Mary J. Macleod and her husband left the London area for an idyllic place to raise their young children in the late sixties, and they found the island of Papavray in the Scottish Hebrides. There they bought a croft house on a “small acre” of land, and Mary J. (also known as Julia) became the district nurse. At the age of eighty, she first recounted her family’s adventures in her debut, Call the Nurse, where she introduced readers to the austere beauties of the island and the hardy charm and warmth of the islanders. The anecdotes in this new volume take us to the end of her stay on Papavray, after which the MacLeod family left for California.
Once again we meet the crofters Archie, Mary, and Fergie, and other friends. There are stories of troubles, joy, and tragedy, of children lost and found, the cow that wandered into the kitchen, a distraught young mother who strides into the icy surf with her infant child, the ghostly apparition that returns after death to reveal the will in a sewing box. There are accidents and broken bones, twisters that come in from the sea, and acts of simple courage and uncommon generosity. Here again, a nurse’s compassion meets Gaelic fortitude in these true tales of a bygone era.