BNC Text K6R

Orkney Sound Archive tape OSA 303: interview for oral history project. Sample containing about 6793 words speech recorded in leisure context

5 speakers recorded by respondent number C638

PS5M4 X f (No name, age unknown, historian, Interviewing) unspecified
K6RPS000 X u (No name, age unknown) unspecified
K6RPS001 X u (No name, age unknown) unspecified
K6RPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
K6RPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 100602 recorded on 1985-11-02. LocationOrkney: Stronsay () Activity: Interview for oral history project Interview, reminiscences

Undivided text

(PS5M4) [1] [...] I'll just let it run on.
[2] ... Something I maybe should ask you about before you start [...]
(K6RPS000) [3] Yes.
(PS5M4) [4] [...] were you you born?
(K6RPS000) [5] [...] I was born at Odness.
[6] At the back of Odness [...] the houses were called the Westness .
(K6RPS001) [7] The Westness.
(K6RPS000) [8] Mhm.
[9] Yeah yeah.
[10] Born in nineteen twenty.
(K6RPS001) [11] Mhm.
(PS5M4) [12] And that's a farm was it that you were born in?
(K6RPS000) [13] Well er my father worked at the farm Odness.
(PS5M4) [14] Mhm.
(K6RPS000) [15] That was where he worked.
(PS5M4) [16] And did you move around when [...]
(K6RPS000) [17] No.
(K6RPS001) [18] No no no [...] no no no.
(K6RPS000) [19] And he did [...] the fishing too.
[20] [...] the fishing and worked on the farm and
(K6RPS001) [21] Mhm.
(K6RPS000) [22] at nights they [...] the lobster fishing
(K6RPS001) [23] And haddock.
[24] White fish.
(PS5M4) [25] Was it always at night they went?
(K6RPS000) [26] [...] at night [...] after they were finished with their work on the farm in the daytime.
(K6RPS001) [27] Mm.
(PS5M4) [28] And we're going to hear this [...] .
[29] Yes just start any time [...]
(K6RPS000) [30] Will I will I just go ahead and Aye.
[31] And is my voice is that will that be
(PS5M4) [32] Aha.
[33] Yeah that's I'll just have a look on that [...] check the label.
[34] [...] that's fine.
(K6RPS000) [35] Looking back to nineteen thirty five brings back memories to us older generation of the splendid summers when the herring fishing was booming in Stronsay.
[36] No lovelier sight was ever seen than the herring drifters coming in with their catch of herring on a calm sea in the mornings.
[37] The the horse-drawn lorries going to the different curing stations where the gutter girls stood at the far end dressed in their oilskin aprons ready to start the day's work.
[38] No grumblers there believe me and to walk past them would be to hear them singing while you work.
[39] Their gutting knives flashing in time to the music.
[40] When I was about ten years old, a trip to the village from the South end was a bigger thrill than a trip to a big city would be to a present day child, later working in the village as a teenager, the dances every Saturday and Monday night was enjoyment never to be forgot.
[41] Two of the Fiddler family from Rose cottage provided music with piano and violin.
[42] No amplifiers in those days, but the old cinema rang from end to end with everyone in festive mood.
[43] There were three ice cream shops and a chip shop doing brisk trade all the time.
[44] Most of us oldies remember Mr , going his rounds with his ice cream barrel, proclaiming his wares to be the best in the world and no Summer was complete without him.
[45] On Sunday night, a visit to Sister 's rest hut to join in the hymn singing was the highlight of the week.
[46] With a small harmonium providing the lead it really was magnificent harmony.
[47] Sister will always be remembered for her words, You must be cruel to be kind.
[48] This was when she had held a poisoned finger in a bowl of very hot water but she always got good results.
[49] At the close of the fishing season, the fishing folks always sang as the boat left the Stronsay pier and to hear the song, We're no away to bide a while, always brings back memories.
[50] Stronsay fish mart in the fishing time was really a busy place with the salesmen busy selling the herring to the curing stations.
[51] This is only looking back close on fifty years.
[52] To look to look back further to the sailing boats, no doubt would be to recall an even busier village.
(K6RPS001) [53] Mhm.
(PS5M4) [54] It would have been, [...]
(K6RPS000) [55] Yes.
[56] The cinema was at the back of the present hotel.
[57] it was built first to show pictures, then turned into a dance hall.
[58] Musicians in nineteen thirty five was Mrs , North Cliff, the piano, and her brother Karl on violin.
[59] M C was late Danny ,.
[60] The small water boats ran between Papay and Stronsay ferrying people across.
[61] I have seen them leaving Stronsay after a dance and you would still have heard them singing when they reached Papay.
[62] Duneva was a Church of Scotland rest hut and there was a English church beside Glenfield.
[63] That church blew down in the nineteen thirty two hurricane.
[64] That right?
(K6RPS001) [65] Mhm.
[66] That's right.
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS000) [67] There was also a gut factory where the herring guts was made into fish meal.
[68] That was in the field as you turn at the Ayre of the Myres.
[69] The cement founds are still in Hunton Field.
[70] usually through the Summer, we got a visit from the Kirkwall City Pipe Band and they marched up and down the village playing, usually followed by a crowd of Bairns.
[71] Twice I can remember the Kirkwall Brass Brand pray playing in the cinema and twice I remember a circus visiting.
[72] But that was further back in nineteen twenty seven and twenty eight.
(K6RPS001) [laugh] [...]
(K6RPS000) [73] I did.
(K6RPS001) [74] Mhm.
(K6RPS000) [75] No wild animals, just ponies, monkeys and dogs, but it was great thrill seeing a girl in green tights and a frilly skirt, standing on a pony's back while it galloped round the ring.
[76] I tried that later myself but fell off.
(K6RPS001) [laugh]
(PS5M4) [laugh] [...]
(K6RPS000) [77] Yeah [...] green tights.
[78] That was something that stuck in my mind mm .
(PS5M4) [79] That stuck in your mind [...]
(K6RPS000) [80] I can remember at least six of the Stronsay women gutting the herring at that time and they stood on Moars beach.
[81] There were three in a crew, two to gut and one to pack the herring in the barrels.
[82] The drifters came in to both piers and on a Saturday night, the village was a busy place.
[83] The coal boats lay out where the old barge is now and the drifters went alongside them to get coal.
[84] The coal boats were manned by locals and the late J ,, used to work there every Summer.
[85] Needless to say there was plenty tricks played on each other and once when the summer was finished, Jimmy couldn't get his trunk to move.
[86] Some joker had it nailed to the floor.
[87] Usually Hunton and Whitehall supplied the four wheel lorries but lots of farmers from up the highlands supplied carts.
(K6RPS001) [88] Mhm.
(K6RPS000) [89] Big stock boats came from Russia and Germany for the salted Herring and it was a busy time when they were loading.
[90] It was dangerous on the roads for bairns as usually the horses with running with the carts.
[91] Stronsay hotel was a lovely house with nine bedrooms, a big public bar and a smaller lounge bar.
[92] There was a large hole hall at the back with a bar.
[93] All this was required on a Saturday night.
[94] I have seen the dyke before the village entirely filled up with men sitting there discussing the week's fishing.
[95] on a Saturdays afternoon, they all set out and walked up past Sandybank and along to the Mill Road and the back to the village along the sand.
[96] They were all dressed in Black knitted jerseys and dark trousers.
(K6RPS001) [97] Mhm.
(K6RPS000) [98] The jerseys were usually done in intricate patterns.
[99] The hotel was burnt to the ground in August nineteen thirty nine. ...
(PS5M4) [100] And what the other bit of information you got [...] any odd snippets of information you've got written down there.
(K6RPS000) [...]
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [101] When
(PS5M4) [102] Mhm just just [...]
(K6RPS001) [103] When you were speaking of the the hulks Nana, there were five hulks there.
(K6RPS000) [104] Mhm.
(K6RPS001) [105] There was David , erm from Stramness, Jimmy from Stramness, Duncan , a cement barge and there a fifth one but I'm not right sure of that.
[106] [...] For me my husband John Miller, was on that hulk the whole time.
[107] And they had three cargoes of coal in the Summertime, every week.
[108] They had three cargoes of coal.
[109] Between two and three hundred tonnes every time.
(K6RPS000) [110] Mm.
(K6RPS001) [111] And they start on a Monday and they had it finished by Tuesday and then they start on Wednesday and Thursday and and then they went on Friday and Saturday.
[112] And that was the finish.
[113] It was most of them was local men but a lot of the Westray men and [...] used to come too and help out.
[114] And the Stramness men on 's boat.
(PS5M4) [115] Was there a lot of people who came to [...] to work here in the fishing town.
(K6RPS001) [116] Yes they came for the other islands.
(PS5M4) [117] [...] the West coast and that but there were folk [...]
(K6RPS001) [118] Oh yes they came from Holm and the Kirkwall and
(K6RPS000) [119] And then the came from Westray
(K6RPS001) [120] And they came from Westray and Sanday and Edie and all that places to help out.
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [121] [...] work on the coal boats and just different things like that.
(K6RPS000) [122] [...] They were on [...] on the boats too.
(K6RPS001) [123] And there's the the the last cooper cooper [...] see they'd got [...] coopers.
[124] There were six there was eighteen crews on Moars with three in each crew.
[125] And the the last copper died two weeks ago.
[126] Eric .
[127] And he was the last cooper.
[128] That Stronsay that was left on that worked on Moars.
[129] Eric .
[130] And he gave me that information that there were eighteen crews.
(PS5M4) [131] Just in the one curing station?
(K6RPS001) [132] On that this curing station here [...] .
[133] Mhm.
[134] So that gives you an idea there was seventeen stations in Stronsay [...] five in Papay. [...] well you see [...]
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [135] [...] and that was [...] .
[136] And then there was all the coopers.
[137] How many is that.
(K6RPS000) [138] [...] curing stations.
(K6RPS001) [...]
(PS5M4) [139] [...] is that the names of the different curing stations.
(K6RPS000) [140] That's the names of them [...]
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [141] Well Camels was the lower no the bot the one of the bottom of the station was Bert and he married a Stronsay woman.
[142] A
(PS5M4) [143] Was he a Stronsay man?
(K6RPS001) [144] No.
[145] He was from er East coast and he married er Isa from .
[146] . He married her and they had the one down at the lifeboat slip.
[147] And then there was Camels one there.
[148] You see that house down there?
(PS5M4) [149] Yes [...]
(K6RPS001) [150] Well that was that was my house.
(PS5M4) [151] oh.
(K6RPS001) [152] That white house.
[153] That's the only fishing hut that's standing [...] in it's original position.
[154] And that was Camel's fishing hut.
[155] Camel's house.
[156] And it's Glen it was we renamed it to Glenmanor.
[157] And it's the only house now well I left it I left it five year ago but it still belongs to my son.
[158] [...] . And there was that was Camel's and then there was 's right behind it.
[159] 's was right behind Camel's.
[160] And then at this side there was erm 's and then there was Bruce's.
[161] That's it.
[162] 's up here.
[163] And then 's in this corner here was 's.
[164] 's.
[165] And then
(K6RPS000) [166] And that was 's
(K6RPS001) [167] Aye, 's and 's is where the new house [...] .
[168] And then they went up to the village and it the first one would been 's, 's and and 's.
[169] [...] and 's and 's, Dan 's and 's [...] .
[170] Up there.
[171] 's was down here and 's was down here.
(K6RPS000) [172] And then
(K6RPS001) [173] They were below here you see.
(K6RPS000) [174] And then Papa .
(K6RPS001) [175] And then Papa .
[176] Er 's was the first one and then it was er ... 's, and 's, and then 's and then 's and then 's.
[177] That was the five in Papa .
[178] And there was in Papa too.
(PS5M4) [179] Yes I know.
(K6RPS001) [180] Yes.
(PS5M4) [181] Well [...]
(K6RPS001) [182] No no it was a Westray man that was in it.
[183] It was that was in it when first [...] then Jimmy Jim of Whitehall had it.
(K6RPS000) [184] Well it was that shop [...] . [...]
(K6RPS001) [185] Yes.
[186] That shop was taken to Kirkwall and it's now Boondatoon in Old Scapa Road.
(K6RPS000) [187] Mhm.
(K6RPS001) [...]
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [188] When the first [...] well Aye [...] one night we were speaking about this.
[189] How many would there have been, there were between five or six thousand people in Stronsay in the height of the fishing year.
(K6RPS000) [190] Yes that would be right.
(K6RPS001) [191] You see there was [...] eighteen [...] three times eighteen is fifty four.
[192] Fifty [...] sixty [...] three times eighteen.
[193] Fifteen four women on 's.
[194] [...] Maybe there were not that quantity in every one but there would have been twelve or fourteen crews on every station.
[195] Then there was all the coopers.
[196] There'd have been ten, maybe ten coopers.
[197] Then
(PS5M4) [198] And [...] the coppers were they Stronsay folk that worked up at [...]
(K6RPS001) [199] Some of them and they made them Leslie and Eric and James, Jimmy and Andrew and Jim and Georgie and Jim and them, they worked in the Wintertime you see and made the barrels.
[200] And Johnny .
[201] Made the barrels in the Wintertime, to have them ready for the Summer.
(K6RPS000) [202] Yes.
(PS5M4) [203] Tell me about the coopers.
[204] [...] told me names of the curing stations can you mind any of the cooperages that were in the village?
(K6RPS001) [205] Well the cooper the cooperage they would have been one at ,co 's cooperage and then there were one at 's.
[206] And that's where the men worked and they just made the barrels in there.
(PS5M4) [207] So there was just the two [...]
(K6RPS001) [208] Mhm.
[209] That I can
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS000) [210] Mhm.
(K6RPS001) [211] remember here well that was certainly true for the Wintertime.
(K6RPS000) [212] Yes.
[213] But they must have taken an awful lot of barrels away. [...]
(K6RPS001) [214] Oh yes, the stock boats came just like great stacks see them coming along round [...] .
[215] Great huge height of all the barrels built up on them.
[216] Stock boats came on the first day, they start coming away in May.
(K6RPS000) [217] Yes.
(K6RPS001) [218] And June.
[219] And then the Stevedores, there were a lot of Stevedores here belonging to Stronsay.
[220] There was Sammy and Davie and and er from Comely Bank, Willie and Jim they were all Stevedores and Andrew and They were stevedores you see a lot of [...] .
[221] They worked at that just unloading on the boats.
[222] And then when the herring went away they had to load them again.
[223] Yeah.
[224] And er you were speaking about the gut factory.
[225] In the Wintertime they had a boat they called the Redloch and she went to Stramness and took sillocks from Stramness and took to the gut factory here in the Wintertime.
[226] And my my husband [...] John and Peter and J their father John .
[227] Well he was old John .
[228] And Peter and Sandy and they went back and forth all the Winter with that boat.
[229] And took took the sillocks and
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [230] [...] to the factory [...] to keep the factory going for the factory you see was up in Hunton's field and there were a lot of Stronsay men in it.
[231] Working in it.
(PS5M4) [232] And that was something that went on all year [...]
(K6RPS001) [233] It went on the whole year Yes with the sillocks and things.
[234] You could fairly smell it for far enough.
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [235] Yes.
[236] And then the [...] the hotel
(K6RPS000) [cough]
(K6RPS001) [237] [...] Nana was mentioning the hotel it's burnt down.
[238] Well there was in the summertime well there was a cook and a wait a waitress and a maid.
[239] And then there was a a young girl that would wash dishes and do bits of jobs.
(K6RPS000) [240] Yes.
(K6RPS001) [241] That's Nana did you see.
[242] She was just twelve when [...]
(K6RPS000) [243] Yes [...] twelve and thirteen.
(K6RPS001) [244] Twelve and thirteen and I was cook for four years there.
[245] And then we had shooters that came, and we'd millionaires among them.
(PS5M4) [246] Really?
(K6RPS001) [247] Yes.
(PS5M4) [248] And did they shoot [...]
(K6RPS001) [249] Came in came to shoot the ducks on the island.
[250] They had their valets with them and they were here they would [...] been maybe I saw them at the time.
[251] And my father used to take them out in the boat.
(K6RPS000) [252] Mhm.
(K6RPS001) [253] And around [...] you know, and they would shoot out of the boat and Jock used to take them out
(K6RPS000) [254] Yes.
(K6RPS001) [255] and Johnny in their boat.
[256] And er [...] Then there was travellers coming every week.
[257] For the they were [...] to begin with in Stronsay.
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [258] Yes.
[259] And there were travellers coming you see every week for that for that [...] .
[260] And then that big h hall at the back of the hotel was a showroom for the travellers to show off their all their stuff.
(PS5M4) [261] What happened in the Wintertime to the shops then when there wasn't so many folk here?
[262] Did they
(K6RPS001) [...]
(K6RPS000) [263] Well they just struggle on in the Wintertime
(K6RPS001) [264] Struggled on.
(K6RPS000) [265] [...] there they are, the shops, that was the shops .
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS000) [266] Oh there was 's shop and they were a baker and grocer.
(PS5M4) [267] Whereabouts was that?
(K6RPS000) [268] Well that's Hillside now. [...]
(K6RPS001) [...]
(K6RPS000) [269] have have that house now.
[270] [...] it's it's a private house now.
[271] And there was W P that was right alongside them.
[272] he was a grocer shop.
[273] And then there was at Bayview and he was a butcher and grocer.
[274] And [...]
(K6RPS001) [...]
(K6RPS000) [275] was a grocer.
[276] And Maggie , Shamrock was a grocer and haberdashery.
[277] And J at Minerva was a butcher was grocer.
(K6RPS001) [...]
(K6RPS000) [278] And T D , shop at the head of the pier there, was he was a butcher, a grocer and a baker.
[279] And J was a baker.
[280] And Lizzie was a grocer.
[281] And in the summer of course as I said before there was [...] three ice cream shops and a chip shop and then up the island there was ,, and that was all
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS000) [282] up the island.
(K6RPS001) [283] Mhm.
(K6RPS000) [284] So there was a lot of
(K6RPS001) [285] First one I mind was the first was the 's Bakery.
[286] Peter .
(K6RPS000) [287] Yes well that was
(K6RPS001) [288] Aye.
(K6RPS000) [289] [...] .
[290] [...] baker's there when in nineteen thirty five.
Unknown speaker (K6RPSUNK) [...]
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [291] Aye changed us all like.
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS000) [292] Mm [...] January there was what they call the Jo what we always call the Joanna Thor Thorden gale.
[293] That was January nineteen thirty seven.
[294] The wind blew from the South East for about two weeks and the Joanna Thorden, a Norwegian boat, was lost off Stronsay.
[295] That was the worst sea I ever saw.
[296] As the high water mark was half up to to what we call the outer bogs at Houseby.
[297] And the driftwood was lying away up the field.
[298] Also barrels of apples and tobacco and many other useful items that had been part of the boat's cargo were strewn all along the beach.
[299] The dyke at Gripness was laid flat by the sea but the smaller boats had been pulled up afore that .
(K6RPS001) [300] Aye.
(K6RPS000) [301] Hadn't they before the [...] .
(K6RPS001) [302] That was just [...] I c Were the men lost off it?
(K6RPS000) [303] Well there were a boat lost yes and there were women in it mind and that and bairns.
(K6RPS001) [304] Yes.
(PS5M4) [305] Awful [...]
(K6RPS001) [306] Mhm.
[307] Mhm. [...]
(PS5M4) [308] Did the Stro was the Stronsay lifeboat on the go [...]
(K6RPS001) [309] No no no, the Stronsay lifeboat came in er nineteen fifty two was it not, the lifeboat then?
[310] I should ken for me man was one of the crew and I was in the
(PS5M4) [311] Was he?
(K6RPS001) [312] Yes and I was on the committee of the lifeboat.
[313] I was secretary for seven year eh.
[314] Aye he was one of the first of the crew.
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [315] Mhm.
[316] I think it was nineteen fifty two it came.
[317] ... His father was on the first lifeboat.
[318] First lifeboat was here you see in nineteen nine.
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [319] Yes it was the John Raeburn.
[320] And she was taken away then in when the war the first world war began
(PS5M4) [321] And then [...]
(K6RPS001) [322] And then it didn't start up till then till the second one came the Joseph Jo er ... [...] ... The second one was John [...] it was christened.
(K6RPS000) [323] [...] just go to the kitchen [...] [laugh]
(PS5M4) [...] [laugh]
(K6RPS000) [...]
(PS5M4) [324] While erm Nana's away tell me what you remember about old weddings.
[325] You were telling me that you remember them .
(K6RPS001) [326] Well I remember this wedding it was my auntie and she was she was married at Stronsay to a territorial.
[327] He was a Sanday man, Jim .
[328] And I can just er m remember it you ken it just sticks out in me mind.
[329] First of all when you come in the [...] everybody got a drink of whisky.
[330] [...] the mem men got whisky, that was the done thing.
(PS5M4) [331] And where was this at?
(K6RPS001) [332] At Odness.
(PS5M4) [333] At Odness .
(K6RPS001) [334] I was we were born at Odness you see.
[335] I was born at Odness in nineteen twelve.
[336] And it was there were two there was what they called the barn, the lofts they called it.
[337] There were two lofts and the wedding was in the one and then the home brew and the stuff was kept in the other and the food.
[338] And I just can mind [...] standing getting married.
[339] And of course they danced on till morning.
[340] And they had home brew going the whole time.
[341] and hens cooked and [...] cooked and potatoes and well
(K6RPS000) [342] [...] can you mind what she wore.
(K6RPS001) [343] I can tell you what happened.
[344] She was going to have her husband was in khaki as a territorial and her and her bridesmaid was going to have khaki frocks to be some of them great velvet frocks.
[345] And in that time you see, the steamer didn't come so often.
[346] And a drifter would have come out with any soldiers that was coming home on leave and that.
[347] Well this frocks never arrived and she just had to put on an ordinary er white blouse you see and a skirt and the frocks arrived the next day and she put them back.
[348] [laughing] She never kept them.
[349] She [...] and she was just furious. []
(PS5M4) [350] Was she?
(K6RPS001) [351] Yes.
(K6RPS000) [352] Mm.
(K6RPS001) [353] But I can remember the er a big tub in the floor and everybody sitting and er paring peeling potatoes you know for this.
[354] [...] potatoes and then they were boiled in a big boiler.
(K6RPS000) [355] Mhm.
(K6RPS001) [356] Huge old fashioned boiler with a coal fire underneath.
[357] And the hens was cooked and all just a royal feed.
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [358] Then they danced on till morning, I can mind that [...] .
[359] That was my auntie and that was the l the woman who gave me that tea set I were telling you about.
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [360] Aye.
(PS5M4) [361] And what year was this she got married?
(K6RPS001) [362] Oh [...]
(K6RPS000) [363] I don't mind Maggie [...]
(K6RPS001) [364] In the wart it was in the wartime you see.
[365] Well I would [...] nineteen maybe nineteen eighteen [...] be near the finish of the war.
[366] [...] yes it'd been about well on for the end of the war she got married.
[367] You were born in nineteen twenty.
[368] Aye it would been about maybe nineteen seventeen or nineteen eighteen.
[369] Mhm.
(PS5M4) [370] And what when when you say she got married, [...] service take place [...] ?
(K6RPS001) [371] In the b in that barn.
[372] The minister married her in the barn.
[373] Yes.
(PS5M4) [374] And was the barn decorated up or anything?
(K6RPS001) [375] Oh yes, just oh well just the ordinary [...] .
[376] I cannae mind [...] much about the [...] Cleaned and scrubbed [...]
(K6RPS000) [377] It would have been clean but there would have been no decorating I don't think.
(K6RPS001) [378] No.
[379] [...] up a stone stair.
[380] [...] it was just home brew you see was [...] .
(PS5M4) [381] Did they get wedding presents in that time [...]
(K6RPS001) [382] Oh yes they gave wedding presents, a lot of it was money.
[383] Five shillings you see, twenty five pence was a big wedding present in that days.
[384] Yes.
(PS5M4) [385] And did they go anything like a wedding walk that you remember?
(K6RPS001) [386] No.
[387] Never in Stronsay.
(PS5M4) [388] No.
(K6RPS001) [389] I never remember a wedding walk in Stronsay.
[390] Never.
[391] I never remember a wedding walk in Stronsay .
(K6RPS000) [392] No.
[393] No.
(K6RPS001) [394] No.
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [395] No, they did it in Shetland and that but not in Stronsay if ever I can remember.
[396] And I'm seventy three now so.
(PS5M4) [397] And you'd have heard it spoken about [...]
(K6RPS001) [398] Yes I'd have heard it spoken about yes.
[399] There weren't many church weddings then you see.
[400] You just got married in the barn.
(K6RPS000) [401] Mhm.
(K6RPS001) [402] Mhm.
[403] But I always remember they got this snap of whisky, the men got a nip of whisky and the women got a glass of wine when they come in.
[404] Mhm.
[405] That was the done thing.
[406] Mhm.
(PS5M4) [407] And tell me [...] you were saying about harvest homes [...] .
(K6RPS001) [408] Well they were just [...] just held in the barns too.
[409] All held The big farmers had them in the barn.
(K6RPS000) [410] There was a muckle supper [...]
(K6RPS001) [411] A muckle supper they called it.
[412] And and the always had maybe sh er sheaves of oats you know but I don't [...] they were decorated and things like that.
[413] It was just [...] similar and then [...] they had the little hall then and the farmers women all did it, the big farmers [...] but the women did it.
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [414] No.
(PS5M4) [415] Just in [...]
(K6RPS001) [416] And they just had plates of hen and pork and beef and
(K6RPS000) [417] They always had a very very good meal at the [...] here.
[418] Very good.
(K6RPS001) [419] potatoes and turnips and just all that yeah, just a big royal feed.
(PS5M4) [420] When did that change then [...] muckle suppers, when do you remember it changing to being in the Hall while the farmers wife [...] ?
[421] [...] When did that change?
(K6RPS001) [422] Well when I was It would have changed when I was well maybe my teens it would have changed I think.
(K6RPS000) [...]
(K6RPS001) [423] Around to that.
[424] But it always was in the the barns to begin with.
[425] When I mind first [...] .
[426] Muckle suppers.
(PS5M4) [427] [...] who would have been invited to the muckle suppers then [...] everybody wouldn't have been asked .
(K6RPS001) [428] Oh just just well it would just been all the ones from around that district kind of way.
[429] See there were different districts and and the [...]
(K6RPS000) [...]
(K6RPS001) [430] Yes the workers you see, and that.
(PS5M4) [431] So you wouldn't have gone to say er a muckle supper at the [...] [...]
(K6RPS001) [432] No the village ones didn't come so much to the muckle suppers.
[433] Just very few
(K6RPS000) [...]
(K6RPS001) [434] the [...] and that [...] .
(K6RPS000) [435] Within the village, them that was been working ion the fishing time, they would have been at what they [...] then on the firms maybe
(K6RPS001) [436] Mhm.
(K6RPS000) [437] [...] so something like that.
[438] And they would have been at that muckle supper.
(K6RPS001) [439] And then they would come from North Ronaldsay and that to the different to working the harvest again.
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [440] It was a yes it was a big farming community.
[441] And everybody Oh I can remember there were forty between forty and fifty j what we called servant girls at the at the different in the island.
[442] [...] And then there was men too and they had the bothies you see [...] .
[443] Good nights in the bothies, dances and sing-songs .
(K6RPS000) [444] When me mo me mother in law, she worked when well she was at Houseby and they were she was in the bothy there.
[445] There was, that's where they stay.
[446] And I mind her saying that they had nine men once from North Ronaldsay.
(K6RPS001) [447] Mhm.
(K6RPS000) [448] And she baked every thing that they ate.
[449] Oatcakes and [...] and and it was porridge or [...] they got at dinner time.
[450] And then at tea time they had what their dinner was at tea time you see and it was always fish and [...] .
(K6RPS001) [451] Mhm.
(K6RPS000) [452] At tea time.
[453] Or f or soup or whatever [...]
(K6RPS001) [454] Or hen or hen.
(K6RPS000) [455] The main meal was at night.
(K6RPS001) [456] Mhm.
(K6RPS000) [457] And she said she baked everything for that men.
(PS5M4) [458] Would that've been a full time then or would she have done other
(K6RPS000) [459] Oh that was a she had four or five [...]
(K6RPS001) [...]
(PS5M4) [460] [...] She wouldn't have been employed then [...] look after the men in the bothy.
(K6RPS000) [461] She was just the the aye, she just fed them .
(K6RPS001) [462] She cooked and fed them.
(K6RPS000) [463] And kept them.
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS000) [464] Mhm.
[465] And there was the beds that was there there was ... [...] beds were still in that bothy and there was there were three of them must have been in the bed you see, and then there was a a board that they slipped in half up the bed and there was a a mattress or whatever on that and another three on that.
[466] There would have been six in a in a bed.
(K6RPS001) [467] Aye.
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS000) [468] So they wouldn't have been cold.
(K6RPS001) [469] Well it's s it's like the fishing girls here.
[470] There were three in each bed.
(PS5M4) [471] In ea in each bed?
(K6RPS001) [472] Yes.
(PS5M4) [473] Single beds? [...]
(K6RPS001) [474] Yeah just a just a wooden bit of wood at the front and a a wooden bottom and then they had erm bed [...] what did they call [...] bed-sacks they call them
(K6RPS000) [475] Yes.
(K6RPS001) [476] and they got chaff from the farms you see, they were sent down before the fishing and they filled that and they lay on that.
[477] And then dumped it when they went away.
[478] And I'll tell you what they what they each curing station used to have what they call foy before they went away.
(K6RPS000) [479] Yeah, yeah.
(K6RPS001) [480] Like what we would call a part, but they called them foys
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [481] Yes and they used to have dances there. [...] .
(PS5M4) [482] Was it just kind of like a dance? [...]
(K6RPS001) [483] Just like a dance and they sung and they had [...] just in each station you could hear them [...] in Papa Stronsay we could hear them singing and dancing.
[484] Just er we lived down at the bottom of the village there.
(PS5M4) [485] Tell me you were saying about the [...] tell me what happened at the muckle suppers.
[486] What happened in when you came in with the har what was the
(K6RPS001) [487] Well it was just the They had the tables set you see in the hall.
[488] Just tables set and you just sat er in the Hall Do you mean in the Hall here?
(PS5M4) [489] No I mean before the hall [...] Odness .
(K6RPS001) [490] Oh that well it Well it was just like sitting in in the barn and this well it was a laugh.
[491] The [...]
(K6RPS000) [492] Mhm.
(K6RPS001) [493] The band was down below and then a loft, a long wooden just like a dance hall up above and they just did that and they just they had tables set [...] and then they removed them for the dances.
[494] Yes and they would maybe been one melo one melodeon playing for the whole evening or one fiddle.
(K6RPS000) [495] Mm.
(K6RPS001) [496] And that would fill the whole hall and everybody dancing like mad it was good.
[497] And [...] as Nana said, amplifiers and everything.
[498] Same here.
[499] Till we got bands up and it was just a a fiddle
(K6RPS000) [500] Yes.
(K6RPS001) [501] and a m and a melodeon.
(K6RPS000) [502] Yes, nineteen thirties before they start getting a band.
(K6RPS001) [503] Yes.
[504] Yes they just had one maybe one melodeon or one fiddle, but played for the whole dance and you could hear it from end to end of the hall.
[505] Then they had dances in the schools in the South school and the Central school and [...] school and d and the North school.
[506] There would have been dances in them.
[507] Through the Winter.
[508] Mhm.
(PS5M4) [509] [...] was it always the same food there?
(K6RPS001) [510] It was always well there was always hens and beef and mutton and
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [511] pork and dumplings I suppose [...] be dumplings and
(K6RPS000) [512] Just a Yes Mhm.
(PS5M4) [513] All that different things [...]
(K6RPS001) [514] Yes just all your plate was just [...] and then turnips and potatoes and dishes of that boiling hot set on the table.
[515] Not so much er trifle and that till lately .
(K6RPS000) [516] No.
[517] No.
(K6RPS001) [518] Trifle and the cold kind of sweets start later on.
[519] But it would been hot stuff you see to begin with.
(K6RPS000) [520] Mhm.
(K6RPS001) [521] And they didn't have just one s black stove in the hall to begin with.
(K6RPS000) [522] Yes.
(K6RPS001) [523] They didn't have any fancy things to cook on.
[524] It was all taken up from home you see.
[525] Hot ready to put on the table.
[526] Oh it was a hard working night for all the women and the dances went on t four o'clock in the morning and a wedding nearly went on all night.
[527] It started eight o'clock sharp.
[528] And everybody was there at eight o'clock.
[529] They weren't coming dragging in twelve ad ten, eleven or twelve like what they are now.
[530] They st the dance started eight o'clock.
(PS5M4) [531] And that was the dancing?
(K6RPS001) [532] Yes, mm.
[533] And then they'd a fancy dress at Christmas, at Hogmanay.
(K6RPS000) [534] Yes.
(K6RPS001) [535] Always a fancy dress, it was always [...] and sausages.
[536] Generally that night.
(PS5M4) [537] When was that [...] when was that started?
(K6RPS001) [538] Well that was when we was before [...] fifty five sixty year ago it was [...] you see.
(K6RPS000) [539] Mhm.
(K6RPS001) [540] Mhm.
[541] But well I'd have been in my teens then.
(K6RPS000) [542] Mhm.
(PS5M4) [543] And is was that over in [...]
(K6RPS001) [544] No no it was in the drill hall.
[545] They called it the drill hall then it's now the community centre but it's the drill hall.
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [546] And then the [...] bought the drill hall and turned it into the public hall and presented it to the island.
(PS5M4) [547] Mhm. [...]
(K6RPS001) [548] Mhm.
[549] I was one of the ones that bought for it.
[550] Aye it was bought it and presented it to the island.
(K6RPS000) [551] Yes.
(K6RPS001) [552] And it was the public hall supplied cups and everything.
(K6RPS000) [553] Mm.
(K6RPS001) [554] Public hall [...] .
(PS5M4) [555] And that's [...]
(K6RPS001) [556] No that's it that's the same hall done up.
[557] It's been done up you see, it's been altered and it's now the community centre they call it is it not Nana?
(K6RPS000) [558] Aye it's the community centre.
(K6RPS001) [559] Aye.
[560] But it was the public hall.
[561] It was g gifted to the island by the W I.
[562] Mhm.
[563] W I started in nineteen twenty four.
(PS5M4) [564] What was that like when it started?
(K6RPS001) [565] Well it was just something similar to what it is now.
(K6RPS000) [566] Mhm.
(K6RPS001) [567] Yes.
[568] Just something similar [...] trip to Kirkwall in the Summertime eh.
[569] In June, June trip to Kirkwall on with a boat and
(PS5M4) [570] What were your meetings like to start with, can you remember the first meetings ?
(K6RPS001) [571] Yes grand me well I
(K6RPS000) [572] She'll mind it because she was one of the first
(K6RPS001) [573] I'm I'm not a founder member.
(K6RPS000) [574] No.
(K6RPS001) [575] I I joined in twe nineteen twenty seven.
[576] In nineteen twenty four.
[577] But I was a member then and it there were a big crowd in it and we just did.
[578] Just grand meeting you know and we had dances and it was good really good.
[579] Aye the W I sitting and it's kept going in Stronsay.
[580] We were up there last night and she won a prize.
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [581] Yes you won a prize, special prize last night.
(K6RPS000) [582] It was for the programme, making up a programme, the syllabus [...] for the whole year.
(K6RPS001) [583] Mhm.
[584] I've been a member for er fifty eight year, the W I and I'm a member in Kirkwall now [...] .
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [585] mhm.
(PS5M4) [586] What did the men think of the W I when it first started meeting.
(K6RPS000) [587] I'll give you a poem to read.
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [588] She made up a poem for the diamond diamond jubilee.
(PS5M4) [589] Oh I see.
(K6RPS001) [590] Here.
[591] And er [...] .
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [592] Yeah, she'll read it to you.
[593] It's good.
[594] Oh they had good nights and there were always a crowd of boys there and they used to come in and pinch the [...] .
(K6RPS000) [595] [...] write it out like that and then my grandson erm
(K6RPS001) [596] Framed
(K6RPS000) [597] framed it for me.
[598] Last for last Christmas.
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [...]
(PS5M4) [599] Oh sorry.
Unknown speaker (K6RPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS5M4) [600] [...] What did the the men think when it started up?
(K6RPS001) [601] Oh the men you see, er the men were invited certain times like for whist drives and that and the dances and they oh they all
(K6RPS000) [602] When the [...]
(K6RPS001) [603] The called it the Silly Women Running Idle, but that was just for fun.
(K6RPS000) [604] Mm.
(K6RPS001) [605] But they were all erm delighted with it I would say.
(K6RPS000) [606] [...] and the whist drives was always [...]
(K6RPS001) [607] Yes they they amalgamated then this [...] parties and that and they had the [...] you see.
[608] And then the North end [...] .
(K6RPS000) [609] The club
(K6RPS001) [610] Aye clubs yes, clubs.
[611] Mhm and they played darts and whist and all that kinds of things. ...
(PS5M4) [612] That's very good.
[613] My goodness
(K6RPS001) [...]
(PS5M4) [614] that's just
(K6RPS000) [...]
(PS5M4) [615] very good.
(K6RPS000) [616] That was what I I wrote and I well I read that out to them at the at that night.
[617] That night [...]
(PS5M4) [618] Very good.
(K6RPS000) [619] Yes.
(PS5M4) [620] [...] that was last year.
(K6RPS001) [621] Yes that was the diamond jubilee.
(K6RPS000) [622] Yes.
(K6RPS001) [623] just last year you see cos nineteen twenty four it start and Stronsay was well on the first to have to start the W I.
(K6RPS000) [624] Yeah.
(K6RPS001) [625] Cos [...] Mrs the l what they called the laird [...] it was his wife that was the president first.
[626] She she [...] .
(K6RPS000) [627] Aye.
[628] Yeah.
(K6RPS001) [629] And that was Stronsay [...] there were about the first to have a diamond jubilee.
(K6RPS000) [630] Yeah.
(K6RPS001) [631] There's some just having it now and some not even still had it you see.
(K6RPS000) [632] Mhm.
(PS5M4) [633] But you were one of the first to start.
(K6RPS001) [634] I wasn't a founder member.
[635] I was in nineteen twenty seven.
[636] So I'm about er well the one that's kept it up Mrs Cooper [...] always going too.
(K6RPS000) [637] Yes.
(K6RPS001) [638] Has kept it up all along.
[639] And w and been a member for the whole time.
[640] And and went to it every time.
[641] Still going, there are a lot of members like oh erm Ruby from Mount Pleasant, she's a founder member.
(K6RPS000) [642] Yes.
(K6RPS001) [643] But she doesn't I don't think she goes now.
(K6RPS000) [644] No.
(K6RPS001) [645] But she was I think she was secretary and Cissy Miller of Hunton was treasurer.
[646] The one was secretary, the other was treasurer.
[647] When it start.
(PS5M4) [648] And you were telling me [...] the other clubs [...] men men had
(K6RPS001) [649] They had
(PS5M4) [650] [...] what were they?
(K6RPS001) [651] They had Well they had a club at the [...] South school.
(K6RPS000) [652] And they had one down here [...]
(K6RPS001) [653] And they had one here at the Y what they call the Y M. at a hut down here.
[654] Y M C A .
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [655] Well they did er they'd dance and whist and did different things like that.
[656] Just did games [...] .
[657] And they had competitions then and they had competitions with the South End you see.
[658] North End against the South End.
[659] Same as they had the football teams.
[660] They had the South End football and football team and the North end football team and the [...] football team.
[661] I never remember the [...] football team.
[662] [...] to the matches like but I remember the North End and the South End.
(K6RPS000) [663] Willie would mind the [...] .
(K6RPS001) [664] Yes he would mind it he would been he was in it.
(K6RPS000) [...]
(K6RPS001) [665] Aye.
[666] And then they went to the different islands and I remember this [...] for when we were at the hotel me brother and me went across, well me [...] was on it too we were all young then.
[667] And we went across in small boats to Sanday and what a night.
[668] What a bad night.
[669] It was just really terrible I mean the first I was just scared stiff that I never couldn't enjoy the dance on Sanday [laughing] I was that scared of the thought coming back [] .
[670] It was terrible, about twenty of us in that boat.
[671] you know it was small boats.
(PS5M4) [672] Did you do that a lot then, back and forth [...] ?
(K6RPS001) [673] Yes and and then when the lifeboat came, the Eday and and Sanday and them a lot of them came across for the dances, the lifeboat dances, it was really I would say the best time
(K6RPS000) [674] Yes.
(K6RPS001) [675] [...] you know, for the people amalgamated.
[676] We had grand times.
[677] Beauti lovely dances.
[678] Robbie [...] and then they had a boat and they went across.
[679] Jim told me they went he went and fore sixteen times one night.
[680] putting folk there and come back, and putting them and coming back and he then he did, that was four loads he would have had you see and then had to take them all back home again.
[681] It was it was good gr grand times I would say.
(PS5M4) [682] There wouldn't have been many [...] on the island then was there?
(K6RPS000) [683] No.
[684] No.
(K6RPS001) [685] No.
[686] No.
[687] Well if you start thinking, [laughing] everyone that's in the island's nearly [] [...] .
[688] For my father came from Westray well he was an incomer from Westray.
(PS5M4) [689] When I say incomers I mean folk [...]
(K6RPS001) [690] Yes [...]
(K6RPS000) [...]
(K6RPS001) [691] No No.
Unknown speaker (K6RPSUNK) [...]
(PS5M4) [692] I mean, [...]
(K6RPS001) [693] I know
(K6RPS000) [694] [...] .
(K6RPS001) [695] Mhm.
[696] ... Well mother belong to Stronsay.
(K6RPS000) [697] Yes.
(K6RPS001) [698] Father came from Westray.
(PS5M4) [699] Did she tell you anything about what life was like when she was young?
(K6RPS001) [700] Yes she used to tell us and my me gran used to tell us and
(K6RPS000) [...]
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [701] She used to tell us about the you see they weren't allowed to make er malt and that.
[702] You know bre for brewing.
[703] They brewed ale you see.
[704] Ale ale was one of the things that they ate they they drank they put ale on their porridge.
(K6RPS000) [705] Yes.
(K6RPS001) [706] Because they would have likely made their butter unsalted butter.
(K6RPS000) [707] Yes.
(K6RPS001) [708] And they put ale like home-brew ale on their porridge.
[709] My gran used to always used to do that [...] .
[710] And she used to tell us [...] like and and things like that.
[711] And she said about the she said about this er when they made this malt.
[712] There were a man that used to come and they called him the gauger well we would likely call him the customs officer now. [...]
(PS5M4) [713] Yes.
(K6RPS001) [714] The excise man.
(K6RPS000) [715] Mhm.
(K6RPS001) [716] And he used to come and they could see him coming for he had to come in a cart.
[717] And they used to dig a hole and bury it.
[718] And she used to tell me about her burying it with her father you see, the sacks of malt so that he didn't find it.
[719] Oh yes.
(PS5M4) [720] And was it a Stronsay man that was the gauger or
(K6RPS001) [721] No no he came from he would have come from Kirkwall.
(PS5M4) [722] Mm.
(K6RPS001) [723] Mhm.
[724] And then you see there were no telephones and things then.
[725] No telephones, nothing like that.
[726] Just telegrams [...] to begin mainly.
[727] And when the Orcadian came to Stronsay, the paper, the a man used to read he used to get the Orcadian and read the news on the pier.
[728] They tell me that yes.
(K6RPS000) [729] Oh yes.
(K6RPS001) [730] Mhm.
(K6RPS000) [731] Mhm.
(K6RPS001) [732] Everybody didn't have Orcadian like what they have now.
(PS5M4) [...]
(K6RPS001) [733] Mhm.
(PS5M4) [...] [recording ends]