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Elphinstone Kist   Folk-History, Place, Education, Family and Home

Braemar, the Snawy Airt     by: Thain, Isabella

Isabella Thain, nee Brown

I wis born in Braemar in 1907, an gid tae the Protestant school. Braemar hid two schools, the Protestant school an the Catholic school. The Protestant school wis at the Castleton, and it wis awful primitive. There wis an open kinno fire, an we niver got a heat because the teacher stood in front o't aa the time. Her name wis Miss McDonald. We'd aboot a dizzen in oor class. There wis two big classrooms in the school, and anither room far the boys learned jynery and the girls did cookin.. Oor school wis near the English church, and we'd a few very primitive toilets ootside.

I once got the strap. I wisna deein onything affa coorse, spikkin mebbe. I cudna believe it fin the dominie gid me the strap. There wis red weals up ma airm. I must hae been in the senior class because the dominie took the aulder eens, Mr McDonald his name wis. I wis 14 fin I left the school.

The main occupation wis estate wirk...ye hid the Braemar estate, ye hid the Balmoral estate, ye hid the Invercauld estate. An ye hid shops, the cooncil wirk on the roads, an some tradesmen, tho the tradesmen didna wirk aa winter. I wis a messsage girl at Grant's first, then I wis a baker's assistant, then I wis dressmaker in a shop ained bi Mrs Farquharson o Invercauld, the laird's wife. That's aa the life I've hid, I've niver bin aff Deeside. Naething verra excitin! Alasdair, my husband, thocht there wis naethin on earth like Braemar and the hills. He wis born an brocht up in Braemar like me, an gid tae Braemar school anna. He wis a keeper at Invercauld Estate, ay.

One or two here an there spoke Gaelic, tho it wis maistly folk fae Glen Ey that spoke it, an they war Catholics. My father spoke bitties o Gaelic. He used tae sing 'My Nut Broon Maiden' in Gaelic, and ither wirdies. I widna like tae tell ye them. They micht be sweir wirds. Fin he first come tae Braemar tae bide, he stayed wi a wumman that spoke naething bit Gaelic.

We warna broad spoken. They're much broader spoken doon here (Aboyne). There's an affa lot o visitors, ye see, in Braemar, English an that. If ye'd spoken broad Scots they widna hae kent twa wirdies.

There war ay two blacksmiths at Braemar fin I wis a wee tootie. Winter laisted frae November till April, ye see. The first snaa fell in November, an it niver shiftit till April. It wis a lang, lang winter. We didna burn peats that I mind o, no, we 'd hae gotten a load o logs fae the estate an hid tae saw them up wirsels. At hame, we'd an open fire an paraffin lamps. Two horses gid through the village pullin a widden snaa ploo tae clear the roads. I've seen the snaa five feet deep an mair. Aabody dug oot their ain roads .

At ae time Braemar wis full o Macintoshes, McDonalds, an Grants. They're aa awa noo, aa awa.



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