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Retirement? Well, sort of!

Margaret, at Plockton.
We took the opportunity to visit Plockton, a couple of years ago.

It was 2015 when we sold our shop in Helensburgh, so technically, we’ve been retired now for five years! It’s passed in the blink of an eye. We miss all of our customers and also the chat, the gossip, the sad moments, the fun moments – but we don’t miss the work and we certainly don’t miss the responsibility of having a physical presence on the high street. Like many seaside towns, Helensburgh has its challenges and, now that the council have decided to upgrade the swimming pool and the parking on the seafront, there are going to be a couple of more “interesting” trading years for the businesses there. Infrastructure improvement is always important and, in the fullness of time, the town will benefit greatly from the new facilities.

So, what about our own lives? What has been the impact of retirement on our routines??

We have certainly slowed down; I don’t think I could contemplate working the hours that the business demanded. However, the plus side of being at home was that we could start to plan and execute renovations in our home – and by sheer chance, we chose to do the work last year. The builders were only interrupted by bad weather a couple of days; the work ran smoothly and we were delighted with the outcome. We’ve got a great new kitchen, a modernised bathroom and an extra bedroom. The house was rewired and we also had gas central heating installed (thank goodness!) I don’t know how we would have coped had the work been delayed till this year; the weather has been much windier and wetter, the Coronavirus pandemic has shut down most building sites with staff on furlough – and my guess is that we would be living in a building site for many more months to come! Luck was on our side last year.

Being able to spend time together is such a bonus. Sandy is enjoying doing the garden and practically killed himself riddling the gravel on the path and drive. I have been trying to keep our website up to date and to market our online business – but, to be honest, my concentration isn’t what it used to be and so I end up making adjustments little and often. We still do sell products and are happy to post things out to customers old and new. We so appreciate being able to reach customers old and new; as a now (very) small enterprise, this is enough to give us a modest top-up to our retirement income and to keep us aware of what is current and how technology is coming to the aid of high street stores who had no other way of reaching their customers while the United Kingdom was in lockdown.

We haven’t travelled as much as we would have liked but we have enjoyed visiting places in Scotland that we couldn’t reach while we were working. The Scottish islands are wonderful; we have several more to visit before we can tick them all of the list – so I’m looking forward to doing that over the next few years. It would be lovely to visit Fair Isle; the Shetland Isles and Orkney as well as Lewis and Harris. Another place we simply must visit is Islay – my mother used to spend holidays there when she was a child.

Retirement has been magic; the next few years look quite promising and we want to push on to see and learn as much as we can before our physical condition keeps us on a shorter leash!

MacGillivray’s

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Covid-19 Update

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, we have made some changes here at MacGillivray’s, so we wanted to let you know what is happening.

Our website is still open for you to browse and place your orders as usual.

Because many of our suppliers have made the decision to close their workshops to ensure the safety of staff and customers, it means that we will be unable to supply many products which were available to us by return of post . Consequently, we have been working hard to update our site so that we are currently only offering items that are in stock – but, with quite a big website, it’s not always possible to find every last product which we would have to buy in. It’s frustrating all round 🙁

Finished stock is available though so please still place your order or get in touch with us at margaret@macgillivrays.co.uk if you would like to check if we have a particular item available. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes but we hate disappointing you if we have to cancel an order.

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How many brooches should I wear?

Silver Celtic Brooch set with Blue Topaz

Silver Celtic Brooch set with Blue Topaz

It seems as if brooches are back – Lady Hale’s amazing spider brooch was an exclamation mark, showing the style and the power of a piece of jewellery pinned to a garment. It would seem that any style goes – and, for some, (think Georgio Armani) the more pieces pinned to a garment, the better! So, we’ve got some lovely silver brooches which would make beautiful Christmas gifts for 2019’s stylish lady.

silver luckenbooth brooch Sterling silver celtic cross brooch Silver Celtic Brooch

The three brooches here are some of our most popular designs; traditional, made in sterling silver and hallmarked in Edinburgh, they could be amazing, grouped together on a jacket or dress! We’d love to see your photo showing how you wear your brooch! Tag us on Instagram to let us see your Celtic style.

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Cherry Blossom
Cherry Blossom
See my Instagram Feed

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A glorious Easter in Scotland

Cherry Blossom

Easter 2019 has been magnificent – the weather has been sunny and very warm. That has meant the beautiful scenery has been matched by stunning displays of cherry blossom and rhododendrons as well as spring bulbs on grass verges beside roads and in gardens.

Cherry blossom in Cardross

The Scotland’s Garden Scheme gives visitors the opportunity to explore gardens around Scotland – some of them only open a couple of times a year. “Scotland’s Gardens Scheme was founded in 1931 to raise money for the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland, to help support the Queen’s Nurses, before the creation of the National Health Service. Our charitable support has expanded over the years but our love of gardens has remained constant.” There are often plants for sale on the open days and people can be seen heading back to their cars with arms full of plants in everything from cardboard boxes to carrier bags and black bin liners.

Margaret MacGillivray visiting Kilarden, Rosneath
Cherry Blossom, Scotland

The Scotlands Garden Scheme raises a lot of money for charity. Most weekends of the year, it is possible to find a garden open – and I would highly recommend taking the opportunity to explore.

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Ask about different stones

Sterling Silver Celtic Cross Brooch
Sterling silver Celtic brooch set with amethyst
Silver Celtic Cross Brooch set with Amethyst

You’d love to buy a Celtic brooch in gold or sterling silver, but you’re looking for one set with a different precious or semi-precious stone? How often do you say to yourself, “I’d love to buy this for Auntie M but she only wears silver and turquoise!” Well, you know what, our silver and goldsmiths are versatile and we can request a quotation for you to supply a special piece of jewellery which is set with the gemstone of your choice. Sure, it might cost a little more than the standard offering and it will certainly take a few extra days for us to get it made for you. However, challenges like this are our bread and butter – we love it when our customers say that they’re looking for something unusual and don’t know how to got about obtaining it!

Silver Celtic Brooch set with Ruby
Sterling silver Celtic Cross Brooch – set with Ruby this time!

Photo © https://twitter.com/Magsc61

Please just ask us 🙂 Don’t worry, we’ll be gentle with you and will let you know about costs and timescales as soon as possible.