A mid-morning visit from my brother-in-law, John Garton Jones and wife, on the way down to the West Country to visit son William. John very generously bought me a good bottle of Glen Livet, single malt whisky a welcome gift — so much more acceptable than flowers and chocs! Interestingly, later that day, we had a lunch guest, Nick Bristol (Nicholas Maclean Bristol) who had been in Aden, with his regiment, at the same time as John, although I don’t believe they met, unless it was at Â one of our very frequent parties.
We have not seenÂ Nick the for the best part 50 years and he looked very much the same to me. I remembered him as a young soldier in his mid 20â€™s who was always bangingÂ on about restoring some ancient derelict castle on the island ofÂ Coll, in the Hebrides.. A pipe dream it seemed for someone so young with no money. However, he did it and, as if proof was needed, presented us with a magnificent book, that he had written, entitled From Clan toÂ Regiment covering â€˜ Six Hundred Years in the Hebrides 1400 â€“ 2000â€™. A truly heavyweight Magnus Opus which, if I can find some way of propping Â it up — it weighs about 2 kg! — I shall certainly enjoy reading it.
Since retiring from the Army after 20 years service, Nick not only restored Breacachadh Castle where he raises highland cattle and Blackface sheep but more important in 1967 founded the Project Trust. This was the original â€˜ Gap Yearâ€™ organisation which has now sent more than 5000 young volunteers overseas which, of course, not only provides much needed services to the poor of the countries to which they are sent, but also offers wonderful developmental opportunities for the youngsters themselves. It goes without being said that wife Lavinia â€“ who, it seems, together with her sister Annabel, might even have been at school with â€˜my lovelyâ€™ – had a very big part in both the restoration and the establishment of The Project. Indeed, I understand she ran it for a number of years whilst Nick was concentrating on writing. Anyone who would like to learn more about this wonderful charity can do so through www.projecttrust.org.uk.
We had a delicious lunch in the garden, as always seamlessly organised by â€˜my lovelyâ€™, braving the rather unpredictable weather, before Nick returned to London to pick up wife Lavinia who had spent the afternoon at the Stella ArtoisÂ tennis to tournament.