up poor. Now it’s the affluent society and everybody has everything! Enough!

Darlings - so many thanks for your letters and all news. Do take care of Marlene and don’t allow her to do too much work. You young things live at too much pressure. Dad went into Starks (North Bridges, Edinburgh) y’day at 10 a.m. and the man said, “Your son has just gone - he was ordering clerical robes.” Well, he was due to fly Prestwick at 12 noon . How do they do it?

Marlene, I’m sending a nightie FIONA left and a shawl for Penelope (when she comes) and a wee jersey for GLEN if he’s not too big for it already and an apron for Bob (man’s apron - sold in Cambridge for Dons and Fellows who come home from College and help the wives). So I’ll hope to see it well worn when I come in May.

We are having a spell of gorgeous weather now. Went to dentist in Musselburgh y’day and Dad got two lower back molars out. An hour in the chair and Dr Robertson said he should have had it done in Hospital. Frightful it was but his pulse was perfect at end and he drove home in record time but all out in bed today and frightful headache. Feeling so lonely without the Zambians. Much Love. MS.”

M.P.S. : Barry : 8 September 1966 : “Darlings,
You’ll now have your big brother [DAVID] with you. How he managed to get the family to Winnipeg and get them off to school alone I don’t know. You young fathers are wonderful. Nothing you can’t do.

I’m enjoying your Prof’s book. [Kenneth Hamilton, God is Dead - The Anatomy of a Slogan. ] Dad won’t read them. Not even original. His Railway Book Stall heretical title. If he’d even put it in inverted commas it wouldn’t have been so bad. Dad says, ‘Dishonest!’. He’s fussy. I find him not always lucid and I have to look back at the beginning of the paragraph to see if its Bonhoeffer or Bart or his namesake Hamilton. Anyway he fairly covers them all and he’s cute sometimes e.g. ‘If we take a vote the ‘living’ are in the minority.’
How very true. Anyway he is very well read and should be a stimulating lecturer.

I posted a parcel of hankies DAVID left and a new sleeveless pullover for you Bob. Have to knit. I can't read and potter all day. Can’t knit baby’s things only the big slog I can do. Hope it will be of some use. I can do another one. What colour? Do you like maroon?

Had a boy from Karachi this p.m. He was out teaching (he has no degree) in the High School in Karachi and went to St Andrews Church [Kay Stiven, Minister]. He was only out for a year. Frightful the poverty and people lying on the streets. When he came out of school he had to step over six or seven bodies lying asleep on the pavement and two million in Karachi live in squalor and filth. Oh dear, oh dear what CAN I do . Hurry up and get finished and GO and DO something I can’t do.

Take care of Marlene and make her rest - go to bed early. Why should she work so hard at camp? Is she paid for it? I had a friend once who did too much for people till somebody taught her we have only to love our neighbour as ourselves. Sometimes we have to turn it round the other way to get the meaning. Much Love to you you All. M.S.”

M.P.S. : Barry : 16 September 1966 :

“Reminds me FERGUS has a b’day [5] on 18th Sept. Must get cracking.

Darlings -- This to say Dad asked me ages ago to write and ask date in May when we hope to see you get your dog collar, as we mean to sail on a cargo ship up the lakes as far as we can go so must book early. Please an air letter by return.

Had MEG and ALI on way home to Tarves from a wedding. CHRISTINA’S [Ali Macdonell’s sister] brother-in-law married an R.C. and wedding in a chapel in Dundee. MEG, sitting beside the priest at Reception, said her mother had great sympathy with St Columba who was an exile and so home sick for the streams and meadows of Ireland all the time he lived on Iona. ‘Yes’ said the priest, ‘I’m sure your mother must often have prayed to St Columba for help.’ ‘No!’ said MEG, ‘She went straight to the Almighty.’ That was the mildest of the things she said. He must have been a bit shaken by the time the meal was over.

Bet DAVID [Winnipeg] was glad to have you and Marlene there to help. Aren't they a good looking bunch? So glad they’ve gone from the so troubled Africa. Isn’t JIMMY [11] a nice boy? Grandsons precious.

Hope Marlene not so tired now and GLEN [almost1] flourishing and Father working. Much Love to you all. Mummy S.”

M.P.S. : Barry : 7 October 1966 : “ My Dear Marlene,
I have GLEN’S down for 1st November. Is it 1st October? [Yes] Please correct me and also please tell me when yours is so that I can put it on my list. We have twenty three g’children and seven children and seven mates and I find it difficult to keep looking up my wee bookie!

DAVID said,’BOB was starting to begin to start work’ but so glad to hear from the horse’s mouth that he really is working.

I have my cousin [actually widow of D.S.S’s cousin James Spark Stiven] staying and she says she’s coming to get me dressed for going to Canada! I’m not really interested in dress - less than ever now. My daughter JEAN [Scotter] thinks (from your wedding photos) you have a very good dress sense - she knows.

DAVID says it is cold already with you. They won’t like the cold but from all the news it would seem they are well away from N’dola. No more now. GLEN DAVID’S B’day? Marlene’s B’day? So looking forward to seeing GLEN DAVID. Love Granny S.”

M.P.S. : Barry : St. Andrews Day : 30 Nov 1966 : “Darlings,
So touched by your concern for us. We’re both well but trying to bear up against a bitter wind off the North Sea - Iona was mild compared to this and when there is a wind with the cold my knees shriek - but otherwise O.K.

Dad preaching nearly every Sunday. Had JOHN SHERRARD [son-in-law of Olive Stiven] preaching here on Sunday. I rang MARY [John’s wife, Olive’s daughter] to ask him to lunch and told her to tell him to have a word of comfort for the old! and lo! did he half!!!! Did you know Christmas is a Festival for the adult and the aged? Not a scripture record of even a child peeping in at the stable door at the Nativity. It was the Innkeeper, shepherds, wise men, Kings -- old old Anna, old old Simeon WAITING, who saw the the Salvation and rejoiced. I did always feel it was phony the way everybody feverishly tried to make it a Happy Time for the children. He’s a very able preacher - must say made the most of what fell in his lap. St Andrews Day for the children and 1st Sunday in Advent for us. How he tore down the tinsel and coloured paper and electric lights till we saw the real light from the opened heavens and the angels singing and how cynical he was about getting the Christmas tree out from below the stairs and the list of present receivers (she didn’t send me one last year so...) He was good.

Anyway I was brought up in a Calvinistic Home and we didn’t have any Artificial Christmas so it appealed to me. He came late to the Ministry and not too submerged in the Christmas Myth to be able to think straight. Cheers, its Christmas for the aged! The children can tag along. I won’t be popular.

Dad says we can have a trip to Kingston, Jamaica, next winter (to avoid the frost). We promised FRED and EMMELINE [Moffatt] to go and see them anyway. Been posting S.O.S. from ALISON [Stiven] for DAVID’S address. Aren't the Zambians a super family. Pity they’re being dragged around. DAVID sighing for the sun and warmth but loves the people. Much Love to you ALL three. M.S.”

M.P.S. : Barry : 24 November 1966 : ROLAND’s Birthday. “ Darlings,
So good of you Marlene to write to me and you had a depressed husband on your hands too. I hope G.D. never gets depressed. Theology a bit confusing. Too many thoughts as you say.

Robert darling give up Kierkegaard or whatever his name is. Anyway he died at forty two and one can learn an awful lot about God after forty two. All very well for Keats to die at thirty two having produced the goods -- but Theology takes longer to ripen. Our minister across the road was so so good and so SIMPLE (Dad says get Bob back to the SIMPLE Gospel.)

Go Heaven-----------------Go Hell
and the only standard of judgment was KINDNESS --- sick and ye visited me, in prison - etc etc hungry fed me etc etc.

Dad had quote in a Sermon and so many people wrote to get it:
‘In this world of froth and bubble
Two things stand like stone.
Kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own.’

Had BILL and JEAN and KATE [Scotter] for two days - they had two days traveling to get here. JEAN came to see AUNT MARY’S [Clifton, widow of W.A. Stiven who died I think in 1929] silver and linen and small tables etc. BILL may be out of the army in July and they have never had a home. She put her name on quite a lot. We snaffled a silver brandy flask for you. All so sad. She must have become unable to ‘throw out’ after she was seventy and she died at ninety seven. What a house stacked with things. Should be a lesson to Dad to clear out.
There will be a small behoof for you all but how to get it across to you!!! Anyway it can be banked here and you can bring Marlene and G.D. over for a trip. It would do you handsome for that. But wait till Dad writes to you.

Don’t say I told you but the death duties (it will soon be in the papers anyhow) are £52,000 . WHY did she not disburse before? Poor old soul. Her Christmas presents from 1929 still as she got them. Incredible.

Marvelous having BILL who was with his men into Aborfan two days after the disaster. His men shoveled from 8-8pm and he could hardly get them off duty to let the night shift begin. The police and voluntary organisations all quite hopeless except the Army and the Salvation Army which was quite wonderful. When BILL arrived the Dads were just digging blindly where they thought their child would be! The army dentists got the school dentists lists from the C.E. Office and identified the corpses by the teeth. He had to post soldiers at the mortuary gates to keep the parents of unidentifiable children from getting in and when they had the mass graves dug, lorries began to arrive with 1,000s of wreaths and flowers from all over Britain. Such chaos, but you know BILL is super.

He only arrived back from Bahrain four hours before he had to go and do this awful job. 116 children buried alive with stuff so heavy the men could only shovel a handful at a time. They all wanted to give a full weeks pay but ‘oor Jeanie’ who works with the wives knew that the wives were gasping for their week’s pay so persuaded them to give seats for the churchyard where the Mums and Grannies could sit when they came to the graves. Some lost two and three children and some men a wife and two children.

MEG and ALI and DAVID [3] came on Monday to see JEAN and BILL as may not see them for ages and ALI seeing to BILL’S will. They may go to Hong Kong after Bahrain. No more now. Much Love Mummy S.”

M.P.S. : Barry : 18 Dec 1966 : “Darlings,
Forty three years married today and so grateful for my boy friend (though sometimes difficult) always cheerful which means a lot in old age.

So thrilled with my Gold Greetings Telegram y’day from the clan in Winnipeg. How good of you to remember. I’ve just been ringing LINTY (no answer) to find out if its BOB’S or hers y’day or tomorrow - never can remember. Anyway Bob - it’s two years for you. Many Happy Returns. Be KIND to your wife.

David [D.S.S] preaching in Arbroath twice today so I’m having a holiday at home and getting even with some letters and purring with gratitude that we have such a rewarding family - not one black sheep among them and all doing useful work in the world.

We go to Tarves [Macdonells] next week-end for Christmas. David [D.S.S.] sent 300+ cards to let people know where we lived now so we are being flooded with returns.

Poor Jimmy [Stiven,11, Winnipeg] with his teeth. Bad luck but be O.K. [Skating accident caused two very broken very front teeth.]

Much Love to you all and a very Happy Christmas. M.S.’


M.P.S. : Barry : 14 Jan 1967 : “Darlings,
Hope Marlene and Glen got back to the lonely Father O.K. after having had a good Christmas and leaving Granny Dunn well cheered.

We have been having our passport photos taken and what old wizened crones we are but so looking forward to seeing you all. What would I do without my boy friend to do all the paper work!

Bob, did you know MAGGIE SCOTT got engaged in Cape Town to a Cargilfield master. He was out and she went too!! and it has happened. They have known each other well for sometime and Dr and Mrs Scott know him too so all is well. I’ll tell you when the wedding is so you can send a line. Dr Scott was very kind to us all.

We are having gorgeous sunny weather but frosty. I go to Arbroath Infirmary three times weekly to get therapy for my knees -- here’s hoping I’ll be able to walk across the tarmac with straight legs!

Stick in lad for your last term - won’t be long now and I guess you’ll win through - you've some strong subjects eh no?

BILL [Scotter] gone to Oxford for a week’s lectures on CHINA so it looks as if, after Bahrain, they will go to Hong Kong instead of coming back to U.K. Why, oh why, are my children wanderers on the face of the earth? Think it’s very good to see your own country from another one. We have some lovely grapefruit from KEITH’S parents [Fred and Emmeline Moffatt] in Jamaica. Gorgeous climate they have there.

DANE SHERRARD [son of Rev. John and Mary] preaching in Carnoustie tomorrow so will ask him to lunch. Dad preaching in Arbroath tomorrow. He is supplying nearly every Sunday and loves it. MAC and HELEN [Uncle Jimmy McIntosh] say they are going to visit you in Winnipeg in June too so might be able to travel with them.

Marlene, I had sent you a peach coloured loose weave blanket from Hawick.
It should have arrived. Anyway you’ll let me know if it hasn’t soon. Posted on Xmas week, I think. Much Love to you ALL. M.S.’

M.P.S. : Barry : Parcel - no date : “Darlings
Here is a badly made jumper. Have you a poor boy in your ken? No poor here. All affluent society.

I pair sox too big for Dad. Am knitting a beezer one with sleeves for you.
I haven’t got Marlene’s Birthday yet!. MS.”

D.S.S. : Barry : 18 January 1967 : “Dear Bobbie and Marlene,
Just the shortest of letters - I’m advising J.C. McI [Uncle Jimmy, Brighton, Ont] and HARROLD [Rev. Morris, Assistant, Musselburgh, 1950’s] and DAVID [brother, Winnipeg] -- that we hope to leave Prestwick on 23 May and to make for Toronto and Brighton for the first fortnight, continuing to Winnipeg on 6 June. In Winnipeg, if DAVID and JEAN and Marlene and you can endure it, we hope to stay for three weeks, ten days with Marlene and you and then ten days with David and Jean and then on 27 June we’ll go to Regina for a week with Harrold and Morag.

Before (and I must prepare for a transatlantic vocabulary!) we FINALISE our arrangements I think it wise to consult all parties concerned and I hope you will give a speedy reply.

Tomorrow OLIVE gets a year older and on Friday M.P.S. claims three score and ten. So tomorrow morning we hope to go through to Edinburgh for a two day binge. I have to get back on Saturday in order to be ready to stand in at the Pisky Church for an ecumenical Round-about (the minister of one of the Church of Scotland Kirks can’t fulfill agreement to exchange because of illness).

I’m leaving it to you folks to arrange the special accommodations in Winnipeg. Love to all. Daddy.”

M.P.S. : Barry : 28 Jan 1967 : “ My Dear Marlene and Bob,
Dad wants you to have this. I don’t. Who wants photos plastered all over. No room here and I guess you haven’t either. We had it taken when we had our passport photos done.

Many thanks for your letter. As you say we will be better out of the ‘stir’. The only snag is we can only take £100 out of the country but guess that will do if we can pay all our air travel this side. Dad says can’t get Aunt Mary’s money to you but could send it to David in Jamaica and he might be able to send it to you. We haven’t got it yet. A long time lawyers take to work things out.

JEAN [Scotter] is off to Bahrain on Sunday - flying with all the preggie mums but staying with a friend near the airport to avoid an eight hour bus journey from Honiton with all the tea-ing and pee-ing mums and children.

No news. Stick in. JIMMY SPANKIE asking for you - loved seeing you in Winnipeg. Love M.S.”

M.P.S. : Barry : 11 February 1967 : “Darlings,
How are you? I was looking through some photos and saw again the three of GLEN DAVID. They are very good indeed and how we look forward to seeing him in the flesh. TESS [Ransford] has got one of him dialing the telephone ‘cos she said in a letter 'Roland could do it too but Kay won’t allow him.’ I must tell you Marlene that Father Stiven spent many moments rebuking his children who didn’t differentiate between ‘A tool and a TOY’ - and of all people, to think that KAY was carrying on in the same way!

I am busy knitting a sleeved pullover for Bob - something to do!

I was giving the address at the Women’s World Day of Prayer in Carnoustie last night. How the time flies past. The crocuses and snowdrops and anaenomies are out and spring is lovely.

Will send you J. B. Phillip’s new book ‘Ring of Truth’. It’s very good and how I wish you could see on Tele on Sunday nights Barclay lecturing on ‘This MAN PAUL’. He’s a wizard - makes it all live. Much Love to you all Mummy S.”

M.P.S. : Barry : 20 February 1967 : “Dear Marlene and Bob,
I thought you’d be interested to read JEAN’S interesting letter and enjoy ‘Jean on the disciples.’

Yesterday I posted (or have I told you) a magnum opus -- a pullover with sleeves and a pair of woolen sox for Bob. I could get my head in it - hope he can too.

Dad delighted with his W’peg Birthday mail. Thank you. Do hope all is well. Sure it will be. Anyhow you’ll be glad when it’s all over. Thank you Marlene for your letters. So glad you enjoy your job.

Just had LINTY and family [Fergus 5, Pete 4, Hester 6mths]. Big upset in a little house. VERY good they were. LINTY says I’ll not can help liking Marlene.
Much Love M.S.”

M.P.S. : Barry : 20 March 1967 : “Dears Marlene and Bob,
Do hope the Dr has been able to diagnose Bob’s sore neck and that you’re fit for the last lap of the work. Do you get a holiday at Easter and is Marlene enjoying her new job?

Hope you Both managed to cope at DAVID’S when he and JEAN were away.
[All ---Moira 17, Peggy 15, Jimmy 12, Fiona 8, Shelagh 4 -----heard was ‘Don’t wake the baby’- Glen, 6 mths.] Lucky for them to have you.

I sent off a silly little parcel - the cardigan I got from KEITH and don’t need and the sox - my own knitting - are different sizes but good wool. The towels belonged to g’Aunt MARY - embroidered by herself and the hankies too for her trousseau seventy years ago. Hankies too big but will do when you have a cold.

We were at DANE SHERRARD’S [Auntie Olive’s g’son] 21st B’day Party last night. About thirty people there - lots of young things and OLIVE sang as good as ever. DANE is in 2nd year Theology and Pres of S.R.C. - quite a boy and doing well. OLIVE [his sister] is at St Andrews doing Statistics and Maths.

No news. Much love. Haven’t heard from HARROLD MORRIS yet. Love to you all three. Phoned LINTY today. HESTER [11 mths] talking but not walking - just sitting looking beautiful. Love. Mummy S.”

M.P.S. : Barry : 18 April 1967 : “Darlings,
A lovely letter from Marlene today. So friendly.

This to say forgot to say as Dad told me to confirm we go off with MORRIS after your ordination. A change from previous arrangements. I’m NOT the itinerary wallah but DO feel it is easy to change plane dates. Perhaps I’m wrong. Dad likes to have everything planned out well in advance.

Jolly good HARROLD[Morris] is coming but I guess it was HE who finally pushed you over the brink eh no? so must feel responsible a bit.

DAVID [Winnipeg] writes all STIVEN WIVES are Saints - so his family say. I’ve told TESSA. What’s the betting she’ll write back to say, ‘Kay is a Saint.’ You never know your luck with TESSA. TORFRIDA [Ransford] home from Karachi by bus. Took eight weeks -- what a journey but how interesting. Says KAY beating the air in K. but who isn’t in the Church these days EXCEPT in Canada. His problem is SNOBBERY in Karachi.

Am thinking about you Bob in your exams. All the Best. Love. M.S.”

M.P.S. : Barry : 12 May 1967 : “Darlings,
The lovely wee papoose arrived safely and is flattening out on the study table. Many thanks for sending us such a lovely gift: we shall have it framed when we come back home.

So rejoiced to hear your news and ha ha for the B.Th. Well really who’d have thought. Poor DAVID was born too soon - or will they extend it to back students. [DAVID entered The Faculty of Theology in United College, Winnipeg with a post graduate degree (M.A. Oxon). After three years he emerged with a Diploma in Theology. I entered the same College with only half of the necessary credits towards a B.A. and emerged after three years with a B.Th. because in 1967 (Canada’s Centennial) United College became the University of Winnipeg and could confer its own degrees. There was no ‘grandfathering’.]

Not so happy as I ought to be about my Canadian trip. My knees and now my ankles and legs are so sore I can hardly bear to walk on them. We too, have had miserable weather and lots of thunder still about. Am hoping the air of Canada will help. Hope Marlene has some books on Rheumatism. Who will find a cure. I’m assured research is being done on it but so far no good. Not willing to accept ‘being reduced to a bed ridden condition of complete helplessness.’ Anyway the only place I am really happy is in bed with my electric blanket and a book.

No more moaning. MEG [Macdonell] (I told you did I?) has a friend beside the airport and we can go there by car and it’ll be waiting for us on the way back.

You remember DONALD BEATTIE? [Friend of Dad’s from student days and Dunkeld Retreat buddy] Saw him the other day. Can breathe with great difficulty and has had two thrombosis. Rejoice in your YOUTH.

PAT CAMERON [childhood friend from Kirkmichael - troubleshooter in Canada for mega construction projects] lives in Toronto we’ll be staying there two nights.

Be seeing you. Mummy S.”

[The months of June and July 1967 are a blur. M.P.S., D.S.S., Uncle Mac and Aunty Helen, The Morrises and David and Jean et al partied in Winnipeg round the ordination. M.P.S. and D.S.S. stayed with us happily in the cramped quarters of Minnigaffe St. Then we had to get rid of all our ‘stuff’ for we were ‘Settled’, by the Manitoba Conference of The United Church in Canada, in Sandy Lake, an Isolated Indian Community 145 air miles from the nearest road. Freight at that time was 13 cents a pound so we had to travel light. ‘On the way’ to Sandy we went east to Brighton and Mac and Helen took Bob, Marlene, her 11 year old sister Betty Anne and Glen[2], to Expo 67 in Montreal. We have no letters from this period.]

M.P.S. : Barry : 26 July 1967 : “Darlings,
Thanx for your letter and Marlene’s P.C. This to welcome you to Sandy Lake. TORFRIDA used to play at being a Red Injun Chinquachchook??

We had DAVID DICK [old clergy friend] and his daughter Doreen now the secy. of the Ruler of Swaziland but had a job in Toronto in Govt. office and so interested in Sandy lake ‘cos she typed that copy of STEVENS going to Sandy Lake which we read. She knew all about it. Small place this world eh no?

DAVID DICK’S wife died and we went to LADY MEARS [wife of Sir Frank Mears, Whitehouse, Inveresk - huge garden full of gooseberries.] funeral last week. Lovely to sit with MA BARTIE [Mrs John Bartholomew, Manor House, Inveresk - mapmakers] and ROBBIE [Bartholomew].

MEG LOW my girlhood friend in Blair [gowrie] took a stroke on Sat night and died on Sunday forenoon. Funny, I thought Sunday lunch time I’d ring up so I said ‘Meg? This is Peg.’ and lo! JENNIFER’S [Lamond] voice said ‘I’m afraid Aunty PEGGY Auntie MEG died two hours ago.’ She was cutting a meat loaf being watched by JENNIFER when she staggered and JENNIFER caught her and laid her down. She was never conscious again. What a blessing she died, for herself and them all. But what a week-end for JENNIFER and MARGARET [Lamond, Jennifer’s aunt] and JANET[Lamond, sister of MEG, mother of JENNIFER, sister-in-law of MARGARET]. Dad took part in the funeral service.

I hope you had a lovely time at expo and with the Morris. She’s a blithe soul is MORAG [Morris] eh no?

But nobody like our new daughter-in-law. You should hear the reports we give her. We had a lovely six weeks. Should have cut it short by a week. DAVID and JEAN had too much on their plates without us. We didn’t realise. Nice letter from Peg who was in ALI [Macdonell’s boyhood] town St Albert [Sask.] and had seen WILL CAMERON [childhood friend, Kirkmichael] at Meadowlake Sask. An awful lot of lakes eh no? Love to you all and GLEN. M.S.’

D.S.S. : Barry : 19 August 1967 : “Dear Bobby and Marlene,
I wish you and Glen a length of happy days at Sandy Lake (will the next boy be called Sandy?) and blessings in the work you do together now.

Be sure and study weather conditions thoroughly and tell me what time of year I could choose to come and see you before my 75th year (if ever I reach it!) for my first experience of Marlene’s hospitality makes me long for more. Indeed I think you’re both ideally matched, Bobby having if anything the better of the bargain.

Today I have written and told DAVID, what lack of an address made it impossible to tell him before, that £1000 is on Deposit Receipt in his name at the Clydesdale Bank and I think I can tell you confidently that if you decide to make your Scotland visit next summer I can put another £250 at your disposal to cover traveling expenses in this country. So lets exchange ideas on this subject during the early part of this winter.

Ever since I came back I’ve suffered from the lack of sleep which your too too warm Canadian summer caused me and although I have taken duty nearly every Sunday and officiated on Thursday at MAGGIE SCOTT’S [daughter of Dr Scott, family Dr in Musselburgh] wedding to SANDY MARSHALL I don’t feel quite 100% yet. RUTH [Macdonnell] was one of the bridesmaids and the RANSFORDS [Kay’s in-laws] and Mrs MOSS [Jimmy’s mother-in-law] and SUE [d. of Mrs Moss] came north for it --- asking for you and sending love.

What a lovely time you gave us, memorable both in its Winnipeg and McKenzie Island aspects. Ever so many thanks and much Love to all. Daddy.”

P.S. David Dick’s daughter Doreen in Canada a year or two ago came across the Sandy lake documents and typed and duplicated them. So it was her work you shewed us.

M.P. S. : Barry : 26 Aug 1967 : “My Darlings,
How are you? I send my sympathy Marlene. Nobody was ever so sick as I was beginning a Babe but it passes - praise be. Take care of yourself. Can you get an Indian woman to work for you? Or can they keep houses? Anyway they could do something. Why ‘winter homes’ and ‘summer homes’? Is that for the hot months and the cold[Shelter of bush in winter - anti-fly breeze off river bank in summer].

LINTY [Moffatt] and MEG [Macdonell] are both to have babies. LINTY due next week and MEG on 5th Jan. As LINTY says that would be 25, quarter century, and now ‘Penelope’ comes to Sandy lake. Cheers.

We are having Population Explosion dinned into to us and nobody should have more than two! but plenty room in N. Ontario!!!

David will be settling down in Jamaica now. Please in your next say EXACTLY what your address is.

No, sure enough we forgot to bring the whisky flask with us. Forgot to pack it alas! You’ll get it when you come or when Dad comes to you.

We were both exhausted when we got home and have had to rest and rest although Dad preaching every Sunday and doing funerals and weddings for ministers on holiday.

Spend your money Bob on getting things put right - stoves, mowers, hydro etc. The Hudson’s Bay men must have theirs O.K? Do hope the white women are friendly and help Marlene. How sad about the wee boy. [Drowned, Glen’s age]. Take care of GLEN. Is he speaking yet? We haven’t seen Mrs TILLMAN [wife of Wpg. Dean of Theology]. Have we missed her do you think? Do hope you’re getting your home fresh and clean. Much Love and all success and Good wishes. Go slowly Marlene and go to bed a lot. M.S.”

D.S.S. : Barry : 29 August 1967 : “Dear Bobby and Marlene,
Just a very short 'advice’ notice. Today for posting tomorrow I have put in an envelope to go by sea mail a Penguin of Langlands Piers Ploughman in modern English which I liked very much while reading it in Iona. He and the Venerable Bede are wonderful gentlemen with whom to keep company. And I have included something I meant to bring for your use either in Church or at home -an Iona Book Mark. It came only yesterday having been on order for several weeks before we left for Canada.

And an apology! Sorry to have caused you a disappointing search. We really meant to bring the flask in case we ourselves should be 'grippit’ in the flight. So now you have to look forward to carrying it in your hip pocket next westward light.

WILL CAMERON [Kirkmichael] and his wife left for Canada last Thursday. He says he knows another Sandy lake in Manitoba.

Mummy and I are still recovering from our Canadian heat-exhaustion. But I’m still busy at the weekends. It will be GLENISLA this weekend and next.

Love to all and blessings on the work. Daddy.”

M.P.S. : Barry : 11 September : 1967 : “Darlings,
So desolate. I got an air letter returned from Sandy Lake (not called for). Where is Favourable Lake? [mine-site that gives S.L. its P.O. so it is not confused with all the other Sandy Lakes in Canada.]

Do hope Marlene is feeling better. PENELOPE MOFFATT arrived in Cambridge at 8 a.m. on 8th September - nearly 8 lbs with masses of black hair. That makes 24. 25+26 on the way. What about the population explosion? I am knitting a shawl for LOIS MARY [must have been prescient, not born till April 68] - special effort.

JEAN [Scotter], IAN [15], ALISON [19] and KATIE [7] live in a caravan two fields away for three weeks and ALISON (S’pore) and two eldest daughters [MYRA 12, ELSPETH 10] arrive today for four days then on to Tarves where more room.

But JEAN goes on with her caravan on Sunday - dropping IAIN at his school in Sedberg. He is very slim (age 15) and very sweet natured and helpful and nice. KATIE keeps us all in order.

Dad preaching every Sunday. We all went to Glenisla where he preached y’day and had a picnic in Glenshee. JEAN has a huge Zephyr car for pulling the caravan. Very difficult to manipulate but I think she does very well.

LINTY very well and bright. She has a telephone at her bedside so we get her on the line at once.

Do hope you’ve got the Manse clean and bright. Get the white paint going. You seem to be very busy and what fun sailing on the rivers and lakes.

DAVID and JEAN had a wonderful welcome in Kingston [Jamaica]. JIMMY [S’pore] feeling very lonely with his two youngest only [WILLIAM 8, ROSEMARY 6] but ALISON flys back when she puts [MYRA 12, ELSPETH 10] into school. Hope this gets you. With ALL our love to you all 3. Mummy S.”

M.P.S. : Barry: 24 Sept 1967 : Sea mail, packet : “ Darlings,
This will take ages. I thought you keep yourself abreast with ‘Frontier’. It’s sometimes very good.
Hope things go well with you and that Marlene is able to feed Lois Mary. JEAN and I fought about that. She says it is pronounced Low-iss Mary and I’ve always said Loi’s. Which is it? Anyway it might be Peter. I went on referring to PENELOPE before she was born and when she was born KEITH said “Why NOT?”

Had a delightful long letter from MOIRA [17]. She seems to be settling in well and the Jamaicans too. JEAN and her family went off in their big Zephyr and Caravan and then ALISON [S’pore] who was at Tarves for a week came back and put her two girls 10 [ELSPETH] and 12 [MYRA] into St Leonards and then came back for three nights. Loved having her.

Dad has been in bed all week. Got to the top step of a pulpit last Sunday and stepped forward and lo! a step DOWN. He jarred his back and his war arm which has been quite numb since 1917 jingled and burned and screamed with pain. Had to cancel his preaching today and Goodness knows for how long. Bad luck. He yells with the pain and can’t get anywhere to put it comfortably. One night he moaned, ‘I’m done -I’m done. What am I to do? What can I do?’ till I was crazy and I ventured to remind him we had been singing for 65 years:
‘Bear patiently
Thy cross of grief or pain.’

Did you ever see a BULL with a Red Rag?
I won’t venture that again.

Will be writing air mail soon. I am knitting a shawl (magna opus) for ‘Peter’: full of mistakes but beautiful. Much Love Mummy S.”

M.P.S. : Barry : 11 October : 1967 : “ Darlings,
How are you? So sad I’ve missed GLEN’S B’Day. I’ll keep his £1 till he comes over. I really will. Is our money any use to you over there? Am enclosing TESS’S letter. You are not the only one who has a tough job. The top executives (snobby) in Karachi have little or no interest in the Church and only ‘cos TESS runs two good Sunday Schools, Urdu and English, do they get a congregation at all. It’s very depressing, frustrating (is Kay’s recent word -for first time). You’ll just have to sing 520 :
[Workman of God! O lose not heart.....

Thrice blest is he to whom is given
The instinct that can tell
That God is on the field when he
Is most invisible....
He hides himself so wondrously
As if there were no God....

His ways are far above
Only by childlike love....]

Your Dad says, ‘We all have to sing that from time to time Peggy dear.’ Well I guess we have.

Dad’s arm healing. We get so old and infirm [71&70]. Rejoice in your youth. Long letter from EMMELINE [Moffatt] giving news of DAVID and JEAN and family’s visit. Loved the swimming pool.

LINTY been v ill. Thought she was dying of flu temp 104 and phoned JEAN to say they couldn’t come for day as planned (only one hour away) and JEAN said, ‘It’s your bosom!’ So it was and penicillin worked wonders and she’s O.K., nearly, again. Poor KEITH but as he said resignedly, ‘In sickness and in health.’ PRINCE CHARLES is in Trinity now but not taking Maths. PENELOPE TESSERA (means 4th) is the name: born 8th Sept.
No News. Much Love. Mummy S.”

M.P.S. : Barry : 1 October 1967 : “Darlings,
So glad Marlene is feeling better. Decided (I have) that four years must be your limit there and that you Both must have dentists appointments frequently to let you ‘get out’ to see the wurrrrruld. I remember that girl who visited you said she had to make dentists appointments just to get out.

What do you mean by your house being a ‘hang out’? Guess the same as MEG’S kitchen to all the Tarves children. MEG and ALI popped down to see us y’day and enjoyed your letter.

Re: your calligraphy. Sometimes you write like a boob of twelve and sometimes you write the most beautiful, elegant, fine writing ever.

All very interesting your work. All the best! Fancy being up against ‘meum and tuum’. We still have it here. I would get on with the Indians.

Have I told you of our evil days. Dad stepped DOWN into a pulpit and didn’t notice the step down (who would?) and bashed his war arm against the Bible board. Such pain as he has suffered. Goes to the Dundee Royal Infirmary now to have it Xrayed and bandaged. It is the nerves which are badly shattered and I am acting valet to the old gentleman. Studs etc flummox me and he has now a truss for a rupture and that’s an inconvenience too and a frustration.

Oh dear dear - the woes of old age. Rejoice in your youth my dears. So glad to have Marlene’s contribution in the letter and to know she’s better. MEG and ALI popped in to cheer us on Saturday. Children all so thrilled to have their mocassins!

The shawl grows bigger. Would never knit a two ply shawl again but loved doing it for LOWIS-MARY or Lois Mary.

Phoned LINTY - she coping and well. Dad says, ‘She has machines.’ but KEITH on telephone said, ‘I’m her best machine.’ MEG very happy now and looking very well. Loved having ALISON for some days alone before flying back to S’pore. Much Love, Mummy S.”

M.P.S. : Barry : 18 October 1967 : “Darlings,
Here is the shawl for LOIS MARY - in plenty of time and sox for Bob.

It’s a unique shawl. Never was one knitted with more mistakes in it. Never again will I do one with two ply wool. Hope nobody will see the mistakes.

Winter began today here with cold and snow (not here) but in the north - lots of it. Dad’s arm is better-- praise be. I cannot live without my chauffeur and shopper. I’m so glad you’ve been out to see your doctor and your mum.

I’m sure you’ll both do a wonderful job among the Indians. I do pray for you and your work. Spiritual work is difficult everywhere and always was. Always a minority and sometimes a small one but always THERE. Much Love Mummy S.”

D.S.S. : Barry : 21 October 1967 : “Dear Bobby and Marlene,
I am sending off by sea mail some books for your winter reading and I hope to send a few more from time to time as the weeks go on. For Marlene I am sending (though I myself found our copy of it quite useful when I was left alone) a copy of the Penguin Cookery Book and, in the hope that the lake will be ‘bearing’ soon and that her piano will arrive a copy of the Penguin Book of Carols ; and for Bobby a Commentary on S. Matthew and a Penguin Book of Quotations.

Later on I hope to send other Gospel Commentaries and a Rogets Thesaurus and books about the inhabitants of Mexico and of the South Seas and a book on Fishing.

We had a visit yesterday afternoon - all too short - from LORNA BROWNIE who came over by boat and intends after seeing some other folk in Scotland and England to fly back from Amsterdam over the Pole to Vancouver to see her daughter there. She was looking well and had happy recollections of your wedding and of the joy and gladness prevalent on the occasion of GLEN’S arrival.

You’re own P.C. from Red Lake came in a day or two ago. Hope you enjoyed your Presbytery and home visit.

This letter should also advise you to expect another parcel posted yesterday - a shawl of M.P.S.’s knitting. Her own letter advising you about it is, she tells me, in the parcel.

I was just beginning to get over my Canadian exhaustion when in a strange pulpit I stepped into a void and gave my wounded arm and its appurtenances a mighty wrench. That was quite a month ago and I still feel the effects.

We hope to take MYRA [12] and ELSPETH [10] next weekend to Tarves, I to preach at Barthol Chapel. Love to all. Daddy S.”

M.P.S. : Barry : ? November 1967 : “Darlings,
The lovely case of nuts - such gorgeous ones they are - arrived today. Thank you very much. You’re early with your Christmas!! in your far away retreat.

The enclosed is a jumper I knitted myself - every stitch of it - a mammoth work. I had to do it ‘cos I got the wool from JANET LAMOND. It was in MEG LOW’S house when she died complete with pattern. MEG never got it done.

I’ll be writing air mail so won’t say any more. The news will be old by the time you get it. Sent an aeroplane to GLEN but not the right one. Too advanced and NOT the one I wanted. Much Love to you ALL. Mummy S.”

M.P.S. : Barry: 5 November 1967: “Darlings
Hope all goes well. We had two days in Edinburgh and went to the YOEMAN TWINS Silver Wedding - a lovely feast and dance on Co-op Rooms. They look very well and liker each other than ever. They had their bridesmaids and best men and and all as twenty five years before. Their minister didn’t come - but Dad made a very good speech. Lovely meeting old friends again. Lots of people asking for you. We paid a hurried visit to JEANNIE FORD [Bakers] before the event, sitting watching tele with her two aunts. They reminded me that you went to their tele to see the Coronation. JEANNIE is so good at remembering you all and keeps on writing long long letters to me!!! Such a trial.

A letter from DAVID [Jamaica] today shows he didn’t understand about your money being sent to him. He doesn’t take things in. Nobody has got any of AUNT MARY’S money - estate not wound up but as you could only get it through DAVID then (I don’t understand) it was arranged that it would be put in his name. Now he writes he has only got his own - not yours too. Anyway Dad got up bright and early today and wrote to him but he is stupid like me and needs things made so plain to him. We are all gasping for AUNT MARY’s £1000. JEAN bought a caravan with it. MEG (ALI says) has spent it five times over. I don’t like A.M’s lawyer. Not a gentleman like our PEECHY [of Reid, Johnson, Bell and Henderson].

I went to the Associates Meeting of the Iona Community - Dundee Branch to meet the new Leader. He is too good and too sincere and too fine to be leader. No ‘Hallelujah I’m a bum’ about him. Wonder if it will survive. Kay has stopped being a member - now only an associate.

Don’t get discouraged about your work. Bad luck the Chief was in charge of the money. Keep on loving him - does he respond? Are the others afraid of him?

DAVID not in love with the climate of Kingston. Alas! and so gorgeous at Strawberry Hill where the MOFFATTS are. A lovely photo of your family picnicking which Dad sending on to all the family for Xmas. Hope they all appreciate it. Let brotherly love continue. Do the Indians have rheumatism? If so send their home made cure. Much Love M.S.”

D.S.S : Barry : 15 November 1967 : “Dear Bobby and Marlene,
By the post with which I’m sending this letter I’m sending also another two books --- Rogets Thesaurus and a book on Fishing. The latter I hope will be of help to you in what leisure hours you may have - Marlene ‘dressing’ for flies. The former may be of use in whatever little articles you may be sending out to a hungry press as the eventful years pass by.

Mummy and I go twice a week for yet another fortnight for treatment in Arbroath, she for her knees and I for my wounded arm. We had an evening out with the SPANKIES at the modern Fife Hotel - Fernie, very opulent.
DAVID made a mistake about the money I put to his account. He must have forgotten that it was by his suggestion I sent it out of my funds so soon - in order that he might make arrangements for the right working of this United Church computer. I have written reminding him.

Mummy and I have been invited to go to Colchester [SCOTTERS] and Cambridge [MOFFATTS] over Christmas and New year and hope to spend a little over a fortnight, leaving on the 18th. Over the 3rd of December I expect to be in Glasgow taking Anniversary Services for J.G.S.S.THOMSON who a generation ago succeeded A. Gunn as Minister of St David’s Knightswood when A.G.G. returned to New Zealand. [Gunn, Student Assistant, Inveresk,1948 ; J.G.S.S.T.,1946] J.G.S.S. tells me that A.G.G. is not well having had a second stroke.

Did I tell you that FLO’s [WILKIE, a Stiven cousin of D.S.S. at Longforgan] husband JACK has been operated on for prostate. We called at Longforgan a week ago and found him up and getting on - but looking considerably older.

I still have more books to send... hope the carols and cookery were welcome! I sent some photos (taken in Canada) some days ago and thought them not bad. Love to all Daddy.”

M.P.S. : Barry : 4 December 1967 :

“How are you? MOIRA [Stiven,17, U of Winnipeg] writes she and RAY [McIlwain] hope to go to you at Christmas - how lovely for them. We are just back from preaching in St David’s, Knightswood, Glasgow. Dr J.G.S.S. Thomson former Assistant and MALCOLM and KAY HARE, former Assistant, came over for tea. It was lovely meeting them all again. The HARE’S have two children. All working hard in their Parishes. THOMSONS still grounded in their Faith Mission of Wallyford and my word what a wonderful prayer meeting they had for fifteen mins before Evening Service. I had thought to see oldies and beardies and lo! it was all young people. Three young men going in for the Ministry. The former Minister before Thomson was GUNN (former Assistant). He is now back in New Zealand and poor soul has had two strokes just recently and very ill. We all prayed for him in Church. Thomson says Dad taught him ‘tolerance’ (laugh?). All recall the Inveresk days with happiness.

I posted a shawl for Penelope and a sweater (I knitted it myself) for you. If it is hopeless give it to an Indian.

The Thomsons just back from a lecture tour in Canada and full of a place out of Calgary ‘Prairie Bible Institute’ where people work just for their living; live by Faith like the China Inland Mission. They are very solemn people, the Thomsons. You know how ribald Dad can be. He said he always knew P. B. I. stood for ‘Poor Bloody Infantry.’ That was received without a smile.

Dad was taking Anniversary Services. Lovely Church Extension Church and so well packed it was. Church not dead, in Glasgow anyway.

AUNT MARY’S money through now - each gets £1300 but DAVID not answered Dad’s business letter yet. Hope he is well enough OR is the heat too much for him. Take care of yourselves and Marlene and Love to you all. We go to Cambridge [Moffatts] on 18th. M.S.”

M.P.S. : Barry : 18 December 1967 : “ My Dears,

specially Marlene who I have neglected. forty four years ago today I was married and how many years ago tomorrow were you married?

I phoned LINTY last night and they had forgotten their anniversary till late in the day. We have nothing to do but remember. Your silly old Dad sent 260 Christmas cards (home made) and of course we get 260 back and what to do with them I know not.

Anyway we are off to Cambridge at 10 p.m. tonight. KEITH [Moffatt] meeting us at 7 a.m. at Kings Cross. Hope his alarm goes off O.K. Dad baptises PENELOPE on Boxing Day and JEAN and BILL [Scotter] take us to Colchester with them after the event. Then home on 4th January to look forward to your coming in August(?)

How, ‘Family is your LIFE!’ And if you haven’t any, guess you have to find something else. Did you get KAY and TESS’S [Karachi] news letter. If not I’ll send you one. You’ll have to construe one next year. Very interesting it would be believe me. MEG [Macdonell] is being taken in to Aberdeen Hospital early ‘cos of snow so we hope we’ll be back in time. I could go and cook after she comes home.

The nuts are super. So many thanks for such an imaginative present. Take care of yourself Marlene. Did I tell you we had a visit from Mrs BROWNIE, Winnipeg. I was moaning about your mail once a week. Their’s was once in six months in frozen North but I guess not now. Much Love Granny.”

M. P. S. : Colchester : 27 December 1967 : “ Last letter for the year Darlings,

We came here yesterday after Dad baptised PENELOPE TESSERA in Trinity College Chapel. BILL and JEAN and family [Beady 19, Pon 15, Katie 7] came to Cambridge for the Ceremony and took us over here with them till 3rd January.

We are going to BETTY SIMPSON’S [daughter of ‘faither’ Bob Simpson and ‘mither’ Simpson of Easter Cowden farm near Musselburgh] for supper tonight. She lives quite near here and she and her husband are coming for lunch on Saturday.

Of course! I’ve never yet said how chuffed we were to get your telegram of Good wishes sent on from Barry to Cambridge. How good of you to remember [anniversary]. I hope you’ve had a happy Christmas and GLEN had a good Santa. It was a hectic but happy time with LINTY. The boys are not quite as wild as they were and HESTER [20mths] now walking and talking is most endearing and PENELOPE [4mths] the perfectly good baby. LINTY goes at 1000 miles an hour. Never saw such speed as she lives at but always time for everybody. She had twenty children from round about in for carols on Christmas eve and she played and sang with them and fed them on baked potatoes and sausages and ice cream and still feeding her baby. Don’t know how she does it : such energy and in her mini dresses looks like a twelve year old.

Now we are living deluxe at the Brigadiers. He is on holiday and cleaning out the hen house. Twenty hens they have. BEADY, PON, and KATIE all home for Christmas but JEAN has a woman all day and a batman but has a lot of entertaining to do.

Cambridge was hard on my knees - so damp and cold and rimey and so far Colchester bad too - low lying but all centrally heated like you Canadians.

BILL’S work now takes him all over the world and he goes to Canada some time soon to where soldiers are training. Hope you all keep well and happy. Looking forward to August 1968. A HAPPY NEW YEAR. Much Love Mummy S.”

D.S.S. : Barry : Christmas 1967 : CHRISTMAS CARD (home made)
Picture of house at Barry with Church behind it: Title: ‘His Kirk our Bield.’
Poem : Title: “A great joy which shall be to all people.”

God’ ancient bards had vision to foretell
A joy to be proclaimed by angel bands--
Joy of all people that on earth do dwell--
That hills would dance and trees would clap their hands.

A green hill and a heavy laden tree
Displayed the fruit of prophecy and psalm,
Where, working woeful victory, the Lamb
From a world’s sin a sinful world set free.

O Christian, of whatever name or tongue,
‘Tis thine to gladden others unto praise:
A doughty Christmas angel all thy days,
By thee obedient let this joy be sung,
Thine ear, thine own ear, waiting for the word
“Enter the joy, beloved, of thy Lord!”

“Christmas 1967 - New Year 1968 :
David and Margaret Stiven
Wish you (all)
Joyous Memories and Happy Hopes.”


D.S.S. : Barry : 9 January 1968 : “Dear Bobby and Marlene,
You will be - I’m sure - very interested to learn that your brother JAMES in a letter from Singapore received by us this morning exclaims against the bitter cold, and goes on to say that it is 75F. You will be equally surprised that when they received it your aged parents were shivering in their attic bedroom with a temperature of about 30F. It was quite amusing to us to read your description of the ‘Freeze up’ and its consequences but we were very glad to learn that you have received the books and parcels. There will be another consignment on its way soon. How are you liking the description of conditions in New Guinea and in Mexico? These, I think, are the last sent off. I thought that perhaps you would find it interesting and it may be helpful and even comforting to compare conditions.

Very glad to know that you have got the £1000 I sent through DAVID. As it turns out the division which I found I was able to make to each amounts now to £1300. But I don’t know how best to deal with your extra £300. Would it perhaps be best to retain it in my own hands and use it to purchase your plane tickets when you visit Scotland (I suppose that CAN be done from this end - after all they are RETURN tickets). Or would you prefer the Bank in Edinburgh to hold it for you in Blocked account. Or would you prefer me to ask DAVID if he can do with it what he did with the £1000. Just let’s know what’s what.

The insurance company reported yesterday that they had received your premium.
Our love and best wishes to you all (I hope the snow cat doesn't scratch!)

M.P.S. : Barry : 15 January 1968 : “ Darlings,
Your Christmas card arrived today and just have to write a line to say how lovely it is. What a lovely wife you have and such a beautiful son. So like LINTY’S FERGUS it’s not true.

Hope Marlene still looks as well. What a lovely setting for a photo and what an eager wee boy. You don’t say if he is talking yet.

We were intrigued by your poem. My clever poetic family are too much for me. Dad says in criticism, ‘You can preach Atonement but you can’t make it.’ That’s beyond my theological level.

I’ve been writing to MEG to say if she really thinks it will be a help if I came just to make meals. I always felt depressed when the Hallelujahs were over and one came back to the sink and the cooker. It’s a critical time and such changed days and treatment. We were never allowed a leg out of bed till the 10th day. Now they’re up and doing exercises at once. Oh well who knows the truth. Anyway WE had a lovely REST.

It’s enough to have KAY and TESS depressed in their work. Anyway you have a wife who will keep you up. Don’t let anybody get you down. Much Love. Mummy S.”

M.P.S. : Barry : 14 February 1968 : “Darlings,
Here’s a buckshee letter just to say LUCY arrived this morning in Hospital in Aberdeen. All well. Poor DAVID like DAVID’S JIMMY in Kingston [Jamaica] will have four females to cope with. But we are all very grateful. Guess you want a sister for GLEN - a refining influence - and Marlene, believe me, daughters give more comfort to your declining years than sons. Bobby of course the exception.

Do hope you keep well Marlene. Didn't do too much or have too many people coming. Begin as you mean to go on //------stop giving advice you silly old woman.
We’ve had a freezing spell - frightful - but thaw came at last and we can breathe. The old legs are bad and did I tell you I now have to cope with a Hiatus Hernia -- horrid it is. Oh how good it is to be young -- no aches and pains and fleet of foot. My old man is so good on the legs and feet. He can dance the Highland Fling like a young ‘un. I’m so grateful for him. He is preaching every Sunday in different places. Very interesting it is for him.

When does your thaw come? April? Beginning or end? Oh dear what a climate. Love to you all M.S.”

D.S.S. : Barry : 11 March 1978 : “ Dear Marlene,
This is to welcome you home again after your happy visit to Red Lake, and to hope that your short holiday has done you a world of good. I don’t suppose that the frost is any less intense with you now as it was when you went away. We can feel a sniff of balmier air here now and it cheers up our ancient bones after quite a chilly winter - as winters go in Barry. I am hoping that with the better weather and if the chancellor of the exchequer is not too hard on petrol to explore the glens to the north of us and plan out expeditions for the time you are with us in the autumn. I forgot which way you intend to travel. I recollect that one way will be by air and one by sea. If it’s not too late for suggestions might it not be well to make the return voyage by SEA. That would enable you to take some things back to Canada with you less expensively than you would do by air-freight.

Dear Bobby --- I’m sending two more books by book post today. They are (1) a very readable translation of Homer’s Odyssey and (2) a Penguin edition of Montaigne’s Essays. I think that you - and Marlene too - are likely to enjoy both of them......

M.P.S. was addressing MEG’S Guild[Tarves] last week on “40 Years in the Manse”. The EDDIE YOEMAN family looked in on Saturday - remembering you - and JOCK [my dog] - kindly.
Our love to you all. Daddy.”

M.P.S : Barry : 15 March 1968 : “ Darlings,
My knees are so sore don’t have heart to write to anybody but I do think of you a lot. When is the DAY in April Marlene and how are you. You don’t moan about your legs darling. Is it veins? Anyway they’ll all go away when LOIS MARY comes. All forgotten. Do hope you can keep well and that all goes well when the great DAY comes. Take care of yourself. Happiest days of your life remember.

BILL [Scotter] had supper with JIMMY and ALISON in S’pore. He fairly gets around. KEITH [Moffatt] going to U.S.A. in August. Fare paid and fee and calling in at Jamaica for G’Granny’s 90th B’day. When do you come? Have you got your itinerary fixed up yet?

KAY [Karachi] comes home Sept. to go to Moray House Training College to take his Dip. Ed. I was there 50 years ago. Hope it’s more inspiring now. So many of our Ministers are teaching now. The Youth don’t come to Church but when you teach, anyhow you get them in front of you willy nilly. Dad fierce about neglect of Parish Ministry but of six young crofters in Iona only one came to Church and none of the teenage Oban scholars ever came when on holiday. They did when 1st we went but stopped. Same all over. So what to do?

Everybody asking for you and Dad showing off your Cree language or whatever it is. Looks like geometry! Much Love esp. to Marlene. Mummy S.”

D.S.S. : Barry : 18 March 1968 : “Dear Bobby and Marlene,
How happy to learn that the Bookings have now been made and that we are to expect you between the 7th of August and the 10th of September. I have taken a note of those dates and of your flight numbers and I hope myself to be meeting you at Prestwick on the 7th - my father’s and mother’s wedding anniversary.

Naturally we want to see as much of you as we can but it is understandable that you will want to see as many of the rest of the family as you can and that means that you will have to move around fairly extensively. I think that I said that I'd put £250 at your disposal while you are over here (that of course is ADDITIONAL to the £300 which is already earmarked on a Deposit Receipt as your own) and I think that one way of spending part of it would be on the hire of a car for you for a month, or indeed for the whole period of your stay. Just say the word and give me an indication of the capacity required and I’ll try to be meeting you with it on 7th August.

I am informing JEAN, MEG and LINNET of your dates and asking them if any periods between those terms are not suitable for a visit from you and then I’ll try to fit in the periods that are suitable with the greatest time economy. JEAN is likely to be the most difficult to fit in, as that period may quite likely be their holiday. LINTIE is likely to be home in August, for at that time KEITH may quite probably be on your side of the water. The MACDONELL holiday at ROBBIE BARTHOLOMEW’S cottage at Broughton should be over by that time. So will ours (for while they are at Broughton I expect to be taking duty at Tarves).

Tomorrow I go to Perth on duty. I have to take a wedding there. My old friend DAVID DICK, whose daughter did the Steven of Sandy Lake Research, lost his wife last summer. An old friend of his ELLA’S lost her husband. So tomorrow the widower and the widow will be wed - one of the most sensible things I’ve heard about for a long time and I’ll be glad to tie the knot. And on Thursday M.P.S. and I hope (if the blizzards abate!) to go through to Kilbarchan for the wedding of SANDRA RUSSELL who came to help M.P.S. two summers while we were on Iona. M.P.S. can get about in the car. Her knees rebel at other ways of getting about. But she is to see another specialist about the beginning of April.
I’ll send a Penguin St Mark. Just a wee bit ADVANCED but interesting and helpful.
See that you take care Marlene.
Our love to you all. Hasta la vista, Daddy”

<- Iona Next ->

D.S.S. and M.P.S. on the Island of Iona. 1958 - 1966

D.S.S. and M.P.S. went to Iona in 1958. From 1957 until I was married at the end of 1964 I was a nomad in the region of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Even then I’d throw letters into a file. I also had little collections of poems I’d tried. Anyway, in the spring of 1964, when I was Housemaster of a Halfway House for young men on release from a Provincial Correctional Institution (the first one to open in Canada), I came home one evening to the cramped quarters of the wee house in which six of us stayed (five ‘ex-cons’ and myself) and found four of the residents reading my files. They were very moved by the contents but I considered that they had invaded the my inner sanctum and exposed the last vestiges of my private being that had lived for three years in a gold-fish bowl.

So with Highland Pique I scooped it all up and went to the back-yard incinerator with it. It was a silly thing to do. Now I am without the letters which, though they were always encouraging, constantly expressed concern for my well-being in the midst of very challenging work at a time when a youngest child, experimenting in the field of corrections in the optimistic sixties, did not exactly see eye to eye with a parent who was inclined to think thoughts like, “Brutal treatment for brutal men.” and “No one is anyone who has not got an academic degree.”

I’m also without the Iona “Supplements”, “Cell and Coracle”, from 1958 until the beginning of 1963. Even after that there are gaps. I have decided to work with what I have here. As the Inveresk Parish Magazines have been entrusted by my brother Kay into the safe-keeping of the Musselburgh Museum, so have the Iona Supplements been entrusted to the Iona Museum in D.S.S’s old Manse on the Island. Anybody wanting to find the complete records can do so. In fact if this patchy product inspires any to pursue the purpose of D.S.S’s life as a ‘classic Parish Minister’ further I’d be more than a little pleased.

Recall also that in 1951 D.S.S. said: “Although I am by nature disinclined to keep records of any sort (being persuaded that a recording angel is doing the job much more accurately and effectively than I can ever attempt to keep them) still, provided that the personal side is kept well in mind, the business of statistics can bring profit to the soul.

As I write them I cannot help being reminded of many lovely and pleasant friends who served their church with cheerfulness and filled their earthly homes with loving kindness and whose names are written in the Book of Life.”

So I will leave the records of 1958 - 1962 in the hands of the Recording Angel and bash on regardless with the tale, knowing that the personal side will be kept well in mind. I’m also aware that he who was disinclined to KEEP records of any sort did in fact SCATTER screeds of scratchy records. Rerecording some of these has already brought profit to my soul.

Cell and Coracle : February 1963 :

“My dear Friends - “Cell and Coracle” - this is the heading of our Supplement, and in this, as I told you in last month’s Supplement, I wish to make the note, not only of our celebrations, but also of our whole Congregational life and witness, during the whole of this Fourteenth Centenary Year. Cell and Coracle. Cell and Coracle. Cell and Coracle; symbolic of the incessant oscillation between Inward and Outward in the disciplined life of those who first made this islet “a local habitation and a name”.

Seeking first the Kingdom of God those pioneers of the Celtic Church were first driven out from the midst of ordinary organised society with its temptations and limitations - and customs and conventions - looking for a fuller, freer, holier, sterner, environment in which they might have a chance to be moulded and shaped according to the will of God their Maker. And so, for many of them, the “Cell” seems to have been typified by “the Desert” or the “Desert Island” - the lonely uninhabited place, fresh from the Creator’s hand, unspoiled by man, where the new, vivid, life which they had found in Christ might make a new beginning in a new mould, its fresh start in a fresh environment. Of course they never found on earth that Isle of Delights... the blessed bourn they longed for, but wherever they were driven in search of complete and perfect blessing, themselves already blessed brought blessing with them to the islands, to cities and to men. As Matheson sang of that strength which is made perfect in weakness:-
“It cannot drive the world,
Until itself be driven;
Its flag can only be unfurled
When Thou shalt breathe from heaven.”

In abundant measure they brought the blessing to Iona: and that is the blessing - the blessing of Cell and Coracle, of the Inward and Outward Discipline, of the Seeking and Sharing - of which they have made us inheritors and stewards today.

That the tradition is here seems evident to me always in especial clarity at this time of year when I have to deal with Statistics. These show clearly that you desire to share what God has given you in blessing. Still, the most generous and “concerned” among you would, I am sure, be the first to admit that we all have a long way to before we equal THEM in Christian work, Christian witness or Christian worship. So, in Christ’s Name, on to better things yet, for HIS SAKE.”

Cell and Coracle : March 1963 :

....“ (I wonder) how Columba’s recruits were produced? They cannot just have happened. As I have said before, an ordinary country flower-show presumes thousands of gardens and green houses somewhere in the neighbourhood. As those are the conditions which produce flower-shows, so there must have been conditions to produce Columba’s recruits, similar conditions to the conditions which produced him. The homes they came from and the training they had in boyhood must have done much to prepare them to become recruits, as happened to Columba who even in his boyhood had the nickname Columkill [Columcille, church dove].....I fear that the average homes in our land are not providing the the kind of soil in which this kind of Christian life can flower. Let it be our joyful privilege to see to it that in our Christian homes CHRIST HIMSELF is honoured and loved and obeyed.”

“During the last week in March the Divinity Students will hold their annual retreat. I don’t like missing the students; but their presence offers a convenient means of overcoming the great difficulty of finding pulpit supply, and it is now some eighteen months since I had a proper holiday: I seize the only opportunity I am likely to have, doubly grateful that that it will enable me to be in Cambridge for the Baptism of another grandson [PETER GRANT MOFFATT... THE SCOTTERS at Camberley were also visited]”

On 5th February, I just managed to get to Iona by the skin of my teeth. Indeed, had the traffic jam caused by a general assembly of Watson’s lorries in Ardfenig Woods lasted five minutes longer I would have missed the last ferry to cross the Sound, that was really ferocious and violent, till the 8th. On this occasion there was blizzard as well as gale. And yet when the snow had disappeared we found a brave wee primrose bravely blooming through it all.”
“Our invalids of January and February are on the mend.....MRS STIVEN....may you and yours have health and strength to bear another’s load, joy to cheer another’s sorrow, and a bite to share with the hungry, and Christ’s fellowship in all. Your Minister, DAVID STIVEN.”

Cell and Coracle : April 1963 :

“I have observed with envy during my time here that both in Iona and in the Ross there is practiced by old and young what appears to be an inherited skill in writing so that when you send letters to people you give them pleasure in just opening and looking at them before they ever know what sort of news they bring. This tradition of beautiful writing was established here when Columba made one of the objects of the Monastery he founded the production of copies of books of the Bible, especially the Gospels and Psalms.

Every book that was sent out from Iona in these days had been prepared page by page from sheepskin or goatskin cured and carefully rubbed smooth, and then the pens and inks would have to be made and splendid colours ground.... no easy light... fingers blue with cold.... endlessly the transcription went on.. and then at last the pages were stitched together into a book and sent out on its evangelical mission. They greatly desired that other eyes should behold the King in His beauty and other hearts be filled with his love. Let your heritage of fine writing remind you that you are committed also to their ministry of Holy Loving.”

“Part of the Fourteenth Century Celebration will be the sounding forth of the ancient faith in the ancient tongue. On 5th March the Presbytery made arrangements for the holding of a Gaelic Service to be broadcast from the Cathedral at 2 on 2nd June.”

“A recent homeward journey took me back 45 years. Never have I felt since those days that strange exhilarating tremulousness which communicated itself to every nerve in the “danger area” of the Gribun Rocks. “Cannon to right of them. Cannon to left of them. Cannon in front of them VOLLEYED” and pretty volleys they were that morning of THE THAW. There in front, and filling up half the roadway lay an enormous rock as big as a kitchen range, while the hillside was hotching with boulders of all sizes leaping six to ten feet at a time down to and falling across the road. It was fairly simple to BEWARE OF FALLEN ROCKS: it was with FALLEN rocks that nothing could really be done.”

Sunday School, Guild, Fabric Fund, Bible Society (the marvelous work wrought by Holy Scripture on a savage and dissolute tribe in North Borneo...), Whist Drive, Beetle Drive and Marmalade Competition in aid of Red Cross Fund... all mentioned.

Cell and Coracle : May 1963 :

“ My dear Friends, At that shrine which became the repository of Columban relics when greedy sea-robbers threatened Iona’s peace, in that quiet sanctuary where, centuries ago, the family of Iona found refuge, it has been my custom for many years at this season to go into retreat along with other members of the DUNKELD FELLOWSHIP. I hope this year to go from 29th April to 2nd May.

It is a pity that (over a quarrel with the Western European Church regarding the time of Easter) the Columban Church missed the opportunity of making that contribution to the living Church that they might have made: the really important characteristic of its spiritual life, the regular use of the vernacular in common worship - a blessing which the Church in this country had to do without till the time of Wiclif, and the church of Rome has had to do without until almost the present day. They were only following the example of Jerome who translated the Word into Latin so that people whose only language was Latin might understand.

How greatly I have been indebted to the Iona Community and its leaders and members this year! DOCTOR MORTON -- how long and how longingly I have been waiting to give him that handle to his name, for rarely has the degree been conferred more appropriately............

The main object of our holiday was our grandson’s Baptism -- and how well behaved -- at Cambridge.

BAPTISM: In Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge, on 24th March, PETER GRANT,
son of Keith and Katharine MOFFATT, 3 Chedworth Street, Cambridge.”

The Fabric Fund is to be helped by a “SUNSHINE BAG’ into which a spare coin is put every time the sun is seen to shine!”

9 JUNE 1963 : SAINT COLUMBA’S DAY (1400 years) :

In the Abbey Church at 10:30 am the sermon was preached by The Rev. David S. Stiven D.D. Minister of the Parish of Iona. There followed and Open Air Act of Commitment. It was a great day.
Cell and Coracle : August 1964 :... “When I was at Kilfinichen, Mr Duncan Lamont shewed me a little dead bird which he was holding gently in the palm of his hand, and asked me if I knew what it was. Of course I didn’t for it was a rare visitor to these parts -- one of Mother Carcy’s Chickens, a storm petrel, called after St Peter, from its habit of appearing to walk on water.

“It’s a beautiful place: but I am most DISAPPOINTED in the WEATHER.” said a visitor: we were also; for it happened at the very time when we were eagerly expecting the Moderator in the West end of Mull, and neither the East nor the West end of Mull saw anything of him..... Fabric Fund and Repair Funds for both sides of the Sound have been increased substantially... sales of work... village Talks and slide shows....the Rev Willen Stenfert-Kreese from Almelo in the Netherlands preached on “Light Eternal amongst the fading shadows.”

The car ferry “Columba” is reported to be starting up its regular service between Oban and Craignure and Lochaline. How fitting that a ship with such a name should be under the command of an Iona man. May Captain MacDonald infect all his passengers with something of his own happiness........

May God’s blessing be upon your homes and your fields, and His love and peace in your hearts, Your Minister, DAVID STIVEN.”

Cell and Coracle : September 1964 :

“My Dear Friends,
It was news, pleasant news, to me to read in the Scotsman last week that on 22nd August exactly a hundred years ago, Iona was visited by DAVID LIVINGSTONE during another “journey” in which he sought to trace his family origins in Ulva and then go on to Ben More Lodge as the guest of the Duke of Argyll. This visit reminds us, if we need reminding, that in Iona we are committed to a service of and in the Church essentially missionary, an age old obligation back to our beginnings and beyond. Only once in a blue moon can we expect heroes as Livingstone to come our way; but year after year there keep sailing to our shores crowds and crowds of people desiring to refresh their souls, if but for a brief moment here. At Communion on the 30th the Kirk session and I were happy to have Mr STEELE associated with us in Elder’s Duties. Earlier in the month at the Ross Communion it was a wonderful experience for me to have as a temporary member of the Kirk Session for the day a man who grew up in my last Congregation and whom in due time I made an Elder there. Mr ROBERT BARTHOLOMEW.”

Duties in Kilfinichen and Kilvickeon involved me last month in two memorable experiences one of sorrow and one of joy. The sorrowful experience was twofold, two funerals on the same day, one of a man suddenly removed in the prime of life from his home and buried just over the wall from that place of his heart’s love, in the old kirkyard of Kilfinichen; and the other funeral of a little boy whose parents had for months been preparing themselves for this parting. The service at this funeral was taken by Mr Brown.

But as it was at the new cemetery at Suie, while a large crowd of mourners gathered at the gate before the committal, with a brief word of prayer I set the parcel of ground apart to be a place where, through Christian faith, believing Christians in a Christian land might lay their loved ones away in Christian hope. The other memorable experience was in Kilfinichen Kirk to which a little girl born in Ontario was thankfully brought for Baptism in that BETH-EL where so many of her fore-fathers had been engaged in the same Covenant of faith and love and life.

Although, as usual, Noon Services will continue to be held in the Cathedral throughout September, on the 13th of September we shall go back to the Parish Church for our Evening Worship, which cannot easily be given if we “cannot see the words”.

The following Sunday the 20th, will be “Battle of Britain” Sunday that truly memorable day upon which, with reverent and thankful minds, we shall acknowledge generously and practically what we still owe “the few”........”

Cell and Coracle : October 1964 :

“.... One of my last duties in Kilfinichen and Kilvickeon was the funeral of Peter MacKechnie who suddenly dropped dead on the 7th of September at the age of 75...... Apparently he had delighted in telling how a year or two ago when I had taken service in Bunessan, he had asked a young man sitting beside him if he liked the minister and was astonished to get the reply, “I’ve got to : I’m his son”. [Now, who would that have been?]

A Salvation Army friend visiting the Island was saying good-bye. I hoped she’d come back again and added that “folk had to come back three times for the blessing”. When I suggested that in her work and witness she perhaps had received plenty of blessing already “Blessing” she replied “ is something you can never have enough of”.

Cell and Coracle : November 1964 :

“.... North Morningside Church, with its glowing window, looked very beautiful on the afternoon of Thursday, 8th October, when I had the honour of assisting the Reverend Dr Bethune at the marriage of Callum Cameron and Kathleen Brown...........Our pleasure was enhanced by the fact that our hosts on that happy occasion were our son and daughter-in-law,[KAY STIVEN and TESSA RANSFORD] home at last on furlough from Pakistan, who have told us, to our satisfaction and, I hope, yours also that they intend to bring their daughters [MEG,5 and HILDA,3] to be with us in Iona for Christmas......

Throughout the summer many little packets of stones and pebbles, lovingly gathered by islanders and visitors, found their way to Mrs MacCormick for her to display again at the Nunnery.... for the Fabric Fund..... the Woman’s Guild welcomed a new member....

If anyone wants to apply for a Liquor Licence, he really should be required to give much longer notice than the week now provided by law. If people in the Island had not kept prodding me all summer to prepare plans against a rumoured licence, we should have been in a predicament. You see in my innocence, I could not imagine anyone having the heart to want to operate a liquor concern in Iona; but I’m glad now that I yielded to their proddings, Dr MacLeod being one, but by no means the only one, of the prodders-in-chief.

Preparing, I found the Iona Community willing to bear legal expenses (of whose sheer necessity I was not then myself aware); I found my Kirk Session unanimously and resolutely opposed to any idea of a licence; I put my ear to the ground and learned that they were in their objection by no means alone; I took legal advice; I got forms of support for objection prepared; then, inactive, listening but silent, I waited, still thinking there could be no application.

When application was made I was surprised but was even more surprised at the identity of the applicant, who, I had been informed, had found a very short experience of the Argyll Arms at Bunesan so distasteful that she speedily gave up the experiment.

To the application, lodged on the 13th and advertised on the 15th OBJECTIONS HAD TO BE SUBMITTED IN PROPER FORM to the COURT BY THE 22ND. When the court met on the 27th it was unanimous in its refusal.

It might have come to this wise decision without representation from us, but, unadvised, it might not; and a week would have been quite insufficient to prepare and make those representations and have a man of Mr Francis Watt’s calibre to make them for us so charmingly, and it might well have been that people from outside the Island would have invaded it legally armed with a means of money-making for themselves totally repugnant to most of those already living on the Island and to those who visit it in such numbers for the Glory of God.

May He make and keep each on of us more worthy of the place wherein He has set us. DAVID STIVEN”.

BOBBIE STIVEN has written from Winnipeg to tell D.S.S. and M.P.S. that he is to marry MARLENE VIOLET DUNN on 19 Dec 1964.

M.P.S. : The Manse, Iona, Argyll : November 1964 :

I hasten to write to tell you how happy we are to get Bob’s news today. I feel like the blinded one in Blind Man’s Buff trying to catch someone I don’t know, but Bobby has had a good long look at you and I’m sure we are as happy as he is. A photo of you would have been a help but now I guess we can wait for the wedding ones.

How lovely that the people of Robertson are doing so much for you (I’m sure you’ve done a lot for them too) and that your mother will be relieved of all worry about the Reception.

Now don’t answer this, dear, till you have a minute in the solitude of your snow-bound log cabin on honeymoon. We were married on 18th Dec and it’s NOT the ideal time in this country - but all the same in the long run! Bob’s twin was married on 19th Dec. too!! [Actually not. 17th.]

It’s so sad for us all you are so far away but we’ll hope for the DAY when we can meet you in your home. Very necessary I should imagine that you go on working seeing as how you’re marrying an impoverished husband. He seems to have spent all his substance on other people’s riotous living.

Darling I would like to ask you to see Bob finishes his course at College. It’s bad for a horse to shy at a hurdle and not be made to go at it again and I feel equally bad for a person. But he is in your hands now and good hands too.
How lovely for you having so many good friends -mutual ones - such a joy at a wedding time.

Will you give your mother my love - please - I’ve given away three daughters but all to good men and Bobby is a GOOD boy, so she won’t regret it.

What does V.O.N. stand for? [Victorian Order of Nurses - Home Care] You’ll really have to write to us after you have time to tell us all about yourself. We are very interested and so happy for you both. So sad we are not allowed to send money (except for educational purposes) but will look forward to coming.

Much love my dear and all Happiness,
Yours affectionately, Mummy S.”

M.P.S. : Parcel :

“Just a little personal gift dear Marlene - for your wedding.
I hope the sun will shine for you on 19th and forever after. Much Love, Mummy S.”

M.P.S. Iona : 21 Nov 1964 : “Darling, So delighted to get your news. I have just written to Marlene c/o you. Don’t even know her name. Hope it is Dunn. Not even a photo, darling, to help us.

I phoned Dad who was in Oban at a Conference and he was delighted - said you were ‘getting on’ - so true. Did you know LINTY [twin] was married on 19th Dec.? [actually not - 17th].

So good of the lovely Robertson [United Church] people helping to relieve you of so much worry, and, how wonderful you’re having DENIS [HEASLEY - Half Way House resident] as your best man.

Been so worried about you financially...... and now so glad MARLENE will be able to keep the wolf from the door till you are finished.

So glad you’re enjoying your books. YOU MUST have it somewhere. Your father is the best informed man I know - the people who come here interested in all kinds of things and he can talk intelligently to them all.
We shall be looking forward to coming someday to see you in your home and you will send a wedding photo.

I’ve been running a whist and teas for “Feed the Minds of Millions” campaign.
SO necessary in Africa anyway. Africa is a challenge - perhaps you’ll go there someday.

Meantime nose to your books as you say.

Much love and write to us from the snow cabin and tell us all about the wedding seeing we can’t come... Yours aye, M Stiven.”

D.S.S. : Iona : 26 Nov 1964 :

“We send the enclosed as a wedding present. I hope that you and Marlene will use it to purchase something that will be handy in the home everyday and not just something to be worshipped on the shelf. (Mummy suggests, though, that you may really require it to help in getting yourself respectably attired for the wedding. If so, well, don’t let the side down......)

We’d have liked to join you on the Happy Day but we agree with you that some other time will be more leisurely and we’ll likely find it warmer.

When I think how many fellows have shown me their best girl’s photo and consider how a young man in Winnipeg, though for nearly four years putting his blood pressure up every time the name Marlene is mentioned, has kept his pictures to himself - I stop thinking. Thought itself boggles at the thought!
Verb sap. Love to you both, Daddy.”

Cell and Coracle : Dec 1964 :

“My dear Friends,
I am grateful to those of my readers.... whose generosity enabled the Congregation to pay its fair whack of the Legal Expenses recently incurred... relieved that Iona still remains a very special place...

What a beautiful day was Remembrance Day this year.. on Iona Mr Angus MacKay represented the Island people in the Ceremony of the Wreath. This tender duty was performed at Creich by Mr D. MacKechnie, this wreath having been lovingly made by by Mr N. Macinnes....

Mr Callum Cameron gave an account of the activity of the special Committee appointed three years ago to watch over our interests as affected by the changes then made in our cargo arrangements. The Committee was given a vote of confidence and was continued in office, since no one present was by any means satisfied that we were as well served in such matters as we might be (and, as some suggested, as we had been fifty years ago): after hearing letters from our coal-suppliers stating that coal could no longer be delivered by puffer on the beach, all were persuaded of the urgent need of a pier at which cargo vessels could tie up....Your Minister, David Stiven.”

D.S.S. : Iona 7 Jan 65 :

“I don’t know what arrangements Reid, Johnson, Bell and Henderson have for getting what the rest of the family call “the Behoof” into your hands. ...You asked for a wholesale order of crosses, spoons etc.....

KAY and TESSA left yesterday in a windy downpour - they assured me that they have heating in their car, which was a relief for I didn’t like the idea of them sitting in wet clothes all he way to TARVES [MACDONELLS] which is their next port of call.

Give my love to Marlene and tell her to keep you to the books. The Taylor whose wits you belittle was Professor of Greek in McGill then of Philosophy at St A. and Edin. He could well have held a chair in Maths. When Duke Elder whose final year specialty was Physiology had a crack with him he made rings round him and when McLeish in a Moral Phil essay gave a quotation from Hebrew he got the essay back with a note that Taylor didn’t require the points and NOW R. STIVEN finds him feeble. How are the mighty fallen. (But who are the mighty?) Love to you both, Daddy.” [Must have been Vincent Taylor and I must not have been enjoying his “Form Criticism ; Formation of the Gospel Tradition.”]

M.P.S. : Iona : 29 Jan 1965 :
My Dear Marlene,
The cake arrived today in perfect order. Guide’s Honour!! it was the best Bridescake I have ever tasted. The ones here are so black and fruity I don’t like them. Yours is so good and the icing is going to put inches on us Both. I’m taking a bit to MEG [MACDONELL] and to TESSA [RANSFORD] in Edinburgh when I go ashore next week and a taste to my Woman’s Guild.

Had a letter today from MAC [Canadian UNCLE JIMMIE McINTOSH] written on Christmas Eve!! How slow is the post to go? It had some more news of the wedding - men of 70 are incredible reporters - the strange things they take note of. Terrific write up on your mother. I’m looking forward to meeting her when we come to Bob’s ordination - even if it takes us all these miles away [Red Lake, Ontario] to see her.

One of the lovely things about a big family getting married is the number of family circles one enters - such a lot of interesting people and all so different. I’m going to be meeting TESS’S [Sir ALISDAIR and TORFRIDA RANSFORD] in Edinburgh and LINTY’S inlaws [FRED AND EMMELLENE MOFFATT] are coming her for a week in March. And just had a letter from ALISON’s (Singapore) mother [Mrs MOSS]. One values friends the older one becomes.

This funeral [WINSTON CHURCHILL] is getting us all down. Radio and Tele plugging it all the time. I like to picture you two in your lovely new home. Keep Bob at his books like a Darling. Much love to you Both. Mummy S.

Cell and Coracle : Jan 1965 :

My dear Friends,
.... the 22 member guild shewed a zestful record of activity... it’s highlights are an admirable Intelligence System and an excellent Liberality....the church received the gift of a beautiful Iona Marble pedestal cross.....

...... 1964 was the year of the opening of the Forth Road Bridge and the initiation of a new Car-Ferry between Oban and Craignure..... something will certainly have to be done to the Mull roads and to the piers on both sides of the Sound of Iona if they are to take the traffic which the new car ferry is bound to attract both to Mull and Iona.... I find it difficult to imagine the changes which the proper exploitation of the means of transport now actually in being will bring to our way of life in Iona...

....At Christmas.. Quoting “Away in a Manger” I remarked that by His presence there Jesus had so transformed the manger that the author of the Hymn was quite ignorant of the fact that once (“No crib for a bed”) a manger was called a crib (Isaiah 1,3). It is because it was blessed and sanctified by the Child Jesus, that we gave that cot where we lay our little children in cleanness and security the lovely name “crib”.

[Mention is made of the coming centenary of the Wreck of the “Guy Mannering” on 31st December 1865.]

‘TAK’ TENT O’ TIME OR TIME MAK’ TINT O’ THEE”. And may God prosper you and yours at home and out of doors in a holy and happy 1965. Your Minister, DAVID STIVEN”

D.S.S. : Iona : 11 Feb 1965.

“Today I sent off 14 crosses and 7 spoons....the cheque in payment should be made out to me and should include 11 shillings and 4d halfpenny for postage.
It seemed to me that in the general divvy one very special person was omitted and so, but not at your expense, I sent a spoon, rather a special one, to her. I hope she will use it daily.[Silver sugar shovel still in daily use.]

Mummy is at Edinburgh today after a day or two at Tarves. She is better pleased with young DAVID’S [MACDONELL] health at Tarves, though LINNET rang the other night and told me her PETER [MOFFATT] is poorly with a bad attack of gastro-interitis a weakening thing for a wee chap.
I hope everything will arrive safely - sea mail. Love to you both. Daddy.”

M.P.S. : Iona : 21 Feb 1965 :

“My Dear Marlene,
Yes I did get the book of photos. Lovely they are and so delighted to get them. I’ve been on the mainland and took them with me to MEG’S [MACDONELL] and KAY and TESS [STIVEN -RANSFORD] in Edinburgh as well as my friends in Blairgowrie. All so glad about your happiness. Also the slides arrived and we have seen them and posted them back yesterday. The tape came y’day but I have to send away for an 8mm thing so wont be able to send that back just yet but will let you know when I post it..... so good of you to post and wrap everything so carefully and you so busy. It’s the same here - so many old people die in the early months of the year that they say here:
“A green yule makes a fat kirkyard.” Bob will have to explain that to you.
Also so many thanks for your newsy letter. Keeping Bob to his books???
Much love to you Both. LINTY [MOFFATT BOB’s twin] goes to California [KEITH lecturing at Stanford] 20th March and hopes to see you late summer. Mummy S.”

Cell and Coracle : February 1965 :

“My dear Friends,
[On Economics] The New year came in with much talking and much writing on wireless and in newssheets about prices; and the pother still goes on. In the many Padre’s Hours I used to take in 1945 money often used to come up for discussion, and I remember keeping on telling them that as soon as men made money the “Standard”, money would just start playing “tig” with them.
It sure has!

All the time I was in the thick of it as minister of an industrial parish, I saw no further than this. Now, after six years off-shore, I begin to see things more simply, and I think, more clearly. Looking at the life of Britain from the side lines, I now recognise that, ever since the world war ended in 1945, there has been a civil war here. We think that civil wars are over and done with here: they belong to the Middle Ages, when bold, bad barons begirt in boiler-plating tried to extract as much as they could for themselves and their followers from their neighbours and society. Civil wars are not over. Though they have shed their trappings, they are still essentially the same.
Waged no longer by clans and counties, they are waged now by trades and industries: each of them chooses its bold baron (calling him a secretary) and away they go to it hammer and tongs to make sure that the candle-stick-maker gets just that little more from his neighbour and from society than does the cordiner.
The WARS OF THE ROSES have become THE WARS OF THE RISES (and a rise in pay has more prickles than a rose). I tell you this thorny problem will never be solved until men generally, starkly aware that they themselves are engaged in the worst possible form of war -- civil war -- make peace.


On the first Sunday of the New Year, MRS STIVEN had the exquisite gladness of ‘sitting under’ one of her own boys, when our third son IAIN KAY, occupied the pulpit..... He spoke to you with affection and admiration about six of his friends, eastern and western, now serving the Gospel in Pakistan.

And TESSA, our daughter-in-law, gave a charming and intimate talk to the Guild two days later and brought out the essential features of coloured slides about the life they live and the work they do in that so different land and the hopes they have for it.

I little thought that the first month of the year would give us the most alarming lightning flash that any of us has seen, killing two sheep just over the Manse fence, and cutting us off, who were already cut off by stormy seas, from telephonic communication with the mainland and from our supply of electricity. The Sunday School picnic was made quite an adventure being held by candle-light.

Sir Winston Churchill’s death
The nation had had its week of proud remembrance. At the beginning of our noon Service on 24th January I said, “Three shorts and a long: how bravely the old V-sign beat through the music after the announcement of Sir Winston Churchill’s death and how intimately its repetition brought remembrance of days of darkness when it gave hope of Victory and kept tapping itself out where men were huddling behind closed doors listening in slavery to the voice of Freedom -- LONDON CALLING. It carried me back over most of the years of the century when my father took me, a small boy, to hear him, a young man, in Dundee, and the one characteristic --the prophetic -- thing I remember of that whole speech -- three words, four syllables, rapped out, already to that same joyous rhythm of Victory -- “full-steam-aHEAD”. He was a man whose experience and knowledge and action were wider and larger than those of most other men; but whose experience at its sternest, whose knowledge at its bitterest and whose action at its most intense, were overmastered, guided and made perfect by FAITH. Well may Browning's words be applied to him! He was one:-
“who never turned his back but marched breast-forward,
Never doubted clouds would break,
Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph;
Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better,
Sleep to WAKE.”
Three shorts a long and a short ... . MESSAGE ENDS.
My love to you all,
Your Minister,

M.P.S. : Iona : 25 Feb 1965 :

“Darlings both,
So happy to get your great news - but so sympathetic to Marlene if she happens to be as sick as I was. Absolute misery it was - specially with the first - worse than sea sickness - quite ghastly - but it passes. But being a nurse she’ll know all about it. But knowing and feeling... quite different. Be kind to her Bobby and help her a lot. Are you still too fat? Well the thought of parenthood will get it off!

Many people do or have to work as well as [be pregnant] but I couldn’t --
we’ll be looking forward to Ist Oct [anticipated birth date] and do take care of yourself MARLENE. My seven were all easier than the one miscarriage I had. Ripe fruit falling off the tree is one thing but a green apple being plucked from a tree is another. Not good.

JEAN [SCOTTER] has returned the photo book. BILL [SCOTTER] very disappointed (after reading the index) not to see MARLENE in the shower.!!
Now I’ll send it off to LINTY [MOFFATT]. She’ll be so busy getting ready to fly off on 20th March. FRED and EMMELINE[MOFFATT] are tidying up after them and then coming here for a week which will be lovely.
BILL[SCOTTER] goes to British Guiana with his Bn in July. How you all wander around. Much Love. Take care MARLENE. Stick in BOB. Mummy S.”
M.P.S. : Iona : 19 March 1965 “Darlings,
..... Thank-you for news of Mac [UNCLE JIMMIE McINTOSH] I’m not sure if it’s a good thing [his anticipated marriage to HELEN BRADD] -- anyway he will be well looked after. She looks as if she’d keep fit and well for ever and ever and I used to worry about his ‘end’ but you have lovely old people’s homes -- in Neepawa we saw a beauty - beats ours hollow. You know the story of the 70 year old who was marrying for the 3rd time. He said to a friend, “Just to close my een ye ken.” “Ay, weel -- see she doesna open them for ye.”

He said he was to propose to his “Lady” and if she refused him he was to come back home[to Scotland]. That would have too too silly. Anyway we’ll see them when we come your Ordination (get goin’ chum!) D.V. We get very old both of us [69 & 70]. We’ve had a horrid winter but spring is here and the daffodils heavenly.

LINTY [MOFFATT] sails tomorrow for New York and then flies to Stanford , California..... KEITH is to give 30 lectures.Then they’ll be seeing you and MAC.
I won’t write to MAC till after the wedding and then we’ll send a pressie.

Take care of Marlene. The 1st is the worst - after that plain sailing.Thanks for writing. Good to know you’re alive after giving your life away for four years.
Much Love, M.S.”

M.P.S. : Iona : 12 April 1965 :

Do hope MARLENE is feeling fit again and no more sickness and dead dog feelings. It’s so AWFUL - I know - and spring is here and summer is coming.

We had FRED and EMMELINE[MOFFATT] for five days and it was heavenly weather but gales again and snow showers. Anyway you can depend on a spell
of weather in
your country. We go off on holiday for 2 Sundays inside of three weeks on Easter Monday.

Going to Edinburgh and MEG’S [MACDONELL] and Dad goes to Dunkeld retreat. LINTY and KEITH[MOFFATT] had a hell of a crossing - it pitched and heaved and tossed almost from port to port and when they were able to go on deck the day before they docked at New York there was no lavatory on deck and KEITH or LINTY had to trek down three flights of stairs every time a child[FERGUS,4 PETER 3] said “Wizzy”. Really can you believe it and traveling Ist class on a new American liner. The flight from N. York to San Francisco super and instead of the anticipated 10 coming to KEITH’s lectures he has had 32 and already invited to Los Angeles.

FRED and EMMELINE [MOFFATT] were visiting friends in Dundee and went to Monifieth to look at two possible houses for us[when we retire from Iona].
JIMMIE and ALISON come home[from Singapore] to a car and a caravan in August and they come to the Island for Nov. and Dec. That will lighten our last winter!

Haven’t written to MAC till he tells us himself -- Dad says!
Much Love to you Both Mummy S.”

M.P.S : Iona : 11 May 1965 :

... Can’t remember when I wrote but bogged under now. Have Mrs MURRAY and CATHY for a week and they CLEAN and had a missionary and his wife from Jamaica -- wonderful slides - a wonderful island - no colour bar or consciousness at all - such a mixture of blacks and browns and whites and Arabs and everything. They’ve been 25 years there and mean to retire there.

KAY[STIVEN] preaching at Tobermory on Sunday and nipped over for one day and night and cut the grass. Dad in bed with a very heavy cold.

Mrs STEWART, 86, and friend, 84, arrive tomorrow for a week! But they are better on their legs than I am. We have now had the formal announcement of MAC’s [J.C. McINTOSH] wedding. Wonders never cease. It’s a great relief to know he will be well cared for.

Hope MARLENE you take care of yourself. The first is always the one to take most care of - I think. TESS[A RANSFORD] is expecting one too in November
[ROLAND] so we are on the up and up again. So glad you’re through your exams BOB you must have grey matter somewhere. It will come out into the open by degrees.
Much Love from us Both. Mummy S.”

M.P.S. : Edinburgh : 25th May 1965 :

Beaucoup Jolis for 4th June. My word you’re an old man now[30]. So happy we were to get such a charming letter from MARLENE. I saw Dad said on a P.C. - it was a letter he’d seldom enjoyed reading more. I agree. Hope you are liking your summer job and holding the congregation together until they get a new minister. I forget where ED FILE is going. Is it to an administrative post at H.Q.?- like [GEORGE]MORRISON?

Dad was preaching the Assembly sermon in St. Giles - televised it was - on Sunday. There are so many preachers blaw blawing about social and political evils that it was refreshing to get a simple gospel sermon. He televised very well. KAY[STIVEN] went to Iona and took his services there and thanks to new car ferries was back again in time for Assembly by 10am. Good going!

MEG and ALI[MACDONELL] were down for the[the Assembly] Garden Party y’day. MEG blooming - left her children parked out. We met lots of friends all asking for you and people from all over the world who knew DAVID[STIVEN] or JIMMY[STIVEN] or LINTY[MOFFATT] -- KEITH[MOFFATT] going off to Moscow for 14 days.

Can’t stand the pace of life here and will be glad to be back to the peace of Iona. Much Love to you Both. Bless you. M.S.”

Cell and Coracle : May 1965 :

“My dear Friends,
...Holiday has to be taken at the most convenient time for the Island. That means - with Mrs RAMSAY’s help -- two Sundays after Easter, and perhaps another fortnight before winter sets in. Dr MacLEOD and members of the Iona Community having considerately agreed to relieve me of Evening duty on Easter Day. ... I will leave on Easter afternoon and be back on the 12th of April.

The past fortnight has shewn the best and the worst of what Iona can produce in the way of weather, with some days a perfect glory of sunshine, warm airs and enchanted seas, and others quite otherwise......rains pelted piteously in a driving wind and the grey billows heaved... To-day we woke to see the ground white with snow.......

At the beginning of Service on Sunday, 11th April, I referred briefly but with deep affection to the death of my old Professor, the Very Reverend G. S. DUNCAN, and remembered that when I came as a student to Iona in 1921 (little dreaming that I’d ever see it again) Professor DUNCAN was one of the Leaders. Nor am I the only one in Iona to remember this servant of the Love of God with gratitude. As Principal of St Mary’s College, St Andrews, whence he shed fresh lustre on Scottish scholarship, he was for many years a diligent Trustee of Iona Cathedral, and a well known and much loved visitor here. I remember him, with admiration for his stimulating scholarship, with gratitude for the strong, simple faith with which he unwearyingly expounded the LOVE of GOD.
[More announcements that reveal a dynamic and healthy Parish follow.]
My love to you all, Your Minister, DAVID STIVEN.”

M.P.S. : Iona : 13 June 1965 :

How good of MARLENE to post on those interesting documents. So glad to see R. STIVEN gets some plums and so glad to KNOW he has a wife who keeps his nose to the grindstone and that she will see him through.

Sad about the House[Half Way House called ‘549’ in Winnipeg] not getting adequate housemasters but nobody will ever do what you did Bob. It’s costly work and intensive to be a Redeemer. A very good article (the only deep one)[ in Robertson Church newsletter ‘The Broadcaster”] on Dr FILE’S adventure [walk with KING at Selma].

BILL[SCOTTER] got the O.B.E.[Order of the British Empire] y’day in Queen’s B’day Honours. You don’t go by Queen’s Honours in Canada. We still do. BILL was very modest about it on the telephone last night. Said he had a very good staff and anyway it always meant “Other Bugger’s Efforts”. He leaves for B. Guiana on Monday for three months and then brings home his Regiment[Kings Own Royal Border Regiment]. He is so happy to leave the desk at Whitehall and get back to his ‘men’ again or rather ‘his’ men for the 1st time ever. Apparently nothing counts till you get your men under your control.

I had MABS ANGUS for a week and now MAMIE BRUCE for a week and then JEAN[SCOTTER] and KATIE[SCOTTER, 5] and then the MACDONELL crowd[RUTH,9:JEN,8: HILLY,5:DAVE,2] as well as two farmer’s daughters.

You seem to have a finger in every pie but Marlene will put on the brakes if necessary. Tomorrow KAY[STIVEN] comes to Abbey for a weeks Community and TESS[A RANSFORD] and children[MEG,5: HILDA,3] and a Pakistani woman and a child of 12 come here. The Pakistani lady is wife of the Principal of Murray College.

Must go to write to Ndola[DAVID and JEAN STIVEN] and LINTY[MOFFATT]. KEITH[MOFFATT] rang from Cambridge passing through on way to Moscow for a high powered conference. LINTY left alone in Stanford for a fortnight. Much Love. Take care of yourself MARLENE and my 21st grandchild. M.S.”

Cell and Coracle ; June 1965 :

“My dear Friends,
[D.S.S had meant to leave the Island after the noon Service on Sunday but the unquiet sea kept him on the Island till the Tuesday after Easter Monday.] The result was a joy and a disappointment: I had the joy of occupying a pew in the Parish Church on the Sunday evening, and listening with pleasure and profit while the Service was conducted by the Rev. Ian Brown, home on furlough from Abakiliki; and I had the disappointment of missing the meeting of the Highland and Islands Committee in Edinburgh on Tuesday. I was in time for the Home Board meeting on the Wednesday, and MRS STIVEN attended the Woman’s Guild Central Council on Thursday, before making for a short holiday in the flourishing Parish of TARVES and BARTHOL CHAPEL, enjoying our grand-children[MACDONELLs, see above], making new friends and renewing old friendships.

The holiday was interrupted by a few days at Dunkeld, where, as has been my custom since 1930, I attended the DUNKELD RETREAT. This was an essential discipline when I was on the treadmill of busy Parishes like Gilcomston and Inveresk; and even in a ‘holy’ charge like Iona and Ross of Mull, I find it spiritually health-giving.[JEAN SCOTTER said, ‘He went with DONALD BEATTIE and WALTER ANGUS -- always the same chaps; this was well before ‘they’ came across Iona.’].......

During May came the annual invasion of Iona by pilgrims from the ‘Meteor’, who appreciate the opportunity of joining in the Parish Service and for whose sake the Service was held an hour earlier than usual, and in the Cathedral. The Lessons were read by the Earl of Wemyss, Chairman of the National Trust, under whose auspices the Tour was conducted, and Mr Alastair M.Dunnett. In my absence in Edinburgh the Service was conducted by one of my sons, the Reverend I.K.STIVEN, Minister of the United Church of North India and Pakistan.

..... For me it was the most memorable Assembly of my life; for the Assembly accorded me the signal honour of appointing me the Assembly Preacher with the duty of preaching the Sermon in St Giles’ on Assembly Sunday, a sermon which found its way by the modern medium of television into places far beyond the walls of that ancient shrine. From of old, sermons have often been spoken of with a gentle smile as soporific: during the week after that sermon quite a number of my friends asked me what I meant by keeping them awake long after they should have been in bed. I do hope that, by God’s blessing, many who heard may be, and remain, yet more and more wide awake to the love and goodness of Him I preached.......

My love to you and yours and those who may be sojourning with you,
Your Minister, DAVID STIVEN.”

Cell and Coracle : July 1965 :

“My dear Friends,
My first word in this Supplement must be a word of congratulation to Dr MacLEOD and the Members of the Iona Community on the Opening of the West Range of the Buildings on the 6th of June at a Service in which I was honoured as well as happy to have a part...... Eleven days later, Dr MacLEOD received the felicitations of members of the Iona Community and other friends on reaching an important stage on his own pilgrimage.[70]

On he 9th of June Columba’s Day was observed at a Service in which the Community and Parish participated. I took the devotions. In the Sermon DR
MORTON referred to ST COLUMBA’s superlative qualities: mental, spiritual, and temperamental.

He emphasised as as applicable to our modern day:
his long life (and what he put into it).
his white horse (emblem of a revolutionary economy)
and his world view (a missionary zeal to extend the frontiers of Christ’s Kingdom)

DR MORTON also took part in the Communion Service at the end of the month. Baptism also being administered at that service, and DR MORTON having been invited to administer it, I invited him to be the Preacher, hoping that he would relate the two Sacraments to one another; which he did in shewing their inseparable relationship to Christ.

He took as his text 1 St John 1, 6, “This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ.” Immediately after the Baptism I went on to the Celebration of Communion, providing the hyphen between the two Sacraments by reading I Cor.10, 1-3;16-17. [Moreover, brethren, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea.
And all were baptised unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
and did all drink the same spiritual drink:
for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them:
and that Rock was Christ........

The cup of blessing which we bless,
is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?
The bread which we break ,
is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
For we being many are one bread, and one body:
for all are partakers of that one bread.”

The Sale of Work will be held in the Hall on Wednesday 21st July. At THREE that afternoon it will be opened by the Reverend DUNCAN FINLAYSON, a happy choice, for he “preached me in” here seven years ago.......

We are still much concerned about the hazards, difficulties and delays which, consequent upon so-called improved modern facilities, attend the conveyance of goods and stock to and from Iona; and this concern was not in any way alleviated by what was learned at a meeting held in Iona last month. As one who sees things as it were from the side-lines (and confessedly an amateur) I wonder whether there is any other Island at which nearly 50,000 passengers have been landed and re-embarked annually for nearly 50 years, and which has been so long without an up-to-date means of getting them ashore; nor can I understand how it could possibly be cheaper (for the customers whom the shipping company is subsidised to serve) to bring goods by land and sea, then land and sea again, than to bring direct by sea......
Best wishes to you, and to the absent members of your families, and to your present guests.
Your Minister, DAVID STIVEN”

M.P.S. : Iona : 10 August 1965 :

Do know I’ve been lazy about writing but so many people every day. Took in a lady from Melbourne for 2 nights. Matron of Hospital there and on tour by way of a Nursing Conference in Germany. SANDRA, who was a helping student 2 years ago, coming for a holiday today and on Monday REV. J.G.S.S. THOMSON(Wallyford)[Inveresk Assistant 1946] of old, coming with wife for a week. OLIVE[AUNTIE OLIVE widow of JIMMIE SPARK STIVEN the banker] and friend coming 1st Sept. and so sad can’t go with Dad to TEVIOTHEAD where he is asked to preach his 40th anniversary sermon. But we can go to RIGG after we retire.

Yesterday your friend and his wife MACDONALD from Neepawa came at coffee time and Dad took them round the Abbey and climbed Dun I. (how she did it with high heeled shoes I don’t know) and then came for lunch and we waved them off at the 3 ferry. They’ve been on a super European trip. He is planning to retire soon. I thought you had a scarcity of ministers and that the need claimed the men. I remember the lovely manse, new, and newly furnished they had at Neepawa. He saw you at Conference and will be seeing you again when passing through. They lived on McAdam[BOBBIE’s Winnipeg address] early on.

Do hope MARLENE keeps well and the babe kicking lustily. I remember being battered to bits by JIMMY[STIVEN] He flew into London with his wife [ALISON] and family[MYRA,10;ELSPETH ,8; WILLIAM,6, ROSEMARY,4] but I have not heard his voice on the phone yet.

The MACDONELLS[Tarves] had a lovely holiday and are now trying to find a holiday house on Iona. It is heavenly in lovely weather. Had HELEN WILSON (a missionary from Manchuria --Aberdeen) and a missionary from India for the day. It’s all lovely but the summer is hectic -- but we hibernate in winter. Keep at your BOOKS. Marlene you make him. YOU CAN. Much Love. M.S.

Cell and oracle : August 1965:

“My dear Friends,
At services during July, I have been assisted by my son-in-law, the Reverend
A. W. MACDONNELL, who read the Scripture Lessons on several Sundays in the Cathedral, and on the 25th at St Ernan’s..... on the preceding Sundays my eldest daughter [JEAN SCOTTER] revived memories of occasions at the Mission Stations of Inveresk[Wallyford, Deantown-Whitecraig, Smeaton], and later at many Garrison Services in Europe, by playing the organ at St Ernan’s.

....The Coffee Evening and the Woman’s Guild Sale of Work were successful, the Guild Bookmarks beautiful and appreciated and the West End Concert Party drew a packed and overflowing crowd.

...... While we are concerned with the struggle of little lonely places against the stream-lining, steam-rollering strategy of Big Business, I find that my oldest son [DAVID STIVEN] in N’dola is doing what he can to oppose American Big Business in its efforts to control Central African Radio in the interests of more lavish consumption of alcohol there (and he is not TT). We might perhaps take a little comfort from the thought that Jack the Giant-Killer is more a fable than a fairy story (The word DINOSAUR is from two Greek words one of which means terrible: the thing dinosaur is even more dead than the dodo).

There will be an exhibition of pictures by artists who love Iona....... the pictures will be for sale and a percentage will be given to Woman’s Guild Funds........
Your Minister, DAVID STIVEN”

M.P.S. : Iona : 19 September 1965 :

Been so neglectful but what a season. I’m getting confused with all the people and couldn’t go through with another summer. So many bus loads from car ferries disgorge at Fionnphort and always somebody popping in as well as King George -- gave its final hoot y’day. Only AUNTY MAGGIE[LAMOND, (bridesmaid)Blairgowrie] here now and we go south on 1st Oct. on holiday hoping to get all the news of you from LINTY[MOFFATT who had recently visited with us at Longbow Lake in N.W. Ontario] and see BILL[SCOTTER] now back from B. Guiana.

KAY[STIVEN] sailed off all alone for Karachi where he is to be the minister of the Scots Kirk there as well as ministering to the Pakistanis who come down there from the plains. Their Dr friends say they left Sialkot in ruins. TESS so worried about all her Pakistani friends and college shut down because all students gone to fight. Pairsoultae. TESS and children[MEG,5-HILDA,3] staying with her mum[TORFRIDA RANSFORD] in Hereford. If she does not get to fly out before end Sept. she can’t go till after her baby[ROLAND] in Nov. Bad luck. One can be too long even with ones own mother and TORFRIDA is not much younger than I.

We had excellent reception for the Battle of Britain Service in Westminster this A.M. What a boon Television is for things like that. Such a lot of rubbish there is too.

DAVID and JEAN[STIVEN] and family [MOIRA,15-PEGGY,13-JIMMY,10-FIONA,7-SHELAGH-2] have had a wonderful holiday. You’ll be looking forward to seeing them next year. PEGGY writes lovely letters but oh Heavens -- her spelling!!
Well I guess she’ll learn someday.
JIMMY and ALISON[STIVEN] touring round in a most commodious caravan. He wondered if anyone in Musselburgh would recognise him!! When he drove in the Caravan Site at Stoneyhill the site keeper said, “You’re a Stiven.” They had baths at OLIVE’s[widow of JIMMY SPARK STIVEN at Stowe] and visited a lot. MRS STEEDMAN has died. JEANNIE FORD[BAKERY-excellent truffles] asking for you.

Stick in Bob and don’t, please don’t deprive us of our trip to Canada for your Ordination. I want to see Marlene. Not sending bootees to the new Canadian.
Am sending a picture of Iona. Columba’s Bay[STEPHEN HUNTER, artist]. Being packed and posted in Edinburgh and will send money for frame and glass.[Still much appreciated by GLEN DAVID STIVEN]. Much Love, M.S.”

M.P.S. : Iona : 25 Sept. 1965 :

Never was a woman so praised by another woman as Marlene by Linty. Now can’t wait to meet the wonderful woman and do rejoice for Bob to have such a find. But I think distressed she was about Bob. Tired and colded and the weight. Darlings please do something about it. You can’t be well carrying all that when your bones were never made for such a covering. Come on Marlene -- with your training. I had a stone too much myself and somebody pointed out it was like carrying a stone of potatoes on me all the time. I got it off with ‘No second helpings’ . So simple and such a good spiritual discipline.

OLIVE[STIVEN] was very ill with threatened thrombosis and was ordered to bed at once to take off 3 stones. You would not know her now. She has only now allowed herself a spoon of sugar in her coffee and a slice of bread. Anyway Marlene it is your job to keep Father fit!!

LINTY[MOFFATT] promising us a red haired granddaughter in April. The boys [FERGUS,4-PETER,3] adored you both. She reports MAC[M.P.S. brother] and wife[HELEN] coming home next year.

KAY[STIVEN] sailed alone and should be in Karachi on 27th Sept. TESS booked to fly on 6th Oct. If she were a day later she could only go if a Dr and nurse on plane as baby due in Nov.

Hope the picture has been sent. I’ll send money for glass and frame soon.

Please don’t work too hard. Use the Behoof for temporary needs till you get a full scale salary.
Much Love and Solicitations for your Health. Mummy S.”

Cell and Coracle ; September 1965 :

“My dear Friends,
A song by the St Andrews poet R.F. MURRAY which begins, ‘The mist hangs round the College Tower’, after dwelling wistfully on the pleasant student days now past, ends:-

‘Life has not since been wholly vain, And now I bear
Of wisdom plucked from joy and pain Some slender share.
But howsoever rich the store, I’d lay it down
To feel upon my back once more The Old Red Gown.’

Perhaps the store of wisdom I have plucked is slenderer than Murray’s; but, were it even richer, I’d not exchange it just to be where I was and what I was in 1913. My old tattered CASSOCK means far more to me than even my old RED GOWN, which has hung on the back of my study door since the day I entered my first Manse, though I confess that when I was at the time of life at which Murray died, I could still sing that song with ever so saccharine a sentiment.

This thought is inspired by the imminence of a visit to TEVIOTHEAD, the Parish in which I began my Ministry 40 years ago. The visit will give me intense pleasure, but that old tattered cassock, the one they gave me so kindly when I went to minister there, means ever so much more to me now although, tattered as it is, it is worn only very occasionally now.

What I am trying to say is that I don’t really want to be young again, but if I had to begin all over again I could not wish for a better beginning, and if I had to live my life over again I could not wish for a better life than the Holy Ministry. I have proved the service of a good Master: that, after retirement, I shall be his poor pensioner will compensate for the loss of those personal relationships to which another shall be entitled when I lose the privilege of being a Parish Minister.

..... In St Ernan’s rich and varied was the leading of Praise during August. On the 1st my son-in-law, the Reverend A.W. Mac DONELL brought his violin ( I wonder if ever before a violinist has led the Praise there?) and it was evocative of good singing as well........ on the 22nd Mrs J.G.S.S. THOMPSON was Precentor. Stormy weather kept the ferry in the Bull Hole on the 29th.

In the Cathedral on the 29th at the dispensing of the Lord’s Supper the elders had the assistance of Mr STEELE, an elder in St Columba’s, Pont Street. The Preacher at the Noon Service on the 22nd was the Reverend J.G.S.S.THOMPSON, St David’s, Knightswood, who for several happy years
[1946+] was my Student-Assistant at Inveresk.

[The death is recorded of Hans Oppenheim creator of The Saltire Group of Church Music Makers.]
My love and good wishes to you all, by no means forgetting those of your households who have recently gone forth to school.
Your Minister, DAVID STIVEN.”

Cell and Coracle : October 1965 :

“ My dear Friends,
Sunday, 5th September, rolled back forty years of my life. After the absence of thirty-five years, I returned that day to the pulpit of the pleasant Border kirk in which,on a February day in 1925, I was ordained to the Holy Ministry. Some of the Congregation, emigrant like me, had come quite long distances to the Service; some had been seen but rarely if ever during the intervening years: a joy to see them all, it was quite an adventure to trace once well-known lineaments through the joys and sorrows of all the years, and ever so heartening to realise that, when I left, the elders were little boys.

One of the Elders present was the Session Clerk of the Scots Kirk, Singapore, whom I invited to read the Lessons because he had been christened in Teviothead Kirk during my ministry, my son JAMES[FROSTLEE STIVEN], there to rejoice with me along with my daughter-in-law[ALISON] and grandchildren[MYRA,10-ELSPETH,8-WILLIAM,6-ROSEMARY,4] home on holiday from Singapore.

But perhaps the most satisfying as well as humbling experience of a wonderful week-end of welcome, kindness and hospitality was a letter awaiting my return. It was from someone, a little girl at Newmill-on-Teviot all these years ago, who wrote from her home in England to tell me that something I’d said in one of my monthly school-room Services there had put her on the right lines and helped to keep her there. Lots of dismal Jemmies tell us that preaching is futile in this modern age; but St Paul wasn’t the first and I don’t expect to be the last to discover that Almighty God keeps on working His wonders ‘by the foolishness of preaching’.

.....0n the 9th September our third son [IAIN KAY] took ship to return to Pakistan, a somewhat troubled area. It did out hearts good to discover how many people were so much concerned about him, and to have so many kind enquiries from friends and strangers.

... in the evening we learned much from a skillfully compiled Film about the results of of some eighty years’ work in what was once Nyasaland, “Report from Malawi”....The Michael Chapel was used for a wedding for the first time.....

[The death is reported] of TOM ALLAN[Tell Scotland] a friend and former student of mine..... and of MRS STEEDMAN the mother of a large family in my last congregation whose husband had lain ill for many years before his death. By God’s help she contrived to feed her children and children’s children growing up around her, not one of them a lazy-bones, not one of them a moocher; and she herself had so learned to control the out-goings of her tiny income hat in her old age she always seemed to have something in hand for her many grand-children’s birthdays. She was for many years the Pew-opener in Inveresk Kirk. [That’s the Mrs Steedman who, every time she met us twins as we grew older, would say to anyone within hearing range that would listen “Aye, there they were in their twin pram outside the baker’s and Bobbie took off his shoe and bashed wee LINTY on the head with it and I came along and said, ‘Bobbie what did you do that for?’ and he pointed up to the sky and said ‘Look at all the birdies.’ That one could change-the-subject even in his pram.” Members of her large family were intermittently employed by my mother as ‘twin minders’ and ‘maids’.]

.... holidays from 4th to 22nd October... My love to you all, Your Minister,

M.P.S. : Iona : 2 October 1965 :

“Well done Marlene - although why more weller for a boy than for a girl I wouldn’t know. And on your date too. Clever girl. We are so happy for you Both. REST Marlene REST. After Ist Baby REST.

MEG[MACDONELL] says you signed ‘proudly’ Bob. Come off it quick and meet old Maister Cook one of MEG’S Elders in TARVES. He has the most wonderful family ever and when MEG said, ‘You must be very proud of them he cut in hastily and said, ‘Nae prood, nae prood, na na nae prood - just awfa awfa grateful’.

Our 21st grandchild, so MEG reminded us this morning - only our 3rd grandson with the NAME which seems to be so important! A rose by any other name.......

So glad all is safely over. The 1st is the worst - the others pop out - nae bother. Bet Marlene’s mother[LEXIE DUNN, McKenzie Island] is happy. Will she manage down to see her or is it too far away? We shall be looking forward more than ever to see the wee doggie[GLEN a common dog’s name in Scotland?]

Phoned FRED[MOFFATT father of KEITH] last night. LINTY answered - so glad to be HOME[from Stanford].

KAY[STIVEN] stranded at Aden and only sails tomorrow and now too late for TESS to be allowed to fly without a doctor or nurse so she has decided to wait and have her baby with her parents. What a time of suspense she’s had. Much Love and many many wishes, Mummy S.”

M.P.S. : Heathfield House, Honiton, Devon : 9 October 1965 :

Here we are with BILL and JEAN[SCOTTER] in Honiton - a lovely country town with potteries - but a death traffic road through the middle of it. Dad drives very well except when we are nosing round the roundabout looking for the right sign and not thinking about the man on our tail!!

Waiting eagerly for news of Marlene and Glen or is it Glenn?[Glen] Dad has a Stiven 1/2 cousin called GARRY! Do hope Marlene and the babe are well.

BILL is now a Col. of his Regiment[Kings Own Royal Border Regiment] in charge of 700 men and what a job. He is on a months leave now he is home from British Guiana. They have a lovely house on the hill with a gorgeous view but of course they never know for how long. BILL knows where the Regiment is going next but is not allowed to tell ANYBODY. What secret to keep to oneself.

JEAN is very busy being the Col’s lady and helping the wives who have all been so cheesed as their husbands have been away for almost 10 months but now home.

TESS[RANSFORD] flying to Karachi where KAY[STIVEN] has now arrived and says its quite normal and safe. She is only five weeks off her baby coming but B.A.O.C. have accepted her - only 18 hours anyway.

We go to MRS MOSS[ALISON STIVEN’S mother] at Hadley wood where we will see JIMMY[STIVEN] and family[MYRA,10-ELSPETH,8-WILLIAM,6- ROSEMARY,4].

DAVID[STIVEN] goes on leave[from Zambia] next July so if all goes well shall we not see them in Canada when we come to see you? as they only have a week in Scotland. It would be wonderful to see them in Winnipeg.

Much love to you and your lovely little family, Granny S.”

Cell and Coracle : November 1965 ;

“ My dear Friends,
How happy we are that the man chosen for nomination as next year’s Moderator is one of ourselves, the proprietor of Knocknacross. It is only for a year or so that he has had Knocknacross and become a parishioner(to give me the inexpressible pleasure of being the Moderator elect’s Parish Minister, even though it is to be followed by the utter flop of missing being the Moderator’s Parish Minister by four short weeks). For a far longer period he has had something much more precious than even a bit of stone and lime on Iona; he has had the lively affection of the people here, and his nearest neighbours are full of content. One of my daughters[MEG, Tarves] congratulated a wise old friend when his sons were doing well, with the words, “You must be proud of them.” “Na! Na! Nae prood” said he, “just gratefu’ -- fu’ o’ gratitude!” Something much more wonderful than pride is in our hearts when we think of DR and MRS SMALL today.

From what I have said already, you will have ‘jaloused’ that I am not looking forward to retirement with enthusiasm. My recent holiday has not made any more deeply in love with the idea. What a place the mainland is..... When too little money is chasing too many goods you get, I understand, ‘deflation’. When too many goods keep on chasing too many goods, I fear we’ll get sufflation -- and just blow up..... Kendall, thought of as a place of almost Holy quietness.... trembled with every passing Juggernaut.... [would that construction site in cities could imitate the building of the Temple, I Kings 6:7] “And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither; so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was building.’

I am grateful to Mrs Ramsay for conducting Services in Iona and the Ross on my two holiday Sundays...I have been asked to introduce the Reverend JOHN SHERRARD[husband of MARY STIVEN daughter of JIMMY and OLIVE STIVEN] to his new Congregation at Camperdown......on the 14th we shall keep Remembrance...

Ruskin quotes somewhere the rely of a man who, aspiring to heroism, was was asked which of the animals he’d take as his model for courage. Doubtless the questioner imagined that he’d choose a lion or an eagle; but what he answered was, ‘Give me the courage of a fly.’ I never appreciated the point of this tale really properly till last Sunday evening, when, shewing some home mission slides at the Lantern Service, I was much embarrassed and you much amused by the persistence with which a fly kept coming back again and again to find something warm and to interest it in the space between the rear lens and the carrier. It quite deserved to look the gigantic size shewn on the screen.

I am grateful to those whose gentle hands and loving hearts collected and prepared stones and shells and posies for display and disposal near the Nunnery Gate. Mrs Muir told me an interesting thing she had heard only recently. A visitor who passed that way at the beginning of summer took one of he green stones home with him to a far land AND HAS BEEN OFF SMOKING EVER SINCE! Every time he wants a fag, he takes his green stone and pops it in his mouth.

[At a reception in the Corran Hall in Oban] an enlargement of an old map on one of the walls reminded me how much Oban owes to steam -- steam-boat and locomotive. Two hundred years ago, Oban ‘wasn’t on the map’.
My love to you all, Your Minister, DAVID STIVEN.”

M.P.S. : Iona : 7 November 1965 :

Do hope Marlene and Glen David are well and Marlene getting enough rest. How wonderful she is able to feed the boy. I hope our picture to Glen arrives safely soon. Unfortunately they had to take away so much of the mount but you should be able to get it remounted easily. Hope you like it.

Bad luck for the studies you have so much church work to do. How’s the weight?

JIMMY and ALISON and family[ELSPETH,8-WILLIAM, 6-ROSEMARY,4] are on the Island. They go for MYRA[10] on 15th Dec and bring her for Christmas. 3 fine children. Jimmy is a very stern father but they seem to ‘take it’ without being cowed. Am I ever pleased. I don’t like to see parents too lenient and I don’t like to see Jimmy harsh -----so what!!!!

I don’t have them to lunch -- not able now--[69]-- but they come for tea and devour my scones and cakes.

We had a wonderful holiday touring round but so glad to be back to the safety of Iona. GEORGE MACLEOD in America again looking for money. He was on a 52nd floor of a hotel and was frightened to say ‘My God’ in case somebody answered him!

I didn’t know Winnipeg had a ballet! Don’t neglect your studies. We are so looking forward to seeing you all next year -no!- the next . Much love and a photo of my grandson when you have time. Much Love. Mummy S.”

M.P.S. : Iona : 13 December 1965 :

“Darlings - been neglecting you but submerged by the family here at the moment. I hope we shall have you someday too.

Dad and ALISON away to Edinburgh and I’m feeding JIMMY and his orphans. I said to ELSPETH , ‘What will you do when Mummy goes away?’ She replies sadly, ‘I suppose we’ll have to make do with Daddy.’ You see Bob ‘Mummy is always the key pin.’

Enjoyed reading ‘Robertson Letter’ and to see you figuring too largely in it --- for good study. Do stick in. We are looking forward to coming to see MARLENE and GLEN DAVID. I’m opting out of Christmas. It’s too much. But Blessings on you both and your dear Babe. You will have a Blessed Christmas. Much Love. Mummy S.”

M.P.S. : Iona : 29 December 1965 :

How to thank you for those lovely pressies I just don’t know. The boxes of nuts are super and the BOOK we shall always treasure. MYRA[STIVEN,10] was looking at it the other day and said how beautiful some of the pictures were. Lovely to have always.

I have a party for twelve children tonight who go to school in Oban so we see very little of them. I’ve just been putting out some of your lovely nuts in small plates on the table. Been quite submerged by ‘Stivens on the spot’ so often to lunch and always ‘tea and telly’ and a molehill of work is now a mountain to me.

They leave the Island on 8th Jan, but Jimmy is flying to London tomorrow to see a Director[of Maclaine Watson] about the Latex job in S’pore. He is not hot on the new Chairman Director. How they don’t all get ulcers I don’t know.
You’ll be jolly glad when your new boss of Robertson[House, North Winnipeg Mission] comes and don’t forget we are depending on you Bob for a trip out in 1967. If you don’t make it we don’t come.

Lovely photos from JEAN[SCOTTER] of BILL and family[BEADIE,17-PON,13] at Buckingham Palace getting his O.B.E.

So busy now writing thank-you letters. Wonder if the Zambian situation makes life different for DAVID. Hope GLEN DAVID grows apace and gives you good nights. What a joy he will be. The Karachi boy ROLAND McALISTER[STIVEN] is very good too. Love to you Both and All. Mummy S.”

Cell and Coracle : December 1965 :

[ A great part of this Supplement it taken up with the relating of the story of The Wreck of the “Guy Mannering” on the afternoon of the 31st of December 1865. I have placed all the “Guy Mannering” documents the end of this Iona section.]

The Congregation of Iona observed Remembrance Sunday on 14th November.
On concluding the Noon Service we went down quietly and reverently to the shore, and there, at the Memorial, when we had sung the 23rd Psalm, Mr Stephen Wright, Warden at the Abbey, was our representative in the Ceremony of the laying of the wreath. The wreath of red poppies, presented by the Woman’s Guild, was interlaced by the usual spray of Rosemary.

....the Woman’s Guild members tell me that my son JAMES gave an unusual talk on Church life in Singapore. Foul though most of the weather has been, ALISON[STIVEN] and he and their (generally obedient family[MYRA,10- ELSPETH,8-WILLIAM,6-ROSEMARY,4] are having a whale of a time at Shana. We grandparents are able for another short spell to know ourselves for what we are.

I am grateful to Mrs Ramsey for taking services for me on 7th and 21st November while I was in the Ross, and also on the 28th to enable me to accept an invitation to ‘preach in’ the new minister at Camperdown, Dundee.To the north of the country road where often as a boy I took my Sunday afternoon walk as far as the ‘Paddock Stane’ there are now two immense housing estates --- one of them is Camperdown, and the new minister is married to one of my cousins[MARY STIVEN]: he is the Reverend JOHN SHERRARD. He has a lovely Church and almost adequate halls and one of the most sensible Manses I have ever seen.

....... that evening electric power had been restored in Iona to make possible the shewing of slides on an up-to-date-topic --Zambia......there are now three nonagenarians in our small Island community of about a hundred people. May I suggest that between now and Christmas you might ponder a little just on what it means(1) for the world (2) for Scotland (3) for Iona, past, present a,d future (4) for your home and you that a baby was born in a stable in Bethlehem so, long, long ago, and that his name was called JESUS.

So may the kindness, the gentleness and the innocence of Bride be in your heart. Your Minister, DAVID STIVEN.”

Cell and Coracle : January 1966 :

“My dear Friends,
.... We look wistfully back. We remember good friends of ours and lovers of our Parish who have been taken from us in 1965: we remember some of our own joys and sorrows, successes and failures: God has given His particular blessing with each one of them, and each one of us has received that blessing according to capacity, some in large measure, some perhaps only in small. For the changes that must come and the chances that may come in 1966 let us each develop the power to discern the blessings which will certainly accompany each one of them and the wit to accept them all with courage and a thankful heart.

... Santa Klaus wryly announced that thanks to mud he could not bring his sledge with him but had to trudge all the way from children entertained on the 22nd..... songs and slides, and recitations, and games and dances for all on the Island on the 28th....

About the only the only pleasant thing I have to say concerning my approaching retirement is that Presbytery has appointed Dr McPhail interim moderator; and in this connection it is with great pleasure that I initiate an exchange with him on Sunday 16th January. That day he will preach at noon and at 7pm and I hope to fit in the Ross Service(between Services at Kilfinichen and Bunessan) at the usual hour of 3 in the afternoon.

May each and all of you become more blissfully aware of God’s blessing day by day. Your Minister, DAVID STIVEN.”

M. P. S. : Iona : 2 February 1966 :

So glad to get your letter - begun in hope by Marlene and finished by you. Dad had ‘flu for a week but went off to Presbytery in Oban y’day for two days and two nights. I’m in bed with ‘flu now - but guess frost will nip away all germs from this before you read it.

Yes - we do hear about your excessive cold. I couldn’t bear it. It was so mild y’day morning one could breakfast outside with comfort - today it blows a gale but still mild. We all wilt from lack of sunshine.

JEAN NISBET[STIVEN , Zambia] was doing a letter a day! and we heard from OLIVE[Spark STIVEN] how well she was doing. I’ll have to see what is wrong with D.R.S.[DAVID RUSSELL STIVEN] that he never writes. Do you have ‘flu or cold epidemics? We have a bad one just now. Frightful colds. Not enough frost to kill the bugs.

I phoned MEG[MACDONELL] last night and was so relieved to find that she had your dress suit[TUX] and had been looking after it too. I asked her to post it today by the quickest route and so here’s hoping that you get it in time for your ‘do’. I’m so sorry to say your tartan trews are completely ruined by moths. My fault entirely. I forgot they were under the stairs and hardly ever go there now. Anyway what would you do with them. I’ll send the map of Cyprus and the Academy Hymn Book and Soldiers Pay Book. Do you want any of the badges? Please say. Also tell me date of C.D’s b’day. Was it 1st Nov. All Saints Day? I’m trying to get them all in chronological order.

We love the photos of G.D. and rejoice we see a little redness in his hair. Kay escapes to his vestry and you to your college. What about the mums?
Love, Mummy S.”

M.P.S. : Iona : 7 February 1966 :

‘Dear Bob,
Charity begins at Home and after your own home please remember your Dad’s Birthday 16th Feb. We shall be at Ma Barties[MRS BARTHOLOMEW] that day so it will do if it arrives her by 18th Feb. Just to remember he is 70 now and was telling somebody very sadly that his sons didn’t remember his B’days and that he and his brother ALBERT[Killed in Action WW1] always remembered their father’s B’day. Think I’ve been a bad mother. So glad you’ve struck a good wife and mother. You never told me Marlene was musical. How super.

DAVID’s family have inherited the NISBET music and now yours. Am so glad. What lovely hands you have Marlene. (AN AIRMAIL P.C. WILL DO BEAUTIFULLY)

I am sitting nibbling some of the nuts Marlene sent. LINTY says, she said, they were good for babies. But old folk need protein too, eh no? and we do enjoy them no end.

It was a good picture I sent - only they had to take away such a lot of the surround it must have spoiled it(for posting). I was about to post your old uniform to the Salvation Army - but sent it to you instead. Will send your tartan trews, map and Academy Hymn Book later. The puttees etc had to go out - so moth eaten. Hope your kit arrives in time for your ‘DO’. Wonder if it will. Everything takes so long now.

Sorry you’re having it so cold. But then you have sun in summer to get you fit to bear it. Its very mild today. We are going to spend 2 nights with MA BARTIE next week. Dad for meetings and me for dentist - DR ROBERTSON (goats and black grapes). DR SCOTT very ill and very frail. Stick in; we want to see the Stivens in 1967. Haven’t seen GLEN[Winnipeg] or SHELAGH [Zambia]. So glad to get his photos. (Unsigned)”

Cell and Coracle : February 1966 :

‘My dear Friends,
... Our Sunday School Children had a wonderful Service on the 19th of December when they brought their gifts and performed their Nativity Play and sang their carols, led by their teachers, one of them, Mrs Ramsay, in the pulpit.....

... I have been going over the Congregational Statistics for 1965. Much is satisfactory as was expected. Other items give cause for sadness:- the number of children at Sunday School, in proportion to the number on the Island, has gone down and more will leave for Oban this year.....
Six weeks after her 90th birthday, Mrs MARION MCPHAIL passed peacefully to her rest. The cortege, including her six surviving daughters and two of her three surviving sons out of a family of twelve, proceeded from the Block House to the Relig Oran..... ‘Visitors as well as Islanders will long remember how in her old age she held court outside her home on warm sunny days, and they will miss her as they came up from the jetty in the bright sunshine....’

(Two and a half wintery months were made cheerful for MRS STIVEN and me with some of our grandchildren[the JIMMY and ALISON STIVENS from Singapore] so near us; and we understand that their waterproofs added a touch of colour to the Iona High Street; so that perhaps they are missed more than a little by more than ourselves.)

... Since 1959 the amount expended on the repair and renewal of fabrics and furnishings in our two Churches and Manse exceeds 3000 pounds and our Fabric Fund has grown to 2500 pounds. Never before have I encountered the Christian Liberality which has brightened the closing years of my Ministry...Never before have I seen so high a standard of Congregational generosity.... You give well and cheerfully; and, if God loves a cheerful giver, God’s servant would be a churl not, at least, to like you, and tell you so.

.... had read in the Oban Times their extract from my story about the wreck of the “Guy Mannering” and wrote for a copy - it was the last available-....
My love to you all, Your Minister, DAVID STIVEN.”

M.P.S. : Iona : 25 March 1966 :

This to say quickly how cheered we’ve been by your letters - Marlene’s P.C. from home[mother’s, McKenzie Island] and letters from you and everything. We are getting very busy now though the worst snow storm and gales in our 8 years have retarded the pace.

Island History being made the day we remove - because a new Island Sea Services sending a landing craft to land two vans at Martyrs Bay and load them at end of avenue and also alerted the crofters that they can take 55 head of cattle to sales next day and not dependent on state of Sound as able to cope in bad weather.

I wish you had not told me about all that snow and you at lowest place below river[Assiniboine]. I have nightmares of you all being drowned in the night without knowing - my poor wee GLEN DAVID. DO hope it melts slowly. I remember the accounts o the last Winnipeg floods.

Do hope you make good in all your subjects and not have any hangovers to cloud your last year. Has to be your last because we're coming. It will be our only chance to see JEAN and DAVID too. We shall only catch a glimpse of them here on this side.

I have salvaged 2 good cake baskets (not used now I guess) from the family silver!! for you. How shall I get them over?

Am waiting a call to go to Cambridge[LINTY MOFFATT] any moment now but not due till 10th April. I hope OLIVE[Spark STIVEN] will come here to see the Daffodils and keep Dad company for a week anyway. Much love and so many thanks for photos. He does look a bright wee poppet. M.S.”

M.P.S. : Iona ; 30 March 1966 :

Thank-you for keeping us so well informed. So relieved you are to be above the flood line[Moved from McAdam Ave to Minnegaffe St]. It was worrying me.

We have had a miserable cold March and the daffies all blown over and at ground level - frightful gales.

Tonight I shall be in a Women’s Guild chair for the last time ever. Done it for 41 years. Will be glad to be looking at somebody else from now on.

I go south to Cambridge baby or no baby next week as have to be in Aberdeen on 21st April as Dad opening a Spring Fayre in Gilcomston and preaching next day.

Then back for final packing. After Ist May our address is “IONA Cottage, Barry, Carnoustie, Angus.”

I have a Swiss girl Anne Marie staying for a week. She speaks German and French and teaches in Edinburgh. Husband Theol. at Abbey. She’s sweet and as friendly as my own daughters. Thank-you Marlene for your addendums - so interesting they are. SO looking forward to next May to see Glen David. He will be on the MOVE by then. Much Love, M.S.”

Cell and Coracle ; March 1966 :

“My dear Friends,
.... The Presbytery of Lorn and Mull appointed Dr. R.M. McPhail interim-Moderator, and on 24th February, I gave him authority to have his first meeting with the Kirk Session, so that the “Vacancy Schedule” will be presented to the March meeting of Presbytery, and the Congregation will have its feet clear to go ahead when the Vacancy is formally intimated on the 8th of May.

On Ist May I expect to take farewell of the Congregation. At the Noon Service that Sunday, I have already arranged to observe the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper with you. And that will be the last time at which I shall celebrate Communion as a Placed Minister, gathered with his own people at the Table of the Heavenly Father’s providing. The regular recurrence of that solemn privilege will, I think, be what I’ll miss most when I’m on the shelf.So I’m already wondering if perhaps one or two who have been hanging back, may make this Occasion more meaningful to me than any other, by coming forward to share with me in this Sacrament, mindful of our common human sin, and looking for our wondrous salvation, before i go.

In my forty-one years of active ministry , I have served in only four charges, every one of them an example of the four types of congregation which composed the pre-Union Church of Scotland:
a”Schedule 8” Church
a Parish Church quoad sacra,
an old Parish Church quoad omnia
(founded by a saint who after working in the East of Scotland, died the year a more famous western saint was born[521])
(and last of all) a “Parliamentary” Church though in a Parish made world renowned by that Western Saint.

The first was , as it had to be, the most forgiving;
the second, the most vigorous;
the third the most exactingly interesting;
the fourth the most generous.

When I retire, I shall go East again. My wife and I have been so fortunate as to acquire a bonny wee house at the village of Barry, between Monifieth and Carnoustie, where other people play golf. The house is called ‘Nona Cottage’. My wife feels that it would be very appropriate to let two strokes drop off the first letter of the name, and leave just the upright, and make ‘Nona’ into ‘Iona’. This is, I know, a significant expression of deep affection; but I wonder if behind it and beneath it, there isn’t something more, and that is thankfulness that a nagging worry deep down in the heart of many ‘a lady of the manse’ is no longer in her heart. How many minister’s wives, knowing that, if their men were to die, they would be left homeless as well as widowed, must wish that they could say ‘I-own-a-cottage.’!

Women’s World day of Prayer went on undaunted by darkness brought on by the loss of electricity to the Island. They turned out in good force. MRS STIVEN gave the address.

The Reverend Horace Allen, an American Presbyterian Minister, took up his duties as Warden of the Abbey last month. We wish him well........

Wishing you fullness of joy and the steady purposefulness of faith as you put your hand to the so necessary work of the spring time, and with my love to you all, Your minister, DAVID STIVEN.”

M.P.S. : 6 Barton Road, Cambridge : 13 April 1966 :

Your letter forwarded here today. So glad you are all safe and above the water mark. LINT[MOFFATT] read it out to me as I’d lost my glasses temporarily. She was telling me what a wonderful girl your wife is Bob. How did you manage to get her?

HESTER[MOFFATT] born on Wednesday 6th April.

This is positively my LAST APPEARANCE as a baby chorer. I’m past it now anyway. KEITH is wonderful and dishwasher and a washing machine and an electric polisher and central heating (much too hot) and electric toothbrushes and tele to amuse the children - all I have to do is hang out the washing and make the meals. Perhaps some day they’ll be puting the menu into a computer and out comes the lunch. THAT will be the day.

KEITH tries to explain a computer but I cannot understand. Very wonderful in his work. I’ve persuaded him to hand over his Income Tax to a C.A. and get on with his own work. I read a letter to LINTY from MAC[Canadian UNCLE MAC and HELEN]. They are coming to Iona for our last week so must beetle home soon.

J.F.S. and MYRA and MA MOSS[JIMMY STIVEN his daughter MYRA,11 and his mother-in-law] came for tea on Easter Monday and FRED and EMMELIME[MOFFATT] and KEITH showed a film of you carrying out FERGUS’S[MOFFATT] cot into the van and all of you at Blue Hill Farm[Moss’s farm in The Cotswolds]; also one of their travels in U.S.A. One very good shot of you talking to MA MOSS where she looked super - cheered her to no end. She is very lonely and moving into a wee flat in town. We all crawl into wee nooks when we get old except FRED and EMMELINE who are going back to Jamaica in July - having bought the Guest House in Kingston, they stayed at, and Great Granny FLEMING going with them of course for the swimming, 86!
Never say die. We have been invited free. MA MOSS is getting the brochure! but we are all going!

For Goodness Sake stick in and see we get our trip next year to see Marlene and GLEN DAVID and DAVID and JEAN and family aneverything.

I got my 1st Old Age Pension today for 8 weeks 24 pounds 4 shillings what do you know and I asked JEEMY[JIMMY STIVEN] to book a sleeper for me and he sent me berth and ticket in a present. My cup runneth over. Such a good generous family I have. ‘HESTER’ is the best yet. So Good and beautiful (Goddess of Hearth and Home.) Much Love to you all. M.S.”

Cell and Coracle: April 1966 :

“ My dear Friends,
During March the motive of my Sermons has been the Self-Denial to which Jesus has called us, considered as being not a denial TO ourselves of certain delights and comforts but a denial OF our Selves of what Peter did to his Lord after Gethsemane; and subsidiary to this motif, I have gone on to deal with the apparently contrary characteristics of self-possession and self-reverence and tried to shew how these may be associated in the Christian life with denial OF self.[Think you had to have been there.]

I right gladly proposed the vote of thanks, at The Guild Council at Tobermory, to Donald Caskie. None enjoyed the thrilling story given by the ‘Tartan Pimpernel’ of his adventure, deprivations and perils more than I did. A ‘Special Agent’ story may thrill: this thrilling story did more: it inspired, if to be inspired is to thank God and take courage. (When the Scots Kirk was rebuilt in Paris in 1957 the Elders in Iona sent a piece of Iona Stone on which the Minister stands when at Communion.).... the road from Pennyghael to Fionnphort is awful between Beach Bridge and Ardchrishnish with many pot holes at Ormsaig....

In another four weeks we shall be leaving: in another 4 months, I hope you will have a new Minister.....

The late Hector McPhail, who in his old age returned frequently to his beloved Erraid, had many interesting stories to relate about men and things old and new there. and in The Ross of Mull. Particularly he would hark back to the days when Erraid rang with the voices of children playing-- they actually had a school of their own. One thing he regretted most intensely in days when not even old folk were permanently resident, was that when they were little they had names for every tiniest inlet or knoll or ness by sea and shore and among the fragrant inland pastures, and that now all these dear domestic names are forgotten for ever.

Just before his cousin, the late Miss MacGillivary, went to hospital I suggested that she might obtain a large map and fill in those special names. I did not realize that she was so old, that her memory was already beginning to fail, nor that she had, in any case, so little time.

How long will the lovely beaches and scented pastures around Knockvologan echo with children’s voices? In that body politic which is the nation progress is stream-lining the main arteries at the cost of constricting the capillaries. The heart of the country keeps heaving; the integument grows numb. It is high time something was done to keep life in the extremities, for a land suffering from something like frost-bite is no healthy place to live in. The people there deserve that others should share with them in bad weather the responsibility of keeping open and safe in winter roads which others use in summer with delight.

From the nature of the gift they made her, MRS STIVEN hopes long to be grateful for the exquisite mohair knee-rug her friends in the Guild gave her on Wednesday, woven in colours which will keep before her eyes the very beauty of Iona.

Remember that after our custom we meet in Kirk for worship on Good Friday at 8pm.

I wish you life abundant at Easter, Your Minister, DAVID STIVEN”

M.P.S. and D.S.S. are now retired and off to the Mainland: