Tag Archives: Orphan Homes of Scotland

Honouring those who went before us…

I debated writing this post for quite some time as I didn’t want people to think I was looking for sympathy. However; honouring the fiftieth anniversary of my father’s death seemed the right thing to do. It’s hard to believe fifty years have passed since his death.


My dad was fifty-five when he died. I was twelve. Not many people can say they remember someone who has been gone for so long or the things they did together like waiting for the Queen and the Royal Yacht Britannia to pass by our house when we lived in a winterized cottage along the St. Lawrence River.


Or like going golfing at the local Highland Golf course with my father and cousin, Ricky, to caddy. Mostly, to hitch a ride on the bag strapped to the pull cart. One time, my dad asked me to get a specific club out for him. I refused. I didn’t want him to know I didn’t know what club was what. Back in the day, it was a nine-hole course. Now it’s eighteen! I wonder what my dad would think of that?


Or watching him play soccer at Fulford Park in town. He’s in the centre of the front row. He played for years before I was born and there are pictures of him in his football kit at out of town locations in the box of photos I have.

Walking the B&W rail line from Elbe Road near my grandmother’s house to the falls to cut pussy willows. The waterfall was raging at this time of year.

My father was a Home Child who came to Canada through the auspices of the Orphan Homes of Scotland. One of the things he talked about frequently was that train whistles made him lonesome. There was a rail line that ran behind Quarriers Village between the River Gryffe and the A761 trunk road.

The railway line is long since dismantled, and it’s now a paved walking/cycling trail.

But I digress. After landing at Halifax, he came to Brockville by train to the Fairknowe forwarding home. So, lots of train whistles to hear and remind him of home.

I have many more memories, but I’ll save them for another blog post.


It was twenty years ago today…

And no it’s nothing to do with Sgt Pepper teaching the band to play.

It was twenty years ago today (on this date is more accurate), I first set foot on Scottish soil. I had wanted to do this for quite some time but it never seemed to be even the remotest possibility. But, this year I had an extra year’s holiday leave from my job so it was “I’m doing it.”

We weren’t in a position for the entire family to go on this adventure so my hubby stayed home with our two young children and off I went.

There were a lot of firsts on this trip.

  • First time flying. Yup, my first time and I’m going on my own and crossing the ocean. I’ve never done anything by halves before, so why start at that point in my life?
  • First time in Scotland.
  • First time meeting family that I knew of but had only written to (and not email) and exchanged Christmas cards with.
  • First trip to the orphanage where my father and four of his siblings were raised.
  • First time seeing where he was born and staying at Earlsfield Farm.
  • Maybe most importantly of all, first time driving on the wrong side of the road on the wrong side of the car and shifting gears with the wrong hand.

See what I mean about a lot of firsts?

Cottage 1 Quarriers Village - Broadfield Home
My father and his brothers, George and Andy, stayed here in Broadfield Home (Cottage 1).
Cottage 13 - Quarriers Village
My father’s sisters, Barbara and Christina, stayed here in Cottage 13

When I first drove by the signpost for Weets on my way to Earlsfield Farm just outside Kennethmont, I got all weepy. Weets was where my father was born.

The road to Weets
Scenery near Kennethmont

From the first time I clapped eyes on this spooky old hulk, I fell in love with it. I bet those old stone walls are filled with stories and maybe even a ghost or two. What do you think?

The ruins of Wardhouse mansion.

So that’s my twenty years ago adventure. Being on my own, I spent all my time behind the camera, and to this day I’m still more comfortable on that side.

What were some of your “huge” firsts? I’d love to hear about them.