November 29, 2008

As a kid, what did you want to be when you became an adult?

One of the web sites I check out is the One-minute writer.
Today's subject was about what you wanted to be when you grew up.
The One-Minute Writer: Today's Writing Prompt: Adult

This one was easy: here is what I posted:
"At six I realised I could be an animal doctor and spend all day working with animals. I went home and announced I wanted to be a vet. I pulled wishbones and cut cakes with my eyes screwed shut for all the years it took to achieve it and I have been a vet for thirty years. Great job. No regrets."

Animals do seem to be a vocation. I see it all the time in my animal care and vet nursing students. I am sure a large number of them intended to be vets, or just knew they wanted to be involved with animals from a very young age, although quite a number of them take many years of working in other areas before they step sideways and train with us.

I have vivid memories of the day I um, saw the light? I had been sent home from the farm across the road from my grandmother's house in Scotland where we were on holiday. I was always there, getting the cows, milking, separating the cream, feeding calves and helping deliver the milk each day. To be sent home was a punishment! The nice farmer said it kindly and explained the 'vitnery' was coming to sort out the cows.

Having no idea what this meant, I obediently, but tearfully, trotted off down the driveway, circled the front field, and climbed up the back of the long stone cow shed to hide in the hay in the attic. Sure enough, the great man arrived. I can remember watching him checking out the cows, and giving them injections. But the bit that made my eyes grow wide in horror, amazement, awe, and disbelief, was when he stuck his arm inside each cow. eeeeeeew! Remember I was six... but potty humour is quite strong at that age. As I watched him work his way along the aisles, I understood that he was examining the cows. The concept of pregnancy diagnosis by rectal exam was many years in my future, as was thinking about pregnancy, or its causes. What I did realise was this man was a doctor for animals. I can still feel the excitement and the glow I felt when I realised it was possible to train and do this sort of work.

Forgetting my banishment and the reason I was hiding in the hay loft, I scrambled down to talk to the man as he packed up his car. I stood by the boot, drinking in the bottles and syringes and powders and the smell... he looked at me, six, covered in hay, short hair, my brothers old t shirt and shorts. I took a deep breath and whispered, "is it very hard to be a vet?" He smiled and leaned closer.

"Yes Laddie, it is. You will have to study hard for many years."

I nodded wisely. If that is what it took, then that is what I would do. I thanked him and skipped home to announce the news.

Without understanding the power of positive thinking, I can say that I never pulled the wishbone or cut my birthday cake each year without the fervent wish, "Please make me a vet. "
After I graduated, I kept the wish going for a long time, but I added "great vet".

I don't know how people see me anymore, but the profession has been wonderful, and my sideways journey into teaching vet nursing another dream come true.

I only have one question about that day. If I had been wearing a dress, with pigtails, I wonder if the vitnerys response might have been, " Yes Lassie, and it's no job for a girl."

While writing this, I did a search for Balnadrum Farm to see if it still existed. Yes it does, and the area is steeped in history. My mother was born and grew up in Moulin, Pitlochry, Perthshire, Scotland, here is some background to the beautiful village we went to every year. Balnadrum Farm in Moulin is where this all happened and I see it is mentioned in this article as part of the walk.

The Moulin Hotel was in the centre of the village.

I used to play nearby in the Moulin Burn and climb "Ben Y Vrackie" behind it.

More pictures of the mountain are here. Thank you to Martin Junius for these at that link.

And amazingly, my favourite spot is actually caught online by "zzathras" : the waterfall at the car park at the base of the track to the was a magical spot to a child.

My mother grew up in the big house, The Manse, opposite the Moulin Hotel. The names of Black and Robertson have long been mentioned by her, and I see them appearing regularly on searches of the history of the area.

My father was an English engineer working on the building of the Pitlochry Hydro Dam when they met, and another engineer also met and married her older sister; my aunt and uncle.

Dad used to take me to the dam, often rowing around Lake Faskelly, or checking out the Tummel, and to see the famous salmon ladder which was able to be viewed from inside through huge glass windows.

Wow - blast from the past - I found this place listed for sale -

It is the old post office cottage where we used to buy fizzy drink bottle s for threepence, and where i used to stay when my grandmothers house was overfull... and where I saw my first dead body! Then I found this - which just could be where my mother grew up - the big white house! Right area - and location on the map and an idea of beauty of the local houses!

So many memories.....

Thanks to "One Minute Writer" for reminding me of it all :)



  1. What a wonderful, wonderful post. How magical that you found your old home and the beautiful surroundings which remain virtually the same as you remembered.

    I am going to reccomend you for David's POTD

  2. I'm so glad the writing prompt inspired you! Your response is the One-Minute Writing of the Day; how lovely to come here to link to your blog, and find this post!

  3. What a lovely post! Really enjoyed it. As I do enjoy reading your blog. I grew up at a farm myself, and always wanted to be a vet, like you. I didn't become a vet (well it still not too late), but I do breed ocicats. I'm going to Finland on the 3rd and will post some pics of my babies in my blog. The little ones are now 8 week old. Healthy little punch.

    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. You made me laugh out so loud I woke up my neighbour! I'm afraid, they are going to kick me out soon... Lol.

  4. Wow... how wonderful to share these memories. Thank you for this lovely post.

  5. OMG - what an amazing surprise to read and then find the pictures on this post. We stayed in the Moulin Hotel at the beginning of October this year!! It is a wonderful place, so old and full of atmosphere, not to mention preserved wild animals which I adore.

    Pitlochry is one of our favourite places to visit in the whole world!

    I always wanted to be a vet too but ended up being a farmer instead!

    CJ xx

  6. Thank you Laura Jayne :)

    and that's a coincidence CJ! When I was writing that, I did realise that a trip back to Pitlochry one day would be very nice.... and have to include staying there! :)

  7. Oh lovely post & pictures and another - have been there! moment.
    Haven't come across The One Minute Writer before will need to explore.
    How amazing to know what you wanted to do when you grew up. I am still waiting to find out!

  8. Six degrees of separation - I visited your blog Via Calico Kate who has one of my Tea Cosies - I'm married to a 'boy from Pitlochry' and we were in the Moulin only a couple of weeks ago.
    What a lovely post, in my heart I always knew I would end up knitting for a living - even if it has taken me a while to work that out!
    Nice to read you, Lynnex


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