BNC Text HV6

Orkney Sound Archive tape OSA/RO/D: radio broadcast. Sample containing about 3833 words speech recorded in leisure context

2 speakers recorded by respondent number C429

PS3F5 X f (mansie flaws, age unknown, radio presenter, Interviewer) unspecified
PS3F6 Ag5 m (No name, age 70+, retired ferryman, Native of Wyre, Orkney.) unspecified

1 recordings

  1. Tape 107902 recorded on 1993-05-28. LocationOrkney: Orkney ( Radio Orkney ) Activity: Radio broadcast Interview, reminiscences

Undivided text

mansie flaws (PS3F5) [1] We stayed in that house till I were eight year old and then we were [...] went on to where I lived the rest of my time and that would have been from nineteen twenty to oh a couple of year ago.
(PS3F6) [2] What was it like on Wyre then was it very different?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [3] Oh entirely different from now.
[4] The pier and the hydro and the telephone made a big difference to it.
[5] But erm other [break in recording] eighteen inches or two foot to a jetty to land it.
[6] All the feeding stuff and there were a pile of feeding stuff then for the hens were all [...] and cattle were fed and all the feeding stuff had to be imported.
[7] And sometimes it landed in a gay sorry mess and it really wouldn't there just a couple of feet a couple of stones high just [...] the height of the jetty.
[8] And we've had many a soaking landing the stuff.
[9] Steamer sometimes anchored off and sometimes it didn't anchor there was too much wind I guess the anchor didn't hold too well when it was a rough day.
(PS3F6) [10] How often did you get the steamer?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [11] Oh it varied from time to time.
[12] In the winter time they'd come out on a Monday morning and came back on Tuesday from Kirkwall.
[13] And then the summer time they come out on a Monday morning and gone back at on Monday night.
[14] That was the [...] the first one I can remember.
[15] The shipping company supplied the boat for bringing the goods ashore.
[16] There's usually a old salmon coble they'd pick up from down the coast somewhere.
[17] Very flat on the bottom and turned up to the bow and that's what the salmon fishers used in the in the rivers for pulling their nets in and fishing salmon on the [...] .
(PS3F6) [18] Why choose one of the [...] was it cos they were suitable or cheaper?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [19] Well they were suitable and [laughing] cheaper [] they were too blooming cheap for the [...] they were usually condemned by the time we got them.
[20] They lashed alongside and they lowered the stuff right onto the onto the coble To start with we rowed it ashore with a couple or oars or maybe four oars and took off the cattle and that the same way just.
[21] Or they put a sling round them or made a canvass and two supports on the side of it and the sling to be too hard on the cattle's sides.
[22] Like a sort of hammock [laugh] .
[23] And er put that on and tied them back and front and up on them tied them to the sides of the coble and and usually towed it with another rowing boat.
[24] It was all done by oars then.
(PS3F6) [25] Were the cattle and all [...] ?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [26] Oh they were not too bad for that we never had any real [laughing] disaster [] .
[27] Just had one jumped over the side from us once and swamp ashore again and we caught it on the on the land again and put it away.
[28] I'm [...] having to swim them off the steamer and tow them in a dinghy to get our [...] put the slings on them before we left the beach and just pushed them into the water and towed them off and hook the hook the [...] into the sling and up them to give them a good wash before they went to Kirkwall.
(PS3F6) [29] It's funny how an animal like a cow or a horse would swim you would think it would be
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [30] Well they can they can swim like fish.
[31] For I remember us doing a flipping er a family came to Wyre once and we were on the same old coble we were er doing the flipping and we thought we had nothing to do but take the rope off their heads and push them over the side of the coble onto the side of the small jetty.
[32] And instead of going up the jetty they went down and they were going to go right back to Rousay again.
[33] And another instance of that was well this was not so long ago when we had a loan of a barge from [...] just a mini landing craft sort of thing where the front of it folded down.
[34] So I flipped some cattle from the farm of [...] and [...] right between Egilsay and Rousay just a short distance, oh maybe a quarter of a miles or thereby, and oh did the shipping perfectly well and and went home and by the time I got home the message had arrived back before me that the there were two old cattle among the younger ones that the fellow had put there just to feed up and the last we saw of them was going up over the island and that was okay we thought everything was okay.
[35] So the message was that the two old cattle was back in Rousay.
[36] They swam that strong current you know and landed back on Rousay again.
[37] Just imagine it.
(PS3F6) [38] You'd think it would be totally alien for them to go in the water like that.
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [39] [laughing] I know. []
[40] But they will do it.
(PS3F6) [41] Were the cattle in Rousay and Wyre and Egilsay were they used to that kind of thing?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [42] Oh no really no.
[43] Well you see Egilsay and Rousay had piers that they could land at and they were never used to be in the water.
[44] But I've seen in my time [...] coble to ship cattle with to swim them off.
[45] At it was on a nice day it was all right.
[46] I suppose when they got in the water they enjoyed the dip.
(PS3F6) [47] What about other animals?
[48] Sheep can be very sort of skittish and excitable .
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [49] [laughing] Oh oh [] oh yes.
[50] There's sometimes there's a job to handle them.
[51] I've seen them taken to the sea too and er have a job to round them up.
[52] And the horses well they they're the worst to ship some were really bad and they had to be severely tied.
[53] Some use to keep pigs too but not very many in Wyre.
[54] We had a job to handle them.
[55] The screams on them more than enough.
(PS3F6) [56] What happened in in the depth of winter when it was really bad and stormy as far as supplies and things went?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [57] Oh it could be stormy right enough but well the steamer might call at Rousay at that time and they would land the goods in Rousay the perishables for Wyre and when the weather abated we would get it from there.
[58] It was just about a half a mile of water to cross.
(PS3F6) [59] What happened with perishables because you said there was no power no electricity no fridges no freezers nothing .
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [60] Nothing no I've seen the bread coming out on a Monday morning warm and landed at [...] from the big houses and that was before the days of the cooling of the bread.
[61] They have coolers now [...] to take the steam away from them.
[62] And the boxes would even be warm when they landed at Wyre down in the hold of the steamer.
[63] But the bread soon turned green in this time of year and there was quite a lot of penicillin about hence. [laugh] .
(PS3F6) [64] Did folks still have girdles then or was that going out?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [65] Oh yes I guess they'd girdles Oh I suppose when the hens failed the girdles were possibly thrown out.
[66] But the hens when [...] was the hurricane there about finished them.
[67] [...] about at their height about the hurricane time and was it fifty one I think.
(PS3F6) [68] What was it like?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [69] Oh terrible.
[70] I thought I would never seen the next day.
[71] The stacks were just simply not there.
[72] It just lifted the roofing from the base of the stack and hen houses just scattered all over the place.
[73] Just hens laying here there and everywhere.
[74] I remember me gathering the hens up that night late oh about ten or eleven o'clock at night and [...] we had our own power you see by that time.
[75] Just our own lighting plant and the hens would even come out and meet you in the dark they knew knew you were coming.
[76] And they'd come along cattle [...] there just contented as could be and then they got their supper and we'd give them a wee while of light still to eat their supper.
[77] And the first was a twelve volt [...] but then we came to a hundred and ten so I just strung it down along the two top wires of the fence and they were live and oh there were about six or nine hen houses attached to the fence with those wires for electricity.
[78] But the next morning there was nothing left.
(PS3F6) [79] On this night you said you'd gone up to feed them?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [80] Yes.
[81] Oh well I gave them and went home and went to bed.
[82] And the wind got up in the night and pretty strong and we had a hut a twenty by twenty five foot fourteen eighteen war hut in the middle of a square and there was a shop and a storeroom besides.
[83] And there was nothing left but the base of that.
[84] Whole thing just went like a matchbox.
[85] And I got up and I was gonna tie her up like but and by gosh I thought I'd better make for the door again.
[86] And there was a lot of space between the hut and the door and the wind took me and flung me right up against the [...] tank and I went down to the ground and crawled on me hands and knees.
[87] I didn't go out again.
[88] I remember before that the wind changed pretty suddenly from southwest to nearer west I think and I'd made a new hen house I thought indestructible.
[89] And we had sixty pullets at the point of lay in this house to be moved out from the house to a field.
[90] And we were standing on the end of the house and I thought I had nothing to tie that down with but there were concrete blocks there I had a pile of those in the corner and well it took the whole blooming thing.
[91] And minced the hens up with the blocks.
[92] [sighing] Oh [] it was terrible.
[93] And it let an old house alongside [...] with nothing in it and hardly a door on it and that stood right alongside of that one and it must have been like a comb it just must have gone in strips the gale for that house was now twelve foot away from the other one.
[94] And why did that one stand and the blocks in in this one and the hens and everything.
[95] So that was disaster.
(PS3F6) [96] Were you married then?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [97] Mhm mhm.
(PS3F6) [98] Did you have a young family as well?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [99] Yes and we took the whole thing down to the kitchen for the upstairs rooms were just going like this.
[100] And when we were down in the kitchen the partition between the butt and the bairn as they called it was going like that inside of the house in the gale.
[101] And it ripped about a quarter of the roof off before it finished and the slates but er [...] still good.
[102] Oh it lifted huge stones you know it wa it was incredible.
(PS3F6) [103] Were the bairns frightened?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [104] Well some of them I suppose slept over it.
(PS3F6) [105] [laughing] What? []
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [106] Yes.
[107] But I certainly did not.
[108] And when it daylight came the next day next morning you could hardly believe it you could hardly see Rousay for the foam that the gale kick up like a thick fog.
[109] The [...] had risen in the air and I never want to see the like again.
(PS3F6) [110] It must have done an awful lot of damage everywhere else too.
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [111] Oh it did that all right.
[112] And some of that hen houses blew right on the sea.
[113] Not our our owns but erm other people and they could see them the next day when the steamers went to the north isles for the er the cockerels or the hens sitting on the top of them.
[114] And they could do nothing to save them.
(PS3F6) [115] Did the steamers go the next day?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [116] Well yeah the wind fell but I'm not really sure whether they went the next day or the day after that I can't remember.
[117] Oh it took some sorting out on the next morning.
[118] And you see all the crop had vanished over the night.
[119] And they had to import hay and straw and goodness knows what.
(PS3F6) [120] Did the Council have to set up some sort of emergency system?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [121] Er yes I think they did but er we reckoned we lost about eight hundred and fifty pounds worth of gear.
[122] [laughing] [...] [] fifty or sixty pound worth of that but which was nothing.
(PS3F6) [123] Were folk insured for that kind of thing then or
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [124] Well no really some of them were not.
(PS3F6) [125] What about livestock would they have been in at that time of year?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [126] Oh yes.
[127] Oh some of the roofs sort of and that were peeled off no bother.
(PS3F6) [128] Was there any loss of life?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [129] No funny to say.
[130] Had it been in the day time I'm sure there would have been lives lost for they wouldn't have stayed in to seen their stuff go under.
[131] Going for the wind. ... [break in recording]
(PS3F6) [132] Thing about boats you know you were speaking about the steamer coming back and forth to Wyre, but what kind of a boat service was there local boat service.
[133] Cos if the steamer only came once a week that wouldn't have been enough.
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [134] Oh that was about the lot er we had.
[135] If you wanted to go to Kirkwall you had to cross to the Rousay pier and then either hire a car or walk to [...] and get across with Tom .
[136] Erm that was in the early days Charley and Tom did the crossing there for the mails and early in nineteen fifty one no fifty five that we took over the mails.
[137] And we before that we made quite a few runs to Kirkwall with a [...] that was a small one that we had and erm you had to get the bus from Evie of course to Kirkwall and back the same way.
[138] Back along with the back to what you would call the [...] sea crossing er to [...] and get on to the Rousay pier then and get a dinghy or something and row across to Wyre.
(PS3F6) [139] Did you start doing a passenger service when you got the mail contract or did you to the mail just on its own first or did you [...]
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [140] [clears throat] No we did we did passengers before the mails.
[141] We used to run direct to Kirkwall via [...] and erm it was then that the post office caught hold of us and wanted us to take on the mails.
[142] So
(PS3F6) [143] How did you work that was it er sort of round like Egilsay [...] or did you
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [144] No no the first mail run we had was just merely from [...] to Rousay to collect the Rousay [...] mails and dump them at the Rousay pier and they were sorted in Rousay for Egilsay and Wyre besides that.
[145] And as we were coming home from Rousay pier we met the Wyre post boat coming across for the mails that we already had dumped in Rousay.
[146] And Egilsay crossed to [...] the school just there yes [...] .
[147] Er they crossed there to [...] for the mails for years and years.
[148] And
(PS3F6) [149] You said you met the Wyre post boat coming back so you didn't
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [150] As we went back to Wyre home to Wyre we could meet the Wyre post boat coming across for the mails that we put to Rousay.
[151] They had to go and collect the mails.
[152] Well you see they had the mail er contract on Wyre long before we start.
[153] But it finally ended up that we had the whole thing Rousay Egilsay and Wyre.
(PS3F6) [154] So did you do a passenger service direct to Kirkwall calling at Egilsay and Rousay?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [155] Er yes just er no really a service it was more hires than anything else.
[156] Just er for the [...] business. ...
(PS3F6) [157] Oh so that so the passenger service it it wasn't actually a a daily passenger service like it is now then?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [158] Oh no no no.
[159] Well we went every day on about the mail so it was a passenger service that really started off in nineteen fifty five but we [...] bought maybe in nineteen fifty three or fifty four.
[160] We had to run direct to Kirkwall quite a lot then.
(PS3F6) [161] When did the bus service start to [...] then?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [162] Oh it was a while after we start.
[163] Actually it not that long ago.
[164] But a few years now.
(PS3F6) [165] Well what did folk do when they got to [...] then?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [166] Oh well Bob [...] had a mini bus that he went with and picked up the passengers.
[167] And of course he died and I think [break in recording]
(PS3F6) [168] There was no bus then?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [169] No.
[170] They only thing they could do was to go walk up to [...] walk up a road to [...] and contact the Evie bus but it didn't come down along [...] for years and years.
[171] And then er Tom retired and he used to run the bus long after we start the mails and then he retired and er the [...] bus service to come down along [...] and pick up the passengers and that was how it start.
(PS3F6) [172] There was Tom running a passenger service at the same time as you were doing the mail?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [173] Mhm and he lost the mails in nineteen fifty five.
[174] He packed up the mails and er tackled the [...] to have a go.
[175] And we were not too keen on it at that time but had been all right.
(PS3F6) [176] So are there two boats going every day then?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [177] Well yes there would nearly two going every day indeed.
(PS3F6) [178] Did you take supplies and things as well then?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [179] Mhm.
[180] I took our tin of bread across for donkey's years. ...
(PS3F6) [181] What happened in the days before freezers I mean well like going back to this you know when folk didn't have power.
[182] Things wouldn't have kept what you would have had a totally different kind of eating habits?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [183] Well I suppose more salted meat I mean more home home butching and erm making bread I suppose or the womenfolk were likely baking every day. ...
(PS3F6) [184] It must be totally different now I I know that in places like Hoy that just used the freezers all the time.
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [185] [...] yes mhm.
[186] Even with our [clears throat] daily transport
(PS3F6) [187] Mhm. ...
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [188] Oh yes we yeah we use a freezer too.
[189] We took in [...] and for [...] and still use it.
[190] I thought plenty believe in fresh meat and that.
[191] I suppose fresh meat is better but you're only suppose to keep a certain time anyway even in the freezer.
(PS3F6) [192] What about fishing?
[193] When you were younger in Wyre, how did folk make a living?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [194] Oh plenty of porridge and [laughing] milk and [] er oh there was no much money to be made I mean and there was a lot bigger population then than what it is now.
(PS3F6) [195] You said about the hens making a lot, how did how did they work that as an industry with the eggs and things how did they collect and work?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [196] We had a oh [...] nearly a dozen cases of eggs [...] dozen sometimes for some farms.
[197] And it was a big business and tons of feeding stuff.
[198] For every ton of feeding stuff then there maybe a hundredweight now coming ashore.
[199] It was [...]
(PS3F6) [200] What happened?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [201] Well imported eggs I suppose.
[202] Irish eggs and goodness knows whatnot.
[203] Oh and there's factory farming this er [...] big business.
[204] I guess it flawed the lot of it.
(PS3F6) [205] You could always tell a deep litter egg.
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [206] Oh absolutely. [laugh]
(PS3F6) [207] It stank and it was dark orange.
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [208] [laughing] Yes. []
[209] You could tell a [...] broiler what they call them er fowls.
[210] That was absolutely white compared with a fully range fowl.
[211] I mean that's the meat.
[212] Oh that's just no so good.
(PS3F6) [213] There must have been a big business even when the deep litter started cos I can remember the farm next door to us working a deep litter.
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [214] Mhm.
(PS3F6) [215] And they had hundreds and hundreds of hens in deep litter and they seemed to be making a lot of money out of it.
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [216] Oh they would yes.
[217] Oh they and I guess it set a few farmers on his feet.
[218] But it didn't last.
(PS3F6) [219] What happened with the egg packing station?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [220] Oh well it just packed up you know no eggs and that was that.
[221] There were two packing stations at one time.
[222] One down at [...] here and er where was the other one or the [...] down the road here.
[223] That was a fairly big one and I think there may have been one at Stromness too.
[224] Oh it had washing machines and goodness knows whatnot ... auto
(PS3F6) [225] What's
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [226] automatic feeders and such likes.
(PS3F6) [227] What sort of prices did folk get for eggs then?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [228] Oh I can't remember that.
[229] Mm.
(PS3F6) [230] Was it the the women's business really?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [231] Well up to a point indeed but er the men would er help out I doubt.
(PS3F6) [232] I always seem to recall the women up to their elbows in freezing cold water washing.
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [233] Washing eggs?
(PS3F6) [234] Mhm.
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [235] [laughing] Oh yes. []
[236] And plenty got this egg wash [...] you see.
[237] And just filled a net basket of eggs and put it down in the in the water and the water flowed through it kind of.
[238] Possibly possibly with a pump I don't know.
[239] But it would be better if it did not need washing.
[240] The egg was actually the eggs would keep better [...] washed.
(PS3F6) [241] Oh why's that then?
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [242] Well I think it broke the seal in the wash [...] and er which was good get them as they were laid they were okay.
[243] Keep the nests clean but that was no good to do either so.
[244] Sometimes the hens would start eating them and break the eggs oh what a mess.
(PS3F6) [245] When they changed the deep litter did it erm I've heard folks say that it actually affected the hens that they that they went cannibal and
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [246] Oh yes oh they would do that all right.
[247] [clears throat] They started pecking one another and it was a job to get them stopped.
(PS3F6) [248] Yes it's funny to think of hens having feelings but I suppose being cooped up like that it did affect them.
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [249] Oh aye it must have done mhm.
[250] See they got on the lights so long of the day in the winter time and made them lay just like as if it'd been summer.
(PS3F6) [251] Well that was the idea of the
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [252] Mhm.
(PS3F6) [253] deep litter.
mansie flaws (PS3F5) [254] Mhm mhm.
[255] Old one old ones just used which was at the bulb in every hen house and it was free range and I think there was nothing better than that.
[256] And they would lay just when and collect them eggs that night afore the gale.
[257] It was I just heard about [tape change]