A lifelong love of stories

A GLENKINDIE woman has published a book of her own stories and poems.

Titled "Early Days", it is the work of 79-year-old Lorna Alexander, a former head teacher at Strathdon School.

Written mainly in the Doric language, she was moved to publish it after numerous requests from friends and acquaintances. She said: "I do a lot of storytelling at local events and wherever I went, people would always ask me when I was going to produce my book."

Born in Meikle Wartle, as Lorna Connon, she spent most of her younger years at Daviot. Her father had a business in Inverurie. Her first job was at Towie School in Glenkindie and it was during this time she met her husband, John. She went on to become infant teacher at Strathdon School, before taking up the post of Head Teacher in 1967, a position she held for 23 years.

During her early childhood years at Benview in Wartle, before younger sisters Rhoda and Maureen came along and with few other children her own age to play with, her friends were her cat and neighbours, Mr and Mrs Hendry, who lived at Maybank and were in their 80s. Mr Hendry, who was in a wheelchair and who is pictured with Lorna on the cover of her book, would often tell her stories. It was from these early times that she took her inspiration to start telling and writing stories herself, going on to regale her sisters with bedtime stories and eventually her own children, Valerie and Iain. It would also prove to be a useful skill during her years as a teacher.

Over the years, she became a well known figure in local circles and is currently actively involved in the Doric Festival. Lorna has done readings, told stories, compered events and was also one of the judges at the Doric Writing Competition held in Huntly on October 7.

She said: "At the presentation of prizes, when the final lineup was shown, I had to choose the 'Best ower a'. The prize was a wooden 'brose caup', donated by the Connon family of Inverurie and I was the only Connon quine available on the day."

Scheduled to continue until October 18, the festival celebrates the language, song, music and traditions of the north-east through performances, drama, workshops and exhibitions.

Lorna and John have lived at Manacor in Glenkindie for 58 years. And while her storytelling continues to be in big demand, she said: "I do have a few other items that I could make into another book, if time allows, but I think I'll just bask in the honour of this one for a while!"

Early Days, priced 5.00, is available to buy from any of the shops between Mossat and Corgarff, also at The Millers at Midmar, Deans of Huntly and Strachans in Inverurie.