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Lifestyle | 2nd May 2019

A fresh start in Eskdale


In our final instalment on the life of Janet Armstrong, she recounts how she came to live in Eskdale once again and make her home here.

IN JULY 1952 Janet and Denis went home to Scotland for a holiday.
Her husband, Raymond was, unfortunately, ill again with TB and was recovering in a sanitorium in Taunton.
After they had been home for a couple of weeks, Janet received a letter from him to say he had no intention of joining her in Scotland and, furthermore, he didn’t want her to go back to Somerset.
Living with her mum and nephew in a small cottage in Claygate was hardly the ideal situation and Janet decided it was impossible to carry on living the way they were.
After her first visit to the sanitorium in Lochmaben where doctors advised her not to go back to work, Janet spoke to her own doctor who told her that, if she had to work, she should apply for a sitting-down job.
After her application to Waverley Mill, she was offered a job as a trainee darner for three hours a day. Financially, she wasn’t really any better off but she began to feel there was a future, after all.
When her working hours and, consequently, her wages increased, Janet and Denis moved into a small house in Walter Street and eventually rented a mill house in George Street.
Janet met and married a man from Galashiels, Bill Armstrong, and when she moved to Gala, she worked in an old folks’ home. When Bill retired, the couple made their home in Canonbie.
For many years Janet has suffered with macular degeneration, a problem with her eyes, which meant she was no longer able to paint, do embroidery or write but she spent some of her leisure time knitting scarves for the Christmas shoeboxes.
Janet lived in Greenbank until her eye condition meant she could no longer cope at home and she had to move into the Thomas Hope Hospital.
Now, she is content and very happy being looked after by the staff of Notwen House, Kirkpatrick Fleming.
She celebrated her 96th birthday on April 20 with Denis, daughter-in-law, Ellen, and close friends.
A peaceful place

As I walk beside the river,
In our bonnie border land,
I look about and see the beauty,
That’s just lying all around.
The green fields,
And the gentle heather covered hills,
So peaceful here I can’t believe,
There’s wickedness and killing,
So very very near.
Here and there,
A clump of wild flower springs,
Up above my head somewhere,
A blackbird sings.
In the deep dark pool beside the tree,
A lonely salmon jumps,
Making rings around him,
As back to the depths he plumps.
From the thick green of the hedgerow,
A little rabbit peeps,
And when he is sure it is safe to go,
Across my path he leaps.
As on my way I go this lovely summer day,
Listening to the wind as it passes on its way,
How it sighs among the trees,
Just like laughter floating on the breeze.
Alas too soon the Winter days will come,
And cloud will hide the warmth,
Of our lovely summer sun.
Soon beneath the pure white snow,
This border beauty sleeps,
Until again the buds will show,
When spring her promise keeps.

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