This is a short assignment piece submitted for a course I am studying. The focus was on changing place.

My grandfather was 18 when the First World War broke out and he left his life as a farmhand, and his home in a little cottage in Montrose on the East Coast of Scotland, a small farming community set amongst the greenest fields.  He came from a long line of farm servants and cattlemen on his father’s side and domestic servants on his mother’s: a hard-working family that loved the land.

What followed was four years of hell as he fought with the Black Watch on the front line as a machine gunner in hot and unfamiliar places like Mesopotamia.

Grandpa returned to Scotland intact but a broken man all the same.  He rebuilt his life in the city of Glasgow where the work was, renting a house on a busy street, and finding work as an Inspector on the tram cars.  As the years rolled by he continued his work as the trams became buses.

Behind his house, Grandpa created a beautiful garden, his piece of country, his solace, where he grew magnificent roses and sweet peas. I have fond memories of my sisters and me raiding the peapods when we were sent to pick them for dinner.  Yum!  He tended his garden in the type of clothes he always wore – checked shirt, breeches with braces, a tweed jacket, tweed cap and working boots, and with his pocket watch in his waistcoat.

In his heart, Grandpa never left the country, he never left Montrose.