After our quiz night in the Great Strickland poob, Donna had to drive down to Manchester for her son’s birthday, with the possibility of returning afterward, but she didn’t make it, too many obligations. So Joan and I took the train up to Ayr, Scotland without her. This was the trip I’d been planning since childhood, ever since my dad told me of his school days at Ayr Academy where he’d been sent from Bloemfontein, South Africa as an eleven-year-old—see my U is For Unicorn blog.
The day following my epic journey, we had tea with two of her friends down the street in Morland’s local café, see above. Café is pronounced kaf like they do on BBC’s long running “Eastenders” set in London, which by the way, I reveled in seeing again after PBS canceled the series in the States. It was in the kaf we learned that a certain Marjorie Roscamp was having a 105th birthday party in Grange, a village fifteen miles north near Borrowdale, “where the valley squeezes between Grange Fell and Castle Crag.” That’s the village there lying beyond the famous Ashness bridge.
We arrived to find the party in full swing—a handwritten notice in the driveway announced the celebration: “Cakes, preserves, bric a brac for sale in aid of the Leprosy Mission, also a 105th birthday celebration for Marjorie Roscamp.” Also. Don’t you love it?
Blocking our path was Ebony, a Newfoundland. As you can see she’s a huge horse of a dog. Of course I had to drop to my knees and spend some time with her before following Joan and Donna into the jammed stone house. I missed Jake and Fergie. Once inside, I learned from her son, who must’ve been in his late seventies that we’d just missed the BBC crew that filmed the cutting of the cake and interviewed Marjorie. He told me that even though he helped take care of his mother, the secret to her long life had to be the constant tender care provided by his eighty-five year old sister. Marjorie’s answer as to the secret of her long life? “Keep breathing.” That’s her in the wheelchair, her daughter’s on the left. I should look that good now.