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Baillieston and District Memories

Letter from Australia

John, I thought you would like to know that I had planned a three week holiday in Scotland from 28th August to 12th Sept. Barb and I spent the night of the 27th August at the Red Deer Innkeepers hotel in Cumbernauld. In the early hours of the 28th (my 73rd birthday) I was rushed to the Monklands Hospital in Airdrie with a gangrenous gall bladder. The pain was something else. 

I spent ten days in the hospital with a keyhole surgery to remove the dreadful mass. (as the surgeon called it) Barb and I spent the next two weeks in a bed sitter - The Knowes -in Riddrie (where we stayed four years ago) where I was recuperating, before the insurance company sent us back home. So we missed Italy and France and all I had was a day out in the Campsies just before we left.
Barbara was treated like royalty by the shopkeepers in Cumbernauld Road Riddrie.  They all asked after "her man" and popped an extra roll or a bit of fruit in her shopping bag " tae keep um happy."
As for the hospital treatment they could not have been better . The patients and staff spoke in a dialect that I had long forgotten. I didn't realise it was still used.

The man across from me would slip out with the young man in the adjacent bed for a fag . It was " Hey Andy, son, ye fancy gone out fur a wee puff?" "Naw ? Later, eh?" And the visitors, little ladies with their gaberdine coats, some with their noses nearly touching their chins like they had forgotten to put their teeth in.

I could hear them all whispering, " see that yin in the next bed, he's an Australian." And as they passed my bed on the way out they would shyly look at me and say " Sorry aboot yur illness and sae far frum hame"

I thank all the medical and nursing staff for pulling me through. I had heard terrible things about the NHS but they all came up trumps and here I am back in Australia finishing off my recovery. I also thank the people of  Riddrie and Glasgow for all their help to Barbara and myself. I am proud to say that I still belong to Glasgow.
I missed my holiday but I'm alive!
Slainte, Alistair Stevenson

Alistair lives in Merimbula/Tura beach in NSW Australia but is originally from Garrowhill

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