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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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If you’ve been following me on Instagram …

Last weekend, we spent a quick break with family on Skye.  It takes us over five hours from door to door, so we can’t just drop everything and go to see them.  A couple of days’ notice – not a problem.

The drive north was quiet.  We had expected the roads to be really busy but we drove for many miles without catching a glimpse of headlights in our rear mirror.  That’s the kind of driving we like – so going off-season means we’re not being jostled by speedsters who want to do London to Portree in an afternoon.

Caledonian MacBrayne Ferry
Caledonian MacBrayne Ferry arriving in Uig – next stop Lochmaddy

Although we have visited Skye before, we were on our way to the Outer Hebrides so this time we had the opportunity to see much more of the island.  We called in to Uig to have lunch after visiting the Kilmuir Graveyard where Flora Macdonald is buried.  Much to our surprise, this is also the cemetery where Alexander McQueen has been laid to rest.

Flora Macdonald’s grave in Kilmuir Cemetery

Alexander McQueen Grave in Kilmuir Cemetery, Skye
Alexander McQueen

We didn’t know (or had forgotten) about Alexander McQueen’s Skye connections, so were quite touched to see this unusual memorial to such a talented man.

What else did we see on Skye – more to follow!

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Corporate Gifts

Little did we think when we went into semi-retirement that we would be asked to fulfill a corporate gifts order – however, we’re definitely up for a challenge, especially when it means that we get to promote Scottish craftsmen and women.  In all, we commissioned work from half a dozen of Scotland’s best silversmiths for an order which had to be delivered in January 2016.  It all went to plan, although we were a little anxious to get the products made and back from the Edinburgh Assay Office in time for delivery.

Celtic silver and leather bracelet
Three Nornes Silver and Leather Bracelet

We would love to talk to you if you are interested in sourcing Scottish gifts or jewellery for your DMC event – we can be contacted on 07955 450739.

In addition, over the years we have built up some great relationships with gift and jewellery companies so we would be happy to search out that perfect gift for your event.  Please challenge us!