Recalling the classic works by James Herriot and the new British hit Call the Midwife, a nurse’s heartwarming adventures with her family while practicing in rural Scotland.
Tired of the pace and noise of life near London and longing for a better place to raise their young children, Mary J. MacLeod and her husband, George, encountered their dream while vacationing on a remote island in the Scottish Hebrides. Enthralled by its windswept beauty, they soon were the proud and startled owners of a near-derelict croft house - a farmer’s stone cottage - on “a small acre” of land. Mary assumed duties as the island’s district nurse. Call the Nurse is her account of the enchanted years she and her family spent there, coming to know its folk as both patients and friends.
In anecdotes that are by turns funny, sad, moving, and tragic, she recalls them all, the crofters and their laird, the boatmen and tradesmen, young lovers and forbidding churchmen. Against the old-fashioned island culture and the grandeur of mountain and sea unfold indelible stories: a young woman carried through snow for airlift to the hospital; a rescue by boat; the marriage of a gentle giant and the island beauty; a ghostly encounter; the shocking discovery of a woman in chains; the flames of a heather fire at night; an unexploded bomb from World War II; and the joyful, tipsy celebration of a ceilidh. Gaelic fortitude meets a nurse’s compassion in these wonderful true stories from rural Scotland.
Mary J. MacLeod's line of work allows her a uniquely intimate window into the lives of the insular rural community she left London for in the 1970s. Gwen Hughes' conversational tone suits MacLeod's frank style and closes the gap to allow each listener to feel as though the nurse is personally sharing her stories on a house call.
The anecdotes in Call the Nurse range from tragedy to humor but are always handled with the love MacLeod clearly feels toward the island's residents, their foibles, old-fashioned way of life, and the mythically beautiful landscape that left her enchanted.
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A 1970's Visiting Nurse on Rural Scottish Island
- Sara "Avid Reader"
Wonderful story, dreadful narration
It is dreadful - the narrator does not know how to pronounce many of the place names or even "setee"! Horrid - it should be an English accent.
- Geraldine Gray "letmein"