Orkney Sound Archive tape OSA/RO/A: interview. Sample containing about 2757 words speech recorded in leisure context

2 speakers recorded by respondent number C360

PS2UX Ag5 f (Kitty, age 70+, Interviewee) unspecified
PS2UY X f (No name, age unknown, radio presenter, Interviewer) unspecified

1 recordings

  1. Tape 103101 recorded on 1985-04-14. LocationOrkney: Stromness ( Radio broadcast ) Activity: Interview Interview/reminiscences

Undivided text

Kitty (PS2UX) [1] When my mother was young she was [...] down there.
[2] And she gave the school, no she gave them [...] did that much, that they brought for here school books, and she finished her education in [...] .
[3] And if I mind right I think it was some kind of relational [...] that used to e in the bank, that was a teacher there.
[4] And then she they they lived in Stummerslake she was born in Greamsee
(PS2UY) [5] What size of a school would there have been in [...]
Kitty (PS2UX) [6] Oh it would have been half as small, and she used to tell us grand stories with them setting off in the morning with their a bottle of milk and their [...] , it's like a pi with them, to keep the fire going to keep them warm and everything.
[7] Oh what grand stories she did tell.
(PS2UY) [8] And what was it like as a small bairn [...] Pharay then?
Kitty (PS2UX) [9] Well she thoroughly enjoyed the life, in fact right up, oh till nearly the end she spoke about Pharay and as long as she was able she used to go and she imagined she could see it better with the spy glasses.
[10] She loved Pharay, she loved the country she loved the people.
[11] And they were half a good [...] smile, and [...] they did not [...] tell [...] who's ninety two.
[12] Mhm. ...
(PS2UY) [13] And what was it like for for a bairn on on Pharay?
Kitty (PS2UX) [14] Oh I think that the ... well more or less kind of like what it'll be when we were young.
[15] They made their own amusements, and she learnt to knit and they had long winter nights round the fire o and they used to go She used to call it, we used to go after day set, that she called evening.
[16] And they'd visit one another and take their knitting with them and sit and yarn, and that was all the enjoyment.
[17] I don't Never heard her speaking very much about games.
[18] But oh she was perfectly happy there.
(PS2UY) [19] How many were at the school?
Kitty (PS2UX) [20] [laughing] I don't ken. []
[21] It wouldn't have be so [...] a great number.
(PS2UY) [22] How big is Pharay?
Kitty (PS2UX) [23] Oh God, I don't ken.
[24] I have no idea.
[25] It's not that big.
[26] Would there have been maybe about How many houses?
[27] Maybe about a dozen houses, I don't ken.
[28] I have visited the house that my mother stayed at, er called the North House Aye, it was just a pretty bit of a But and beam
(PS2UY) [29] What did the folk do?
Kitty (PS2UX) [30] Well they crofted in small way I suppose, and went the fishing.
[31] And they had what they called a floating shop, you know just a bit of [...] a s a boat that came, Oh I think it was once a week, and they used to go and get supplies off of it. ...
(PS2UY) [...]
Kitty (PS2UX) [32] Aha.
[33] Oh no, she loved the life in Pharay.
[34] Mhm.
(PS2UY) [35] And you've always lived in Stromness?
Kitty (PS2UX) [36] All my days and hope I finish it here.
[37] All me days. [break in recording]
Kitty (PS2UX) [38] [...] Can't understand what families want to go away at all.
(PS2UY) [39] What was Stromness like when you small?
Kitty (PS2UX) [40] Oh it was super.
[41] It was quiet, but there was different things that amused us that the bairns would just laugh at today, I mean, there was no pictures or things like that.
[42] That we'd go to the shore, and we'd spend a whole day there, no lemonade and biscuits then.
[43] A bottle of water or a pale of water and maybe maybe [...] biscuits, I don't ken, and we had [...] different games, and there was a a game.
[44] like those certain games that you played at certain seasons of the year.
[45] Like maybe now about this time of the year we would start with skipping, and then in the winter time, we well there was has a lot of [...] , we would just seem to amuse ourselves.
[46] We [...] Peedie concerts and things like that.
[47] And Oh me mother was [...] good.
[48] She would read [...] and everything else, and there was nine of us children [...] had that much time, but we had a very happy childhood in lots of ways.
[49] They did not have electricity, it would be oil lamps and some of them I cannot mind when gas would come.
[50] But it would be old lamps and Peedie bits of [...] and when you speak about long ago times I associate the smell of paraffin and sawdust and cooking apples and all that you go into Peedie shops and there was a fine relationship, you go in and Well I used to be [...] for the old folk and they were all awful good to me, and the [...] particular and we used to go every Saturday night to a shop called Blacks and it stayed open till nine o'clock.
[51] But there was Oh what to me seemed, in that days, to be oh awful grand shops for baking and what not.
[52] Folk would not look at it nowadays.
[53] [...] been a kind of [...] peedie that's indust industrious and what not.
[54] And it was basically long ago in the Well in me mother's day, there was the herring fishing, it was a busy time then.
(PS2UY) [55] Was your mother involved in that?
Kitty (PS2UX) [56] Well not in the herring fishing but er there was also a a salt fish kind of processing place out in the Hens And me mother work at it and she used to tell us about I supposed they'll be not rubber boats in that d days.
[57] Or the protective [...] that we have now, and they would have sometimes have to weigh the whole [...] .
[58] And send a whole day with [...] , and it never hurt them.
[59] And then in the herring fishing time, oh it was very busy right enough, and you see they did they did no fish on a Sunday and they would come in on a Saturday night.
[60] And me mother used to say y you could you could have walked from the point of Ness, to the pier, how were the boats were that tightly packed in.
[61] And I remember herring fishing in me young days.
[62] It was the it was [...] boats in me mother's day, of course then the drafters was [...] .
[63] Anyhow it was like the sea and boats and everything else and I used to I was working in a shop and I use to get up early in the morning and go down and tally all the numbers and names of the boats and [...] and there was an old man came in to shop while I was working in and asked about a certain boat, I says oh I can tell you, [laughing] [...] trek down [] .
[64] And I give him the whole book what lists names and numbers and what not.
[65] And I got a great big box of chocolates of him.
[66] Oh Well I always loved the sea, i don't think I could live without seeing the sea.
(PS2UY) [67] You said your mother could walk across?
Kitty (PS2UX) [68] [...] Well when the tide was low, they would walk for the outer homes, then their hens and back again.
[69] And sometimes it would be a good [...] of water you see, and they would get their feet wet.
[70] You can still walk across it low tide.
[71] I've done it myself when I was young.
(PS2UY) [72] What kind of a job did you do then?
[73] What what white fish was it?
Kitty (PS2UX) [74] [cough] It would be cod and ling and maybe haddock, I don't ken.
[75] Just what salt fish you had.
(PS2UY) [76] And who was processing them?
Kitty (PS2UX) [77] Well if I mind right, I think my mother used to speak about man,, that had this fish curing station over at the hens
(PS2UY) [78] And did he employ fisherman to fish for him?
Kitty (PS2UX) [79] Maybe the local fisherman did, where he got the fish I could not say.
[80] Or it might have been a bigger concern than I ken.
[81] And maybe he had other outside boats took fish to them too.
[82] But me old mother certainly spoke a lot about this and the and the salt fish.
(PS2UY) [83] How did they cure them?
[84] What what kind of a job was it?
Kitty (PS2UX) [85] They would salt them down and let them lie in the brine for a while and they would take them out and dry them.
[86] What way they dried them, whether it was in the sun or if they'd anything to dry them with, I don't ken.
[87] But they made a great thing with the salt fish.
(PS2UY) [88] It must have been awful bad in the hens
Kitty (PS2UX) [89] Mhm.
[90] I don't think
(PS2UY) [...]
Kitty (PS2UX) [91] they would have [...] rubber gloves or any in that days.
[92] It was the same with the herring gutters that was here, I mind them working on the pier down here, and they all had their fingers tied up with Clotes There was [...] the skill that work in this.
(PS2UY) [93] Where did all the rest come from?
Kitty (PS2UX) [94] Oh well they the North east a lot of them, if they all [...] Oh my they would not do it nowadays.
[95] No.
[96] In all weathers the poor critters would be standing parking and what not.
[97] For very little money.
(PS2UY) [98] What sort of hours did they have?
Kitty (PS2UX) [99] They would start in the morning er I would say maybe eight o'clock, I dunno maybe sooner.
[100] And they'd still be working well on after s What we call tea time.
(PS2UY) [101] And what about your mother, when she worked at the the white fish station?
Kitty (PS2UX) [102] Well i think she'd go off early in the morning and then would come home about teatime.
[103] they'd take a piece with them and that was all they had to sustain them the whole day.
[104] Oh it was hard hard times.
[105] It's a wonder that they were as fit as they were.
[106] I would only been six or seven when the war started.
[107] It started in nineteen fourteen.
[108] First I mind about it was the first zeppelin that came over.
[109] Great big thing like a huge balloon and lived out at Ness and I mind me mother coming and getting us early and this great big thing come over.
(PS2UY) [110] Who was in it?
Kitty (PS2UX) [111] Why it be Germans.
(PS2UY) [112] What were they doing?
Kitty (PS2UX) [113] Reconnoitring about the fleet likely.
[114] That was the bigger threat The big thing that brought them to Orkney.
[115] It was not I suppose for anything other than the Flow that they came up as far as Orkney.
(PS2UY) [116] Do you remember the British warships being in the flow in the first [...] ?
Kitty (PS2UX) [117] Oh yes.
[118] When they would come in there would be like a [...] all lit up, beacon.
(PS2UY) [119] What were the bairns told at school about the war?
Kitty (PS2UX) [120] Oh we Oh I suppose we were told about the war but being young and heedless we would not take it all in.
[121] I was ten when we could [...] .
[122] And all I ken was that we got word that there was to be a school trip and that we were leaving I forget what tie in the morning, and going down to see the German ships.
(PS2UY) [123] Did you know about the fact that they'd been captured?
Kitty (PS2UX) [124] No, I did not realize it.
[125] And I was only one out the family of nine that volunteered to go and none of me brothers or none of them that was all keen on the sea, they did not seem to want to go.
[126] And I went.
[127] I dunno it was arranged but it was a a small water boat that took us down, the Flying Kestrel.
[128] Oh we left and oh we were all excited about going on what [...] a great big boat and it was in fact only a small water boat.
[129] And we were all enjoying it and looking forward to going to see this big ships and whatnot.
[130] Sailing along quite the thing and we were right down I dunno how far, if we were right in the middle of them or just on the edge of them, but we were not far from them.
[131] When there was a sense of unrest and what not, and then first one ship then the other, starts shuddering but before that happened we saw Germans coming off in the rafts and that.
[132] Some of them swimming in the sea and whatnot.
[133] I was terrified.
[134] And then the the ships shuddered and [...] and some would go down by the stern and others would topple up and they'd be great fountains of water.
[135] By his time I was terrified and I don't ever be so [...] and our teacher took us down below and tried to play games [...] my mind I distinctly howling my [...] .
[136] And eventually we got they were frightened you see, that the suction of the boats going down would pull the the water boat under.
[137] So we turned and came back and oh it was grand.
[138] We got a grand welcome home.
(PS2UY) [139] Did nobody have any idea what was going on at the time?
Kitty (PS2UX) [140] I don't suppose No they wouldn't have any warning about this going to happen or they would never have taking a lot of bairns down among it.
[141] It was just very spontaneous surely.
[142] But they had it very well arranged, the Germans did.
[143] But there was a big loss of life as well, but what frightened me was this Germans coming over on Peedie bits of rafts and the men swimming in the sea and whatnot [...]
(PS2UY) [144] Were you frightened because it was Germans?
Kitty (PS2UX) [145] Yes.
[146] I was terrified of the Germans.
(PS2UY) [147] Well what did you think they were going to do?
Kitty (PS2UX) [148] Well i had no idea.
[149] Maybe come and kill us or something [laughing] like that.
[150] I did not ken [] .
[151] I was just terrified out me wits.
[152] When [...] our people what was going on and one thing and another.
[153] But I As I say I were young and I wouldn't have been paying particular attention.
[154] But oh we were told about the war and what was happening between the Germans and whatnot.
(PS2UY) [155] And did you think that the Germans were were bad or?
Kitty (PS2UX) [156] Oh yes very bad.
[157] Well there was lots of families you see that had their boys and men and sweethearts and all at the front it was a sad time.
[158] People that you knew, you know, getting wires and that to say that their menfolk had either been killed or were missing or some like that.
[159] That sticks out in my mind.
[160] But our family was too young to me in the war like me brother.
[161] In [break in recording]
Kitty (PS2UX) [162] What I mind of the last war it was too busy then.
[163] Very very hectic.
[164] I forget how many troops were here.
[165] But we lived near a battery, we lived out at Whale Park And when they they deciding give the [...] Elizabeth was just a baby then and I used to grab Elizabeth and go in the bed and [...] the d down quilt and the pillows on top of us and lie tight and send you until the [...] was in the sitting room and the search light follow the plane was at The plane was that near the house that the searchlight come right into the window, and the next I ken was the bullets ricocheting off the roof.
(PS2UY) [166] Where did the bullets come?
Kitty (PS2UX) [167] The German plane that the searchlight was following.
[168] It was a German plane coming over.
[169] And the searchlights the the battery that we were The camp that we were near, they opened fire and the [...] battery would open fire at that, and the searchlight anyway came in through the window.
[170] It was not a very fine experience.
(PS2UY) [171] Were there a lot of air raids at that time?
Kitty (PS2UX) [172] Oh well there was quite a lot of warnings and whatnot but er on the whole there was a lot but no more than any other place.
[173] But oh it was busy busy then.
(PS2UY) [174] Where did all the troops stay?
Kitty (PS2UX) [175] There was some of them billeted in private houses, and we just had a two r bedroom house out at Whale Park a Peedie bungalow.
[176] And you were If you had a spare room you were all Well I think you were forced to take in troops and we had Elizabeth, a baby, and we had lodgers, nearly all the wartime.
[177] We kept two at a time, sometimes one and not what not.
[178] And then there was the [...] were staying our, the Stromness [...] and the commercial [...] and and that.
[179] And the distillery and then, of course, there was camps at the Belt
(PS2UY) [180] What about amusements?
Kitty (PS2UX) [181] Well speaking personally I had plenty of amusement butt here was pictures and there was mess dos and parties and [...] what not.
[182] Oh it was a gay life. [tape change]