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A bit about me
A bit about me
This is where I tell you a bit about me,Elizabeth Mackay and what I've done so far in my life and what I plan to do next. I've found it all very interesting maybe you will too.I was born at the end of the forties, so am a baby boomer. Life was tough for my parents raising three children on a low income, but they made an incredibly good job of it.
A snowy start to life
I have lived almost all of my life in Devon England. It's very green here, that's because it tends to rain a lot. But when the sun is shining it's gorgeous.
I was born here in 1947. Just in time, two days later a bad winter set in and the midwife would not have reached us.
My Dad was a farm worker and we lived in a cottage tied to the job. Dad was a bit unstable and tended to fall out with his employers. Mum was fed up with having to move house every time he lost a job. One day she heard of a place which was a caretaker's cottage for a Baptist chapel. They could settle there and Dad could work his way around the farmers in the area. By the time he had done that the first farmer would be ready to give him another try. It worked well and they lived there from 1949 till 1974.
Here are three books I have enjoyed
I particularly enjoyed Earthly Joys. Philippa Gregory brings the past to life. Earthly Joys is about the life and loves of John Tradescant, gardener to royalty. The Constant Princess is the story of Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's first wife. The other Boleyn girl is about Anne Boleyn's sister, who avoided her sister's fate.
The chapel cottage
Our new home
The cottage beside the chapel was situated in a graveyard with large gardens and an orchard. It was idyllic. Brought up with the graveyard it held no terrors for us and we never saw a ghost! There was plenty of room to play in, with playmates just down the road, at the farm and more farther down the lane, past a little bubbling stream and up the hill where an Italian family lived. School was a mile away and we walked there, and then one day as a bus passed through anyway we were allowed on it. I was quite a timid child at first and quite anxious.
We attended chapel three times each Sunday. When I was seven I had a conversion experience when I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and come into my life. This helped me not to be so anxious. My anxiety probably stemmed from when I was 3 and the little girl at the farm who was younger than myself was killed in an accident. That has stayed with me all my life. That was when death first intruded into my life.(See a poem about it in Poems of Loss, shown below)
Schooldays and beyond
So here I am under a hanging basket in Weston-super-mare. To continue my story. At eleven I failed the 11+ an exam we used to take back then. I went to the secondary school, but two years later I passed the 13+ and set off for the Grammar school. It was nine miles away so I cycled into the village and caught the school bus. I loved it at this school and when I was 14 I began to learn to play the violin. I practiced feverishly and after two years took an exam which I passed. Two years later I took another exam and passed. By this time I had been learning the theory side of music too. I didn't leave school until I was 20 and a half !! Then I went off to university in Wales. At this time I was dating the man who was to become my husband. I did quite well at uni with my studies but I kept getting bouts of depression. I didn't realise this was a part of my makeup and so I decided to leave uni and try teacher training college as I thought this might be less intensive. A year later I decided this too was too much for me. Then I got married
Me at 9 on my uncle's farm in the summer of 1956
We spent many happy holidays at my uncle's farm. We had to travel by train to get there.This train journey was an adventure in itself. We took the branch line from our village to meet the main line. At this station we had to cross the line on a bridge which had wooden slats, I hated this I always felt as if I might fall between the gaps. The mainline train took us through more countryside and then along the coast. It was so exciting to see the sea. I was the youngest of three, having a sister and a brother. By far the greater part of my life has been lived in the countryside in Devon England. How blessed I am.
This is the lower graveyard. - It is so pretty
A peaceful oasis
Other Memories of the Sixties
Happy holidays on the farm
Holidays on the Farm
I always loved the holidays we spent on my Uncles farm. Dad had three brothers but was a bit despised by them because he had mental health problems. However Dad was the most successful in my eyes because he was the only one of the brothers to have children, with my brother continuing the family name of Geatches. He also had sisters, one of which had three children and the other two, one son each, but Dad was the only one to pass on the family name.
While on the farm I would take one of the dogs and roam over the fields, although I was always afraid I might come face to face with a bull. I never did.
Uncle kept exotic birds. He fed them with maggots that had been attracted to a cow's head kept in a metal container. He also had two Amazon parrots and a mynah bird which he kept in the dining room. The mynah bird would imitate the sound of the phone and uncle was often caught out by this.
Uncle would dearly have loved to have children, but auntie had married on the condition that they had no children. When she was just eleven her mother had died in childbirth and she was simply terrified that this might happen to herself.
Uncle was very generous and paid for a bicycle for me and I had lots of use from it.
This is the ancient yew tree - Bows and arrows were made from these
What a lovely home
As you see life was idyllic. Or was it? As I grew up times were sometimes difficult when my father was unwell. He was bi-polar. It caused a lot of tension in my life. As the youngest child I stayed at home longer than my brother and sister so it affected me more.
I settled down to married life and soon my husband and I had two children, a boy and a girl nearly nine years apart. I taught violin and piano on a part time basis and enjoyed it very much, but depression was never very far away. The black clouds would roll in and I would be grounded by depression. Fortunately one day, a new doctor came on the scene and diagnosed mild bi-polar illness and put me on lithium and I haven't looked back, except for the time a stopped taking my medication!! It has done me nothing but good. It hasn't stopped me being creative or dulled anything. Did you know the explorer Ranulph Fiennes is bi-polar. Before he sues me it is a joke, he's been to the South and North Poles.
Having spent all my childhood in the lovely place above I then went to live there again with my husband and family, as my parents had moved into the village in a bungalow.It was a lovely place to bring up a family, with plenty of space. At that time I did most of the work in our vegetable garden, which has since been neglected as you will see, if you look in the lens about My Mum shown below.
Times are not always easy
Troubles come and go
Life went on and the children grew up. I had continued to be a committed christian, as was my husband. And then something awful happened. I decided to go and live with another man. Call it a midlife crisis event if you like. Whatever, it was wrong.I eventually married the other man and lived quite happily with him for some time. Then everything fell apart in our relationship and we divorced. I'm telling this because I want you to realise that if you have gotten involved in wrong things there is still a way back and forgiveness in Jesus. I was a christian who knew better than to do these things, but you know we christians are not better than others, we have the same temptations. So now I live happily on my own in a very nice apartment in a village with wonderful views around me.My original husband is a good friend now. And now I am training to be a local preacher with the Methodist Church. I hope my experiences will keep me down - to - earth and give me an insight into other people's problems, and stop me being pompous or looking down on others.
The side view of the chapel
Are bad times really good?
Have you seen my Inspirational Meditations lens? Well, how did I come to be writing all this spiritual stuff, you may ask? I gave you a little hint further back in my story, when I was seven. Whatever we believe, life moulds us and takes us along paths we sometimes don't want to go along, but it is those twisting paths that teach us so much. There is much to be learnt about God, and we will never stop finding out. The subject is indeed vast. I have come to know God better by going through times of depression. Debilitating times. It is only in our weakness that we truly find Him. Although sin is never meant to be embraced even in sin we find Him, because it is then that we find His grace and forgiveness. So when problems hit you, look up and look for your God. He is waiting in love to teach you something.
A happy day
My great love
How I ran a music practice in a rural situation
I continued to teach violin and piano to children and adults.I decided that with the way things are run in families nowadays the Mum's would be eternally grateful if I went to them, instead of them having yet another journey coming to me. This also meant that I wouldn't have any problems with my neighbours and noise, especially with violin lessons.
You have to build up a practice slowly and word of mouth from satisfied clients is the best way. It is also good to go to your local music store, as people often ask them if they know of a teacher, so they keep a list of teachers. They are happy to promote you because you are then going to send trade their way. Of course doing this you have to charge for car running costs, but there is no problem because the families are only too grateful not to have to get their car out yet again.
In summer it is wonderful to be driving through the countryside and then taking a few lessons. Winter is not so great.
Some advice on the starting age of a pupil
You are unlikely to have a genius on your hands so starting much earlier than eight is likely to try your patience and use up the child's enthusiam before they can make much progress. There is a theory that violinists should start at six. If you have a genius it will be obvious, other six year olds will lose heart rapidly. I took up the violin at 14. Just circumstances. Anyone who will work hard at that age can learn well enough to enjoy playing in an amateur orchestra.
Going to the pupils' homes is great because you get to know the whole family. Also you can impress on the parents the need for regular practice. Teaching was a good experience.
Spreading the Word
How I felt called to preaching
I started my christian life in the Baptist church. Later in life I behaved badly and I didn't feel I should stay a member of that church. Some other churches refused to give me communion. It was at this time that the Methodist church came to my rescue and made me welcome. They felt that it was their job to be alongside me as I made my journey of life no matter what.
As a teenager, still in the Baptist church, I had a habit of walking up the hill, standing in a gateway, and looking down on the village and praying for revival. One day I prayed that if God did not want to use us Baptist's that he would use the Methodists.
Last summer(2008) I remembered that prayer and thought it was most significant as I was now a member of that very same Methodist church. I feel God is going to honour that prayer and also make me a part of this revival. This led me to believe that I should train to be a local preacher.My sense of call has increased since then and I feel a great joy in leading worship and delivering sermons. I have now(2011) finished my training and am a Local Preacher.
So now you know something about Elizabeth Mackay
Some more books I have really enjoyed - By Ellis Peters, a British author
Ellis Peter's also wrote under the name Edith Pargeter She wrote about Medieval times which she brings to life beautifully. There is usually a love story involved in these whodunnits. Wrongs are always righted and true love wins through. Super. Enjoy