Laying on a hospital bed as the sun shines in the window, Margaret Mair doesn’t hesitate when asked what her biggest achievement in life is.
“Just having my children I think,” the 75-year-old said.
“Bringing them up to be good citizens, I think, but other achievements, I can’t think of any, it’s just my family.”
Margaret was born in Dundee and went to Cowgate Primary School before her family moved to a house in Fintry, the place she still lives in today.
“After my husband died after 40 years it was a good idea for me to sell my house and move back and stay with my mum and sister,” she said.
“So that’s where I live now, back in the same house.”
Margaret had many fond memories of growing up the city, including the different ways the children found to amuse themselves.
“There wasn’t really that many play parks or anything like that but we made our own fun,” she said.
“On the street where my Granny lived, you went up and there was a butcher’s back window which had a wall opposite. and it was a competition to see who could jump this wall and slide down.
“My brother always won,” she laughed.
After Cowgate, she went to Stobswell Girls’ School while one of her brothers went to Stobswell Boys’ School.
“We went to school and learned all these things, it was amazing,” she said.
“My brother wasn’t so keen, he was just trying to get the answers from me.”
After school, she worked in an electricity shop for a short time before starting a job grading eggs.
“You were in a dark, dark, dark room and you had a small light.
“You had to learn to twist eggs, maybe six eggs at a time…to test them for any kind of germs or anything,” she said.
“It was quite interesting.”
It was also there that she made friends with two twins, who she is still in contact with today.
“I went for tea one night and that was where I met their brother. We got together and we got married,” she said.
She was 19 when she married Charles, or Che as she called him.
Margaret was the oldest of four and had two brothers and a sister.
“One of my brothers, he died when he was 42, the one next to me in age so that was a bit sad,” she said.
“I had two daughters (Helen and Jen) and two sons as well (Che and Stewart), but my eldest daughter, (Helen), she died when she was 42.”
Family is everything for Margaret, and she recalled many times they had gone camping as a family.
“I went with my husband to Ireland one year, thoroughly enjoyed it and would have gone back but I just wasn’t well,” she said.
“I’ve never been abroad, I’ve never been on a plane.”
So is that something she’d like to do one day?
“Probably going on a plane, yea, but I probably wouldn’t manage it,” she said.
“And I love a train, I always love the train.
“I just like the noise of the train that they used to make.
“I just love the jog of the train, and you knew when the train was coming.
“It’s so different now, it’s so different. There’s so many things that are so different.”
Margaret’s health had slowly deteriorated and a few years ago she was diagnosed with cancer, among other things.
While she was hopeful it wouldn’t be too long until she was back home again, she was full of praise for the staff and volunteers at Roxburghe House where she was recuperating.
“They come in with tea and coffee, it’s really good of them.
“They always offer you tea, biscuits, or, if somebody’s been baking, I always have something that has been baked because I love home baking, there’s nothing like it.
“I used to bake a lot when the kids were young and then I stopped, obviously, when I took ill.
“It just seems to be so many years but it’s just gradually got worse now.
“I so appreciate the help and care we have here.
“My whole family, we’re all very family orientated, very, very close.
“There’s a lot wrong with me now, you know what I mean, but there’s always another day.
“God never gave up on the first day, did he? We carry on and make the best of it.”