Life in Old Deer

Reminiscences of a lady

Edited from a manuscript written in 1999

The Parish Church dominated the village—its massive tower "The George Reid Tower" a feature seen well beyond the actual village. Sammy Moir (of clock fame) inmate of The Home—"blew the organ" (pumped the bellows) twice every Sunday all through my early years of St Drostan's--But I don't remember who did it for Auld Kirk.

Opposite the church looking up the village was a small lane (two houses—no Council houses yet—only a park down to the Ugie)—The first house was the corner one (corner windows like a Toll House) occupied by Miss "Toddlie" Duncan. This lady had a pronounced limp (a club foot, special boot) hence the nickname, but we daren't use this in her hearing—she, after all, had a handy stick!

Another small house lay between Miss Duncan's and the Bank House. In my early days—KEMP was the Banker's name, and KEMP the minister's name. Two of the establishment of our village, but the latter always given his due doctor's title—DR KEMP.

The Banker was a trusted friend and adviser to many a business man and farmer. He "did the books" for my father—and received the traditional hospitality when he returned them—a good dram—No "coffee" in those days.

The actual Bank office was the room on the left hand side as you entered the front door. Funny, the things that stand out in one's memory—The locked doors of the "house" part (our doors, back and front, were never locked) and there was no front garden—no shrubs or flowers, just a tree at the furthest left hand side.

Next to the bank was another shop. Mr Keith was the owner, I remember—His was the druggist's, the postmaster's (though there was a lady also) and the paper shop too. Each function had its own counter—and a child, not knowing the drill, could wait in vain for a paper at the chemist's counter. Going in: Post Office: left hand side; Papers: Middle; Chemist's: right hand side). Mr Keith did not suffer mistakes nor did one linger to gossip in his establishment.

These however were really fine stone buildings of considerable architectural interest. Mr & Mrs Keith lived attached to the shop, and late prescriptions could be had at the house door.

(Revision date: Sunday 4th May 2008)