BNC Text K6P

Orkney Library Sound Archive tape OLSA 123: interview for oral history project. Sample containing about 6822 words speech recorded in leisure context

4 speakers recorded by respondent number C637

PS5M3 Ag5 m (Peter, age 65, retired crofter, From North Ronaldsay. Being interviewd by) unspecified
K6PPS000 X u (No name, age unknown) unspecified
K6PPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
K6PPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 100601 recorded on 1987-03-15. LocationOrkney: Orkney () Activity: Interview for oral history project Interview, reminiscences

Undivided text

Peter (PS5M3) [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [1] [...] ask a silly question [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [2] I was born on central Island as I said. [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [3] What's the name of the of the [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [4] The house Er the house was Greenspot.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [5] It was down near the centre of the island down past er mill dam.
(K6PPS000) [6] Ah.
Peter (PS5M3) [7] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [8] And was that [...] ?
Peter (PS5M3) [9] Aye.
[10] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [11] What size was it?
Peter (PS5M3) [12] About seven and a half acres.
(K6PPS000) [13] Oh that's not very big.
Peter (PS5M3) [14] [laugh] No.
(K6PPS000) [15] Were there many in your family [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [16] Two.
(K6PPS000) [17] That size of croft would never be enough to keep you living.
[18] Keep the family.
Peter (PS5M3) [19] Well it kept us and er when we were [...] the school holidays my brother and me used to to gather whelks and [...] and that.
[20] The Summer holidays and even even in the Christmas holidays we were [...] .
(K6PPS000) [21] [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [22] Well er ten or twelve year old.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [23] Yeah.
(K6PPS000) [24] When were you born?
Peter (PS5M3) [25] Nineteen twenty two.
(K6PPS000) [26] So what what kind of livestock did you have on that size of croft?
Peter (PS5M3) [27] Oh
(K6PPS000) [28] Can you remember.
Peter (PS5M3) [29] Oh two ca [...] and four calves and a horse.
[30] One horse.
(K6PPS000) [31] One horse?
Peter (PS5M3) [32] Aye and joined with the next-door neighbour er [...] for cultivating the land.
[33] Mm.
(K6PPS000) [34] Did you have anything [...] at that time?
Peter (PS5M3) [35] No I never [...] at Greenspot let me say. [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [36] [laugh] I don't believe [...] [laugh] So that must have died [...] generation. [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [37] Oh there were there were a lot of houses [...] but ere we didn't have any.
[38] We used to some of us other boys [...] we'd go down to the banks and [...] the Winter time.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [39] Oh aye [...] .
(K6PPS000) [40] Where you involved in it?
Peter (PS5M3) [41] Aye, the gathering [...] .
[42] Used to take a a basket with your bottle with tea and that in it to my father when we was [...] . [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [43] What was it like [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [44] Oh it was great [...] month of June.
[45] See we [...] Summer days then compared with what we get nowadays. [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [46] [laugh] Everybody says that so it must be true.
[47] When you went to the kelp, how long do you remember that [...] ?
Peter (PS5M3) [48] Oh I don't know really what time the [...] really started.
[49] I think it started [...] school.
(K6PPS000) [50] And what age were you when you left [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [51] Fourteen.
[52] Ready to walk [...] land when I were fifteen.
(K6PPS000) [53] But like, when you were a young boy growing up [...] would the kelp workers could they make as much money [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [54] Er not really, the main source of income on the croft er when I was [...] was er we keeping hens.
[55] Aye.
(K6PPS000) [56] Tell me about that. [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [57] Oh I couldn't rightly tell you what the number of hens would be that er [...] maybe within maybe er thirty dozen [...] eggs in the week or so.
[58] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [59] And that was that's just your your croft.
Peter (PS5M3) [60] Mm mhm mhm.
[61] Aye with [...] used just the grain that was grown on the croft and brought in a lot of the feed.
[62] We used to wheel it home then on the push-bike.
[63] The feed for the shop and we [...] the box of eggs on the push-bike.
(K6PPS000) [64] And that brought in th that was your main source on income ?
Peter (PS5M3) [65] Aye.
[66] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [67] When did that start?
[68] Was that on the go when you were growing up o did it start
Peter (PS5M3) [69] Aye just when I was growing up it started aye, maybe when or maybe when I was about er ten year old or something.
(K6PPS000) [70] [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [71] Oh quite a lot.
[72] Well like all the the ground was all cultivated and you had the had like all the Summertime you had to fence the the hens off the the cultivated land.
(K6PPS000) [73] What kind of hens did you have?
Peter (PS5M3) [74] It was usually wine dots, some leghorns, Rhode Island Reds.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [75] Oh Aye and there was the
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [76] all the the tatties boiled tatties and chopped it up for the hens.
[77] That was [...] my mother sometimes er [...] mix it up with er with the bought hen feed and [...] gathering nettles and er boiling nettles and that to mix it up with.
(K6PPS000) [78] Oh.
Peter (PS5M3) [79] Mhm.
[80] And gathering chickweed out of the neep [...] the chickens and that for green feed when they needed [...] and they were confined in a small small space where there was no green grass [...] to feed them on.
(K6PPS000) [81] Oh I see.
Peter (PS5M3) [82] You used to go up with a with a sack or something and gather the chickweed er out of the tattie [...] and neep [...] .
(K6PPS000) [83] So you reared your own [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [84] Mhm.
[85] Oh yeah, flock of hens.
[86] Sit on maybe thirteen or fourteen eggs.
[87] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [88] Was that [...] hens [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [89] Oh no [...] hens.
[90] And they used to and they if you had er good er breeding stock and that the the neighbours would come to you for a sitting on eggs.
[91] Coze eggs a dozen eggs or [...] .
(K6PPS000) [92] Would this erm croft specialize in that?
[93] Did you w did you specialize more than most folk or were you just average ?
Peter (PS5M3) [94] Oh no no, just average.
[95] All the peedie crofts throughout did that.
(K6PPS000) [96] More the peedie crofts [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [97] Aye [...]
(K6PPS000) [98] And was it [...] much did you get for you know [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [99] Oh I just I just couldn't tell you really what
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [100] Usually.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [101] Aye usually
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [102] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [103] Well there was [...] you would er buy your errands and they was marked down in a book at the shop.
[104] You put up your eggs and marked it down and then they was er cleared then at the end of the year.
[105] And some years you'd probably maybe get a few pounds back and sometimes you would er maybe have to pay a few pounds.
[106] And your Aye.
[107] But Aye.
[108] Mm .
(K6PPS000) [109] I see but [...] you didn't actually get the money for them.
Peter (PS5M3) [110] No actually no.
[111] Mhm.
[112] But us there was there was mainly was also er living was er the eggs paid for what you bought for the shop.
[113] And for their own er feed.
[114] Aye.
[115] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [116] You bought that for the shop did you
Peter (PS5M3) [117] Mhm.
[118] Aye aye.
(K6PPS000) [119] And you didn't have to [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [120] No you just marked it down and cleared it up at the end of the year.
(K6PPS000) [121] What kind of accommodation and and equipment and that did you need for the hen [...] did you just [...] big henhouse [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [122] Just the the usual size for a henhouse, er six by eight feet.
[123] Er
(K6PPS000) [124] And how many hens would that hold?
Peter (PS5M3) [125] Oh you'd maybe hold er thirty in it.
[126] Mhm.
[127] Thirty hens in the six by eight house.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [128] Aye over those aye.
[129] [...] about the same size.
[130] And roof with er like st flag stone roofs.
(K6PPS000) [131] Where they easy to keep hens? [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [132] Mm.
(K6PPS000) [133] Were they did they need a lot of attention [...] ?
Peter (PS5M3) [134] Well they needed a lot but they especially if they were in a confined space.
[135] But what we found was that the heavier breeds, the wine dots and the Rhode Island Reds, they didn't need such a high fence as what the leghorns or any of the lighter breeds needed.
[136] Used to if [...] the wire and that you'd try and get a hold of them and clip their wings to stop the flying out.
(K6PPS000) [137] Did they all follow [...] or not?
Peter (PS5M3) [138] Oh they tried to aye.
(K6PPS000) [139] That must have been an awful lot of hens then [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [140] Oh aye.
(K6PPS000) [141] And now, where did they go then? [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [142] The usually go to the the egg packing station [...] .
[143] I think most of the of the crofters here I think maybe had a better [...] .
[144] But nobody much [...] into the the egg packing station.
[145] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [146] And when did that all fold up?
Peter (PS5M3) [147] Oh it folded up after the war.
[148] Mm.
(K6PPS000) [149] Something I've heard it said before, I don't know if this is true in North Ronaldsay that that gale in nineteen thirty two had something to do with it .
Peter (PS5M3) [150] Mhm aye it had something to do with it [...] lot of lot of henhouses and that blown away.
[151] And aye certainly i think it did er start to go down after that.
[152] And
(K6PPS000) [153] Do you remember that night?
Peter (PS5M3) [154] Oh aye I did.
(K6PPS000) [155] Tell me what you remember of it.
Peter (PS5M3) [156] I remember me getting up about three o'clock in the morning I heard the wind and I got up to look at the stack yard and start to put er [...] bits of pit props and that into the nets and and and the wind was getting that strong the pit props was going flying over me head and I gave it up and made for [...] and it's certainly not a very high door at Greenspot but or a very big door but it took me all my time to get the door closed. [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [157] Mm.
Peter (PS5M3) [158] Mm.
(K6PPS000) [159] Was it the worst wind you've seen?
Peter (PS5M3) [160] Oh aye.
[161] It was more wind than what was the hurricane after to the North East.
[162] Aye.
(K6PPS000) [163] Was that the next year?
Peter (PS5M3) [164] Aye.
[165] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [166] Aye mhm, there were more damage done on North Ronaldsay with the nineteen fifty two.
(K6PPS000) [167] What direction wind was it?
Peter (PS5M3) [168] South West.
(K6PPS000) [169] Is that your worst [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [170] [...] .
[171] Mhm.
[172] Aye.
(K6PPS000) [173] And what damage did the wind do to your croft?
Peter (PS5M3) [174] Well er it blew down er two of the henhouses and er I was working at Cruisbruk then.
[175] And they got [...] reckon they were They had a lot of henhouses then they were working a lot [...] hens and there were five or six henhouses all blown to bits and the hens scattered about everywhere.
[176] All the stacks blown down.
(K6PPS000) [177] Were there hens all dead?
Peter (PS5M3) [178] Aye a lot of them.
[179] Aye.
(K6PPS000) [180] [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [181] There were quite a lot of loss right enough.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
(K6PPS000) [182] I was just gonna say [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [183] There were a there were a bit of fund for it I think.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [184] Aye.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [185] There were some there were
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [186] one or two on the island here who got a bit for the that er damage with the storm.
[187] Storm damage.
[188] Mhm but there wasn't very many.
(K6PPS000) [189] Were they the ones that [...] really bad?
Peter (PS5M3) [190] Mhm.
[191] Aye.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
(K6PPS000) [laugh]
Peter (PS5M3) [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [192] What's erm what what's [...] most affected [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [193] Oh I think we were one of the worst hit was Cruisbruk was aye.
[194] It was up on a height [...] suppose.
[195] Aye.
[196] But it was during the night you see, the the nineteen fifty three one was [...] started wayward nine or ten o'clock.
[197] It was more in the daytime.
(K6PPS000) [198] And did that do damage [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [199] Aye it did a lot of damage the dykes and that.
[200] But not so much I think er with a lot of henhouses and that they were better battened down I think after the first year.
[201] But the hens eased off here for the the start of the the cultivate ley [...] the land.
[202] They were growing ley [...] and corn.
[203] More hay and that.
[204] So they didn't have much er of their of their feed for the hens.
[205] And they buy it all in, there was no pay in it.
[206] And then there was not much gro cereals grown here and then the mill stopped.
[207] Nobody working in the mill for they'd not much to do in the mill.
[208] ... Aye.
(K6PPS000) [209] And did the money [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [210] Well er the money was not [...] you had to buy the [...] and the there were nothing in it unless you went into choosing a a big system like the battery system. [...]
(K6PPS000) [211] Aye.
Peter (PS5M3) [212] But [...] there was a lot of them they used to work with er the oil lamps and that [...] out in the henhouses. [...] the hens eggs, they feed at night.
(K6PPS000) [213] Oh right .
Peter (PS5M3) [214] Aye.
[215] Mhm.
[216] But they light the lanterns [...] henhouse might be about four or five o'clock and you maybe leave it in the henhouse maybe till nine or ten at night.
[217] Hens got extra feed and you got more eggs. [...]
(K6PPS000) [218] And that worked?
Peter (PS5M3) [219] Mhm.
[220] Oh it certainly worked.
(K6PPS000) [221] But there would have been a lot of work for you boys [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [222] Oh aye.
[223] [...] hens who were [...] once the oats were so were sown they had to they were closed down and that.
[224] And when we had a [...] down near the banks dyke and it was fenced round and we used to carry the hens down there at night in a sack on your back.
(K6PPS000) [225] Oh.
Peter (PS5M3) [226] Mhm.
[227] Or maybe a a lot in a sack wheel them down on a wheelbarrow or something.
(K6PPS000) [228] And what what was the reason for this?
Peter (PS5M3) [229] We shift them down to the [...] so they couldn't get onto the cultivated land.
[230] And then they left the [...] then for the the younger birds [...] .
[231] Give them a better chance.
[232] If you'd the old hens closed in with them they the young birds would have no chance.
[233] The old hens would eat all the feed.
(K6PPS000) [234] Mhm.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [235] [laughing] Aye. []
[236] Catch them with a dog and clip their wings. [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [237] So you were what [...] what were you doing at [...] .
[238] Were you growing a lot of crops [...] ?
Peter (PS5M3) [239] Well er [...] grown in just in rotation you know working the land every five or six year rotation er and er you had not very much hay.
[240] And er then you see the [...] then and [...] .
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [241] Oh aye, did all the cutting with scythes.
(K6PPS000) [242] Really.
Peter (PS5M3) [243] Mhm.
[244] Aye.
[245] We never had a we never had a reaper on on Greenspot.
[246] It it was all cut with a scythe until er well I started I go to Holland to work when I was fourteen and my brother Charlie he got away and my father and mother was left they were home.
[247] And they they failed then you see with cutting the crop with a scythe and they hired then a tractor and binder to cut the crop.
(K6PPS000) [248] Did did it take a while to cut [...] crop this size?
Peter (PS5M3) [249] Oh it took a while.
[250] You would er it would all depend.
[251] [...] you see if it was a fine stand crop you could cut quite a bit but if it was all raffled it took a while.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [252] Well they they were all no well you could maybe aye they help aye but er usually they had as much as they could do themselves you see.
[253] Cos any spare [...] the men or that they were usually away [...] for a har taking up a harvest.
[254] Earning a few pounds.
[255] [...] work when I was fifteen, and I was away then for a while and then after the war when I come back I was working at at Cruisbruk.
[256] And then er working with them [...] the tractor and binder did the cutting and that and we did the cutting and the leading [...] .
[257] And Sydney at Antabruk.
(K6PPS000) [258] What was it like when you went into service at at [...] .
[259] What were the conditions like?
Peter (PS5M3) [260] The conditions was not [...] great.
[261] You got er twelve pound for six months work. [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [262] Did you get your board and [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [263] You got your Aye.
[264] Mhm.
[265] You just had the twelve pound for pocket money.
[266] You got your board and lodgings you see.
(K6PPS000) [267] And what did that [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [268] Well er you [...] at Holland I usually stayed home at night.
[269] I got Aye.
[270] Mhm .
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [271] Aye but er some of the other boys that were there they used to stay at.
[272] They [...] you see.
[273] [...] And and er the the wages get up two years every half a year.
[274] Fourteen pound for the firs er twelve pound for the first half and fourteen for the second. [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [275] And what did a day consist of roughly then?
[276] What time were you up in the mornings?
Peter (PS5M3) [277] Well er when I started then I was usually up about seven.
[278] And we worked from eight o'clock in the morning till eight at night.
(K6PPS000) [279] [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [280] With break for We'd start we'd do the cattle feed the cattle in the morning and then we were in for breakfast and then er be out then and er dinner then was usually about half past twelve and you started again on at two.
[281] And then in for your tea at six and then [...] after you had your tea [...] cattle.
[282] Aye.
[283] You finished about eight o'clock at night, you had about twelve hours so you're working more or less except for the [...] wasn't very long. [...] . [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [284] Were you responsible for the horse or were you a cattle man?
Peter (PS5M3) [285] Well er I was a cattleman to start with and then it was the horse.
(K6PPS000) [286] Was that a progression up then.
Peter (PS5M3) [287] Mhm.
[288] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [289] Why was that the case?
Peter (PS5M3) [290] Well I don't know, he usually usually had the one horse man and er a chap in the working [...] .
[291] And er if it suited then if you a young chap when they first started for a year or so you'd be working with the cattle and himself, the boss, would be working the horse with a horseman.
[292] And then you get [...] getting neeps and getting [...] and onto the ploughing and than.
[293] And then er himself then would er be doing the cattle.
[294] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [295] [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [296] No no he was just the tenant [...] the firm were Holland.
[297] Ran Jimmy 's the name.
[298] He belonged to the mainland of Orkney.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [299] No he [...] .
[300] Aye.
[301] From Evay, I think his brother was in Walkerhouse in Evay.
(K6PPS000) [302] Oh.
Peter (PS5M3) [303] Aye.
[304] And then when he left er Holland in nineteen thirty nine, he went to the Glebe in Birsay.
(K6PPS000) [305] What size [...] ?
Peter (PS5M3) [306] Oh it was about three hundred acres.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [307] [...] Glebe at Birsay then was about sixty acres.
[308] Mm.
(K6PPS000) [309] And what kind of food did you get? [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [310] Oh [...] the growth of the ground as they said. [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [311] [laughing] [...] [] What was it your breakfast consisted of?
Peter (PS5M3) [312] Well er sometimes it might be porridge but it was usually just er the [...] and maybe er boiled eggs and er [...] oatcakes and and your dinner'd probably be tatties and pork or something of that kind.
[313] Mush the same at teatime.
(K6PPS000) [314] But you were well enough fed?
Peter (PS5M3) [315] Oh aye, well enough fed.
(K6PPS000) [316] Was there a difference in the conditions at different firms in
Peter (PS5M3) [317] Oh aye certainly there was.
[318] Right enough.
[319] You were better fed at some firms or others.
(K6PPS000) [320] And [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [321] They were fairly good.
[322] Aye.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [323] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [324] And what kind of holidays did you get then [...] you worked at Holland for how long?
Peter (PS5M3) [325] Two and a half year.
[326] Mhm.
[327] One
(K6PPS000) [328] [...] holidays [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [329] One week in the year.
[330] And you worked every Saturday and every second Sunday.
[331] There were no half days on Saturday or day off on Saturday.
[332] And you worked every second Sunday as a cattle [...] look after the cattle every second Sunday.
[333] In the Summertime you didn't have so much to do on a Sunday.
[334] [...] horse to water and things of that kind.
[335] But you couldn't really do very much [...] .
[336] And the funny thing was even if it should be a rainy day.
[337] and we were maybe hanging around at Holland and not doing very much, the boss never thought of doing the threshing till after we [...] for tea.
[338] Then we go out and thresh after tea time. [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [339] And what did that consist of what did you used to thresh with?
Peter (PS5M3) [340] We'd thresh with a mill and engine.
[341] [...] one chap feeding the mill and one the other chap then giving him the [...] and the other chap was working below taking away the straw and looking after the grain.
(K6PPS000) [342] Was that a hand mill at that time.
Peter (PS5M3) [343] No at Holland there was a hand-mill [...] Greenspot.
[344] Just a small er Tiny metal mill and a handle on every side you turned.
[345] [...] maybe before I was ten year old, turning the handle of the wap mill as they called it. [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [laugh]
Peter (PS5M3) [346] And there was the like for the corn and that we used to what we called hammling it was done with a flail.
(K6PPS000) [347] Ah [...] .
[348] Did you you used the flail?
Peter (PS5M3) [349] Mhm.
[350] Mhm.
[351] Oh aye, we used the flail.
(K6PPS000) [352] [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [353] Oh it wa
(K6PPS000) [354] I've never seen one I've never seen it being used.
Peter (PS5M3) [355] No.
(K6PPS000) [356] It look [...] can't imagine [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [357] It was alright, I didn't mind working the flail and the two could work the flail together.
[358] one standing opposite other one.
[359] And one was striking one time and the other one the other.
[360] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [361] Oh right.
Peter (PS5M3) [362] Aye.
[363] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [364] Was it efficient, does it work fine?
Peter (PS5M3) [365] Oh aye it worked fine.
[366] And [...] I've seen when [...] getting corn er just right er dressed for [...] the mill, I've seen us er doing with a spade and that and a tub.
[367] Cup a bag or corn into the tub a big wooden tub and get a sharp spade and keep chobbing with a spade in the tub.
[368] That's what they call chapping corn.
[369] You just made the corn [...] .
[370] In fact you made it too [...] for seed if you did.
[371] The corn was too [...] for seed it didn't go down.
[372] Er there come any rain, it just all come to the top.
(K6PPS000) [373] What sort of mill did you use the mill for [...] did you put grain through the mill [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [374] Mhm for for [...] oats for oatmeal.
[375] And and [...] lot of the oats and the corn they was roughly ground for the [...] .
[376] That was feeding the pigs or the [...] .
[377] But w as I said we did [...] because we didn't have a pig.
[378] But we used to put the oats to the mill and the and the corn for getting it bruised for feeding the horse and the cattle.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
(K6PPS000) [379] [...] Was it quite a sophisticated mill [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [380] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [381] Mhm.
[382] Aye.
[383] They got a new engine in the mill er [...] the start of the war I think.
[384] Cos an oil engine was in it for a while and then they put a new diesel engine in I think it would be [...] nineteen thirty nine or something.
(K6PPS000) [385] [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [386] It was Mr that was the laird there.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [387] Mr oh yes I remember him and [...] the wife died but I didn't mind er
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [388] Willie aye, well i didn't mind him.
[389] And Mrs she was the laird for quite a while a while after the war.
[390] She was laird.
(K6PPS000) [391] Did she stay here at that time?
Peter (PS5M3) [392] No she only stayed for a few weeks in Summer
(K6PPS000) [393] So who was the factor here?
Peter (PS5M3) [394] It was er a James in Kirkwall.
(K6PPS000) [395] But he didn't live here?
Peter (PS5M3) [396] No no he just came up to collect the rent.
(K6PPS000) [397] And [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [398] Oh it was alright.
(K6PPS000) [399] Was it quite fair [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [400] Oh aye he was fair you see the the rents on Ronaldsay was never very high, in fact the the rents in North Ronaldsay they're [...] before nineteen hundred I don't think.
[401] No them's just the on the [...] if there'd not been any change to the croft and that there'd still the old rent.
[402] No they seemed to be fairer [...] than some of the lairds was.
(K6PPS000) [403] When I heard the stories about [...] quite a tyrant [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [404] Oh the [...] s, aye well they they were [...] more the bailiffs and that.
[405] Aye they were Aye.
[406] It was when the when the laird was out in India and that and [...] the factor was stationed on the island.
(K6PPS000) [407] Yeah.
Peter (PS5M3) [408] Aye.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [409] No no well I don't think so.
[410] [...] it was that was there at Howar [...] there were a man [...] .
(K6PPS000) [411] Yes.
Peter (PS5M3) [412] Mm.
(K6PPS000) [413] Who was at Howar in your time?
Peter (PS5M3) [414] s that came from Westray.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [415] Oh [...] .
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [416] No no there's nobody in it now.
(K6PPS000) [417] Mhm.
[418] Was Howar one of the big [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [419] It was the it was the biggest next to to Holland.
[420] Thank goodness, aye.
[421] And then the next biggest then well Howar would've been somewhere about sixty acre and Kilbest was roughly about the same I think.
[422] And the next biggest then I think was about thirty six acres or so.
[423] There were a few of the houses about thirty six or forty acres.
[424] And a lot of the others then may thirteen or fourteen acres.
[425] Some of them down to six and seven.
(K6PPS000) [426] So Holland was by far the biggest.
Peter (PS5M3) [427] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [428] Was it quite a good going farm?
Peter (PS5M3) [429] Oh aye.
[430] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [431] Good [...] land and that?
Peter (PS5M3) [432] Oh aye, a lot of good land on it.
[433] Gets a bit of sea-gusting somewhat but a lot of good land on Holland.
(K6PPS000) [434] And was it m mixed farming or what kind of farming [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [435] Oh aye, mixed mixed farming, aye.
[436] Mhm.
[437] They worked at Holland [...] worked with the hens and pigs, when I was there and the cattle.
[438] Usually just store cattle.
[439] [yawn] Howar they used to work a lot with finishing the cattle [...] sell them for [...] .
[440] Take them out [...] .
(K6PPS000) [441] Do you remember things like the wild white clover.
[442] Can you remember was that before [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [443] Aye that was started afore I mind much about it.
[444] But er I mean it always er gained there was just a few working with it and they saw the improvement it was making and then everybody [...] for the wild white clover.
(K6PPS000) [445] And did you was that [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [446] Aye, oh aye.
(K6PPS000) [447] Did it make a big difference.
Peter (PS5M3) [448] Mhm.
[449] It certainly made a big difference.
(K6PPS000) [450] What do you mean just in the the quality of the cattle or in the
Peter (PS5M3) [451] Well the aye, the quality of the cattle cos it gave you a better grass, better feeding before that you see they [...] bought some clover.
[452] But it wasn't like the long white er the wild white clover but it did [...] only did maybe a year or two.
[453] It was only a a [...] grass seed and they used to grow their own grass seed and just bought the clover seed.
[454] And there was not a great lot of the [...] clover seeded about until they started with this wild white clover.
[455] A lot of them worked with er coltsfoot [...] it stayed in, it didn't go out with the sea-gusting. [...] .
(K6PPS000) [456] Well what [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [457] Oh it was shorthorn and Aberdeen Angus mainly .
(K6PPS000) [458] And that's what you had at Holland?
Peter (PS5M3) [459] Aye mhm.
[460] Aye well there were some of the [...] no there were no [...] there were no [...] at er Holland.
[461] Er there were [...] at Howar [...] when I was there.
[462] But it was just the shorthorn and the Aberdeen Angus that was at Holland.
(K6PPS000) [463] And do you remember You must remember sort of changes in the chemicals that were you know, that was used on the land in the in the time that you were [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [464] Oh aye.
(K6PPS000) [465] When you started, what kind of fertilizers did you use?
Peter (PS5M3) [466] There weren't used much first I started just seaweed and dung.
[467] And very little artificial manure.
[468] If they were short of ware or something they'd maybe put on sulphur or ammonia and super phosphate and potash and then they started then with slag.
[469] [...] slag on it maybe er five or six years you get a heavy dose of slag.
[470] And that certainly helped [...] land.
[471] And it made better grass.
(K6PPS000) [472] And who did you buy that [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [473] They usually some of them would just order it through the vil the merchants, through the shops here.
[474] And some of them would take it maybe themselves just [...] or [...] in Kirkwall.
(K6PPS000) [475] Did they come up sometimes selling [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [476] Aye there some as come up travelling for seeds and for manure.
(K6PPS000) [477] And did it make a big difference?
Peter (PS5M3) [478] Oh aye it [...] you see but er if you did [...] put artificial manure on you see [...] .
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [479] Oh it worked all right, there was very little manure used when I was a boy you used ware.
[480] And you used to when you got home from school [...] follow the plough and furring the the ware into the into the furrow.
[481] And it was
(K6PPS000) [482] Putting it right in and
Peter (PS5M3) [483] Aye, and if it was very dry you had to tramp it down with your feet.
[484] Some er furred at the front of the plough and some furred er behind the plough.
[485] It spread the ware [...] .
(K6PPS000) [486] Was the ware better than dung?
Peter (PS5M3) [487] Oh dung was was best I think but er ware [...] .
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [488] Oh aye, mhm.
[489] Always something to do.
[490] And if you'd nothing to do then [...]
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [491] Eh?
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [492] Oh aye, we'd have had [...] in the process mind. [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [493] [laugh] You maybe deserved it.
Peter (PS5M3) [494] Aye. [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [495] [laugh] [...] the sheep [...] ?
Peter (PS5M3) [496] [...] I think it was [...] twenty I think.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [497] Well er the sheep they were usually only the ewes, when they [...] the lamb so they were usually on tethers just on bits of grass [...] .
[498] Then you had to flitt them every day [...] when the wool started to get loose on them you had to the tether would get in a [...] and you had to clear their tethers.
(K6PPS000) [499] Did you do anything with the wool at that time?
Peter (PS5M3) [500] Oh it was just sold [...] we were getting as much for the wool then as for [...] .
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [501] Aye she used to
(K6PPS000) [502] Did she?
Peter (PS5M3) [503] Aye she used to aye she used to [...] .
(K6PPS000) [504] What did she use it for [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [505] For socks mainly and jerseys.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [506] Oh she used to make a lot of the clothes.
[507] And she used to [...] I mean her making the jackets and that for us.
[508] Buy the dungaree and make a dungaree jacket.
[509] Took a pattern off an old dungaree coat or something like that.
(K6PPS000) [510] Was that [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [511] Aye that's common with some of them aye.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [512] They used to make the their own oilskins.
(K6PPS000) [513] Did they?
Peter (PS5M3) [514] Aye brought the cotton and my mother used to make oilskins they were I think it was [...] .
[515] When I was a boy.
[516] But er afore she married she used to make oilskin coats and then er
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [517] They painted them with er raw linseed oil.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [518] She used to they were made of cotton, [...] cotton aye.
[519] And sewed on the sewing machine and then painted them all with raw linseed oil but raw linseed oil took a long while to dry but they soft.
[520] And if they were in a hurry they would maybe paint them all with what they called paint oil which was the boiled linseed oil.
[521] It certainly dried quicker but the oilskin got very hard and it was no time till it [...] when you were walking.
(K6PPS000) [522] And did [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [523] Aye aye.
[524] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [525] [...] all that material and stuff did they bought that or send for it or
Peter (PS5M3) [526] Oh they sent for the cotton or whatever to make the oilskins.
(K6PPS000) [527] The shop didn't sell that then?
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [528] Aye the shop [...] Aye.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [529] But they sent the wool away to Jedburgh for blankets.
Peter (PS5M3) [530] Aye.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
(K6PPS000) [...]
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [531] Mhm.
[532] Aye if you wanted like [...] wool away and you got [...] .
[533] And they used I think they used to do that with blankets.
[534] For blankets they would send so much wool away and you got blankets.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [535] Mhm.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [536] Oh aye.
[537] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
(K6PPS000) [538] Oh yeah.
[539] Mhm.
Peter (PS5M3) [540] It was where the last weaving loom was until well he was there [...] at Upperbreck [...] .
[541] And then er he got er well the land up at Holland [...] .
[542] And he tramped back and forth [...] to the loom.
[543] [...] built a house there and [...] got a house there.
[544] The laird I think er they did the work and the laird provided the roof and the all the woodwork I think.
(K6PPS000) [545] And he wove?
Peter (PS5M3) [546] Aye.
[547] He had the weaving loom I think at the [...] whether he ever had it set up at the [...] I couldn't say.
[548] But he certainly had it at the at the [...] I think, it probably maybe still there, I couldn't say. [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [549] What kind of cloth did he make?
Peter (PS5M3) [550] Blankets mainly I think.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [551] Well I just couldn't really say.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [552] Mainly blankets but they were awful heavy and [...] blankets.
[553] There's some of them blankets I think'll be here on North Ronaldsay yet I think.
(K6PPS000) [554] Is it that wouldn't have been North Ronaldsay [...] .
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [555] Aye.
[556] It was I think it was [...] .
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [557] Mhm.
[558] Mhm.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [559] No.
[560] It was stopped a while afore I mind.
(K6PPS000) [561] Mm.
[562] I tell you something I wanted to ask you, [...] Horseman's Society, was that [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [563] Never in my time but I've heard it spoken about here.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [564] Aye [...] had the Horseman's word some of the older [...] heard the Horseman's word but that was afore me time.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [565] No.
[566] No.
(K6PPS000) [567] What about farmers unions, did you ever have that [...] conditions that you were working in [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [568] Oh no there were
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [569] there were no unions no.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [570] Oh no.
[571] No never any any union at all.
[572] You were taken on as a boy and er you got a boy's wages but you were expected to do as much work as a man.
[573] You couldn't maybe do the ploughing and that [...] but if you were out spreading dung you or [...] neeps you'd to [...] just the same as the men and the the man may man [...] might be [...] getting maybe about twenty pound in the half a year and the boys maybe only getting twelve or something like that.
[574] You
(K6PPS000) [575] How long did it take you to work up to getting a full man's wage?
Peter (PS5M3) [576] Well it'd be about two pound every half a year.
(K6PPS000) [577] So you had to wait [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [578] Aye.
[579] Mhm mhm.
(K6PPS000) [580] Where did you go after Holland?
Peter (PS5M3) [581] Well I was er twice [...] in Birsay at 's well after he left Holland.
[582] And then I was at Crantit.
[583] And then I was back at Holland for another four and a half year.
[584] And then I was four and a half year in Sanday.
[585] And then I was back here then and I worked er at Antabruk for a year and then I [...] work at Cruisbruk [...] and Sydney was at Antabruk then [...] .
(K6PPS000) [586] What was it like [...] at Holland when you came [...] things changed a lot?
Peter (PS5M3) [587] Well er it was only I'd been a wee while at er Birsay and a wee while at Crantit till I were back at Holland but it was a different farm I was in then it was a bit different.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [588] [...] .
[589] I was in er Holland.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [590] No no.
[591] No no.
[592] Same name but no connection but the same name.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [593] Originally aye.
[594] Mhm.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [595] [laugh] And had [...] changed a lot in that time then?
Peter (PS5M3) [596] It changed a lot basically the with the food and everything.
(K6PPS000) [597] [...] different?
Peter (PS5M3) [598] Well the the idea of farming was much the same but he certainly was not very much of a farmer. [...]
(K6PPS000) [599] Mm and was his treatment any different.
Peter (PS5M3) [600] Slightly [...] but then him and me didn't get on.
[601] He never wanted me there in the first place.
(K6PPS000) [602] Oh. [laugh]
Peter (PS5M3) [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [603] Well that's [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [604] Aye.
[605] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [606] That must have gone on a lot [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [607] Oh aye.
[608] Aye and then he'd leave.
[609] In fact he [...] and then Craigie from Rowsay was in it for a while.
[610] And he [...] away to Dale in [...] and then the the s took it on [...] and they've been in it since.
[611] And it's changed [...] they out-winter the beasts there now, it used to be that the beasts was in all the time in Winter.
[612] [...] when I was a boy of fifteen you were expected to to [...] half acre of [...] neeps in the day.
(K6PPS000) [613] Did [...] what to do [...] expect you to get on with and
Peter (PS5M3) [614] They expect you to get on They tell you what to do and you had to make the best. [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [615] [laugh] It must have been a long day for a boy of that age.
Peter (PS5M3) [616] It was [...] long day you know.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [617] Oh [...] maybe [...]
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [618] Aye. ...
(K6PPS000) [619] And what what was school like when you you were going to school [...] ?
Peter (PS5M3) [620] [laugh] It wasn't so bad er [...] Greenspot was not very far from the school.
[621] [...] . And it wasn't so bad.
[622] Firstly we had [...] Robbie for a teacher and he certainly was [...] awkward.
(K6PPS000) [623] Was [laughing] he [] ?
Peter (PS5M3) [624] Aye.
(K6PPS000) [625] Did he [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [626] Aye.
(K6PPS000) [627] [laugh] Who was the first teacher [...] ?
Peter (PS5M3) [628] When I started it was with Ivy , and she were married in North Ronaldsay with the brother of Sydney, Roy .
[629] And she was the first teacher and there was Mi Mr who was the head teacher.
[630] And er [...] Ivy got married and she stopped the teaching and [...] died just that same year and then there was the a change for the both teachers.
[631] Robbie come as the head teacher and er there was a Miss that was er the pupil teacher.
[632] Aye.
[633] ... I never had , he was never my teacher for I was [...] I was with a pupil teacher.
[634] Until he died and then I was just [...] .
(K6PPS000) [635] And was it two teachers in the school.
Peter (PS5M3) [636] Aye, mhm.
(K6PPS000) [637] [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [638] There were thirty.
[639] [...] so maybe [...] but usually [...] thirty.
(K6PPS000) [640] And what sort of things did you do in the in the [...] .
[641] What do you remember.
Peter (PS5M3) [642] Oh I couldn't tell you very much about it.
[643] I can't mind [...] .
[644] [...] playing.
(K6PPS000) [645] Mhm.
Peter (PS5M3) [646] Played [...] and [...] and things of that kind.
(K6PPS000) [647] Tell me what [...] is?
Peter (PS5M3) [648] Well they were usually a line of kids standing along the wall or something and one set out in the middle of the field and then [...] you had to touch them and then you'd be back to the wall and they had to do it.
(K6PPS000) [649] You changed places [...] one of them [...] catch them .
Peter (PS5M3) [650] Aye.
[651] Mhm.
[652] Mhm.
[653] Aye and mind the lasses they used to play a lot with [...] instead of marbles they were working with [...] .
(K6PPS000) [654] The boys didn't play with [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [655] No [...]
(K6PPS000) [656] That's funny isn't it [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [657] The boys was trying to play football or something of that kind.
[658] Or if the ground was kind of wet we used to er make slide then and skate along on it and if the ground got dry we would get a old bucket or something and run round to the tap at the tank at the back of the school and get a a lot of water [...] wet till you could slip on it. [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [659] [laugh] And that
(K6PPS000) [660] Tell me about Rob Robbie this this teacher Was it Robbie ?
Peter (PS5M3) [661] It was Robbie Aye.
Unknown speaker (K6PPSUNK) [...]
(K6PPS000) [662] [...] What sort of teaching did he give then?
Peter (PS5M3) [663] Well he just [...] well he gave us er [...] algebra and geome geometry and maths and that we were no use.
[664] [...] and he certainly had not much patience and we had never seen this afore.
[665] If you made mistakes you got the strap you didn't even get the strap just for mischief, you got it for for mistakes and that.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [666] Aye.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [667] Oh every day nearly.
[668] [laugh] Depending on the mood he was in.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [669] Ah he was here for what twenty two ... from thirty two to thirty nine.
[670] Mhm.
[671] He'd away just at the start of the war.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [672] I was left school afore he left.
[673] I was [...] when he left.
[674] I [...] to the school after I was fourteen just for a wee while.
[675] Aye.
[676] And I wouldn't let him give me the strap then.
(K6PPS000) [677] [laugh] What were you [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [678] Eh?
[679] I wou I wouldn't hold out my hand [...] I was fourteen.
(K6PPS000) [680] Really?
Peter (PS5M3) [681] Mm.
[682] If he gave me a shagging I tried my best to get me heel of my [...] boot down on the stair, something of [laughing] that kind [] .
(K6PPS000) [683] [...] [laugh] When you when you were a young boy I was gonna ask [...] get off the island [...] manage to get
Peter (PS5M3) [684] I was never away off the island until er I started to work at Holland.
[685] The first the first half a year that I was Holland I I don't think I was away for a holiday, but then the the next Summer then I was away [...] .
[686] Just for er a few days.
[687] For the plane was started here then you see.
(K6PPS000) [688] What did you think to it?
Peter (PS5M3) [689] It was alright we were got a flip on the when the plane first was just started here, well all the schoolboys and that was er called out on Saturdays to gather the loose stones [...] .
[690] Gather them in buckets or baskets and cup then in [...] .
[691] And we all got a flip on Ronaldsay for our trouble.
(K6PPS000) [692] Was that [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [693] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [694] What was it like?
Peter (PS5M3) [695] Oh it was fine yeah.
(K6PPS000) [696] What was the plane like?
Peter (PS5M3) [697] Oh we enjoyed it. [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [698] Was it were there many seats? [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [699] Aye just [...] was five or six I think.
[700] It was the [...] we used er to go into Kirkwall with mainly.
[701] The old repeat planes.
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [702] Oh but he was alright as a pilot.
[703] [...] he did some of the flying himself but he had other pilots.
[704] I forget, was one of them and I forget the names now..
(K6PPS000) [705] And what did you think [...] plane [...] someone who'd never been away from
Peter (PS5M3) [706] [laugh] Aye.
(K6PPS000) [707] You weren't frightened?
Peter (PS5M3) [708] Oh no.
[709] No. [...] [laugh]
(K6PPS000) [710] Well was there mus much going back and fore [...] in the boat [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [711] Not really that many [...] there were maybe the the holiday trip to Kirkwall [...] maybe just for the day into Kirkwall.
[712] My father was maybe in once or twice when I was a boy and he was maybe buying a horse and that but he was very seldom out of the island that I mind.
[713] And I don't think I can't mind my mother away at all.
[714] i don't think she was ever away for a holiday.
(K6PPS000) [715] Never away [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [716] Well she was in her younger days but after she married Aye after I was born I can't mind her being away.
[717] You know.
[718] My father was not often, maybe once or twice would for buying a horse or change a horse or something of that kind.
(K6PPS000) [719] He went into Kirkwall.
Peter (PS5M3) [720] Mhm.
[721] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [722] What happened when you were [...] .
[723] Did did you [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [724] Sometimes aye, some of the drovers come out you see and [...] .
(K6PPS000) [...]
Peter (PS5M3) [725] Mhm.
[726] Aye.
[727] Steamers were only used once a fortnight, if there was weather.
[728] Sometimes you'd maybe not get a steamer for maybe maybe six weeks if the wind was to the South East.
[729] [...] getting er low on sugar and stuff er landed here with a plane. [...] .
(K6PPS000) [730] It must have been a big difference when the plane was [...] .
Peter (PS5M3) [731] Mhm.
(K6PPS000) [732] Do you remember that as being a [...] Oh aye, aye well you see they had they had the mail service here before the war.
[733] To North Ronaldsay.
[734] And then er it was stop [recording ends]