December 31, 2010 § 9 Comments
Although born in Stornoway I wasn’t brought up The Stornoway Way.
My family moved to the mainland for work when I was young and I was brought up The Inverness Way instead. And yet I don’t hold the Highland capital city dear in any way. Indeed since leaving at the age of 17 for Glasgow I’ve rarely returned, only stopping off en route to the islands.
My first memories are of my Dad’s shop Hepworths in SY and the hallway of my folk’s house near Laxdale. I remember sandcastles on 70′s Tolsta and Eoropie beaches and the hot leather seats of my grandad’s old Triumph. I remember the peat cutting and boring Sabbaths and psalms at the sit-down-to-sing, stand-to-pray Free church. I remember fishing for mackerel at the harbour with a hand-line as shoals came in and my first spinning rod from the Sports Shop when it was on North Beach Street. I remember clouds of midgies at lochs across the island, poaching for sea-trout on Loch Erisort with a friend from Laxay, bumper hauls of cuddies on bright feathered lures from a wee boat launched at Valtos and my first trout on the fly on a loch near the Barvas Road. I learned to swim in the Niccy pool with its acrid green foot-baths and bhoy-orange plastic trays, I drove a car for the first time at Riof. I remember sweets from “The Pakis” on Bayhead and the putting green and the swings being tied on a Sunday. I remember a sheepdog called Gael (Galey-Waley). I learned to golf on the Stornoway course and got my head cracked open by my cousin’s 3 iron on the Manor Par 5 teaching him how to swing. I remember the worst Minch crossing ever on the Suiliven and playing the Nicholson at Back FC’s ground. I remember watching Ness FC for the first time at Goathill. I remember buying Hi-Teks from Nazirs (or was it Smiths) and cassette tapes from Woolies. I barely remember narrowly avoiding arrest after lock-in-at-The-Lewis hi-jinks with my brother-in-law on Cromwell Street. I can’t remember ending up at a party in the Cearns, overstaying my welcome and taking a long walk home to Tong afterwards. I randomly remember run-rigs past Mealista, churchbells, Mac An t-Stronaich’s Cave and the Iron Well on Sundays, Cheeky Chips, brawls in the Heb and the sounds and smells of HebEng. I remember burying both my grandparents at Sandwick and the wakes that preceded them. I remember the streets round Plantation, the sound of a loom in a shed on Rose Street, hand-shearing at a fank in Lochs, my first lambing season, Gaelic directed at me I could only half understand…
I remember all these things and more.
I’ve been trying to find a way home for years now. Each year it gets a little closer.
I spoke to my Granny once about this pull home, at the time it was a thing I could never fathom or make sense of. She matter of factly explained that it’s simply how a Gael feels when they’re far from where they were born. In fact there was even a word for it.
And thanks to this blog it all makes a little more sense now.
Who would have thought
I’d have to come
so far from home
to find a word that perfectly captures
the voiceless ache
of having left?
A’ dol dhachaigh:
Strange that I should
in a language where
you can never be home,
but only going
Cianalas: homesickness, longing, loneliness, melancholy
A’ dol dhachaigh: going home(wards)
from Wish I Was Here: A Scottish multicultural anthology (Pocketbooks, 2000), by kind permission of the poet
December 31, 2010 § 1 Comment
Another nice little film from Lewisman Jim Hope, this time showing the small shielings used for various purposes, mainly shelter etc, when cutting peat.
Shot using a Canon 60D DSLR, Canon 17-40mm USM f4L lens and a self made mini jib.
Filmed on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland near Stornoway November 2010.
December 31, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Nice little bit of Lewis surfing. Looks chilly.
Film by Jim Hope, music by The Boy Who Trapped The Sun.
December 30, 2010 § 1 Comment
(Switch to 720p for best viewing)
Words by Ruth Morrison, daughter of Fisherman David Morrison.
“My name is Ruth and I was born and raised on the Island of Scalpay off Harris when the fishing industry was a large part of the island life.
My father is a fisherman which he has been from an early age. From my early memories I can remember many boats heading off early to get their daily catch, and my uncles gang were out for many days at a time.
Times have changed now, their are only a few boats going out with the same fishermen on board. The younger generation doesn’t choose this way of life anymore as it is hard and times are changing. Each year the amount of boats going out to sea is falling, which will soon leave only a handful and probably going only for pleasure, rather than a way of a living.”
December 29, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Cheers to Cathal @ Folk Clothing for the hook up.
And J for the present!
December 29, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Originally founded in 1991, Japanese label Pherrow’s has been known for providing items reflective of vintage workwear aesthetics.
Produced with Harris Tweed, this new messenger bag features a tweed outer with leather trimmings and subtle branding.
Comes in around £600 if you can make it to Hong Kong or Tokyo to collect…
December 29, 2010 § 1 Comment
Another nominee found his way into the running via an unsolicited rant on my Twitter feed…
Step forward Soutarjohnny a.k.a. Calum from Perth, a self-described “Retired legal beagle active envioromentalist (sic). Truth seeker.”
Without introduction he tweeted at me:
“That means we don (sic) accept your thinking just like some crofters who abuse the public purse
And again without prompting or reply…
No you just lack education but hope is at hand at the bar in the SARACEN HEAD at 7pm on hogmanay yer welcome to expand”
Intrigued, I read through his Twitter stream and was treated to rants of such creative spelling and grammar railing against crofting and Gaelic that his nomination was a no brainer.
Here are some gems and all spelling is verbatim.
Who the wants to learn Gaelic Oh its handy when describing where yer put yer brain when in company oops
Strictly come dancing not available in Gaelic thank god. Penny for the poor Scots who have to listen to Gaelic naunce in everyday life
well tell teh SNP not waste 30 million promoting Gaelic every year and spend it on the NHS
BBC ALBA name for rip off public supported by Roseanne Cunningham x pin up of Irish Terrorists & the Taliban
Of Course Landlords are whipping boys for crofters how else can they abuse EU competition laws & Grants and rip off the public
may be said that Scotland is promoting technocrat grant grabbing freeloaders int he guise of crofters
He also launches badly composed 148 character diatribes against muslims, gays, asylum seekers, the SNP and Tommy Sheridan. So at least we are in good company…
Good luck Soapy Souter(johnny) you’re our second nominee!
December 29, 2010 § 1 Comment