22 December 2000

KINDDEED,WELL DONE

When we picked the

subject A Kind Deed

for our annual Frater

Memorial writing

competition this year,

we thought it would bring

the usual high number of

entries. However, we

had fewer than usual

and most referred to kind

deeds done many years

ago. Hopefully, this is not

a sign of the times – if it

is, perhaps we should all

be resolving to be more

aware of others and

make a kind deed a

regular occurrence in

our lives during 2001

The winning entries are

all true stories.

Congratulations to

May Kidd, who wins

£300 for her story which

will strike a chord with

so many capable women

who find the fates are

against them just when

they are at their busiest.

Three entries tied for the

two runner-up places.

The judges felt all three

stories of unselfish giving

deserved publication so

we are awarding an extra

prize this year and

Christine Sparrow,

Muriel Moore and Freda

Phalp each win £50.

Congratulations to you all

Angels incarnate

swooped to stop disaster

MY husband, Neil, is in hospital in traction. I have just knocked a hole in the shed roof with the loader tractor. I have two excited children, a farmful of hungry animals, and raging flu. And its Christmas. Bloody Christmas.

To be precise, it is Christmas Eve. I want to collapse into bed. But there are cows to feed. And the dogs. And the horse. And the ferrets. And the children.

Presents to wrap, cake to ice, stockings to fill. The turkey? Still lurking in the freezer next to the puff pastry for the mince pies. No holly. No Christmas spirit.

Neil has been in hospital for weeks. Just a spot of surgery on his leg but the hospital is two hours away. I have been doing my brave-little-woman act, coping with the farm, the kids and the hospital visiting.

So there was that one tiny blip, when I touched the wrong lever on the tractor. Thats what did for the shed roof. But on the whole I have been coping. Until today, when the shivering started.

I am ILL. I need to lie down. But there are Santas duties to attend to. Get the kids upstairs. Wait till they fall asleep. Now where did I hide the stocking fillers?

Past midnight, I crawl upstairs and drop on to the bed. Aching all over, I fall into a spasmodic sleep…

The feverish night ends with exuberant noises next door: "Santas been. Ive got a digger."

"Mines a baler."

Christmas morning, and I am alone with two small boys, and a farm, depending totally on me, and an invalid husband expecting a Christmas visit. And I cannot get out of bed. It is not yet daylight. I need help. Now. I reach for the phone and try to focus.

At last I hear my husbands "hallo". My sobbed tale is cut short by his masterly response, "leave it to me". So he is flat on his back in his hospital bed, plastered leg raised aloft. That is his problem. I leave it to him.

The room is swaying. Do I hear distant voices? Am I dreaming? I open one aching eye. A beautiful angel is standing by the bed. She smiles and speaks soothingly: "Merry Christmas. You poor thing."

Cautiously I open the other eye. The angel hands me a hot water bottle, a glass of water and a couple of Paracetemols. She looks rather like Neils cousin Paddy. She explains: "Neil phoned from the hospital. We came straight away. You look awful. Theres a lot of this flu around. Dont worry, well see to everything. Weve brought our turkey – its cooking in your oven. Later well take the boys to visit their dad."

Paddys two daughters peep round the door, eyes bright.

"This is cool. Weve been to see the calves. Can we take the dogs for a walk? Its our best Christmas ever!"

Gratefully abdicating all responsibility, I let sleep take over. Yes, I believe in angels, especially at Christmas.

May Kidd,

Holemill of Kirkbuddo,

Forfar, Angus.