A COUNTY author is set to share the poignant tale of her life as a single mum in the 1960s in a talk at Haddington Library.

Globetrotting grandmother-of-three Dr Margaret Halliday, 74, will outline her second book Good Vibrations, published in 2015, an autobiography of unmarried motherhood in pre-Abortion Act Scotland.

Seventeen-year-old Margaret’s Glaswegian romance resulted in “unplanned pregnancy and heartbreak but she battled on, overcoming all obstacles” in a story to make readers “laugh, cry and sometimes scream”.

Her talk in ‘An Afternoon with Margaret Halliday’, takes place at 2.30pm this Saturday.

East Lothian Courier: Good Vibrations

Dr Halliday lived in Musselburgh for about six years prior to a move to Haddington last year.

Born in England in 1949 with “green fingers and itchy feet”, 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.

Dr Halliday said that her marriage broke up in 1986, partly because of her “itchy feet”, and she went to live in Istanbul in 1988, where she taught biological sciences at Marmara University for five years.

After that, she taught English in Budapest and Damascus, exploring the 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 50, she ventured as far as India, undeterred by being diagnosed with MS and osteoarthritis. She was an avid writer of diaries throughout and planned to expand them into short stories on retirement. These stories have 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.

Later, 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, 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. She settled in Edinburgh, virtually travelling through her writing, although she still went on the occasional trip. She also wrote about her time as a WWOOFer, WWOOFing North and South (2016).

She wrote a fictional book, The Belly Dancer (2018), using her knowledge of Istanbul. Next came a book based on her global travels, Stranger Than Fiction, True Stories From Around The World (2020). Her latest book, COVID Alert and Other Stories, was published this January.

Good Vibrations is available on Amazon.