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17 October 2014
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Forum - rural - Click here to return to the Forum menu page.
Berry-Pickin' (an' Tattie-Howkin')
There is 1 message in this section.

Iain from London, canada. Posted 16 Oct 2006.
Growin' up in Farfar and Kirrie in the 60's, you couldn't help but be involved in helpin' the local farmers gather in the crops. I remember the 2-weeks "Tattie-Holidays" in October (I think), as bein' a fog of ungodly early-mornin' pick-ups in the inevitable chill an' drizzle. We got a ride to the fields in the cairt behind the tractor, which was pretty excitin'! The work seemed hard, and okay at the time, but of course now I attribute a lot o' my current back pain to the constant stoopin' ower the baskets, an' draggin' the ever-heavier load o' tatties doon the dreel from the twig that marked the start of yer "bit". The rasp-pickin' in the summertime was a lot less strenuous, for me onywey, but I never could handle the heat, (I felt like an ant under a magnifyin'glass most o' the time!) At the end o' the summer, the whole family took the bus to Dundee (a big deal at the time, complete with lunch at Dundee's biggest Chinese Restaurant), to spend our takin's on school uniforms, and the occasional toy, if we behaved.
Happy days - kinda!I remember takin' my first- ever smoke at lunchtime in a tattie field, an' feelin' pretty mature . . . . . .

A Torry Fish quine
There is 1 message in this section.

Jacqueline Pearce from Torry, Aberdeen. Posted 16 Oct 2006.
Iwas born and brought up in Torry. I worked in the fish trade from the age of 8yrs. I used to work all of my school holidays. My wages were a fiver a week, which I gave to my ma. I started as a fish packer, then progressed to skinner then filleter. It was hard, freezing cold work especially in winter with only a hot water dip to stop your hands from getting numb. Sometimes we would stand in a basin of hot water to heat our feet. At teatime we would go to the bothy for a cup of tea and a rowie, it had to be from Aitkens Bakery. I remember when I was a bairn and my ma took me to Donnald Buchans fish house and I saw a fish as big as the fishhouse, so big it had to lay on the floor. My ma told me it was a Hallibut. These were the 1960's before the day's of overfishing. Lot's of happy memories of characters I worked with. It's sad to see the once thriving fishing industrey in such dire straits.

powmill quarry???
There is 1 message in this section.

agnes from clackmannan. Posted 16 Oct 2006.
Hi, i'm a trainee scuba diver who has been doing some open water diving at the disused quarry just outside powmill, it is on the left hand side of the road as you leave powmill and head towards kincardine bridge, does anyone have any information about the quarry. I am totally fascinated by the place and would love to know its history and maybe even who owns,, can you help????

tattie howkin
There is 1 message in this section.

Norman Boyd Ratcliff from Colchester. Posted 16 Oct 2006.
I was twelve and WW2 had started but i had to do my bit dor a hardwoking family. I delivered papers (7/6s) Co-op milk + rolls and gingrbread (getting my breakfast free through the baker's dozen!
I howked tatties in neary Berry;s farm whih had a barrage balloon in the next field.
We had an allotment dug in or back field at Drumoyne school - expertly supervised by Mr Bennet I think.
My pl ws shot in the knee by a careless guard on King George Fifth Dock gate, is name was jack Easton I recall.

There is 1 message in this section.

anne douglas from stornoway lewis. Posted 16 Oct 2006.
When my sister and I were young we used to spend the whole of the summer holidays at my Auntie and Uncles house on a croft in Linshader in the district of Uig in Lewis and is about 22 miles from Stornoway. In those days when there was only single track roads and passing places it seemed to take forever to get there.

farm working
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ron watson from newbigging by monifieth. Posted 16 Oct 2006.
when i left school i worked on the farm at menzieshill before the hospital was built there in 1948 i lived in the bothy and worked a ten hour day for £3 pond a week with one day off after that job i went to work for my uncle jack kettles of longforgan he was a market gardener growing potatoes neeps sugarbeet and all sorts of vegetables. i had to cycle from dundee in the morning to start at 7.30 then cycle back to dundee after an eight hour day who said they were good old days after doing that for three months i joined the royal navy am now retired and live in the village of newbigging. i think it must have been in my roots to back to the country haveing worked on the land

Spring in Fife
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Joe Buehler from St. Louis, USA. Posted 16 Oct 2006.
WHile an exchange student at the Univ of Dundee, I was invited to live in a farmhouse across the Tay in northern Fife. There was no heat except the fireplaces, no hot water except in the kitchen, and the nearest town was 3 miles away. But there was a rhubarb patch out back, I could watch the tides in the estuary from my windows, and there was a waterfall from the creek to the shore. Best time of my life!

There is 1 message in this section.

Morag from harris. Posted 16 Oct 2006.
Does anyone remember childhood in Harris in the 1950's

move to scotland
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michael sorby from turriff aberdeenshire. Posted 16 Oct 2006.
i moved to scotland from bishop auckland co.durham which i must admit was lovely country but we could not afford to buy a house there so we come to scotland lovely place we now own a small croft were we totally adore i have 4 children and they love it too i will be here untill i am carried out in a box thats how mutch we like it we get on with most of the locals realy well its just great our own little paradice

Rural life
There is 1 message in this section.

Edith Caulfield (Cavanagh) from Toronto Canada. Posted 16 Oct 2006.
Hi everyone:
Does anyone out there remember
the "Cavanagh's from 9 Small holdings Broxburn, they were my Grandparents, There children were Abraham, William
John, Cathy, Mary, Lena.
We lived in Edinburgh on Castle Street, and I have great memories of going out to spend weekends with my Grannie
I used to get of the bus at "Charlesons Store" and walk down the Holmes Road there little white house was the right at the very end of the road. They had the little farm for a long time I think from the war right up to the late 60's, they let my uncle John and his wife Mary look after it when they ere to old. I left for Canada in 1958 and they pased away in 1965. the houses I believe are now gone, but the memories
of those beautiful days will live forever.
If anyone out there knew any of my family please respond

Life in Caithness
There is 1 message in this section.

Kimberley Masson. Posted 7 Mar 2006.
I'm a researcher from the University of Edinburgh currently working on my PhD. Generally, it's about family life, ideas about belonging, and identity in Caithness. If you consider yourself to be from Caithness - whether you are a 'local', an 'incomer' or someone who left - you might be interested to share your ideas. If so, please contact me at - many thanks, Kimberley Masson.

Farming and beach
There are 2 messages in this section.

Trudy Penk from London. Posted 14 Nov 2005.
I was brought up in the country, in Nairn. I had to cycle three miles to school at the age of five, my brother used to go and leave me which upset me a lot. We had to pass a quarry where one of our village characters lived, we had three altogether: one by the harbour, one lived anywhere and sat on a bench at the bottom of the town, and one at the quarry.
We also did potato picking I can still smell the fresh earth and hay in the sheds where we had our tea. And the harvest when all the local people got together to "stook" the hay. We had cows, pigs, and hens. we used to get up early to go to the farm with our dad and help feed the calfs. I remember the smell of the fresh milk and the dairy. it was a lovely life best ever - full of happy memories.

The Scottish Borders
There are 4 messages in this section.

TAM from Galashiels. Posted 14 Nov 2005.
Please come off the big roads from England into Scotland, and come into the borders - the rewards will be great: you will see scenery that is hard to beat, the River Tweed flowing from west to east, with great river side walks to great salmon fishing.
There are also great forest walks, smashing towns to visit, and the great abbey towns of Jedburgh, Kelso, Melrose (the town that started the rugby sevens). Galashiels, Selkirk, Hawick are famous for their woollen mills. If you are heading for Edinburgh and the north, it would be well worth a stop in Peebles, the scenery is great as well as its great walks along the River Tweed, also the town has great shopping (with a market on every Thursday).
So come on in to the Scttish Borders, you will not regret it.

wee village
There are 5 messages in this section.

margaret heggie from South Dakota usa. Posted 10 Dec 2004.
I was born in oakbank, a mining village and can remember the many nights going into kitchen to make tea - it would freeze the backside off you. The memories of tattie howking as a young lassie, the strong smell of the mist and the glens always in our hearts for those in USA. I even remember my grannies store - hahah and the many walks picking strawbs and making jam with my ma. Dad was a miner and a great man and the old days although hard were so great. Talk, songs and music, dances where laddies would wheech us around the floor, great fun. miss tatties and good mince anyone out there remember the Heggies from oakbank, East Calder? Give me a holler and Gpd Bless Scotland

tatty picking
There are 2 messages in this section.

Catherine Rasmussen from Surrey, B.C.. Posted 10 Dec 2004.
I am another one who remembers the job of picking tatties on several farms, but this one stands out because when we received our mid-morning cup of tea, after working for some time, we were of course ready for it, but, one sip of the tea made me turn and throw it out. It tasted soapy. Unknown to the woman her child had slipped a piece of soap into the brew when she wasn't looking. Needless to say everyone threw it out, but, we said nothing at the time. At lunch time we were served a lovely dinner and also an apology for what had happened to the tea. You see she had discovered that her child had dropped the soap into the kettle, but only on returning to her kitchen and finding the remnants of soap in the kettle.

Cutting Neeps
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David McCarlie from Broxburn. Posted 29 Oct 2004.
A not-so- fond memory of mine was cutting turnips in the late 1970's. Today, this is all done by machinery but back then, it was done by hand.

Brose - a perfect food?
There are 5 messages in this section.

David McCarlie from Broxburn. Posted 4 Aug 2004.
I worked on farms and estates in the mid 1970's and met many an old farm hand who had lived through the old "bothy days". I guess I was fortunate to have experienced bothy life, albeit towards the end of that time.

The Dairyman
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Mary Downie from Peterhead. Posted 22 Jun 2004.
My late maternal grandfather,Charles Wallace Ramsay, Cherlie to his friends, was a wonderful man.I was broughtup by my late grandparents, Nanny and Cherlie Ramsay and spent an idylic childhood moving from farm to farm over the years and meeting many friends amongst the fellow workers on the farms.
My fondest memory is of strolling through the fields of Barnhills by Kirkcolm, checking the kye (cows) on the fine late summers evenings, riding high on my Granda's shoulders feeling that nothing in the world would ever bother me. Oh, to feel so safe and protected in today's world - how life changes! - but how our fondest memories remain with us and seem to get us through the harder parts of life.
I always remember my Granda's reponse to any of us who complained about trivialities - "monies a body's no as weel aff as wersels,as lang as ye've meat on yer table, yer ain fowur waas aboot ye an' yer health, ye've nocht tae complain aboot".
Dae ye ken somethin? He was richt!!

my keep fit days
There are 6 messages in this section.

kevin hutton from canada. Posted 13 Feb 2004.
I come from fort William in the west highlands.I have been in Canada only for three years but miss home badly.I,m now '36' but not too many years ago I would run to keep fit and the place i ran most was up Glen Nevis better known for where Harry Potter had his quidditch match's or Mel gibson in Braveheart did his village scenes.

peat cutting
There are 2 messages in this section.

Beryl from Orkney. Posted 24 Oct 2003.
Than goodness for oil, many boreing days spent in the peat hill in the 50s and 60s
the bargain with our folks was that we always got home in time for the Lone Ranger and Juke Box Jury.

An island childhood
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Michael Paterson from Canada. Posted 3 Jul 2003.
As a child on the Isle of Rhum we loved to go fishing with the island's boatman, Hughie MacKinnon in his dinghy. We were out one day fishing for mackerel when a sail fish or basking shark; the world's second biggest shark; surfaced beneath us. We didn't know what was happening as we rose in the air, grabbing hold as the dinghy began to topple sideways. Hughie, a superb seaman, managed to right the dinghy with an oar shoved against the fish and we slid into the water, while the huge sail fish lay motionless with its cavern-like mouth gaping open and its lifeless eyes presumably studying us, before swimming slowly away. Later when we examined the underside of the dinghy, we could see where the skin of the sail fish has scoured the paint away like sandpaper; a proof that convinced those ashore that we were telling the truth.

skale holidays
There are 3 messages in this section.

John Fraser from New Zealand. Posted 17 Jun 2003.
We went to the tatties, and the berries what a life, if yeh dinnay like it yeh must have been lazy, or yeh dinnay like to get yer hands dirty. I loved it, I was never bored, we made up our own games, WE all played together, we did not have TV, computers, CDs, cars, we did not destroy anyone's property, take drugs, sniff glue, and most of all, we were taught to give respect to our elders, and people say you never had much in your day, man if they only knew.

Tattie howking
There are 7 messages in this section.

Fraser MacDonald from Perth. Posted 25 Mar 2003.
I remember that even during the 70s and 80s the October holidays at school were called the 'tattie holidays', even by the teachers! I hated that, and picking the berries. Back breaking work for little in the way of pay, it was tantamount to slave labour.

Rural Life
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Andy Waugh from The Borders. Posted 19 Feb 2003.
I was born and brought up during the 1950s. & 60s on a farm 15 miles South of Edinburgh on the edge of "Border Country". My memories of being a child on a farm at that time were terrific. We used to play outside all day during the week-end and holidays. There was something to do in every season of the year. In the winter we used to go to the woods and collect firewood with a tractor and trailer. This was the season that the cattle and sheep had to have supplementary feed so that was a chore that we joined in with. My father would let me guide the horse (and later the tractor) in a straight line across the fields while he was in the trailer shovelling out turnips to the animals.
Spring brought some sunshine and we used to see if we could catch the lambs that were born the previous month. We never could since they could run very fast. The Waverly Line went through our farm so we often used to sit on the railway bridge and wave to the train drivers who would whistle back at us as they passed. Spring also meant that we had an influx of Peeweeps. They nested all over the lambing field and you often found them running around making lots of noise and pretending to be injured so that they could lure you away from their nests.
Summer was great because we had 7 weeks holiday from school. Early in the summer was when the hay was made and this meant all hands to the pumps in these days. The wives of the farm workers used to come and help in the hay field to build Kyles and then Ricks. We also sometimes had to get some of the miners wives up from Newtongrange or Arniston to help if the weather was good and my father wanted to get the hay lead in before the weather broke. As kids we used to watch the Ricks being winched up onto the hay bogie and then run to get a seat on the corner and a lift into the hay shed from the field. Towards the end of our holidays the harvest was being cut and this was another labour intensive job. collecting sheaves and making them into "stooks" to let the corn and straw dry. Then we had to lead these in to make stacks in the farm steading. Again all the women helped out and this gave my mother a full time job of feeding them all with drinks in the warm weather and food at the break times. Harvest went on late into the evening if the weather was good but us kids were off to bed by then, completely tired out after a full days play in the fields.
In Autumn we had more fun with the root crops being brought in. This gave us the opportunity to through rotten tatties at each other. We also used to pull up handfuls of stubble and through them at each other as we went across the fields to the school. It was also the time of elder berries and these were brilliant as ammunition for our "rhubarb stick" pea shooters cut from beside the burn. They didn't half sting if you were hit on the neck or face. There are so many memories I could write a book. My abiding memory of the farm in those days was one of lots of happy people working hard but having fun as well. There were always lots of people around doing something so there was never a dull moment. Just like the Darling Buds of May! - PERFICK

An island childhood
There are 2 messages in this section.

Seonaid MacLeod from Barra. Posted 12 Feb 2003.
Many of our childhood days were spent playing down by the shore and following stormy weather we frequently scoured the shoreline to see what had been washed up. Honestly, it was a fascinating pastime at that age! Usually it was shoes, buoys, polystyrene or items of foreign litter, not very interesting at all, but on one occasion my sister came across a message in a bottle. She promptly replied to the address contained in the message and awaited a reply in anticipation. Shortly after she did receive a reply, only to be sorely disappointed to find she’d been invited to join a religious cult in Ireland!

Farming in the 1940s
There are 2 messages in this section.

Margaret Strachan from Aberdeen. Posted 12 Feb 2003.
When I was only 12 I started tattie picking for 24 shillings a week. The bonus was getting a free bag of the leftover tatties and carrots from the friendly farmers. During picking season we’d have afternoon tea of bread and jam, with a cup of pale tea. It was so, so cold, I remember my granny knitting me some gloves, but without fingers, so I was still quite cold. There wasn’t much work around and I can remember clearly my auntie going to America to make some money. Another relative of mine, a cousin, went to Australia in the 1960’s on a £10 passage to Australia. A lot of people that left Scotland found that times were still hard for them abroad when they first arrived, having to start again in a foreign country wasn’t as glamorous as it might have sounded.

Kinloss outing to Nairn in the 1920s
There are 2 messages in this section.

Jimmy MacGregor from Perth. Posted 12 Feb 2003.
The annual picnic was the highlight of the summer. Boarding a train at Kinloss Railway Station fathers, mothers and children would set off for Nairn. Arriving there we formed up outside the station, the bigger boys were given banners to carry and a piper led the way through the town to the Links. Light refreshments were dished out and then it was on with the sports, racing and jumping. Teatime arrived and each received a bag of buns and foodwise that was our lot. Prize money would be spent on ice cream, windmills etc and then it was back to the station again led by the piper. Entrained, en route we were issued with Conversation Sweeties, eg "Can I kiss you", "You are my sweetheart" etc, followed by a singalong.

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