As part of Holy Trinity keeping connected, we are trying something new! Whilst we still connect online via our live services we can miss the chats as over a cuppa, in the pew, entering and leaving church. Alongside our Blether with HTD Facebook group we’d love to get to know you (the congregation) making friends and connections old and new through our new Friends of HTD questionnaire.
Next up we have Isabelle Pottinger
Below are some things you may know or may find surprising to continue building friendships in our Holy Trinity community, even during lockdown.
1. Name: Isabelle Pottinger
2. Where are you from:
Gourock (about 26 miles west of Glasgow; just where the River Clyde turns south via a right-angle bend)
3. What is/was your occupation (student, mum, retired (from what), nurse etc can name a few)?
I graduated from Strathclyde University with a degree in chemistry. I started my career in industry as an analytical chemist at Marconi, Fife then Ferranti Edinburgh.
Once the children came along I moved into university teaching at the Open University, and continued this work whilst also working at Stirling University then Heriot-Watt University.
Over my career I developed three specialisms: teaching university level multi-disciplinary science (chemistry, physics, biology and earth science), helping students of any discipline and any year group (from 1st year undergraduate to PhD) become effective learners, and university and college lecturers (whatever their subject) become effective higher education teachers.
I loved my work but found the commuting from Fife to Edinburgh very stressful and so took early retirement two years ago.
4. Explain a little about what faith is to you?
My values and approach to life have been shaped by my faith and by the faith of those Christian men and women who have guided me at various stages of my life.
As a child at Sunday School, we were taught the hymn ‘I Sing a Song of the Saints of God’ with its final lines (as I was taught them) ‘For the saints of God are just folk like me, And I mean to be one too’. Having started Sunday School whilst still in nappies (according to my late mother), my early values were significantly shaped as much by my Sunday School teachers and Supervisors, as by my parents.
Throughout my life, I’ve sought to respond to a situation/opportunity by saying to the Lord in prayer “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8, New International Version), then allowing the Lord to tell or show me if this opportunity is the one he wants me to pursue. So the hymn ‘Here I am Lord’ is one that chimes strongly with me.
As a young woman, at a church meeting, among a series of images I was shown one of a weed growing in cracks in a pavement, with the motto, “Flourish where you’re planted” (Psalms 92:13). That was such a powerful image for me that, ever since, I’ve tried to live my life by that motto, that is, to seek to make a positive difference in whatever situation in life I find myself. And just as I have been guided at the various stages of my life by Christian men and women, so, in turn, I’ve sought to use the gifts the Spirit has given me to offer guidance, support and nurture to those I’ve met throughout life, whether people of faith or not.
5. Favourite pastime/hobby?
Officially, gardening, flower arranging, aerobics and walking. In practice? On these warm summer afternoons of lockdown I’m often found sitting on my swing seat, swaying gently back and forth, a cup of fruit tea by my side, a magazine or two on my lap as I chat on the phone with family members, checking that each is OK.
6. What’s your connection to HTD (how long have you worshipped with us, how did you start, how did you come across us etc)?
I first came to Holy Trinity over 45 years ago. I joined Mothers’ Union, enthused by the committed, Christian women I met in Holy Trinity branch and I’ve remained a member ever since.
7. Tell us about your family…
I’m married to John and we have two adult children; Jen who lives in S.E. England and Iain who lives at home with us.
8. Do you have any pets?
Do 3,000 tadpoles count as pets? I check on them each morning, feed them and ensure that their environment still meets their needs. Want to know more? Let’s have a (post-lockdown) chat over a large glass of wine.
9. Previous pets?
We’ve had lots of pets over the years: cats, terrapins, guinea pigs and tropical butterfly eggs/caterpillars.
10. Favourite place you have visited?
Over the years, we’ve visited most of the scenically-attractive parts of Scotland. Yet we return time and again to Ardnamurchan, to a cottage that looks out to the islands of Muck, Eigg and Rhum. Outwith Scotland, I love Slovenia. It’s scenically-attractive yet with much higher mountains than Scotland, whilst some towns and villages reminds me of Scotland in the 1950’s.
11. Favourite song or band?
Neither! But I do love classical music, especially popular classics written or transposed for organ. In church services, an organ normally accompanies singing. So, for me, the occasional organ solo within a church service is a real joy! With lockdown, I can sometimes choose not to sing but instead to focus solely on listening to the wonderful tones of the Holy Trinity organ. So I was delighted to hear the Trumpet Voluntary (also known as The Prince of Denmark’s March) by Jeremiah Clarke, played recently as the introduction to the Sunday service.
12. Favourite TV show?
Anything featuring David Attenborough. I’m also looking forward to the next series of ‘Line of Duty’.
13. Favourite film?
Ballet or opera shown on the Odeon cinema screen. Being able to see the dancers’ and singers’ faces and body language close up on the large screen brings the story alive for me.
14. A piece of advice you would give…
‘Be kind’. My late mother regularly said, “If you can’t do someone a good turn, don’t do them a bad one”.
15. Favourite hymn?
‘Tell out my soul’, a hymn based on the Magnificat and so a favourite of many Mothers’ Union members. Other favourites are obvious from previous answers: ‘Here I am, Lord’ by John Michael Talbot and ‘I Sing a Song of The Saints of God’ by Lesbia Scott. For me, each of these hymns brings up powerful visual images that model aspects of Christian life.
16. Other favourite hymns?
Anything with a lively tune!
17. Favourite colour?
Yellow! A colour the reminds me each winter that summer will return.
18. Do you have a favourite sport and/or sports team?
As a school child I was very sporty: I played netball, tennis and hockey, swam regularly and engaged in athletics at every opportunity. In my 20’s I took up squash and learned to ski. I skiied in winter, hill-walked in summer and played squash up to three times per week. If only I had the energy to do all of that now!
19. Favourite treat to eat?
Fruit, especially Scottish raspberries.
23. An interesting fact about you that might surprise us …
We can’t cut our lawn in summer. Once the tadpoles transition into small frogs, they leave the water and hide among the grass on the lawn.