The Banff and Buchan Collection

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Tape 1994.005 transcription

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[MT] …took it hame tae Buchan. wis that fit it wis and I sang it affa well, The Rowan Tree and The Brier Bush, but I hidna hid ma pneumonia at that time, ye see.

[TM] Uh huh.

[MT] As I say, I dinna ken whit yer wantin.

[TM] Well could I start jist asking you a bittie about em?

[MT] Mormon Braes I could sing it cause I lookit oot ma back windae, the farm kitchen windae ye lookit richt oot tae Mormon.

[TM] Uh huh, yes.

[MT] I used tae sing this.

[TM] Aye you were born at Mid Culsh, is that right?

[MT] Aye, uh huh, I Maun Gang tae the Garret; I did that on the Bothy Nights.

For I maun gang tae the garret,
The garret (somebody shouted ower 'the garret'), aye the garret.
My mither his three butter platies.

[TM] Platies?

[MT] Platies, aye platies. Well I dinna ken whit I'm gan tae dae where I wis born aye well is't on?

[TM] Yep.

[MT] Well I wis born on the farm o Mid Culsh, jist close by the village of New Deer, an ma parents, ma father wis there before him his father and his grandfather an his father wis also factor at the Brucklay Estates and the Laird o Brucklay when we were kids wis very good tae us. [He] took a great interest in me, a great interest in my music too. An in fact I learned tae drive in his car, he wis very good, the Laird o Brucklay.

[TM] In the Laird's car

[MT] Yes in the Laird's car, in a Rolls Royce it was, aye. And well…we used tae go down there on a Sunday and walk down I remember…the Laird burst oot amon the bushes. We got the terriblest fright, then ye walked up towards the castle and he wis lookin oot o whit ye called the smoke room and ye went in and there wis whole walls o glass and we used to bend laughing seeing wirsels in the glass. And oot o the blue fae the side, the Laird wid appear and we gaed in. We got tae play billiards with him and he showed us pictures and things like at;.he wis really very good to us and then when my brothers and that were so musical they were allowed tae play, he used tae buy a lot o instruments at Christmas time. My brother John, he got a set o bagpipes and he played em. He got the mandolin cause he could play them ma brother Dod got bagpipes and he could play the fiddle too, and of course he went in for voice training. At brither John that I wis speaking aboot, he wis a headmaster and he really he wis very good tae them. They learnt all that different types o music jist because they could play of course so that's

[TM] So did you see much of the house?

[MT] The castle?

[TM] The Laird's castle.

[MT] Oh yes we used tae be shown all through it, yes.

[TM] What wis it like?

[MT] Beautiful, done up everywhere and we got right up to the top and round the turret, took us up there, there wisna a lift or anything we jist walked up, his sister would have been there at times, she aye disappeared fae one room tae the ither. And…they didnae like him doing that. But he wis very good tae us as children, but of course after ye came aboot sixteen or there aboot he didna bother with ye jist because folk wid hae spoken.

[TM] Did you ever hear a story about him taking the Rolls Royce with a glass of champagne on the hood, on the bonnet?

[MT] No at's nae true. There wis a lot o stories made out aboot him, but that was not true. A lot o things wis said aboot and there wis an affa lot o jealousies. We were nae liked by a lot o the children because he wis held such a time wi us. He used tae say tae me he liked me because I wis cheeky, but nae impudent [laughs] and the boys he took aboot too and learned them tae drive. But he wis a great benefactor in the area. Prize-giving days and everything he wis good there. Well I better get on tae

[TM] What was his name?

[MT]. Alexander Dingwall Fordyce.

[TM] Yes.

[MT] Aye and of course the roof come off after the war, noo a days it widna hiv tae be taken off, ye see, because their not rated now when there's nobody living in them.

[TM] Right. Back to your family for a minute, what was your father's name?

[MT] Fowlie, Alexander Fowlie…. An he wis the only one in the family at married cause he'd two sisters teachers and none o them married. An his ither brither at wis the farmer, he went away tae Australia and he jist come home aboot 1930, back home, but he didna seem tae live long.

[TM] But he came back to the farm.

[MT] Came back tae mid Culsh, yes aye, he niver ??. Jist ma father, he made up for them all he'd eight o a family [laughs].

[TM] An what, what about your mothers side of the family where were they from?

[MT] Eh Auchmeigle on the Cuminestown Road: there's Mains o Auchmeigle, Brownhill o Auchmiegle she come from, at's where Flora Garry came from Auchmeigle, Mains o Auchmeigle an ma mother wis on a neighbouring farm an Burr wis her name. Burr aye.

[TM] Had her family been there for a while?

[MT] Yes oh aye quite a while, an eh?

[TM] So there were eight of you?

[MT] Eight of us, aye, an I'm the last one left…. Sad everybody jist o ma own age tae talk to and I've been a widow for twenty-one years too.

[TM] What did you do for things like Hogmanay when you were young?

[MT] Oh well, Hogmanay we children werena let be about much as children. Hogmanay wis fur the grown ups, but we used to shout een anither beef brose. No sorry, it wis whit wis wir Hogmanay things at we shouted again: Rise up an gie's wir Hogmanay.

[TM] Is that 'Rise up old wife and shak yer feathers'?

Rise up good wife and shak yer feathers,
Dinna think that we are beggars,
We are something home tae stay,

[TM] Bairnies come tae play?

[MT] Get up an gie's wir Hogmanay an they'd aye something there wis cheese, oatcakes an a piece o clootie dumpling wis aye the thing. An then my brithers widhae played bagpipes up an doon the village an ye'd ha seen folk oot on Hogmanay drunk that ye'd niver hae seen in a pub the whole year round. It wis jist they seemed tae think it wis their duty to go oot, aye.

[TM] Once a year…. So would they go house to house

[MT] House tae house an a' the doors were open at night, nothing like nowadays, ye see. Ye couldna go aboot leaving doors open, but round the farms too they went, oh yes, an of course, at Christmas ye filled yer stocking. It wis the same thing in it every time a little bag of sweeties, an apple, an a orange and a string o beads. I hivna likit beads since.

[TM] Was was Christmas much celebrated?

[MT] Not, no jist a religious occasion, Christmas wis, oh no nithing like noo. Oh no there wis nithin like at at all. We'd church, we'd tae go to an no, no, Christmas wis strictly Christmas, religious. But Hogmanay everybody went to town.

[TM] Would you have a stocking on Hogmanay?

[MT] Yes, some folk kept it till Hogmanay night, but we always put it up the night before Christmas and then we got a shout early in the morning. We come doon in oor night-dress it wis cold (there wis no central heating then) an we wis this excited ye eagerly opened it. [It] wis great, but we really thought Santa gave us it, ye see, really did. Oh aye it wis great fun at, but no we niver got nae gifts on Hogmanay, but there wis families did but not us jist Christmas.

[TM] Did you hear of anybody celebrating the old new year on the sixth?

[MT] Eh, some folk did certainly, that's Aul Eel, aye, yes there wis some folk did because in fact my uncle, ma mother's brither, he always held Aul Eel an I thought twas queer, ye know.

[TM] Did he do anything special?

[MT] No, no, at wis when their gifts were given, at Aul Eel; it wis aboot the sixth o January, wis it, or something like at. Of course the Buchan Association still hold Aul Eel, their Aul Eel dance and Aul Eel dinner.

[TM] What about em getting up to tricks on Hogmanay, did you hear about stealing a gate or getting up to tricks on Hogmanay?

[MT] Oh they, whit the tricks wis at Aul Eel, if ye Wisna liked in the district, yer cattle wid be let oot o the byre, I think it wis Aul Eel, wisn't it at wis held. No, Halloween, sorry Halloween cattle: the doors were opened and cattle were let loose oot through tae the byre and the horse wis let oot o the stable an a lot o nasty things done like at. An o course some folk wid ha gone, if there wis a lass at some farm, they wid ha hung a dead rat on the door and, when the folk come tae see whit it wis, ran away, ye see, but then they'd come back and if the girl ??? tied a little brooch in a matchbox, and things like at, an the girls would come oot and they were asked to come in and then they got a feed: cheese and oatcakes and athing. That's whit happened, but Aul Eel wis funny then, not now, but if ye wisna likit they're wis fairly cattle let oot o the byre.

[TM] I heard about somebody putting a plough on top of a house.

[MT] Ah well, things like at, they did dae things like at that's right aye.

[TM] Or a piece of turf on the chimney.

[MT] Turf on the chimney, I forgot tae tell ye at, turf on the chimney an they wid hiv sitting at the fire (cause the serving class, ma mither an them hid always tae knit, niver stopped knitting, knitting at the fireside) an this reek come spewing doon the lum, ye see, an they wunnert whit on earth it wis, an of course they ran outside an here wis this lad running away tee. Aye that wis right, I forgot aboot at.

[TM] What sort of a house was it?

[MT] Farmhouse, ye see, it was jist at farms it wis mostly done, aye, oh jist a kitchen wi an open fire, a big open fire, ye see.

[TM] Did you have a hinging lum?

[MT] No, we hidna a hinging lum, jist the ordinary lum, ye see, which gaed straight doon intae the big fireplace where they hid the peats an athing like at.

[TM] Did you help with the peat cutting?

[MT] Oh we used tae get taken tae the cutting. At that time they employed men that jist did that, cut the peats, but then the workers on the farm went wi their horse…. I canna min, it wis near Pitsligo, the moss, the peat moss and they made up little rickles o peats tae dry. And then a while after they'd ha gone back an brought carts cause we used tae get a lift in the carts and there wis a little shop wi hid ale, an bought ale…. An then there wis a big peat stack built at the farm. An that wis a knack; it hid tae be done properly. An I aye min my father would hae shouted, now fill, keep the fill up the middle, cause if ye didna fill up the middle it wid hae fell in at the sides, ye see.

[TM] Whole thing collapsed.

[MT] Yes an at peat, when he opened up the peats they were as dry in the centre jist the way at the stack wis built. Oh aye min on that right enough.

[TM] How big would the stack be?

[MT] Oh it wis huge, well there wis jist the one whole stack to do the whole winter. Wisna a lot o little ones or anything like that a big stack did the whole winter.

[TM] Must have been some size.

[MT] Oh aye it was, God aye, an then of course ye'd aye some sticks aboot a farm like some trees would have blown down and then of course they were busy in the spring time, wi the clocking hens and everything, they wis nae incubators in those days, the clucking hens they gaed aboot sae proudly wi their chickens. I used tae like tae see that. Ye niver see that noo, nooadays.

[TM] How would they keep the eggs warm? Would they bring them inside?

[MT] No they sat on them, they wis hen hooses, ye see, wi straw and they went in there and sat on em three weeks. They sat, then the little chickens would hiv come oot, ye see. She ran richt proudly wi them, aye, oh God aye.

[TM] So was your father a mixed farmer?

[MT] Mixed farmer, yes aye, an of course farming wis terrible in that days. I min one spring he niver got his crop in at all; it wis down and it couldnae be got up, ye see.

[TM] ???

[MT] When the wheat wis rotted an, God, I think I see he's face yet, twas terrible, but of course the farmers in those days, they don't do it now, made a mistake…. A' his crops were growing and any farmer visiting, he jist come roon an see ma craps…and the corn wis awa up like at and they thought at wis great. They jist grow little crops like at now, ye see, they thought the bigger the crop, the better the farmer. It wisna; it went down in the wet and niver came up, but now, ye see, if you look at a farm, ye jist see a crop that high; it niver goes down. Course there's different ways of taking in the combine and everything. But there's a lot o farmers lost their crops in those days.

[TM] Jist cause they would go down easy.

[MT] Yes aye oh aye, my father thought he'd a get a crop showing this farmer, look I'll stan in, he wis a tall man it wis away above him.

[TM] And did he have any hired workers?

[MT] Oh yes he'd aye four men hired, oh aye and I'd a brither too, ye see.

[TM] So your brother worked for him?

[MT] Aye,…there wis aye a young lad on the farm, the orra loon, he'd tae dee anything an he wis affa bad used.…I min o seeing the boy coming home walking all the way fae farms sobbing. Jist cause he's away fae he's home, terrible jist.

[TM] And did he stay in the chaamer?

[MT] Aye and he wis affa bad used sometimes to jist do a' the orra jobs on earth. Oh no twisna right, ye know.

[TM] So where did the lad at your fathers farm [stay]?

[MT] In the chaamer, ye see…. Now they spik aboot the bothies; there wis niver bothies in the North East; it wis the chaamer.

[TM] That's right.

[MT] Aye wi yer box beds and chaff mattresses sometimes wi a mouse in't [laughs]. The moose…got ower warm an we aye hid chaff beds and…the night they were changed, the chaff, we used tae jump in ower the bed away tae the top [laughs]; it wis great fun whiles falling off.

[TM] Cause the mattress used to be big and fat?

[MT] Yes, ye see cause they fill't it up and it gradually come down, ye see, but tae start wi when it wis filled it wis great. It wis great fun tae us wrestling aboot in't [laughs].

[TM] So what sort of food did the bothy lads or the chaamer lads get?

[MT] Oh well, oh well, they got the same as us in the house, aye porridge in a morning, or brose… He'd hae gotten a big bowl like is. The milk wis set oot the night before so's there'd be cream on it, ye see, and because if ye didna gie them creamy milk they said at's surely milk fae the blue coo [laughs]. An they, they'd hae taken in their meal…the brose cup and salt and pepper and boiling water, stir it up…. The fee'd loon wisna affa keen on the brose an ye see wi hid tae go roon, spoon here, the next een a spoon, and the next een at the top a spoon, and the loon wisna keeping doon [the brose]. Keep doon yer side loon. He wisna pleased; he didna like the brose and then he kept doon an he got a smack ower the back o the hand fae the foreman.

[TM] So it wis the one big bowl.

[MT] [A big] bowl and…the foreman the first spoon. Oh they watched; they were very good that way: the first, the second man, the next een the third, the next een, an then the loon and he wis in sic ???. He missed a turn an he got smack on the back o the hand [laughs]. Oh dear…. An they come in, the fee'd lads, the foreman first, the second, the third an jist in line. They wir proud at way, went out the same way, in order o rank [laughs].

[TM] What about the other meals?

[MT] Oh well, eh, aye brose or porridge in the morning an a couple a slice o loaf. There wis aye oatcakes, of course, well at dinner time. Well Sunday wis broth, a great big pot o broth, an boiling beef, carrots and turnip in't an pudding, maistly aye milk pudding, semolina or tapioca or something like at an a drink o milk and oatcakes, maybe cheese on't, plenty cheese cause they made it on the farm. And on the Monday, well, there wis some beef left usually it wis second days broth it wis ??? broth.

[TM] ??? broth mhm mhm.

[MT] An second days, broth an pudding got at and then, if there wis ony meat left, it wis stovies the next day, an pudding. There wis aye plenty milk pudding and then there wis jist cheese, something again, ye see,…or maybe mince one day but twice meat in a week they got.

[TM] Would they be growing there own kale an things?

[MT] Oh aye the farm wid hae vegetables, oh aye. The broth wis made wi home made vegetables an fine broth it wis too, God aye, an we used tae mak beef brose (meal in a little bowl and pepper and salt and the boiling broth bree), michty whit tasty at wis, oh God, affa tasty. I think I'll hae tae mak it some day.

[TM] You make it just the way, just like brose?

[MT] Jist the very same but

[TM] Broth.

[MT] Wi broth, bree o the broth and affa tasty at.

[TM] Did you ever have meal an ale?

[MT] We used tae get that afore. Oh aye we aye got meal and ale. Beef brose afore we gaed awa tae the Sunday school; I used tae ask for it fae may mither, likit that, cause ye wis in at the Sunday school and I became a Sunday school teacher efter at and ye got oot…. Used tae [ging] intae the kirk and it wis an hour and a half o a service, so it wis a lang time without anything tae eat, ye see. Oh aye there wis meal and ale every year and it wis held in the barn an afore it wis held the cement flair wis I scrubbed and brushed clean and ??? taen in and ma mother made the meal and ale.

[TM] How did she do that?

[MT] Well I made it on Grampian television…. Well ye put yer meal in black treacle and stout, ye mixed that an ye left it a night. The night o the meal and ale ye took mair porter ale an then a nip, a little glass o whisky, afore it wis served, o it wis fine, tasty, aye. And then my mother made, what wis't that she made again now, porter ale, she made porter ale. She made porter ale wi hops or something like that, she made at. Oh it wis a great nicht, and somebody would hae played the fiddle, there wis a row aboot the finish [laughs]. Some o the lads hid gaen up tae the village and got sae much drink there ye see.

[TM] Something a bit stronger eh?

[MT] Aye that's right.

[TM] So would there be dancing.

[MT] Oh ye wis dancing aye an neighbouring folk in about to ye see, an then they did the same an invited back an, oh aye.

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

[MT] Oh Hielan Schottische and Eightsome Reel, athing like at, oh aye, or jist dancing aboot jist kicking yer feet.

[TM] Do you remember what sort of dances the older folk did, was it more old fashioned?

[MT] Waltzes, old fashioned waltzes and two steps and things like at that wis whit they would hae danced ye see, nae twisting aboot like whit the dae theday [laughs]. I min twas when the school, I wis a Sunday school teacher, and the minister said to me, now get the children tae get up some entertainment for Christmas. Oh well, I said, I'll hae tae see whit they can do then. So I got some o them jist tae bring songs an learn them an tae sing so ae night we wis gaen over em and the minister came in jist tae start wi and he asked several ???. He said, hello James, a little boy, what are you doing. I'm singing. Oh ye're singing, are ye? Tell me the name o yer song. Aye but I've got twa sangs. Oh tell me the name of them, Jesus Loves Me an I'm Fu the Noo [laughs] and the minister gaed awa…. It wis the time that Harry Lauder song come oot and his folk at hame hid an aul fashioned gramophone an heard it, but it wis the contrast [laughs] Jesus Loves Me and I'm Fu the Noo….

[TM] So do remember hearing the lads who were fee'd there singing at all? Were they

[MT] Aye they used to sing in the kitchen, aye an they'd aye their melodeon, an invited ither lads in aboot an then in a summer evening they'd hae gone away wi their bikes an their melodeons tied on tae the back, visiting a ferm. Then some o the lads wid hae visited back. Or they'd hae sat and played oot in the close in the open evenings, ye see, an they were aye busy before they went tae the peat moss…. They set up big tables [with] the harness on o there, polished them wi black an things like at and cleared the back chains. They put ashes in o a bag, knocked them back and fore like at and that cleared em, and that's whit they no ???. But a cup o tea they got at night and some o the lads were ???. Fiddle an the mouth organ, there wis aye music always an ony kin o work. Maybe some o them tae help wi plooin, ye see, an hoeing. There wis a cup o tea in the kitchen at nicht, well it aye gaed intae music, ye see, so…they'd a good time. But hard work, but they jist didna know anything else. It's jist looking back that it's hard work, ye see. But everything wis fun and music wis in my home onyway.

[TM] Did they play marches and jigs an

[MT] Nae sae much marches or jigs, jig-a-jig [laughs]. Ye think I'm a aul feel, no, but I pick up the funny side o a thing; I see a thing funny….

[TM] Well what sort of tunes would they play then?

[MT] [laughs]

[TM] Just a stramash.

[MT] [laughs] Now but I'll never forget that little loon saying tae the minister Jesus Loves Me and I'm Fu the Noo [laughs].

[TM] Mhm. Mhm.

[MT] Let me see now if there's ony thing else.

[TM] Do you mind on the some of the songs that they used to sing?

[MT] Well it wis jist a' the sangs that there is in the books theday, ye ken?

[TM] Cornkisters?

[MT] Cornkisters aye twas a' that.

[TM] Did any of them ever make up songs? [End of Side A.]

[MT] At wis their music and every bloomin song wis practically the same, ye ken?

[TM] I'm sure.

[MT] Aye.

[TM] Yes it fell about the Martinmas time.

[MT] [sings] Oh it fell about the Martinmas da dee da da. I'll need tae see whit I could sing tae ye then.

[TM] Do you know,…did you do anything for things like Candelmas or, em, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday?

[MT] Aye well, it wis mair a religious thing at that time; the church wis open, ye'd tae go tae the church. My folk were Free Kirk at that time, an ye'd tae go tae the kirk. Now Shrove Tuesday, that's when ye gaed hame shouting something Sauty Bannocks let's hame tae fill wir stomachs. That wis Shrove; I have it a written out someway or anither.

[TM] There also the rhyme, First comes Candelmas

[MT] ??? new meen, and next Tuesday efter at at's Fastern's Even. That meen oot and the next meen in, the next Tuesday efter that's aye Pace richt, or something.

[TM] Something like that, yes….

[MT] Then there wis The Weary Farmers broken ???
They promised me best pair that ever I clapped een upon,
When I went hame tae the barnyards, there wis nithing there but skin and bone.

And some farmers gie the foreman the best horses, best tools and higher wages. Then the ither servants, in return for treatment, the farmer expected him tae carry on the work and get as much oot of the servants as possible:

And aye he told the farming chiel tae keep the steady grind,
And dinna let the orra lads tae aye go back behind,
Fur I pay ye all a good wage and wish ye tae get on,
And when ye are not able there's anither when ye're done.

Oh aye.

[TM] What's that one; I haven't heard that one.

[MT] Aye well that's the jist bits that I've taen oot o a book,…ye see, when I wis demonstrating writing. Spikking tae them, ye ken,…

The brose wis thin, the broth [wis] like bree,
I chased the barley roon the plate and a' I got wis three.

Ye see it wis showing and then there wis plenty greedy farmers and some farmers horses and it wis better…. I dinna ken whit I've deen wi a' that talks. There wis a big washings in those days ye soaked--ye winna want tae know aboot that though.

[TM] Yes.

[MT] Eh the clothes wis gathered.

[TM] Sauty bannocks; did you do anything? Did you actually make sauty bannocks?

[MT] Oh yes ma mother did, aye, at an great big pancakes. Sometimes, ye see, ye filled them wi different kinds o stuff but nae the farmers; in that days they didna dae that. They maybe do it now, but,

Beef brose, sauty bannocks, let's hame tae fill wir stomachs.

Well beef brose wis jist brose made the very same wey, but at bree fae the beef boiling very same as a wis telling ye yon time, ye see….

[TM] And what about the sauty bannocks; how do you make those?

[MT] Oh well they wir jist sauty bannocks, an mair salt an nae sugar in em, ye see, an great big; at's whit they were, on the big girdle. Will I sing I sang then or whit are ye winting, more knowledge?

[TM] Em will a bit more about how you, when did you first start singing yourself?

[MT] Well five year old I was at the church at New Deer on the platform there, an then aboot seven year old I wis singing on the platform, ma brither wis sitting doon in front an he made faces an a started tae greet an [laughs] I hid come doon off the platform. And then, ye see, aboot fourteen I sang a lot when I went tae Peterhead Academy I hid tae sing a lot there. An then I started going in for voice training tae Nellie Dobbs in Aberdeen, 7 Bon Accord Crescent, I aye min that yet. I look doon that crescent and say aboot seventy year ago there I wis ???. An so there wis a lot laid on ma training, cause there wis nae mony farmers daughters got that, but then a did have the voice and then the Laird of Brucklay took an interest in me too and he got me tae sing at different things and course after I married I sang a lot. I sang away up in Inverness in the islands, yonder at Inverness and Nairn I sung in the open, doon near the beach there. And Elgin, I sung there, Town Hall in Elgin. Speyside, cause we lived in Speyside fur a while all over there an in fact I've sung away near nae a' place. I've a note o them some where, an then Dundee, Arbroath, Auchmithie.

[TM] How did you get involved with Grampian [TV].

[MT] Well…somebody said you should ask Mrs Thow. It wis in Mill Inn at that time that wis when I hid the Mill Inn at Maryculter for twenty two and half years, a hotel, ye see, an somebody gied them ma name and they come oot and asked, ma son Sandy wis a loon, a young lad. I pit him fur training, but o he didna. At half past at six, efter the news at half past six, used tae be a half hour on Grampian and some o that young lads would hae played sometimes; he played the guitar and sang ???. Then somebody hid suggested, ye see, it wis haeing kinna Scotch concerts, like bothy nights and somebody said, ye get in touch wi Mrs Thow. So oot they came, a contingent o them, tae the Mill Inn an so we started there and I won the medal, and an then I wis made a judge fur a while I wis

[TM] So there were competitions at first?

[MT] Yes competitions whaur I wis…talent scout fur Grampian fur quite awhile.

[TM] Uh huh, very good…. Who did you discover?

[MT] Oh well there's one or two girls but it's a funny thing…. I took the pneumonia and then I couldn't go out again at night. Alex Sutherland, ye've heard o him, the accordion player he wis in Grampian. He's a band noo; he wis an affa jealous lad I brought one or two accordionists and he did the accessing o them, ye see?…

[TM] No.

[MT] An so, oh yes, there wis a girl an she went away tae Australia and did very well. I min her coming home an seeing me at the Mill Inn an said twis the start she got wi me…. At the bothy nichts we gaed all over wi them efter the one where we won the brose cup all over.

[TM] Who were some of the other singers on the

[MT] Oh there wis a lot o my singers that I had. Oh they were a' farm folk roon about the Mill Inn. There wis Jenny Garioch, she played the fiddle; she wis the maid supposed tae be, ye see, and then wis that Harry Nicol, that his the two motels in Aberdeen; he wis in an he wis a farmer at that time, but he's a hotel noo. And there wis a George Abernethy, a farmer fae up fae the mill in aboot Abernethy. he's dead. There wis a few different farmers at did different things I jist picked cause they'd helped me wi concerts, ye see, and we hid great fun practising some ???

[TM] An these were non trained?

[MT] Oh aye a wis the only trained een, but I didna show the training, ye see, I tried nae till. An ye jist hid tae be as ye wis at the farm, ye see. And there wis recitations and duets, a' cornkister types…. We did one or two duets and then I did The Bonny Briar Bush and Dae Ye Min o Lang, Lang Syne? and they a' said aye and I felt like, shut yer moo ye're makin ower much noise.
He's an affa fine singer, that chap, oh I'm gaen into something else.

[TM] Oh the one ye're in the concert party with now?

[MT] Aye, a very fine singer an ??? play wi him….

[TM] So how often do you go out and about singing these days?

[MT] Oh well it's all winter, it's every week we're out. I niver took any big open concerts, mostly pensioners clubs,…maybe old folks homes and things like at fur entertaining em. It's mostly now Nazareth House we went there an Cliff House up here.

[TM] Did you used to go around a lot of the Strathspey and Reels and Accordion [Clubs].

[MT] Oh yes, I wis guest singer wi the Aberdeen Strathspey and Reel for sixteen years and the same wi Banchory and I min I got a present o a lovely brooch fur a tartan, when I gave it up like.

[TM] When did you first sing with the Strathspey, with the Fetterangus Strathspey and Reel?

[MT] Oh a didna sing wi the Fetterangus.

[TM] Oh did you not?

[MT] No I sang oot there.

[TM] Well, out there.

[MT] Oh yes, oh I sang, oh well it's a while ago. It'd been aboot the time…when they started, I think. But of course that's nae my type o music,…twas like a Lochnagar or something like at,…Rowan Tree. Are ye needing ony mair?

[TM] No that's about it.

[MT] Oh well, I hope ye'll write something nice. Ye want ma tae sing, no?

[TM] Yes that would be lovely.

[MT] But ye canna hear a song in a book.

[TM] No, no, no, ye can't.

[MT] No, well I needna waste my time en.

[TM] No no.

[MT] Is't jist fur a write up?

[TM] No, I might use some for a write up, but I don't really know yet, you see?

[MT] Oh aye.

[MT] I'll jist see. Am I near enough?

[TM] Yes, it helps to be able to see.

[MT] Och I'll start an laugh that's whit I'll do [laughs]. Oh it's nae use.

[TM] [laughs] Well you just start again.

[MT] Honestly no it ??? Now [laughs], that's whit a do when my son comes doon he'll say, Now mam sing is tae me noo.

Dae ye min on lang, lang syne,
When the simmer days were fine,
And the sun shone brighter far,
Since it's ever deen since syne.

Dae ye min the ???

[MT] Oh no, ye see, hear ma chest there. Wait a minute tae I tak ma cougher.

[TM] What year were you born?

[MT] Niver min[laughs].

[TM] [laughs]

[MT] [coughs] ye see I'm [coughs]

[TM] Yes a bit of a host.

[MT] I kent this morning, ye see, that I wis nae good fur singing…. It's affa o me tae be like is feel sic a goose, ye know.

Dae ye min on lang, lang syne,
When the simmer days were fine,
And sun shone bright far,
Then it's ever deen since syne.

Di ye min the ???,
Whaur we guddled in the burn,
And wir late for the skweel in the morning.

Dae ye min the sunny braes,
Whaur we gathered hips and sloes,
And fell among the bramble bushes,
Teering all oor claes
And fur fear we wid be seen,
We gaed slipping hame at een
An were lickit for wir pains in the morning.

Dae ye min the miller's dam,
When the frosty winter come,
We slid across the curlers rink,
And made there game a sham.
When they chased us through the snow,
We took leg ??? and a ???
But did it ower again in the morning.

Whaur are those bricht hearts noo
That wir aye sae ?? and true?
Oh some hae left life's troubled scene,
Some still are struggling through,
And some hae risen high in life's changeful destiny,
For they rose with the lark in the morning.

Noo life's sweet spring is past,
And oor autumns come at last,
Wir simmer days his passed away,
Life's winter's coming fast,
But though lang the nicht may seem,
We will sleep without a dream,
Till we waken on yon bricht Sabbath morning.

[MT] Nae good. Och that'll dee onywey.

[TM] Did either of your parents sing?…

[MT] Oh ma parents were both singers, especially ma father. He wis one o the loveliest tenor singers that ever ye heard, beautiful tenor ma brothers too…. Oh yes.

[TM] What sort of songs did your father sing?

[MT] Eh Lass o Ballochmyle and everything like at that…. I used tae sing a' that eens…. Michtym I think I hear him singing The Lass of Ballochmyle….

[TM] And he never had any training, no?

[MT] No, no, no, his father died at thirty eight and ma father wis jist little and yet that mother made two of the daughters teachers and the two were on the farm.

[TM] Mhm mhm. So he had to take over the farm?

[MT] Yes aye, well she'd a grieve tae start with, see, cause they were jist kids when the father died and then when the ither sons grew up…they took over the farm, ye see. My grandmother come in and retired in Aberdeen, one sister taught in Cults here, one aunt o mine taught here and then they both went down to West Calder and one was the headmistress in Addiewells schools, a little school it wis at that time, and the ither wis in West Calder. Then they both retired tae Inverkeithing. I used go doon and stay holiday there, I thought it wis great.

[TM] Mhm mhm.

[MT] Ma mither his three butter platies.

[TM] Platies?

[MT] Aye platies.
Ma mither his three butter platies,
And she's nae ither dochters but me.

But I maun gang tae the garret.

[TM] The garret?

[MT] Aye the garret,
For I maun gang tae the garret,
For there's nae bonny laddie for me.

My faither's a wee white horsie,

[TM] Horsie?

[MT] Aye a horsie,
Ma faithers a wee white horsie,
And nae ither dochters but me.

[TM] The garret?

[MT] Aye the garrret,
But I maun gang tae the garret,
For there's nae bonny laddie for me.

Ma mither his forty white shillings.

[TM] Shillings?

[MT] Aye shillings,
Ma mither his forty white shillings,
And nae ither dochters but me.

But I maun gang tae the garret.

[TM] The garret?

[MT] Aye the garret, aye the garret,
But I maun gang tae the garret,
For there's nae bonny laddie for me.

But doon in yon howe there's a miller.

[TM] A miller

[MT] Aye a miller,
But doon in yon howe there's a miller,
And he often comes and courts me.

So noo am gan tae be married.

[TM] Married?

[MT] Aye married.
So noo I'm, going tae be married
And the garret will no be for me.

At's better noo.

[TM] Yes.

[MT] There ye go, aye.

[TM] Did I do alright?

[MT] Aye ye did fine, yes, uh huh…. Ye jist come in, jist wi the beat, ye se, or that spoils it aye, eence or twice a thought ye wis gaan tae forget at….

[TM] How many years did you do the bothy nichts wi Grampian?

[MT] How many years?… Oh well I went till they stopped, ye see…. They began tae think, well we better stop, ye can go on wi that too long, which wis beginning to be that way aye. In fact, the last een I gaed on cause I [wis] put on for a judge, ye see, and I preferred at, cause I hidnae the blooming learning. Ye see, ye practised at the hotel and ye dinna wint tae fa oot wi them or ony thing, but o they were a good crowd, that lassie played the fiddle wis a grand fiddler….


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