Over a year ago, at the start of 2012, Michael and I left the ailing Dafter to go for an afternoon walk down to the Brig o’ Dee. I never did make a post to show you, and as it’s even more wintry this morning – actually snowing (and lying) outside this morning – I thought I might as well today! Although the weather is still wintry and we’ve had a very snowy March, we no longer have the beautiful pearly low light of January. I think it was about 2 pm when we went for our walk. Here is a photo looking towards the centre of town and thus the harbour. We’re about two miles from the North Sea here.
Those who know Aberdeen will recognise the obelisk in the Duthie Park. It was originally in Marischal College, and was paid for by medical students to honour James McGrigor. He was more or less the founder of medical studies in the city.
You’ll see that the river was quite high the day of our walk. As it’s so close to the sea, it fluctuates with the tides. Here’s a view from the South side of the river:
I knew that the Brig o’ Dee was an old bridge. What I hadn’t realised before our walk was that in the 1530s there was a chapel to the Virgin Mary built on it. The sign commemorating the chapel says that it was at the Southern entrance to the bridge, and that it was built for travellers to “make their devotions”. Sir Gordon of Abergeldie complained that it was an obstruction and violated his fishing rights, but apparently his opposition didn’t prevail with the City Council.
The side of the bridge has coats of arms along it, added as the bridge was constructed in the 1520s. You can see one of them in the photo below:
Isn’t the reflected sky in the water beautiful? It’s amazing to think that this ancient bridge is still the main entrance to the city from the south.
In 1560, at the time of the Reformation, the silver statue of the Virgin Mary that stayed in the chapel was apparently smuggled to safety. The sign below explains that most probably William Laing, an Aberdeen merchant, took it out of the country in the early 1600s. To this day it is in the church of Notre Dame de Finistère in Brussels.
But Our Lady wasn’t forgotten in Aberdeen. There is a chapel to her (“Our Lady of Aberdeen”) in St. Mary’s Cathedral. The large photograph on the right of the sign is of the statue of her there.
So although it isn’t on the bridge any longer, there is still a chapel to Our Lady of Aberdeen here.
I was really surprised to receive a little notification from WordPress yesterday that my blog was three years old. Gosh, when I think back to what I imagined was before me then! I thought the Dafter was on the verge of much more independence, I imagined I would have more time to work on my creative writing, and more time to spend with Michael. I had no inkling of the Dafter’s suffering both by being bullied at school and then a year and half later from serious illness. I certainly didn’t realise that we would be moving to Glasgow (although I have often longingly looked West from Aberdeen and yearned to be a bit further in that direction! But I was thinking maybe more like Banchory once we retired). However, although it’s been a very painful time in many ways, especially seeing my daughter suffer so much, I have been so very, very blessed.
The other night I was saying to the Dafter that once she’s able to swim back into the stream of life, and make friends, and go out and do things, I will really miss her company! She and I have spent most of our waking hours over the last year and a half together or in very close proximity. And do you know, it has really been a joy. Although she has been too ill to do schoolwork, she has gained insights, wisdom and compassion that I certainly don’t feel I had until I was in my 30s. Her company and conversation is a delight to me. As we were talking about her future independence, we both said at the exactly the same time, “For now, I guess you’re/I’m stuck with me/you”. And we laughed and hugged each other.