The Banff and Buchan Collection

close window to return to index

Tape 1994.039 transcription

Word Search page:
      PC Control+F
Mac Command+F

[Alec Forsythe] Michty fin you mine foo able an ye wis ye nivver thocht aboot that wid happen ye ken. But oh it's aboot ten year since it started wi me. Aye, naething like fit I hiv noo, bit a mine aye fan a rose ah woulda teen a step or twa ti the sine, ah think at hid bin the beginning o it, it's aboot ten year sine.

[Thomas McKean] Where there many folk who sang? Many folk with songs.

[AF] Oh they sang aye, oh the sung aye. Some fine singers, aye.

[TM] Do you sing yourself?

[AF] Oh well no, oh a sing fin I'm masel, bit a winna sing in front [laughs] oh no, no, I'm an ower shy lad for at.

[TM] What did they sing when you were a loon?

[AF] Eh.

[TM] What did they sing when you were a loon?

[AF] Oh well it wis eh, 'Muckin o Geordies Byre', or [sings] Gyan awa far e Gadie rins, an e Gadie rins, an e Gadie rins [laughs] [sings] mi love she is bit a lassie yet, mi loves yet bit a lassie yet [laughs] Oh I ken a' the tunies bit a winna sing in front [laughs] no. I've a sen noo here noo, he's different fae me, he sings. Ah in front a folk, funny at, he disnae seem ti care [laughs].

[TM] Does he sing bothy songs?

[AF] Aye just the bothy songs [laughs]

[TM] And where does he stay?

[AF] ??? He's retired noo.

[TM] What's his name?

[AF] John. John that they ca him. But he's been affa mucky. He's a burst retna it the back a is eye. An it wis a' little a holie, they couldna see ti get it closed in time, an then if ye canna close't in time ye lose the sight o that eye, an the ither een burst, bit the got it a kinna closed. But the trouble wis he hid e, oh he wis like masel, ah got the cataract teen affa baith my eyes, an he's cataract. Well, well bit aifter he got es eyes sorted they were feart ti tumper wi the cataract, thit they would bla this een a the gither. So he hisna great sicht. An he got baith his hips sorted. He's an affa big lad, stoot.

[TM] Uhuh.

[JF] Mine my mum wis affa stoot, aye my mither wis affa stoot, so he musta, musta gin back onti her surely, ken. There wis three loons a his, an there wis neen a his stoot. At auler sister noo in Canada, well she wisna naething like ma mither, bit she wis inclined ti be stoot, aye. But ma father wis just, oh just a little mannie like masel [laughs]. But oh he wis a hardie, an wis a hardworkin man. Aye.

[TM] Would there be a dance after a feein fair?

[JF] Feein?

[TM] After the Feein market?

[JF] Na.

[TM] No.

[JF] No. No.

[TM] Just straight to work, eh?

[JF] Oh aye, aye, nuh.

[TM] Would there be other things going on at the feein market? Would there be stalls or recruiting?

[JF] No but ye ken, the eest ti ging roon aboot wi yon ??? Did ever ye see em? A great big dial o a face, it hid a haun in't ye ken, in ye stood on a this, in there wis twa hunnels, jist aboot at heicht, an ye pulled a it ye could, is wis ti see fa could pull maist. Oh aye there wis aye at at the feein market. Michty there wis some o lads were ??? they hid the machine [laughs] an they still kept ??? tryin ti beat ane anither ye ken.

[TM] So the farmers would know who was the strongest one eh?

[JF] [laughs] Oh there wis some big stoot lads, oh fit. Big hefty chiels.

[TM] Must have been.

[JF] Oh, aye well at wis ??? bit at fell awa, an e feein markets stoppit ye see. Oh its lang since they stoppit. Lang since they stoppit.

[TM] Did you ever hear a rhyme about Candlemas?

[JF] Eh.

[TM] Did you ever hear a rhyme about Candlemas? First comes Candlemas

[JF] Oh no bit.

[TM] Have you seen the new meen?

[JF] There wis nivver naething aboot at time wis there. A dinna think it.

[TM] First comes Candlemas, seen the new meen.

[JF] Oh aye.

[TM] Next ??? aifter at ???

[JF] Aye.

[TM] Did you ever hear that?

[JF] Oh I've heard that aye, aye. Oh ye ken a' the.

[TM] Do you mind how it went?

[JF] Eh.

[TM] I think there was a bit more, but do you mind how it goes.

[JF] No.

[TM] No.

[JF] No. Nae furrer nor at.

[TM] What did you do around Easter time? Did you ever roll East eggs?

[JF] Mmmm, a dinna think it, dinna think it, no.

[TM] How about the meal and ale at harvest time. Did you have those?

[JF] Oh aye, meal an ale's, oh aye.

[TM] Tell me about one of those.

[JF] Oh aye ye gaed till eh farm up in the loft, aye there wis duncin ye ken, an then they woulda brocht oot a suppose it wis a big dumplin wis't, that they brought oot, an ye'd a great feed. This wis the meal an ale aifter the harvest. Oh there wis an affa lot o at went on at e farms. There wis at fin we wis in the farm at Cadger Hill, bit nae, we hidna it at oor farm, bit Mains o Buthlay, just across fae es. They hid aye the meal an ale nicht. Oh an a gye gaitherin woulda ben awa ower air. Forty, folk up in the laft and duncin [laughs].

[TM] Would there be lots to eat as well?

[JF] Oh ane or twa dumplins there wis, we hid aye. They were cairrit fae the kitchen doon ti the, up ti the loft, an there'd been tea, an a bit a work ye ken attached till't. Aye they were affa fine folk on. Johnston it the ca'ed it wis on Mains o Buthlay.

[TM] And was that the time of year that the travelling mulls would be around.

[JF] Aye, oh aye, aye. Oh aye, we hid e mill a good lot ??? We hid a little mill a wir ane like. Aye in the steadin, but we were it the mill twa or three time, twice a year, oh aye.

[TM] Would they come the night before?

[JF] Nae aften, aye the micht, aye a hiv seen em aye. A hiv seen em, bit ??? woulda just cam doon in the mornin like [loud noise] the mull woulda been set the nicht afore aye [loud noise] woulda com wi the engine in the mornin and maistly [loud noise] threesh the hale day ye see, aye, aye.

[TM] There would be two or three lads with the mill, working it.

[JF] Two?

[TM] Uhuh.

[JF] Aye, two [loud noise] aye. And there wis ae lad fae the fairm he hid a job maistly cairryin watter [loud noise] wi twa pales, jist kept im goin, the watter gaed throw like at, the engine [loud noise].

[End of Interview]

[Thomas McKean] Right, your name is?

[Jimmy Thain] Jimmy Thain.

[TM] And where were you born?

[JT] New Deer.

[TM] What part of New Deer?

[JT] ???

[TM] Uhuh, that's where I stay myself, I stay up at the Culsh monument.

[JT] Far, the cottage at the cemetery. I kint they wis deein it up.

[TM] Yes, that's right, that's where I stay.

[JT] Aye, aye, the Hill o Culsh. At's far ???

[TM] So was your father a farmer or a cottar or?

[JT] No he wis a roadman, on a craft like. He worked on e roads. Aye.

[TM] What about yourself. Did you fee at all?

[JT] Aifter school a started on e hens. The odd horse an help the fairmer wi the cattle an then a pair a horse.

[TM] How old were you when you first fee'd.

[JT] Fourteen. Aye aifter e school, fourteen, aye.

[TM] When was that?

[JT] 1934.

[TM] So you were born in 1920.

[JT] Aye.

[TM] And how much was your pay for a half year.

[JT] Amon e hens? £3.05 for six months. Bit I wis cripple, hid a bad airm, wisna much eece, ah jist hid half pay. An then a gaed better an better an better like, aye a stuck at a year and a half, then a gaed ti ??? odd horse an help wi cattle, £10 for half e year.

[TM] And how did you learn to take care of horse then?

[JT] Aye ye jist copiet the horsemen, did fit ye wis telt, aye.

[TM] So how old were you when you were in charge of your first pair?

[JT] Ah left Jackson, 19, a did cattleman's jobs in between ye see, aye.

[TM] Where you in a chaumer or a bothy.

[JT] Chaumers and bothies, well ah wis nivver in a bothy. A bothy's a place where you make yer own food an at.

[TM] Right.

[JT] But roon aboot here you got a' yer food in the farm kitchen, jist a chaumer, or a bothy ye ca'ed it a lot a different names [laughs] depends how good it wis, aye [laughs].

[TM] What time would you rise in the morning.

[JT] The back a five, breakfast wis at six.

[TM] Were you out to the horses first?

[JT] Aye, oh aye, they aye got first, aye, plenty a brakfast at six.

[TM] What would you have for breakfast?

[JT] Brose, cup a tea and slice a breid.

[TM] So that would just be oatmeal and salt.

[JT] Aye, ??? good creamy milk…

[TM] About how much oatmeal?

[JT] Mm?

[TM] How much oatmeal?

[JT] Oh well at wis up ti yersel.

[TM] Hm,hm.

[JT] Two or three speenfu's. I could tik a big bowl fae right enough [laughs].

[TM] And was there a big bowl of milk on the table or did you…

[JT] No, no, no ye a hid yer ain bowls, aye ye'd yer ain bowls, aye fine cream on e top. The night before's milk ye see. It stood in the bowl a' nicht an ye'd cream on e top in e mornin, Aye.

[TM] And what about for your dinner what did you get?

[JT] Ah well, jist soup, soup in puddin or some jist different things like. Sometimes ye didna get very muckle, next time ye wis hardly able ti pit [laughs] depends far ye wis at like.

[TM] Was the kitchie deem in charge of making the meals?

[JT] Some places aye, aye, oh aye, some places hidna a deem like. [background noise, chatter, doors banging] I've seen me sleep, sometimes a sleepit ae hoose, there wis nae bothy, three times a slept in the ??? o a cairraige for a bothy.

[TM] Did you sleep.

[JT] Aye, it wis aricht ye ken, ye'd a fire.

[TM] And would you eh, how would you control the horses? What were some of the words you used to?

[JT] [laughs] Oh well, there wis different kinds o words, I'm nae much o a horseman, there's 'hi' and 'wish' and I forgets which I think I wis the day or a left like, aye, 'wish' I nivver workit at I jist workit the reigns. [background chatter]

[TM] How many hours a day would you work?

[JT] Oot in the stable aboot seven a clock till eleven, and ye lookit aifter the horses till twelve, gin in till yer dinner and back on e land it one a clock till half past five.

[TM] So it was about ten hours in the fields.

[JT] Aye, oh aye, och aye ???

[TM] What did you do in the evenings for entertainment to keep yourselves busy at night.

[JT] Sit an news or read a book or.

[TM] Did you hear folk singing and?

[JT] Oh aye there wis some o that ye ken. There wis one place a lad hae fiddle next bothy hid a gramaphone maybe, there wis aye entertainment, else ye'd giwa entertain awa ti some ither bothy jist fur a nicht oot, an doon ti the pub or somehing [laughs] oh aye.

[TM] Did you ever sing yourself?

[JT] A tried it files [laughs] tellt ti shut up file an a, a suppose [laughs]

[TM] What sort of songs did people sing?

[JT] Well jist cornkisters ??? or roch songs [laughs]

[TM] They were blue?

[JT] [laughs] Some a them were blue, aye.

[TM] You remember some of the songs?

[JT] A mine them yet like. Oh aye, aye ye'd be frownt on if ye sung them in hear like [laughs]

[TM] Oh well I don't mind.

[JT] [laughs] I'm still nae gan ti sing it.

[TM] What were some of the others, the cornkisters people sang?

[JT] Ah well ye hear them on the telly noo, ye ken.

[TM] Things like 'Drumdelgie' or?

[JT] Aye.

[TM] 'Nicky Tams'.

[JT] Aye. A' that stuff. 'Ah should've been a gowk', 'Bogie's Bonnie Belle' a' that kina sangs.

[TM] Do you remember how 'Bogey's Bonnie Belle' went.

[JT] [laughs] Oh aye, fine that, cos I'm nae gan ti sing, no way [laughs], ah hinna got e win ti sing noo min, na na.

[TM] What did you get up to on nights like Hogmanay?

[JT] Oh jist e pub, an a dance, ??? a local dance on Hogmanay. Ye'd ti save up fur yer bottle fin a wis a loon, twelve an six [laughs] aye.

[TM] And what kind of dances would they do?

[JT] Oh jist a' eightsome reels in a' that kin of stuff ye ken, waltzes an it wis beginnin ti get modern kin afore I cam up ye ken [laughs].

[TM] Did they do the grand march and ???

[JT] Oh aye, ye started e dance wi a grand march, aye an ???, they stoppit at there's the grand march and then its an aul fashioned waltz. At's jist changed ower like. Aye.

[TM] And would it mostly be fiddles and melodeons for music.

[JT] It wis maistly bands afore I gid, twis aye good bands like. ??? brass bands oh aye good bands. J. Stewart fae Fetterangus he'd aye a good band, aye, ye jist hire't em. Och aye.

[TM] What about ah, well did you ever hear of anyone stealing a gate or anything or painting somebody's window's black or anything like that on Hogmanay.

[JT] [laughs] there wis some queer tricks, aye best nae mentioned [laughs]

[TM] What sort of things.

[JT] Tyin folk in their hooses in things like at.

[TM] Tying the door shut.

[JT] I've heard o that deen, a wis nivver at it like I've heard o't, aye there wis some tricks played. Nivver naething right coorse like, no, no.

[TM] Just fun.

[JT] Jist a bit a fun, aye.

[TM] What about term time were there dances then.

[JT] Oh aye, ??? 28th a May till the 8th November, the best day a the year. Pay day, aye.

[TM] A bit of a celebration.

[JT] Oh aye, sine next day ye gaed intae Aiberdeen, ye got a day and a half ye see, ye wis finished at twelve a clock on 28th and jist bide in fin ye got the next day aff, and if ye wis leavin ye still got the day aff like, startin a new place 29th.

[TM] So did you go to feein markets.

[JT] Aye, I aye gaed ti Maud. Stan aboot till somebody asked if ye wis needin a job, aye, the hire house at's fit it wis [laughs] a big job a kin tell ye.

[TM] Were there a lot of people there.

[JT] They were a' there, whether ye wis stayin or no, whether ye wanted a job, it wis a local holiday ye see, ti fairmjocks. Ye didna get holidays there wis no local holidays for fairm jocks at that time.

[TM] So in the Feeing Market the farmer would come up to you and.

[JT] Ask ye yer name, want a job and say, ye'd hagglt an hagglt [laughs] sound better [background chatter] ??? Mi brither wis fee'd ??? He wis wantin me ti ging for horseman I wisna gan ti work horses I wouldna ging, his father came in aboot sayin his brither came in aboot, ah cam on we'll hae a dram, an they were gein be whisky an beer as much as a could drink, ??? fit aboot comin for a horseman than, ah says I'm nae comin an a walkit oot an left em [laughs] he's takin a good drink....

[JT] I wis at a place up at Gight, an I'd been ere afore twice, an come till him again, an I hired till him ??? [laughs] I wis fower times at at place. A asked him fit wis e wage an £75 for six month, so A gaed on ti weekly wages, aye at wis top wages.

[TM] Was that four separate times or four in a row?

[JT] No four different times, a left an went an aye got invited back, aye ??? money, an got mair ti go back, aye [laughs], oh aye.

[TM] They must have thought you were a good worker.

[JT] Oh a dinna ken, he hidna good, getting fowk ti bide wi him, he wis a bit ill natur'd. Aye [laughs].

[TM] In what way?

[JT] He wis aye ??? bawlin aboot somehing, aye, he nivver mine't me much, nu'h, och aye.

[TM] What else would happen at the feeing markets. Would there be stalls or.

[JT] Oh aye, oh aye.

[TM] They were hawking all manner of things.

[JT] Oh aye, they were supposed ti be sellin ??? [laughs] ti keep e police awa like, och aye.

[TM] Were they ever recruiting people.

[JT] The Gordon Highlanders were there ye see, an e band an getting drunk lads ti tak e shillin, aye, one a these hidna a hame, couldna get a job an enlisted ye ken.

[TM] And that would be him for four or five years probably.

[JT] At's it, aye, oh aye ye wis ??? Things jist begun ti change, stoppit the markets, onti weekly wage.

[TM] When was that.

[JT] Since tractors came in ye see. Less people kin a thing…

[TM] Be needin less people ti work.

[JT] Aye, there's hardly onybody on the fairm now ye ken, nuh.

[TM] When did the markets stop.

[JT] I'm nae sure noo 1942 ah think [background chatter] a canna mine I wis ??? I canna mine e date like, I wis ere fower year an the market stoppit, some took it as a holiday [ laughs] so we still gaed ti Maud, hid a dram an aye.

[TM] Did you ever hear of a rhyme about Candlemas. First comes Candlemas.

[JT] ???

[End of Side A.]

[JT] Athings changed athegither noo, nae bothys or naething noo hardly.

[TM] No working horse either.

[JT] No nae now, a lot a shelts ponies an, aye ???

[TM] So you would have gone to school in New Deer.

[JT] Aye, oh aye.

[TM] Do you remember Dingwall Fordyce.

[JT] Oh mercy aye, aye Sandy Fordyce, ??? och aye I kent him.

[TM] Is he the one that used to have the Rolls Royce.

[JT] Aye, mercy aye, an fit did he ca his chaffoor, he nivver hid, nivver seen him honest ti god, he wis grey, he wis a chafoor, an aul Leith wis a chaffoor. I think he wis chaffoor tae Miss Fordyce ??? But he aye drove his cars himsel, aye, a hillock a loons wi him, boy scouts and things like that ye ken. ??? I wis nivver a boy scout, nu'h.

[TM] Was he around the village much.

[JT] Aye ye see him, I used ti see him passin by, ye ken, ??? twis him an Gight hid the pleasure park an a that ye ken, at wis afore my time like. Aye New Deer Show wis held in the pleasure park fan I wis a bairn, bit the beast howkit up a' the pitches an at so the bocht the Craigie park an fenced it aff.

[TM] What went on at the New Deer Show, was that a cattle sale.

[JT] Cattle, aye, cattle, nae sale, show, it wisna a roup like ??? coulda been a bit a inside dealin like bit jist showin, an there wis the rubbit show, changed it ti fur n feather show, just loons wi their rabbits started it, then poultry came in, it wis a big show in the finish.

[TM] What time of year was it held.

[JT] It wis held in July. Aye the New Deer show wis aye the second wik a August ???

[TM] Did you ever go to Aikey Fair.

[JT] Oh a' the time. [laughs] oh aye. Aikey fair on the Sunday an Aikey Fair on the Wednesday, aye.

[TM] And what was that like.

[JT] Oh well it wis jist horses ye ken on the Wednesday, dealin horses an drink. It wis a local holiday for fairm jocks, aye. It's started up again, Aikey aye Sunday like, aye.

[TM] Would there be a lot of travellers around. Tinkers and…

[JT] Oh aye, Gyp Jones an Swicks an Fortune Tellers, you name it [laughs] oh aye. A lot o fun, mercy aye.

[TM] What went on on the Sunday of Aikey Fair.

[JT] Just amusements and a' this Gyp Jones an at like, aye sellin a' stuff oot a vans 'n amusements, it wis a good day, folk came fae far an near till it, aye aul folk aye gaed back, an they met ??? for the year ye ken folk, it's the only time that they met the aul folk, met ye at Aikey Fair [laughs].

[TM] A gathering place.

[JT] Aye, oh aye.

[TM] What about harvest time, would there be a meal an ale or something like that after…

[JT] That wis kinda ??? oot afore I wis up, there wis some big places hid a meal an ale, I wis at a place in 1940, there wis five fairms and there wis a big feed aifter at the home farm like, but I nivver got call't, I wis ither weys engaged [laughs]. But it wisna a meal an ale it wis jist a feed like. I only once tasted meal an ale, ah wis at an evenin oot in a local schoolie, ??? school, I didna think much o't.

[TM] What is it exactly.

[JT] Well it wis jist kinna browse made wi ale like, beer or aye, I didna like it onywey. I would a rather hid ma mornin browse wi cream [laughs]. At's the only time that iver I tasted it, aye.

[TM] So it was supposed to be something special for

[JT] Well I dinna ken fit it, a big fairm hid a do like at an invited his neighbours in aboot or things like at ye ken at one time like, it wis just a kin o fadin oot afore a got richt in o't. At's e only mannie that iver hid a meal an ale or a feed aifter hairst like, aul Jock Strachan Crichie a Fyvie.

[TM] Were you feed with him.

[JT] ??? I wis at Upper Blaickley[?] at Methlick, ??? I wis second horseman, aye an glaid ti get awa. A horse dealer, an seen as ye hid a horse a kinna goin richt away again ye got anither awkward ane, ken, ah wis gled fan the term came an a got awa.

[TM] So you'd always have a new horse to get used to.

[JT] Well at wis it ye see aye, I couldna be deen wi it ava.

[TM] Was he a hard man.

[JT] No, no, no no he wisna hard. ??? he wis a grieve ye see a workit till, very seldom saw aul Jock.

[TM] Who was the grieve when you were there.

[JT] Geordie Will, aye.

[TM] Did you ever meet a man Morrison, no no he would have been away before.

[TM] Morrison?

[TM] Yes.

[JT] I dinna think there wis a Morrison there at at time.

[TM] No that was before your time I think, before the war I think.

[JT] Oh it wis 1940 I wis there. Do you ken John Strachan like.

[TM] Well I've heard tapes of him cause he was recorded in 1950.

[JT] Oh he used ti sing, I've heard him on the telly, oh I've heard him singin, oh aye, aye, I canna mine a Morrison though, nuh.

[TM] Where did you hear him singing just about the place, or.

[JT] No, no just on the telly, hmh, he wis singin at night, he used ti play a nae a melodeon, a [door bangs]

[TM] The accordion.

[JT] No, a concertina. Aul fashioned concertina, and he could play it at his back, ye ken, aye [laughs].

[TM] That's some talent.

[JT] Aye, he could play the concertina and sing till it. ??? but he wis deein it at nicht at e do like. ??? Aul Jock, he wis an aul trickit aul devil. He once set mi ploughin, fan he gaed awa the damn thing wouldna ploo [laughs] ??? I'll bet ye at's a ??? sweerin at me. Jist dirt aul tricks like at, aye, ah wis sweerin at em ??? [laughs] ??? …jist laughed like, aye.

[TM] They were playing a trick on you.

[JT] Aye, ??? deein at, oh aye.

[TM] Do you mind on anything else they did.

[JT] Oh well, ah mean, ??? intil es buggy, instead a pittin a line ti the horses ??? they pit it on e hens [laughs] it wisna eece uv a. Ye just poked it e horse wisna deein naething. ??? wisna turnin an [laughs] stanin roarin laughin ??? ti the hens instead a doon till its moo, ontae bit ??? deein a bit a sweerin a suppose [laughs] the four wheeled bogey, at's the kine a things he did. But wi very seldom sa him, nu, wi wid see e grieve like, unless he wis in aboot wi somebody that wis buyin a horse like, well a wis oot an rin it up an doon aside e ploo. There wis a little horsey, a coorse little devil, a hid him a' the time. An I used ti see him silent little devil, a sellt him twice an got im back, [laughs] he wis aye returnt. He wis a coorse little devil o a beast, aye [laughs] now I says if ye sell e ??? here I'm gaen awa oot, I'd it a' the time an a', bit I aye hid an akward een in atween. Ploughed wi three ye see.

[TM] Three horses.

[JT] Aye, big ploughin, three horses ye ploughed wi.

[TM] Next to each other.

[JT] Aye three in a ra, aye, hmhm.

[TM] It must have been a handful.

[JT] [laughs] Aye, Plooed roon aboot ye see, plooed a' the parks roond aboot, aye just turnt it end. Noo the ploo wis naethin, es I say it jist rin itsel, turnt it the end jist, aye, made a good job, michty aye. It wis jist aye this change o a horse, ye got, bah, fed up ot. I gaed back ti cattle.

[TM] Did you prefer cattle.

[JT] Aye, oh aye.

[TM] What were your duties as cattleman.

[JT] Well feedin or breedin. ??? coos like, aye, ah liket at fine. [background noise] ??? some job wi caffies, bringin em up. ???

[TM] Do you think it was uh, easier work than ploughing or

[JT] Well a dinna ken, ye jist, nae si much walkin. In ye wis in yer own, yer ain time maistly ye ken, aye. Ye wis inside a lot o times fin the horse wis oot getting weet.

[TM] In all sorts of weather.

[JT] Oh ats it. The rain [doors banging] ??? came on aboot four a clock in e aifterneen, ye'd e ??? a' inside, e horseman he gaed oot in e weet, sayin ??? oh aye.

[TM] How many cattle did you have to look after.

[JT] Well different places, different sizes like and then e coorts cam in, an he got mair ye see, aye.

[TM] Were these mostly cattle for beef or for milk.

[JT] Oh feeders were aye ootside, the cows wis jist ti sook e caffies, aye, bit e feeders wis fur beef, oh aye. ??? e beef cattle an younger eens, any coo, fan the were fat, ye emptiet e byre an tik at eens oot a the coort an tie them up, tie them up, little anes in e coort again.

[TM] And then you'd be in charge of taking them down to the market as well.

[JT] Oh no, gaed awa in floats, aye the gaed awa in floats, oh the mannie gaed ti e market. Aye.

[TM] Mostly Maud cattle market or.

[JT] Nae a' Maud, or Aiberdeen, depends fit district ye wis workin ye see. Coulda gin ti Turriff, aye. If er wis ??? in e summertime ye walkit em ti Maud, an took e floats in e wintertime like fan the were tied up an at, but ye walkit e beasts ti Maud, aye, a lota folk did at.

[TM] Would anybody keep sheep in those days.

[JT] Oh aye, ??? hid three hunner hogs, aye, he used ti go roon e crafts, an he ??? I nivver like-et sheep muckle. Ach they broke oot an ate e neeps, an made a mess a a'hing. I nivver like-et sheep. Only time I like I sheep is on a plate [laughs] a like a bit mutton. [laughs] aye.

[TM] So there'd be a shepherd feed on the farm as well.

[JT] Well jist, needs ti be a big fairm afore theres a shepherd. ??? sheep himsel. Oh aye, well unless he took em in ti dee somehing, dip em or somehing like or clip em in e summertime, but he aye ??? did a' the lambin himsel. Aye [background chatter].

[TM] Did people eat much mutton in those days.

[JT] Ye didna get a lotta beef in ??? fairms at at days. [laughs] a rabbit or somehing, aye up ti yersel tik a rabbit intae e hoose or a hare or a pheasant or somehing. Micht a gotten beef on a Sunday, aye, och aye.

[TM] When you were feed, was it uh, all your food was included.

[JT] Oh aye, ye got yer wages, an fitever it wis yer wages, an yer insurance kept aff like, bit a' yer food an yer bed wis free.

[TM] And the fire as well.

[JT] Oh aye, yer fire an a, aye. ??? we didna get a fire in the bothy, we sat in e kitchen till nine a clock at nicht, and gaed oot ti were bed, ??? … we'd a fire in the wikend on a Sunday ye could pit a fire on in e bothy. If yer claes got weet ye could licht a fire in the evenin an dry yer claes like.

[TM] What time would you go to bed.

[JT] Oh jist eight a clock, nine, jist aifter ye sortit e horse, nine half past nine, bedtime, aye.

[TM] Was it cauff mattresses.

[JT] Oh aye, aye, oh aye. Ye'd ti watch fit ye wis deein, [laughs] there's nae thistles in is ??? [laughs] ???

[TM] Not full of whins.

[JT] [laughs] ??? Aye maistly changed every year, the cauff. It wis fine though. Gaed yersel a shudder fin ye wis in amon't. ???… yer just lyin on tap o at.

[TM] Would you turn the mattress every so often.

[JT] Well it wis a great heicht o a thing ye ken, turned it maybe ilka wik, I dinna ken, e maid, e maid came oot an lookit it at like. She made e chaumer beds, sortit oot every day. Oh aye we'd nuhing adae wi at.

[TM] So you had the mattress and a couple of blankets.

[JT] Oh aye, I'd plenty a blunkets an at, oh aye, hmhm.

[TM] I'm sure it could be cold.

[JT] No, it wisna caul in e bothy, no. I've seen e railway cairrige, ??? gless at drew e frost, ye ken. Same in e summer drew e heat. Just a common bothy it wis aricht. Some comfortable bothies.

[TM] How many people would sleep in one.

[JT] Well depends how much wis workin air like, aye. It been the five o us in one room. Just a room abeen e kitchen, fairm kitchen, up a steen stair ootside, and there wis two horsemen, two [loons] an a orraman.

[TM] Where was that one.

[JT] Middle ??? I stayed a fortnight. [laughs]

[TM] And what happened.

[JT] Well e mannie he came hame drunk on a Wensda an gie a'body e sake. So e second Wensda I took it, a cleared oot [laughs]

[TM] What happened when something like that happened. Did you find a new fee.

[JT] Aye, at wis Wensda, a started it sooth, mains ??? on a Monda. Ah wis nivver oot a work just twa three days.

[TM] So you knew they were needing someone.

[JT] Well a didna ken at e time like. They come ti me like. Aye, och aye.

[TM] Just heard somehow that you were available.

[JT] [laughs] Aye. Oh aye, there's aye somebody kent, aye. I wis Backhill o Gight on Setterday dennertime, an a heart on Sunday mornin. A went up ti the local shoppie an hid a dram on Setterday nicht, an tellt them that I'd left, and somebody tellt es ither mannie, he come doon an feed mi on Sunday mornin, so a wis nivver oot a work. ??? …

[TM] Was there much shifting around like that between term days.

[JT] Well, a wis echt year at at place, an fower times, a wis two years at Burnside a Gight, an sine a wis at Milton nine year withoot shiftin, ye ken, it wis weekly wages at at time ye see, aye, och aye.

[TM] Was it easier to move from place to place once the weekly wages came in.

[JT] Oh aye. Oh aye, the time a the war an at, it wis standstill, ye couldna shift. If ye shifted, they could caul ye up ye see. ??? got a hud a ye. But if he sake-it ye at wis different, aye.

[TM] So during the war, as long as you were on a farm you were all right.

[JT] Aye. I'll tell ye fit there wis, there wis a lota students workin in Aiberdeen, an students an at, and they gaed hame ti work wi ??? ye ken, and get his son hame [laughs] ??? there wis a lot a that, aye, oh aye, stands still. I could please masel, because I wis in the army an discharged due ti unfit, so the couldna stop me, ah could please masel.

[TM] So you were safe enough anyway.

[JT] I could shift when a like-it. Aye, aye a wis seventy-six days a sodjer. [laughs] cos they discharged out. ??? ah shoulda never bin in air, ah mean wi a bad leg an airm, doctors in Aiberdeen passed mi. ??? a landed in Dalkeith speir 'Who the hell sent ye hear'. Ah says o gies mi ma train fare hame an I'll get out [laughs]. They kept ma seventy-six days ti see if a wis shavvin. Then a got a medical board up in Edinburgh Castle, and at wis jist it, ah got out.

[TM] They had to test you.

[JT] Aye they tried mi oot to see that ah wisna shavvin. Oh there was some o the boys shavvin ye ken.

[TM] I'm sure there were.

[JT] [laughs] Oh aye. But I got oot aricht.

[TM] What year was that.

[JT] 1940. Spring a 1940. But then I came oot an at's fin I, or July, I gaed ??? to Jock Strachan, and fan a cam oot ah gaed air fur horseman. I'd a rest a six month like, aye.

[TM] How long did you bide on there.

[JT] Well a just bade July fan a gaed hame, until November term.

[TM] And then moved on.

[JT] Aye. Hmhhm, oh aye.

[TM] It must have been quite a life for some of the lads moving every six months.

[JT] Oh aye, it wis short ??, och aye, whiles ye made a bad move ye ken, aye [laughs], jist hid ti tik at chunce. Sometimes you wouldna been asked ye see.

[TM] Right, not asked to bide on.

[JT] Aye, ye'd nae ither hope bit jist go ti the market. Aye.

[TM} When you were at the markets, did you do anything to indicate that you were available. Like a piece of straw in the cap or anything.

[JT] No, no, nae at ivver, there wis aye somebody, somebody kent that ye wis lookin for, an ye wis on yer own till a mannie would a said, come on ers a mannie needin somebody, ye ken hoo. [yawns]

[TM] Would the farmers be dressed differently.

[JT] No, no jist a suit like, the fairm servants wis dressed ye ken at a market. Ye a' hid yer blue suit an [laughs] oh aye, oh aye.

[TM] So everybody would wear their Sunday best.

[JT] Aye near enough aye, hmhm. Well at at time ye jist hid ae suit, ye ken [laughs] aye. Hmhm.

[TM] Was there much church-going.

[JT] Well I used to ging ti the kirk until 1942, it hid a wee minister an a nivver gaed back.

[TM] Did most of the people, most of the feed loons go.

[JT] Oh aye, nae a lot. There wis some like. No evry secont wik ye wis workin ye see, aye.

[TM] You had a Sunday off every fortnight.

[JT] You micht jine e kirk in New Deer but ye wis workin awa ither side a Aiberdeen ye see, ye couldna, as lang's ye changed yer kirk like six months. Change yer kirk every six month, ye see, aye, och aye, ye could ging ti ony kirk like a suppose, I nivver bothert masel, dinna ging yet, oh na. No.

[TM] So when did you retire from farming or feeing.

[JT] 1965.


back to top