Margaret Doig Letter
16 Kenilworth Avenue, Dundee DD4 6LG
23rd July, 2000
Do you remember our conversation when we were having dinner with Jack and Nancy? Please excuse your country cousin for being so inept on that occasion. After all being from Caledonia stern and wild we ain't got no social skills.
I don't know whether you still have cancer or whether you are clear of it, but I was sharply reminded on re-reading "A Time to Heal" by Beata Bishop which I have managed to wrest back from a quondam community "bobby" to whom I lent it 9 months ago. I thought he would read it at a sitting as I did, having Found it by serendipity or synchronicity sitting on a window sill outside the YM where there was a book sale. The "bobby" had cancer of the stomach and is "completely recovered."
My best friend is Greek, about 43, and is coming to London in August to see one Dr. Innes who subscribes to the Garson therapy. She then goes to the monastery in Essex where the last Archimandrite Sofronios -died of cancer and, she believes, cures by miracle. She is practising Greek Orthodox and although I would have said she was not devout. I believe that in such circumstances a person may react in different ways, some becoming more "religious" and others losing their faith altogether. However she then comes to me with her daughter for at least a week, and I hope longer.
I may have told you that I missed seeing her in May when she phoned from hospital in Heraklion to say she was having the tumor on the liver removed but too late for me to get the once a week boat and the Rep failed to get me a flight. I was out of town and had to rely on others to make arrangements. It is 9 weeks since her op and I didn't know if she had survived. Her mother doesn't speak English and her brother wouldn't bother.
I was overjoyed to learn that she has survived and is well enough to travel- mind over matter and a strong faith and determination. Unfortunately my info from the Institute was that the liver was so compromised that they could not put her on the full regime but that a modified regime might prolong life and make it more liveable.
Now to the point of this letter. I have been unable to get a copy of the book here although it was published by Severn House in 1985 ISBN 0 7278 2041 9. You may be able to get it from a library or from tile Gerson Institute - "www getson.org." I find it an inspiring and humbling account of the courage and dedication of a highly intelligent strong-minded woman to trust her judgment and her instincts against the overwhelming battery of orthodox opinion and systems. As far as I know she is still alive and free from cancer.
Orthodox medical opinion says you are never free or cancer and one medic has even told me that once you have cancer it has its course to run - a fatalistic view. In my opinion if Beata Bishop has had 20 years when she had no systems and believed she was free of cancer that is a bonus worth all her effort. What reminded me sharply of you was the reference to Earl Taylor, 70, prostate cancer. sent home to die, widower of limited education (not apposite) lived on his own, now 85 , broke rib, total bone scan- no cancer. So when you are at a loss for something to do, you could do worse than have a look at this very readable book.
When I say was reminded of you, I hadn't forgotten. I just haven't had time to write as I intended. I got home on 12th June after an abortive tour of the north where I used to botanise. No beds for singles, one of Hitler's undesirable groups and the beds there were appalling. I got home to find two longstanding flights coming to the boil- car accident October '98 (Procurator Fiscal has instructed police not to send cases to court unless serious injury, death or write-off !!!) and I have just heard on the radio today that anyone driving over the speed limit will in future be charged by the police court - summons or fixed penalty which makes a nonsense of what happened in my case. N.B. Feudal law now before Parliament
The other matter concerns property and I have been totally let down by the firm of solicitors who are supposed to advise me and act on my behalf. I don't understand all the verbiage concerning the land rights, but I can read and I informed the latest legal luminary (two have retired) that his advice to me was contrary to the terms of the contract with the Council. He subsequently gave me two further pieces of advice which conflict with the first and with each other and charged a hefty fee therefore! Sorry, I got carried away.
Rest assured, I am not anti all solicitors, only those who have served me ill in this country. My first encounter was when my father died in 1951. I came home one weekend to find my mother distraught, the solicitor had charged 22.something of the estate as his fee. That was all my mother had to live on and I had to come home as we could not live apart. I was refused a mortgage "You might get married or pregnant (parthenogenesis?) and either way you are a bad risk and anyway you don't earn enough a professional woman! I suppose I'm writing this because it is in the forefront of my mind but it might interest you to know something of current systems in the country from which your forebears were forcibly removed, cruel in itself but sometimes with unbelievable brutality. I don't like the term "ethnic cleansing" but it is not new.
I was very moved by the closing ceremony in the ruined church although I no longer belong to a congregation. I despair of man's inhumanity to man and am all the more grateful to you for the tremendous effort you put into bringing about the first ever gathering of a clan I might belong to. Sartre said, "Hell is other people." I often think, "Hell is not other people."
David, keep on keeping on and if you are ever in these parts again will you please come and see me. Remember Sister Margaret, rather more substantial than Father Duffus and Brother Duffus!
With my grateful thanks and love to yourself and Diane and Megan.
Addendum/a David, you'll be fed up of this dissertation but I must tell you that I have just seen some of the Duffus 2000 with difficulty, because the machine is temperamental and I was ultimately debarred! What do you have on it? I look a proper hag on the Castle one and am not visible at the ceilidh. No matter. It was interesting to see those who were. Some came up really well. Which reminds me. I can use CD Roms at the Family History Centre ?enery D hasn't been back and I still have not met Innes!
Will you please let me have the address of Jack and Nancy in St. Louis.
I have been trying to get "A Century of the Scottish People 1830-1950" by T.C.Smout, Fontana pb 1987, first pub. Collins 1986 - no ISBN to my knowledge. DUP had to return last batch pages missing- will not reorder till Sept. Other shops no copies. It has been reprinting for ages. I know nothing about your g/ggmother but I thought it might cover the period when she lived here. Chris Smout is a very charming Englishman, a fine scholar and a marvelous lecturer. Students who sat under him have no idea how lucky they were. I shall get a copy for you as soon as it becomes available but in the meantime you may be able to get it from a library or ILL. I'm sure you would enjoy it. He is one of the finest writers of history that I have come across, he knows his stuff, has a fine sense of humour not to say irony (should appeal to you) and makes his points tellingly. He took early retirement having written umpteen books all very readable as well as being informative and set up SASSI in St Andrews. He is now Historiographer
Royal and? Chairman (?) of Scottish Heritage and concentrates more on ecological history -a broad sweep and quite brilliant.
I managed to find a machine that was working marginally better and found to my horror "me on the Internet". Really David, you must get a kinder camera for us oldies. Also, I can only print in black and white, but it is all very impressive and I'm so glad you did not give up on the project. It was worthwhile.
Please let me have info re ~Big Spender" who became bankrupt. I have no info on him at all but if he has Coutts in his name it is unlikely that he is not one of mine. Did I tell you about the American lady who became incensed when she learned that one of her forebears was the wrong side of blanket From Bothwell, third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots? She told her researcher in no uncertain terms that she didn't want to know any more!
I had a similar experience when I did research for an Australian lady whose family is remotely connected on my mother's side. I found a link which she and her family had failed to do after years of research in Aus. and here. I knew that she was a committed churchgoer if I can put it that way and swithered about telling her but decided that if was not for me to make decision for other people. As I had guessed she was extremely upset to learn that her father/grandfather (from memory) was illegitimate. Her daughter, however, was over the moon to get the link and with it a lot more information. I have a whole clutch of them on my mother's side and they provide very interesting clues to the socio-economic conditions in Banff/Buchan where the conditions of tenure of job/college led to the very "vices" that the Church deplored and fulminated against. If you read the sessions of the Kirk they are not only hypocritical, they are prurient - sanctimonious licensed nosy-parkers in my opinion. Them's my sentiments!
Positively the end. Papers sent separately. Good health, good luck and all the best wishes to yourself, David, and to Diane and Megan.