I was wakened very early last night by a phone call from Bermuda that my Brother had passed away. He lived in Bermuda for nearly 50 years. He had been ill with cancer for some time yet it came as a shock. It was too late to phone the family so I dressed and went outside for a walk. It’s very hard when you live alone and especially during Covid to deal with. My mind was racing and I put on my clothes and went outside.
It was starting snowing getting heavy but with no wind as I wandered down to the harbour for a walk and to clear my head. It was surreal here are a few thoughts.
Michael was my older brother and though we were so different personalities when I was young he looked after me. We shared a room as wee lads together. As the sons of a local Minister life could be difficult especially at school. I have good memories of our childhood it was a different era.
We listened to radio Luxembourg at night in our room and followed Ayr United. He loved cycling and was a big tourer. Michael was fiercely Scottish and loved his country. Sadly he was very ill as a teenager and the treatment he got sadly effected his life afterwards. Due to this he had a hard time for many years. He loved football played as a winger in the rough and tumble of Junior football. He was all elbows and a very fast winger hardy player .
Michael served as an Electrician by trade and did his apprenticeship in the 60’s. It was a hard life in all weathers working on builders schemes. There were lots of strikes many getting paid off as then work could be sporadic. He moved to Bermuda for work during the 70’s as our late sister Eleanor was working out there. These were hard time’s but he got a job with a big Hotel as an Electrician. Later he moved on the be the Facilities manager for Fidelity in Bermuda.
He did regularly come home on visits as he loved and missed Scotland. We had some great mountain days when he returned. We were on the hill in 2001 and had a great day on the Mamores near Fortwilliam when we heard the news of 9/11. From the beauty of a great hill day we learned the sad news. It was a shocking day that changed the World.
He married Fay a local lass in 1972 and together raised Edwin , Isabell and Eric and had a big family in Bermuda. I visited when I retired on my lecture tour of the States in 2008 we had a great time.
They all made me very welcome and I had a great trip. The family commented how different we were. He ran every day in Bermuda was a powerful runner played football in Bermuda like me he was short sighted this never stopped him and was a well known personality.
He loved Scotland the bothies, the Galloway hills and we had some adventures in the big Munro’s. Though we were very different it was on the hills we got on well. Though he was still fiercely competitive and fit even up to his last visit a few years ago. He loved the space the wildness and the beauty of the hills often going off for a few days alone in Galloway in winter when home. My sisters used to worry about him but he had his adventures and loved the wild places.
Arran was another place he loved he would always visit and grab a hill day we spent so much time of our childhood here. He would often head over on a trip home to these hills that were part of our life.
He said a few years ago that this would be his last trip home and we had a great day in Galloway on the hills that he loved. He loved seeing Loch Enoch, The Merrick and the Silver Flow names that meant so much to us both of past adventures.
Michael was deeply religious and worked very hard for his church in Bermuda. He was always working helping the local folk doing maintenance on the Church, helping the local folk in food banks helping with jobs. He gave a lot back to a Bermuda . He was also very kind helping his family especially his nieces and nephews often unseen helping where he could. He had a big heart.
I hope he has found peace from his pain in his final days. He did not want to speak at the end very hard for those of us so far away I suppose it was his way of coping.
He is now away from the pain he struggled with over the last few years.
My big brother was “old school” this is why I feel he kept so much to himself. It has been a hard time for his wife Fay and the family and those in Bermuda who have nursed him.
Michael am thinking of you all, we cannot be with you but you are all in our thoughts. Thinking of you my brother “The Flying Scott” When things allow I will go back to the hills you love and the Bothies and have some time alone.
Your wee brother.
Farewell the “Flying Scott“