Orkney Sound Archive tape OSA/RO/B: reminiscences. Sample containing about 488 words speech recorded in leisure context

1 speakers recorded by respondent number C367

PS2VM Ag5 f (Edith, age 70+, retired farmer) unspecified

1 recordings

  1. Tape 103205 recorded on unknown date. LocationOrkney ( Radio broadcast ) Activity: Reminiscences

Undivided text

Edith (PS2VM) [1] From my country upbringing I can remember fields of blaggets less common now but I do know of it still being grown in Orkney.
[2] It was easier to grow in less fertile soil.
[3] Its finer straw is preferable for gloy as straw for the straw blagget stools was called, now called Orkney chairs.
[4] And there was grinnets not grown in any great quantity, but derived from the late sown seed oats.
[5] Perhaps to make use of the end dregs of a field where turnips had been sown.
[6] Still fresh and green at the back end, it could provide a juicy supplement to the diet of a early calving cow, or for the smallholder's animals newly brought in to the byre for the winter.
[7] Grinnets would be the forerunner of silage.
[8] To turn back the pages to my early memories of harvest time, on the smaller farms is to have opened a book on nostalgia.
[9] For in the mind's eye the harvest field is peopled by busy farm folk from the neighbourhood I knew.
[10] I can see the horses and even the timorous harvest mice scurrying through a forest of stubble.
[11] A sight that might have intrigued Professor .
[12] In fine weather it was pleasant to be in the harvest field, but as the season wore on lashings of cold or bleak shafts of wind driven rain made it disagreeable to handle the wet sheaves.
[13] Whether gathering after the scythe, or the reaper, or stoking the sheaves, clothes could become sopping wet.
[14] Long black shiny oilskins could blow about and still the slanting rain got in.
[15] Who said Orkney had horizontal rain?
[16] In stooks standing for too long in wet weather, the bottoms of sheaves might become moussed as dampness set in.
[17] Sharp corn skegs from the heads of bair could creep irritatingly up the inside of a sleeve, as I well remember.
[18] Green seeds of corn were termed corn ends.
[19] As some of the old Orkney words and expressions fall in to disuse, links in the valuable heritage that thurls us to our Viking ancestry are broken.
[20] They are much more than just quaint old fashioned words.
[21] A cold drying wind expressively called a yerdzook dried out stacks that were on the wet side.
[22] Straw ropes called symmons unwound from cloothes were tied round about these stacks or screws to protect the sheaves from the gales.
[23] Stooks would blow down and be set up to blow over again and wet heavy sheaves might have to be stoked over and over again.
[24] Tea and eatables brought in a big Orkney basket to the harvesters and eaten while seated in the lea of the stokes was a special treat.
[25] Menfolk lit up stubby pipes and soon the air was full of the pungent smoke of twist tobacco, I think it was probably called X X Boggy Roll, and many a yarn was spoken while they were thus enjoying their break. [tape change]