Sunday, January 27, 2013

In bed with the Major General

'the plaid'

This was supposed to be a few bon mots about 25th January. I was going to talk about the Haggis in Morrisons and the wee drop of Drambuie I have been keeping to go with my Burns night thoughts. Its the 27th now and the moment has passed but I am not going to waste my 'tartan ' pictures.

Aunty Eva, Aunty Alice(died 1986) ,Aunty Bessie
My dearest of aunts , Alice Susan Bruce  was the curator of all our Scottish relics, heirlooms and in some ways ephemera. I always remember her on 26th January , her birthday. So forgetting Burns night has enabled me to write about something much more personal.
My great great grandmother Mary Mckinnon Elder married a Bruce , and passed many family things to her her grandaughters 'the Edinburgh aunts' (Eva and Bessie Borthwick) who passed them to my Aunty Alice. My aunt passed the Major Generals plaid  on to me several years before she died. 
The huge piece of black watch tartan (5 yds by 2 yds)was supposed to have belonged to Major General Sir George Elder who died in Madras in 1836. We have the Inventory of all his possessions on his accidental death,(fall from his horse) it is not there. His effects were sold in India and the monies returned to Scotland. Of course I have no way of knowing it was his. The oral tradition about it might have been blurred. It might have been given by him to my Great Great Grandmother who was his niece.  We will never know. When I was given it in 1982, it was all wrapped in brown paper, and had not been opened for decades. 

For the last 30 years Colin and I have used it. It is thin and extremely warm. When it is very cold we say 
Shall we go to bed with the major General tonight?


  1. I trust he appreciates your company as much as you do his.
    It's when you start to hear a piper in the middle of the night that you'll need to change to an M&S

  2. Strange that I have just had a discussion about the "Elder " name being joined to the Bruce name ! About the same time as you posted your blog !!!!