When we came home from Nebraska in 1993 things were quiet. As usual there were ministers leaving and some arriving. There was always a District hello for the new, and a cheerio for the ministers leaving the District. The new ones would be welcomed by their Circuits later in September. There was one minor incident which was surprising. John forgot one of the new names and had to pause and search for it! With his reputation of never forgetting a name it was noticed, and he was quite upset about it.
On the following Sunday he got up and when he came back from the bathroom lay down and said. ‘Chris I think I’m having a stroke’. He had a dizzy feeling and his right arm and leg were numb. I said, I’m going to ring a doctor, make you a cup of tea then call David MacDonald (the Deputy Chairman) so that he can get someone to take your service. The doctor was a very nice young woman who said it was a TIA he had had, a mini-stroke, (transient ischemic attack), and she was very reassuring. She would arrange an appointment at the hospital for him. I asked if it could be a private appointment, for which the waiting time might be less. John didn’t really approve of that but I said we needed to know as soon as possible how long he would be off work, if we had to notify the car licence people and stuff like that. It was a very helpful appointment with a consultant whose name I have forgotten. John stayed off work for a few weeks, for the first week in bed till lunch time, not allowed near the phone, few visitors, complete rest, totally under my thumb!
The Aldridge’s son had left school and was applying for jobs and could drive. Maybe he would like to be a chauffeur for a few weeks, we thought? His Dad thought he might, and John was able to start work after a spell of walks and getting his strength back. He had short days and found his chauffeur good company. He didn’t start preaching right away, but before long he was back to the old routine, though no evening work, and the lad ferried him around and was pleased to have a wage. We were very grateful to him.
Anabel and John, Elspeth and Winston came for the weekend following the TIA and we were glad of their support (all pictures in this post were taken on that weekend). Although originally we had thought of staying in the District, John had already said perhaps we should go back to Scotland to have family members near us. We would never have been able to get a house in Elspeth’s area at our price. With encouragement from them all we thought that would be best, so Scotland it was. It was a hard choice to make, although we knew folk there and wouldn’t arrive as strangers. Apart from the pain of leaving the area which had been our home for 38 years it took us further away from Elspeth. We stayed with them many times going down by car for a good number of years, then by train and later by plane. We were there two days after Harriet was born and when Cassie arrived we were there, looking after Harriet. We were so pleased that Elspeth involved us with the girls’ arrivals, and have great joy in these two lovely granddaughters.
We didn’t want to live in a city, so Glasgow was out. Greenock would be a long drive for Anabel and John, so we thought about Paisley. We knew our way around there and there were houses being built. Son-in-law John knew a young couple who were members at Paisley Methodist Church so he attended there one Sunday and thought we’d could fit in! They both spent time looking at new housing estates and found a suitable site in Paisley though, because we chose a model of house that hadn’t been completed there yet, Anabel had to take us to Baillieston to see one. This was all happening while we were still in Newcastle and we came up for short periods to see the houses then later, once the Paisley estate started, we came up to choose our plot. We looked forward to having a home no one else had lived in!
There was a helpful young lady present at the Show House, and we were to have the corner house. However next time we came, when they were partly built, we had been allocated the other half of the house. The young lady pointed out that the end house would be responsible for a piece of land outside their wall. Small was our aim as far as gardens went, and the new plot gave us a view of Gleniffer Braes so we were happy to change! The Housing Society approved the house, though it was priced at several thousand pounds more than their limit, a sum which John and I didn’t have then. John Marsh covered the deficit and my hope is that house prices will have risen by the time I leave the house and John gets a good benefit for his generosity. He has also saved the Society a mint by doing lots of jobs around the house, as he can do just about everything.
Time moved on and before we knew it summer 1994 was upon us and we were packing all our belongings. Our suite was too big so we gave it away, but my only real regret was having to leave my tumbler drier for our successors, who were delighted. There was nowhere to put it in the new kitchen. I missed my utility room which had the boiler and all the large household items leaving the kitchen to be our breakfast room. I mourned the dryer for a bit but soon got used to a new routine!