Abernethy, Aberargie and Dron News

Last date for submissions

31st October 2022

Date of publication

1st December 2022


Although Bob Macdonald has always considered himself an incomer he certainly qualifies as an Auld Abernethian. He moved to the village in 1964 and has always played a very active part in village life.

However his wife, Isabel Morris, is an even Aulder Abernethian.

Her grandparents, were originally at Drumcairn and moved to Loanhead, on the County Byway leading up from Kirk Wynd, in 1918.

Isabel was born in Newburgh and moved with her parents to Loanhead when she was ten. Her Grandmother had died and her Grandfather was finding it difficult to cope.

She had attended Newburgh Primary but changed to Perth Academy for her secondary education. She made friends taking the train into Perth along with Janet Paton and Wyn  Dobbie.  She had an excellent singing voice, played the piano, sang in the Church Choir and worked as a Sunday School teacher.

  When she left school she studied shorthand, typing and bookkeeping at Ross’s Commercial College before starting her first post as a secretary at Thomas Harley who manufactured Rodine rat poison. She then went to the Tayside Grain Company before moving to D. L. Edward, the travel agents in County Place. Her father was ill by this time and she had the pigs to feed before she bathed, breakfasted and went to work.

Bob Macdonald came in to book a holiday in Torremolinos.  Isabel took the booking and there must have been a spark as he sent a postcard from Spain followed by an invitation to go out for a drink when he returned and that was the start of their romance.

Bob was born in Forteviot and moved to Stanley as a boy. He went to work with the General Accident Insurance Group. A brief moment of rebellion was when he turned up for work without a tie in hot weather and was sent home. Mature reflection sent him back to work next morning wearing his tie and he spent the rest of his working life there..

Isabel and Bob married in 1964 and moved to Loanhead as Isabel’s widowed mother, Jane,  was in poor health. The birth of baby Jane, followed by Anne, gave her a new lease of life and she gave the couple a piece of land to build Craiglinn where the family was completed by the arrival of Moira.

Isabel was involved with the Church Young Wives and Mothers Group and was Vice-President of the S.W.R.I. Her musical talents were a great asset at their entertainments. When the girls grew older she returned to work at Grampian Travel, later A.T. Mays, and, after retiring, helped with the Lunch Club.

Bob succeeded Bob Smith as Session Clerk for over 20 years and was also Clerk to the Congregational Board and did a spell as Presbytery Elder. He spent nine years as Chair of the Williamson Hall Committee, served on the P.T.A. and was secretary of the Perth Hunt Pony Club for nine years when all three daughters were riding and competing.

Both helped with the Abernethy Museum and Bob still produces a quiz for fund raising. He also contributes entertaining articles to the Crier.

Isabel remembers all the shops in Abernethy.

Every morning she would wheel the pram to the paper shop, the baker’s, the butcher’s and the Co-operative. Her mother was fitted for corsets by a lady in Den Park. Good quality underwear and nightwear could be bought at Clow’s factory shop and a photographer’s would develop films. The Hotel was thriving and was the venue for the wedding receptions of all three daughters.

When Craiglinn was built in the late 60’s all the work except plastering was done by local tradesmen.  Isabel had wanted a two-storey house but was dissuaded,

‘You won’t always be Jack and Jill!’

I’ll finish with the words of the song that Bob quotes.

‘Darby and Joan, who used to be Jack and Jill. The folks who live on the hill.’

Anne Hollingsworth