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Life at Inverernie

By Gordon Steadwood - uploaded 08/02/2010

In the late 1940s my family moved to Inverernie from Aberarder (approx 15 miles east of Inverernie) and until I was around fourteen years of age, my father was the pigman at the piggery located alongside the estate manager's home. (The estate manager was a Mr Grisewood, a relation of the BBC presenter, Freddie Grisewood.) As we were remote from Inverness, the estate approached my mother and asked her to manage a shop for the use of the local people. If she agreed they would build the shop onto the end of our home. After some thought she agreed to do it.

Mum sold everything in the store and I must say it was used by the locals although some adverse comments were made about her doing the washing on a Sunday - the only day the shop was closed. We would never turn anyone away no matter what time or day. Many times I had to get up at two o'clock in the morning and put a gallon petrol into a local's car so that they could get home or take their girlfriend home. The shop was also used by the father of the current Duke of Gloucester. The hedge around the cottage garden was planted by my father, brother and myself. We used to have a vegetable garden before the store was built and continued with it afterwards. I have many fond memories of playing in the sand pit across the road - where we lost a fortune's worth of Dinky toys!

Life on the farm estate at Inverernie was fantastic. We drove tractors to save workers' overtime at the weekends, fathers pushing cattle feed off the trailers whilst the kids drove the machines; we worked on the fields at harvest time and went beating for grouse in August; we learned to groom horses for the local landlord and won prizes at the Royal Highland show in its last 'touring' year, before it put down its permanent roots at Ingliston in 1960.

When the estate was sold, she and dad had a chance (with the help of some local landlords) to buy the stores which they did. They had it for a few years before selling up, around 1970, for financial reasons. It broke their hearts to have to move into the town of Inverness, as our life at Inverernie had been great, even on a farm labourer's wage of £3 per week with milk and eggs. Both my sons and myself have always stated that if we ever had the chance we would move there.

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