Wendy Donald: Scottish Connections

Glasgow, Clan Donald and an Anderson Modern tartan sash

Wendy’s Anderson Modern Tartan sash complements her blue top as she dances The Marquis of Lorne at the Johnsonville April Tartan Night in 2019

When married I had a married surname, but I have always kept Donald too, as my ‘professional’ name as my children called it. My driver’s licence and passport have always been Donald.

My father’s parents, as children, came out from Scotland with their own families, in 1870s or 1880s. I have my grandmother’s birth certificate, born in Glasgow. While in the UK, I have taken myself to Glasgow and stayed several days, to ‘commune’ with her.

Having studied architecture at post-graduate level, I also took the opportunity to see much of the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, including The Glasgow School of Art where one could study all levels of architecture; his designed The Willow Tearooms; and even stayed at the Rennie Mackintosh City Hotel (not the station hotel with the similar name).

I was in Glasgow in May 2014. I was there when the first fire at the Mackintosh Building occurred. It was horrendous, very disruptive with fire engines; fire hoses; and smoke everywhere, especially as my hotel, Rennie Mackintosh City Hotel (in which his design work is apparent), was almost opposite in the same street, Renfrew Street.

I haven’t been back since then, but last year, while in Scotland at Edinburgh Castle, one daughter bought for me, the Clan Donald Crest as a memento of my clan links.

As to my tartan sash (and other items that I made), they are not of my clan, but there is a reason!

When my youngest daughter was at secondary school, the winter uniform was a kilt in Anderson Modern tartan, a lovely mid-blue, with stripes of red and white. Sometime after she had left, the uniform was changed. This would have been some fifteen years ago.

I saw the opportunity to purchase a kilt in a tartan that I liked, at a very reasonable price! Besides, the lovely fine wool fabric was likely to be being sold too. Indeed it was, so I bought several metres at a rock bottom price.

I made a sash. I made some smart long trousers, which I have worn to two winter weddings. I designed and made a wrap suitable for donning between dances or during supper.

Amazingly, when I was in Nova Scotia, Canada last year, there were wraps just like mine, in several different tartans! I have still, some more of the fabric and I am contemplating making a long skirt.

from Wendy Donald
5 May 2020

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