‘Get your new colour brochure now!’

I started as a medical student in Aberdeen in late summer of 1985, and for the next 3 years (until my father bought me an old car), I used STAGECOACH buses to take me back home to Edinburgh. At this time bus fares were considerably cheaper than rail fares.

No 1. Walnut Grove used to be a ‘midway’ terminus for STAGECOACH.  Long since gone, this ‘midway terminus’ remains etched on my mind:

It was as a junior doctor, in 1990, that I first met Sian. I was JHO  [Junior House Officer] and Sian was an SHO [Senior House Officer] and we were working for the Department of Medicine for the Elderly [DOME],  Woodend Hospital, Aberdeen.

I am not sure of the date when I first met Sian’s parents, probably in early 1991. I do recall how kindly I was greeted by them at their then home ‘Greenhill’ which had a glorious view across the Tay to Perth City centre.

Not long before we were married, Sian’s mum and dad moved to Walnut Grove: a truly beautiful spot by the river Tay.

No 5, Walnut Grove, Dai and Eileen’s home, is called Tor-na-coille [it was previously called Cairndhu, as this 1960s map reveals:]

I am not sure when this midway terminus of STAGECOACH closed. Dai and Eileen may remember. I find that I tend to recall in-the-moment wonders of nature, however transient, more than I recall dates of any specific event.

The Tor-na-coille orchard:

The midway, Walnut Grove STAGECOACH terminus, was demolished long ago, but some of the hard surfacing can still be found [though, season by season, year by year, nature is reclaiming even that]

At the time of writing, planning permission is being sought to build new houses where the stagecoaches, that so many of us once travelled on, regularly arrived and departed from.

STAGECOACH buses will be recalled by many: they were most colourful, with orange, red and blue bandings.

Last Wednesday we visited Tor-na-coille, only our second time since ‘Lockdown’ began.

Arriving at Walnut Grove, at the very spot where the STAGECOACH buses once turned into the midway terminus,  poppies had self sown. Growing in the rubble, the poppies had garnered a past in the present, defiantly so.  No “new colour brochure” required!

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