I had no intention whatsoever of blipping this photo until I hit "upload". My sister emailed it to me today, without a word of explanation - and I instantly recognised who it was. (It may be apparent that my own recent delving through old photos has now spread over the Clyde and down the coast, where my sister now claims her study floor is littered in the past.)
This woman is Mrs McMIllan. She lived in the top flat across the landing from us in Novar Drive when I was a child, and was the person entrusted with checking on me when I was left in bed with one of my innumerable bad colds once my mother had returned to teaching. She had our key, and we had hers. I had always remembered her as being really old, but when I look at her photo I realise she is several years younger than I am now - though to be fair to my memory, I haven't a clue when my father took it. She wore navy blue dresses and flat black leather shoes, and had a hat that she wore when she had to go down the stairs and out to the rubbish bins in the back court. She kept it on a hook beside the door, and called it her "go-to-midden" hat. Her floors sloped slightly towards the front of the tenement, a relic of the land-mine which fell nearby. The vacuum caused by the explosion briefly sucked the walls of her side outwards, letting the joists slip before the walls returned to their rightful position. Our side of the close was protected by the buildings on the other side of the road, but hers faced down Polwarth Gardens.
Somehow this awakening of another set of memories brightened a day whose weather went sharply downhill from quiet dampness to howling winds battering the rain against the back door. At least we managed to fit in a quick walk through Benmore Gardens before lunch, and before the rain ...
Now I've just taken the sourdough bread for tomorrow out of the oven, and developed sciatica with sitting at the computer for too long this afternoon. I shall do some exercises before a hot bath and then pop a couple of paracetamol and hope for the best.
And we can go out to play with another couple! Can't see us sipping tea in the garden in a hurry, but it's a start ...
*I've just learned that there's a date on that photo - 1940 - so she would indeed be a good ten years older at least in my memories.