On a Saturday morning 52 years ago I got the bus from Crieff to Perth, with my Mum, to buy my Brownie uniform. My two wee brothers accompanied us, one in reins and the other in a pushchair. Thankfully all the right sizes were in stock and I left that shop proud as Punch with a brown carrier bag containing my tunic, belt, tie and hat.
More nervous events were to occur – including into which six I might be welcomed, whether or not that six had badges readily available and if so would they be stitched onto the uniform in time. Thanks be that I became a Pixie and when we emigrated from Crieff to Alva I transformed into a Snowdrop or maybe it was the other way around. I’ll check when I look the uniform out of the glory hole at the weekend. Yes, I still have it. It means a lot. The wee pockets contain written and whispered precious secrets, dreams and notebooks.
And as years have passed I’ve wondered from where my Mum magicked up the money for my precious uniform and the bus fares to Perth and back, for the trips and the sausage sizzles, the sweeties that kept my brothers quiet and later acquired their Cub gear and football strips. There must have been a lot of sacrifices.
The best part of twenty years after my Brownie days I was advised that women lawyers were destined to be conveyancers so naturally I enjoyed rebelling as a court practitioner; apparently in the 1980s women’s brains didn’t ‘do’ taxation, company and contractual lessons, for those used to be ‘manly’ pursuits. My classmates fixed that one too.
And tonight I find my gaze upon my Mum in 1970 as a young lady of 29 with three children doing her level best. I wonder at her emotions were she to learn that today in 2022 in a Scottish village a wee lassie who wants to be a scientist has been duped into thinking that such pursuits are for boys and that to chase her dream she might need a series of operations as opposed to gathering some Brownie badges and learning how to tie a few knots, build a campfire, sing a song and be herself.
We women of Scotland have much to do as we correct the rotten direction of those in this country who think they know best. We will not let our girls down, just as our Mums prepared us. Our pockets are seditious, filled as they are with plots, plans and revolutions. Let us lead and move the world.