MARGARET HALLIDAY
MARGARET HALLIDAY

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WWOOFing North & South

Margaret's latest book

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Margaret Halliday was born in England in 1949 with green fingers and itchy feet. She satisfied the former first, by a year's training in Hastings Alexandra Park, followed by a horticultural course at the West of Scotland Agricultural College.

 

She fell in love with Scotland, married a Scotsman and raised two children, while working in scientific research and studying up to doctorate level. She qualified as a teacher of biology and chemistry and taught in various schools and colleges in Edinburgh.

 

Her marriage broke up in 1986, partly because of those itchy feet, and she went to live in Istanbul in 1988, where she taught biological sciences at Marmara University for five years.  Following this she taught English in Budapest and Damascus, exploring these countries and their environs in her holidays. Then she returned to Turkey and taught biology at a school for gifted children near Istanbul.

 

At the age of fifty she ventured as far as India, undeterred by being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis soon after her marriage break up and the onset of osteoarthritis. She was an avid writer of diaries throughout and planned to expand them into short stories when she retired. These short stories evolved into Prana Soup: an Indian Odyssey which was published in November 2013.

 

She continued to travel extensively and between her trips to India cycled round Ireland and the Scottish Highlands, despite her arthritic knees. After her Indian travels she spent a year flying round the world, spending time in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Bali and New Zealand, as well as visiting friends and relatives in Hungary, Turkey and Canada.

 

While in New Zealand she became a 'wwoofer' (a worldwide worker on an organic farm), spending five months on both the North and South Islands and returning for a further six months the following year, when she bought a small van and travelled to locations off the beaten track.

 

Back in Scotland she continued life as a 'wwoofer' for three more years, travelling to places from the Scottish Borders to the Islands of the Hebrides. She worked in the walled garden of the Beshara School, near Hawick, where she later did a six-month course in esoteric education, studying Ibn 'Arabi and Rumi, amongst other spiritual masters. This experience has enriched her world tremendously, giving her the inner strength to live with the pain of osteoarthritis and MS.

 

She is now settled in Edinburgh, virtually travelling through her writing, although she still goes on the occasional trip. She completed a second book about her experience of being a single mother in the late sixties, Good Vibrations: a Story of a Single 60s Mum, published in February, 2015. Her third book, WWOOFing North and South, published in May, 2016, is  about her time as a WWOOFer in New Zealand and Scotland.