The Banff and Buchan Collection

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Tape 1994.055

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[Harry Legg] Nae used ti this recording business.

[Tom McKean] Let's start with em, just yourself, where and where were you born?

[HL] Where, oh well I wis born up at Knaven, back hill o' Knaven, wis a farm, well a croft nooadays, ye, ken [laughs], an eh it wis in at area I worked aroond fairms right until I wint ti army in eh 1942 wid it be, I think 1942 I wint in ti army. Got this, fit yi ca it deferred and for a certain time and wint ti fairm work, ye see, but then got called up and spint the rest o our time in the army till the war wis finished.

[TM] Where were you during, in the war?

[HL] Well, I wis actually eh, I wis niver in Africa, so France, Belgium and eh Germany aftir the invision, ken, I wis ordering supplies in eh back and for the channel, maybe twice three times a week, or somethin, or fitever, wi supplies. There wis a driver in e driving vehicles up the beach ti the rendezvous area, fit evir yi wid say, ye, ken, in en we did guards till back again, then wi were actually stationed in a place ca'd Purtwood, at's in Essex really, en the nearest town I think wid have been Graves or maybe Romford, down there, it was quite near Birmingham.

[TM] So how old were you when you went into the army in '42?

[HL] Wid have been 23 I think.

[TM] So you were born in 19..?

[HL] 16.

[TM] 16, 1916.

[HL] Aye. I think wis aboot 23 when I, well I'm nae sure, I think I wis 22 or 23 fin I wint ti army.

[TM] So before then you were working on your father's farm?

[HL] Oh well, aye worked wi ma father, ma grandfither's farm, in eh stayed there till as I say, wint ti army. Then fin I came oot the army wis working farms roond aboot, days work or fit evir, en the first job I did eh farmed at wis at Glenmoat??? Farm, en the farmer wis in Stracathro Hospital, so his brother had comeup to me, that wis Mr Watt, he comeup to me and said wid you be willing ti go doon and work ti mi brother, he's in the hospital, so I said aye, so that wis the first job I did fin I came oot the army, an eh I just carrid on working on fairms, aifter at wis the area roond aboot, then I got married and eh oh first Culter Place was was Menzie Elrick, Auchnigaat, then Mr Rae, he's still farming in the area yet wi the auld man, en eh then we wint tae Glenshee ti Whitecairns, wint fae there ti A??, Mrs Watson, then fae there ti Mains o Auchnagatt, John Rhind, em, stayed wi John Rhind for five year or somthing, and then wi decided ti go doon South, the wages were a wee bittie better, took a job in Glenskinner???, ootside Montrose, eh at wisna affa likable fairmer is ye wid say [laughs] en eh so moved fae there doon ti Guthrie Estates, in at wis eh, I dinna kin whether ye kin Coronel Guthrie, em Guthrie Castle really, hiv ye nae heard o it?

[TM] No.

[HL] Oh well it's at area, in between Forfar, Arbroath and Montrose. It's an awfa fine area - water, trees and fruit, rasps, strawberries and what not - great fruit area. So there, then we came back up ti Knaven again oni wae and eh so by at time I had an uncle in the croft and he wis getting well on, well he was past retiring age, and he wis still on the croft, he said wid you like to buy oot at the first chance, so bought it an I wis there for aboot ten year maybe, or something like at, an I took a trouble at, well Bruccelosis, get it aff milk, en I wis knocked doon wi it, en eh, well, I took a while to get clear o that, so we decided the best thing we could dae wis see the fairm, it wis aboot, well at wis fan the Englishmen started coming up ti this area [laughs], and is mannie came a' the wey fae Sussex I think it wis, Mr Needge??? and he wis desperate gi get the farm, so I sold it.

[TM] Very good.

[HL] Aye, which jist eftir that, well mi wife wis a nurse at Maud Hospital, so we wint intaea hoose there, a hospital hoose ye see, so I worked wae Barratt for a while, drove a machine for Barratt, then I wint off work again, I wis aff work for aboot a year wae back trouble, then eh so I hid to look for a change of job as doctors advised ma ti come aff the tractor and at wis ma main job, I hid been aboot thirty-odd year on tractors, aye oh wis a big change.

So I wint doon ti the labour exchange and there wis two jobs ye hardly believe, there wis one as a forklift driver at Asco Base in Peterhead and the ither een wis Bond Helicopters at Longside, so I chose it [laughs]. I wis ere for aboot a fortnight or three weeks, daein cleanin and tidin up, ken tidyin up efter the engineers and workmen in ere, in eh I came hame ae night I said ti ma wife, ken is I'm fed up o that job already, I said nae my line, I'm gaen back ti look for another job, but there wis just neithing, aye there wis jobs like, but nae suitable for me like, I just stuck it oot, in the end I wis ere fifteen year until I retired, ken [laughs]. But I worked efter I wis retired actually, I retired fan I wis, got a present o that club…an then they asked me ti stay on, but I said well I'm nae staying on full-time, I'll stay on part-time, so I stayed on part-time, so athegither I wis fifteen years wi them [laughs].

[TM] Did you used to drive a pair of horse before the war?

[HL] Aye I worked the horses fan I left school. First fan I left school, then I took it in ma heid I wid like to work the horses, so worked the horses for a oh maybe 4 or 5 years or someing en then of course as I say wint ti army en at but fan I came back, well as I say wint to Old Maud Fairm en worked the horses there but then the tractors began ti come in see, fit I think wis the main thing taking in eh tractors at at time wis a this trouble wi the horses taking grass sickness, en folk wis losing an affa lot o aye good horses, ken, an aye suppose sombody bought a tractor. I mind the tractor we ever took most interest in wis a neighbour farmer en he got is tractor and he wis belting across the fields in it, aye and we thought this wis great, ken, instead o walking ahind a pair of horses, sitting on yer backside.

[TM] What sort of thing was the grass sickness, what happened to the horses with the grass sickness?

[HL] Well actually it wis an affa difficult thing ti explain. Some horses just seem ti die sudden en e next een wad linger on for a while and grew thin an, ken just skin an bone, en just like eh fit wad yae say, well I seen horses maybe hae, ken worms or fitever, then it jist looked a bit like at ye, ken, but somehow or ither the vet didnae seem to manage to get ti the bottom o it, I dinna, ken, some folk said oh theve been eeting frosted grass in at, but I dinna think at wis e trouble. I mind there was anether place a worked at, en ere wis two young horses took it ere, one o them wis lingering a lang time, in e either en she seemed ti take it sudden en is day she come belting across eh park in whether she wis blind or what, I dinna, ken, but she wint right through the gate and knocked eh gate in front o her, in eh they found her standing up in a corner inside eh steading, shiver fae top ti bottom, died like at. Weel, fairmers would pae a good bit for a horse at at time ye, ken, eh I aye mind eh a Mr Watson hid a fairm at Knaven en he hid breed horses, young mares and fouls en is year he hid a horse less than four year old, he had been maybe carted, I'm nae sure, but he'd been in the theach an athing since came in ti mart in Aberdeen--£120, it wis a fantasic price at at time.

[TM] That's a lot of money?

[HL] At wis unbelievable, ken but it wis a big, large beauty o a horse ye, ken.

[TM] Did you ever hear anyone talking about the horseman's word?

[HL] The horseman's word. Aye, 'the horseman's grip an word,' aye, I think ye see some would hae said he wouldnae hae a word for a horse, he said. Oh aye I've heard at aye [laughs].

[TM] Do you know anything about it at all?

[HL] Well nae really no, in the sangs you got ti get the horseman's grubbing word [laughs]. It just I think fit it is maybe fin ye cut, work horses for a start, maybe on a big fairm there wis always a horse, maybe 3 or 4 pair, nor a beast en the loon would hae worked wi the ora beast for a while maybe, en loon begins working at 14 year al at at time ye see, maybe come up and voice begins to break and ye get a, ken, maybe somethin ti dae wi at, I'm nae affa sure.

[TM] How much were you paid with your first fee'd?

[HL] Oh, well, aye, first Culter pays wis £4.15 in e wik. En I moved, I came hame well, hooses were nae modern at at time, you hid ti carry water even fae a pipe in eh dyke, en eh I shifted for 5 shillings o a rise. But eh before at well, I wis daeing days work, working at ma uncles place ye see, I wis getting ma board er ye see, but then I would have took on jobs maybe like in e harvest, or time o hoe, or busy time, but topped may aboot I dinna, ken if it wis even £2 the wik ye, ken, I canna mine.

[TM] Well did you feed when you first left the school?

[HL] Oh well but on mi grandfirther's fairm ye, ken, an at's a wee bittie different, ken fit I mean? Yer nae getting nae wages ere, ye see ye get board money. No at's nae a good thing at, no, ye miss oot a lot I think, I dinna, ken, I think at. But I think onibody its deing at, aye, leaving school an getting a job, better ti gin ti somebody else rather than your ane folk, I think ye learn mair, mair maybe de fit yer telt. I'm nae sure.

[TM] So were you ever at a feeing fair, the markets?

[HL] Oh aye, been ti e markets.

[TM] What were they like?

[HL] Well just fairmers gather loon maybe hid a man leaving, en lookin for somebody else ye, ken. Ye argy bargeed aboot a wage yi, ken, as I said, but aye grippy at time. Fin e changed ore an fin the fairmers union came in at made an affa difference to us, they hid to pay a certain wage, ken fit I mean, got to be a mininum wage, but at argy barging aboot a wage, ken and if ye didna take it ye found yoursale left oot. Ye were at their mercy mare or less ye, ken, the fairmers said they couldna afford it, but [laughs]. But eh I hid an uncle wis, he wis Culter, no he widna be Culter he wisna married, but he was at different fairmhoose, en fit wis coonted biggest fairm in e area at the time was Balfinichie o Methlic en the man at wis eyre at the time the fairmer was a Mr Brebmer en they wid hive hid probably 9 pair o horse, or somthin like a, a lot o horse, I sure they wid hive hid 8 or 9, but my uncle wis osler, the lad that wint wi the pony and track and took the fairmer here a eyre ye, ken.

07-08En there's nae doot you've heard em spicking aboot Jock Wilson, maybe the likes o Charlie Allen, I see him writin the papers, he sometimes mentions Jock Wilson, he was green. In es day mi uncle and Jock Wilson the green was sayin corn eye oats, wi the horse in e broadcaert, so they stoppid ye see an Jock he said, eye eres a whole chockit, so he pit in his finger to clear e hole en eh horse took a step forward en nipped a bit aff the point o his finger. So mi uncle he says, well yi'll hae ti gi hame and get at sorted. Nae, nae he says, he jist gaed it a dite on his breeks en he put a hunky round aboot his finger an he carried on. So later on in e afternaen fitever, fairmer came hame, came doon ti see who there getting on. He says fit hiv ye done ti yer finger Wilson. Ooh he says gave it a bit nip on the broadcaert. Bit mi uncle said na na, it's maer than a nip he says, there's a bit aff the point o it. Oh man he says go home and take him down ti doctor, ken, so he made him stop and mi uncle took im ti doctor, but the point wis away, point below e nail, it was aff.

But he wis a really hardy character. I mine e time er wis a lot o stories ye see, but is wis ane oniwi. They hid a great big thrashin mill, used ti go fae steam en em they were thrashin oniwi en somehow or either, there wid be a bundle o rape aff e rock hid landed in amon e sheaves en somehow or either hid got intaedrum, of course er wis nae room for at kind o thing in e drum, en it wound roon e drum and knocked aff the boards aff e top o the drum, in abody scattered oot e door (laugh) and somebody said ti Jock, e fit did he dae Jock. Aych he said I gid intaecalfhoose and grat. But he an affa. I mind in his brither Sandy Wilson, he wis a horse dealer, well he used ti come ti Aikey fair wi a string o horse. He lived in Strichen en he wis a brither or Jock's.

[TM] Did you used to go to Aikey?

[HL] Aye on aye, wi ey wint to Aikey, nae like fit it is noo, but er wis eye the Jim George en a amusements in at, ye, ken, er wis a lot o things.

[TM] Lot of horse on the go?

[HL] Aye o the time o the horses, well I dinna mine so much aboot, but I dive mine fin er wis aye good strings o horses like, but I dinna mind so much aboot em, well I wis younger it at time maybe, fitever, but aye used ti meet strings o horses in e road in thinks like at ye, ken. Ye wid hear several arguments amoung fairmers in at dealing ye, ken. But I dinna mine so much aboot at like, but Aikey fair e horses wis stopped like, ken, wis still a lot o folk gaed, but it must hive been Sunday, Aikey Sunday, I dinna think it wis at Saturday night carryon, but I'm nae sure, I dinna think so like.

[TM] Was there a lot of travelling people then about?

[HL] Aye, well folk wi stands en at ye, ken, oh aye quite a lot o em. Air gun in shooting en coconuts stand, then er wis is planes in stuff like at ye, ken. Aye there wis quite a lot o foreigners.

[TM] How about [Travellers], were there a lot of tinkers there as well?

[HL] Nae really I widni think like, bit I'll tell ye far I mind on eh tinkers comin, ti the ??, there wis tinkers used ti come ere eviry year like I suppose later on in e year, ken, maybe came en mostly jist hid a tent, nae a caravan, jist a tent ye, ken. In eh I hid another uncle he hid a croft close to Moss en he said they'd niver nae bother in all the time, they'd come up maybe asking fir a bit o sugar or drap o tea, maybe waater, fitever ti make tea, but he said oh I've niver hid nae bother but he said sometimes on a Saturday night ye were better ti bide awa fae it [laughs]. But er wis quite a lot o at, ye dinna see em doon here, in different places ye, ken, but niver wis nae problems wi them ye, ken. Some o em come roon in a caert selling pieces en ye'd buy maybe fool wool or somethin like at, ken, aye clippings aff a sheeps backside, aye nae much really bothered wi em at a, just hid there ane wiy.

Bit I mine er wis an all craeter o a woman came roon, she wis fitever her last name wid hiv been I couldna tell you, but she wis ey ca'd Kirsty. She came roon wi a pack on her back, she wint humfin roon a the fairms wi is pack, came intaehoose and laid it doon on e fleer and took stuff oot for fairmer's wife to buy somethin. Then she wid hiv gone awa oot, sat doon on a bump and lighted her pipe, she wore a pipe aye.

[TM] Was that Kirsty McGuire maybe?

[HL] I widni think it wid be McGuire, but mind you, probably would be, aye.

[TM] I've heard of someone named Kirsty and I think that was her last name.

[HL] Might have been, but mighty it's a lang lang time ago. I also mind on e fishwives comin roon ye, ken wi the creel en e fish, they'd come aff at e station at Auchagaat or Maud en walkid roon e countryside, but some of em occasionally made an arrangement wi a fairmer to pick em up wi his gig and take em ti his place and other farmhooses fae er, maybe jist hid there certain hooses ye, ken. The ene's I mind on best wis e Massies and they came fae Aberdeen, en Mrs Massie en her son, well he didnae come fin she came first bit he wis left e school, she did awa wi the creel of course, they owned two boats, hid a shop in Torry, aye a good big shop, fish en groceries as well ye, ken.

[TM] Long way to come from Aberdeen.

[HL] Aye but ye see she wid hiv wint on e train, came aff at Auchagaat Station. She must hiv hid a lot o customer ye, ken. Although ye kin hardly image carryin a yon great big.

[TM] They must have weighed well over a hundred pound some of the big ones.

[HL] I wid hiv said aye. Well she wid hiv come intaehoose and dumped e creel doon, cup o tea, she wis glaed ti get at aff her back for a while. But there wis anither thing, but I dinna mine on is like, but there wis folk who used ti live in a hoose at New Deer a younger generation maybe two generations down, I widni like to say, the auld woman she used ti walk fae New Deer ti Aberdeen, ti the Green, wi differen things eggs, butter, cheese aye. Awa early mornin, walked hame at night in e as I say the younger maybe two generations down there wis Chrisie en she wis in e hoose hersel, an auld thatched hoose, en she hid at great big cotton fleer, swallie en athin ye, ken, en the think fit probably happened she wis reading e paper and fell asleep and e paper hid caught fire en at wis e end o her hoose. I see noo fin ye pass er noo, ye, ken e road between New Deer and Methlic, well you come up e brae oot o New Deer en ere's a company van en ers two auld crofts en at e roadside er a big sort o hoose, at wis e plumber's hoose it's ca'd Canada Hoose, across e field fae there ye'll see 2/3 new bungalows, maybe ye'll notice fin ye come up at road noo.

[TM] And that's where it was?

[HL] Aye, aye.

[TM] Is that who they called Babbie Jeannie?

[HL] Aye, Babbie Jeannie, aye.

[TM] Sandy Richie was telling me.

[HL] Oh aye Sandy Richie wid, ken a' that. Did he nae tell yi aboot at yet Aberdeen. It's a wonder he's nae telt yi, aye.

[TM] I'll have to ask about that.

[HL] Well Sandy wis younger than me he'll widae mind on it nae maer, but he's bound ti heard fold speakin aboot it. Fitever she took her goods in, but the roate she wid take fae New Deer, she widni go ti Methlic, right up e brae ti Knaven, right over the Tooks Hill, right doon ti Ythanbank, I dinna caen if you've iver heard o it, oor Tamlinbrigg, it's a narra bridge, then go up onto the Methlic/Ellon Road, cross it and up past Lorn Hill is called the Craggy Brae, nae heard o it?

[TM] No.

[HL] Well at leads yi on ti Tarves in at's e nearest wae fae New Deer ti Aberdeen. At's e road e coach would hae gine fin er wis horses. Nae heard at fae Sandy, at's e route e horse would hae tin.

[TM] Can you go on it today?

[HL] Aye, oh aye. Aye Craggy Brae, as I say, ye go oor the Tamlinbrigg, ye come upto the Luckyhorn Road, back ti yer right ti Methlic, on ti e left Ythanbank Shop, there's a lot o hooses er noo ye see, didni used ti be at, en on ti Ellon, but ye straight across go on fir a bit alongside e woods, en yi go up is Craggy Brae and on e right hand side great high dykes, at's called the Deer Dykes ye, ken, on e Haddo House Estate, and ye go right oor at hill and ye come ti Rackstone Farm, Rackstone's jist on e junction, turn slightly right, immediately left, en at takes ye along e road in below Tarves is on e top o hill, en straight into Aberdeen at way, at's e way she wid hae went, still a lang walk. Apparently, it must be true, at widni be a made up story at.

[TM] When you were small what did you do for things like Hogmanay?

[HL] I suppose stayed in e hoose, hae a sing song maybe.

[TM] And a little later in the year do you remember a rhyme first comes Candlemas singing new mean?

[HL] Aye, first comes Candlemas, singing new mean, the first Sunday aftir at, I've forgotten.

[TM] First Thursday aftir at's fasternaen, I think it's the Tuesday after that isn't it. So Tuesday after that's fasternaen. Did you used to have a peace egg at Eastertime.

[HL] No, maybe fin we were at school en at, maybe used ti roll an egg [laughs], but I canna mind being involved much in at, must hae been, canna mine. But I aye hid a school picnic, buses, wint ti Stonehaven, MacDuff, Lorlair, place like at, Banff - school picnic fae Knaven. It wis a day ti look forward ti fin I wint ti school.

[TM] So it was a day out?

[HL] Aye, usually left, I think we left sometime aroon 11 o'clock or at, buses wid hae come up.

[TM] Were the parents along as well?

[HL] Oy aye there wis parents. Some little toots ye soon. When I first went it wis 2 teachers but I dinna caen how long, one teacher retired, en is een wis left Miss Davidson and she teached a that scholars hersael, mind you at wis fae comin ti 5 year all, until 12, then you wint ti New Deer ti higher grade school. At at time ye got a school bicycle, I didna hae a school bicycle, but it must hiv been aftir at it they started, yi got a bicycle ti go ti school.

[TM] So you were given a bicycle by the school?

[HL] Aye fae the council or somethin. But I didna get a bike, I hid ma ayne bike like. But it must hiv been aftir at it started. I dinna mine fan at started.

[TM] I've never heard that one.

[HL] You never came across Jimmy Crighton, he lives in Strichen?

[TM] No I haven't met him yet.

[HL] I wis et school wi him. Aye he's an interesting lad.

[TM] Is he the one who used to play in the brass?

[HL] Aye, in the band, aye. Teaches fiddle music a think now, but I canna mind I hid a funny feeling he played the cornet, but maybe I'm wrang, but he was a great lad, we used ti hae races.

[TM] Was he from Knaven as well?

[HL] No, he was New Deer, he was one o the plumbers, Crighton's the plumbers, he wis one o then ye see. I think he wid still hae a brither in New Deer, maybe he's dead, he hid a brither who lived in New Deer for a while en eh but Jimmy wis is stunt he wis gaen ti de is day on the bike. My bike was tied ti his en, he wis kind o pulling me, he turned aff ti gaen up the brae in ti New Deer, he turned aff far the chicken place is at and I wint straight on [laughs].

[TM] Did you both come off?

[HL] Aye, Jimmy wid mind about at, I'm sure he wid. See fin ye think back at at time yi used ti come down e brae oot o New Deer in see how far up the other brig yi could go withoot haing ti peddle. Right doon hill flat oot, if yi did at now noo you'd be killed, a car wid come doon.

Mind you I mind on an affa disaster there one Sunday night we were up in the village and we were a gathered at the end o the hotel and wis a wooden seat at the end o the hotel at time, we were a standing ere blethering away, suddenly there's a car comes doon the Cummingston Road intaeNew Deer, another car appears doon e brae and sombody cries 'look at is', afore we, kent 2 cars went bang. One hid come doon from Cummingston, it rolled right oor onti its roof er wis a headlight came flying intaethe corner and abody was as concerned, I think there wis 4 people in it, wis so concerned aboot the folk in is car they forget aboot the other lad. The hotel used to stack ale boxes ootside far it used ti be stables ere, this little car, an Austin 7 type o car, he wis jist right amoun is boxes a aroon him, he wis lying in e back seat, ken abody forgot aboot him. Well we said we'll get the doctor, well Dr Crombie lived in Strathie Hoose, at's far e vets are now in New Deer, an I wint fleeing up e road ti shout on e doctor. Folk were hurted, but didna need hospital treatment I dinna think, they were sitting on a seat at e end o hotel, dazed en at, it wis treatment. There wis nae halt sign, I think it wis after at they pit up e halt sign, but as I say fin we wist school we used ti come doon at brae, rally racing each other ye, ken.

[TM] Do you remember Dingwall Fordyce?

[HL] Aye, on aye the Laird, at's right aye. He wis a lad noo. He used ti come roond ti school at dinnertime, he hid a Rolls Royce, en he wid say wint ti go a run in my car. Oh awa we wid go and sometimes took us a good bit rood about the estate maybe, en maybe needing a oor ti get back or we wid land in trouble. He jist said I'll jist tell em at I caused ye ti be late. No bit we thought a lot o him. En I'll tell ye fa wis an affa cronnie o mine, George Catto, and he used ti make up little bits o poetry and the laird used ti ca him poet.

[TM] Do you remember any bits of poetry?

[HL] Aye, George Catto. In fact he wis a clever lad, en he wint in for chemisty ye see an e fin he wint through a his leaning fitever for being a chemist, he wis in e shop in New Deer for a while, but where he is now I've no idea. I think probably lived in Ellon for a while I wis telt, but I jist couldnae say, just lost touch. Yet we used ti go back en for ti each other on a Saturday. I'd be doon at George Catto's one Saturday and e next he'd come up.

[TM] Where was it he stayed?

[HL] He stayed at bit Acready Croft, there wis Catto's Croft, Bruces - he wis anither cronnie of mine Davie Bruce wis in e same class as me, infact I jist sa his death in e paper fin I wis in e hospital. Well eh further up there wis a another croft, er wis Crightons in it, now they were connected wi e plumbers as well. The at same road tikes yi right onti e auld stracht, en it comes oot right at Mitchell Hill Farm, at's where Alnold Broon, you'll know him, caen him. At road goes right through and takes yi oot there, the last hoose er is Mitchell Hill, Culter Hoose. I think er wis Stuarts et wis in at fairm at at time, but I'm nae jist right sure.

[TM] Do you remember any of the verses that George Catto made?

[HL] No, nae really no, I couldna. Mind you George could still be alive, I mean he wis the same age is me like ye, ken but I think he could well be awa fae Ellon maybe, but he lived in Ellon for a while. See I think I dinna, ken, he wid hae went intaechemist shop in New Deer, but there wis a lad in er fae made up e song - McGinty's it wis duncing. Well then after him er wis a Mr Balfour came I think and I think maybe George Catto came after at. I'm nae jist clear on at. Sandy Richie wid know at kind o thing.

[TM] Were there many people around who made songs or tunes?

[HL] Made up songs like. Nae really only lad I know did at bits o poetry en at wis Norman Grieve, but he's dead now, but at's Maud, he wis blind, he wis auld he wid have been an interesting bloke for you now. Oh aye a right laugh he wis., ken e mannie next door ti Sandy Ritchie, Mr Mutch, auld Willie Mutch, I wis up seeing him last night in we wis spiking aboot Norman, but he didnae know he wis dead, and I said he's been dead for 4/5 year now I think. Aye he wis a lad that made up stories and poetry. In fact e folk at lookid aftir him, after he started going blind, is folk took him ore, he wis brought up wi his grandparents and then he wid hae been free to roam ye see different places doon as far as Laurencekirk. Onywi fin he started going blind is folk took him en gave him a home, but he worked on e fairm at at time, but he wis a fantastic lad he hid been blin for aboot 15 year I would say en he'd put up and repaired fencing he could build up bells in a field, puttin up a fence is the maest marvellous thing I could niver fathom how he manged es. But es day I wint up to see em en I took him aroond a bit ti different things, fiddle halls, stuff like at, es day I gid up to see him en e lady in e hoose I said far's Norman, oh she said he's doon ere sorting a fence, so away doon I goes ye see en I'm wonderin hoo he manages is blind ye, ken, well but ye, ken is he hid been puttin in a new post en hid the auld en oot, took oot e staples en put auld post oot, bore a hole, pit in a new post, fit wae he managed es I'll niver, ken, but he put his hand on top e post and he laid on e nail en he jist started ti hammer e post in. I said ye try daing et wi yer eyes shut ye, ken, it's unbelieveable.
He looked aftir e greenhoose, tomatoes, he looke aftir a e garden, ken. He hid a rule specially made I for a blind person, he used it en a stick a board he used. It wis unbelieveable, could hardly believe it.

[TM] Where there many people who sang?

[HL] Well a few, a lad Allan Taylor, I would image he's still alive yet. He wis a great lad for bothy sangs, ken e country schools he wid hae held a concert every winter, used to live in ???, he wis a right lad to stand up en sing, he'd an affa gruff broad voice, he wis really good.

[TM] Where was he from?

[HL] Well I think he belonged maybe Lonmay area, I'm nae very sure, but the last I heard o him he wis at Woodlands Poultry Farm at Newmachar, but he'll be retired now ye see, but there wis a lad in New Deer, Sam Hay, he worked er wi him en he wid cane faer he wid be. He wis aye in demand. Er wis another lad he wis at Netherview Hoose I think, he wis a lad to whistle, Jock, but he's dead noo Jock,
he jist jumped onti platform, nae microphone or nithin, en whistled and e way he whistled, like dummy whistling, he wis really good.

[TM] Is that two different notes at once?

[HL] Aye, ye, ken jist whistle. It wis loud, nae microphones. He used ti hud dances like in e joiner at Nethermuir he used ti hud a dance once a year in his shed in places like at, good entertainment. At Nethermuir shop was interesting place at wis a gatherin for fairm servants at night. A Mr Gerrard wis e shoemaker, he wid be sitting mending shoes 10 o'clock at night didna matter who late it wis as lang as ere wis plenty o fairm servants in buying bottles o ale and yon keg stuff like at. One lad he'd buy yon great big saltana cakes, big square things, he bought as muckle saltana cake he wis called saltana Jim [laughs].


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