Valda in Hugh's room

‘He spent more time in all there than anywhere else - as a place, it is filled with his personality.’
John MacQueen

In 1951, MacDiarmid’s publisher, William MacLellan, introduced the poet to Thomas Tweedie, the owner of Brownsbank Farm. Thanks to the Tweedie family, the Grieves lived rent-free at Brownsbank for the rest of their lives.
When they first moved in, the cottage - a basic but an ben - had neither water nor electricity. Ten years later, the actor Alex McCrindle raised money from MacDiarmid’s friends to install electricity and water and build a lean-to kitchen and bathroom. The cottage, as it is now, retains many of its original artefacts: portraits, wallie dugs, memorabilia. MacDiarmid himself once observed, ‘This place is a growing shrine to my vanity’. Much of its charm derived from Valda’s flair for collecting esoteric items at jumble sales, not to mention her carpentry skills!