Duncan, Mr & Mrs
Collected by Jock Duncan
Recorded in Spring 1965. Mr & Mrs Duncan, Penelopefield, Forglen
I wis brocht up on the Place. My fadder fairmed it afore me. There wis some bothies in oor district- at Carnousie ,Mountblairy, as weel as up at Mains tee. In fact it wis neer aa Bothies at the Home fairms at the Estates aside the Deveron.
I mind the Carnousie lads eence to ging doon to Turra,to Mitchells the Bakers in the square -weel, they gid in by on a Setterday nicht and fulled a chakie wi broken biscuits and ill shapet loaves; the hale lot for a saxpence.
Mountblairy hid Maid that lookit efter the bothy-aye swipit the place oot, made the beds and keepit the fire goin as weel as haein the kettle bilin for them fin lowsin time cam roon aye.
That wis nae generally the case- at aa the ither bothies I kent een o the lsads got lowsed early to gang hame and bile the kettle and tatties and that. Brose wis the standard mait at the bothies, sometimes three times the day, variations o them onywye, like neep, kail and cabbage brose or knotty Tams wi milk. Milk pottage wis richt fine tee though of coorse that mait wisna confined to the bothies; the chammer lads at aa fairm toons took brose in the mornin bit in the fairm kitchen, bit then they got mair variety, the mait bein aa set doon and made wi the kitchen staff.
A mannie caad Petersen that wis factor at Carnousie estate said aboot the bothy lsads there, "I dinna mind them pinchin a hen noo andthen, bit I dinna like it if they pinch the pig."
We hid a diet in the olden days which is never heard of now- thayt was milk broth. The milk was boiled with barley in it and it was great. We just supped them with a piece of oat cake. The oat cakes we made ourselves. Another fine meal was to toast the oatcakes at the fire, and when they were hot we used to crumple them down into a bowl of milk and supped them that way. That was called 'Mealie Tub'.
Then to the Kail : its boil the kail - strain it off to make the kail brose. Then mush down the kail, add salt and spice and thick cream. Eaten with oatcakes to dinner I can only say - marvellous'. Home made soups of all discription and variety were made all the time, broth, tattie,pee, hen, hare as well as the milk kind.
We waakit to the sqweel and in the simmer time that wis bare-feet and that wis a lang wye. Then we hid a lot o great fun on the road. I think present day bairns hiv lost a lot wi aa their hurlin back and fore in cars. We hid ti behave wirsels at the sqweel and especially at the Sunday een. That wis even farrer for me to weak bit there wis aye plenty o mair company and gweed fun.
I mind there wis a femily o nine Alexanders asides. The youngest een wis gettin baptised at their ain hoose ae Sunday. The allest o the loons hid the job at Sunday o gan doon to Bootie's Waal on the wye hame fae the Sunday sqweel ti get a bottle o holy watter for the Christening.
Booties waal wis miles oot o oor wye fae the kirk bit it wis aye recognised as being the only watter it wis used for this purpose due to some ancient rites supposed to exist there at one time. In fact there was a lot of artifacts such as Urns and stone age items dug up there. Onywy, the loon jist scoopit up the watter oot o the burn at the side o the road and didna lat on aboot it.
Noo the watter didna dee the bairn ony ull, in fact he's aye livin yet and niver hid muckle illness as far as I ken ; spiks for itsel that the common watter hid as gweed properties as Bootie's waal. Carnousie hid a staff o five gairdeners at aat time. They keepit as the hedges and waaks - miles o them, aa in gweed order and produced aa the floors and vegetables for the big hoose.
The laird and his folk cam in the simmer time wi aa their London staff like a Butler, twa Footmen, Governess, Coachman, a Nurse and a lot mair.
We niver nought the Doctor in oor young day- jist a dose o salts wis aboot the only thing for aa ills. In my day the places on the Estate were aa rented on a 19 eer lease, bit ye didna pey a rent for the first half eer. My Fadder didna hae ony trouble wi his men- they aye bade a lang time. I aye got on fine wi mine as weel, in fact een o them bade 19 eer. Fin they gid ti Turra Show or ony ither Gala or aat, they aye workit a filie at nicht ti mak up for the time lost.
1927 wis the maist devastating Hairst I iver kent. That wis really coorse. That wis the only eer lang ago that we led on a Sunday. I mind the Sundays seemed to be the only winnin widder that there wis. The Minister didne like folk workin on a Sunday- oh na, that wis taboo. I becam a Valuater -aye ye ken, fin folk wis gan in tull a place or oot, I wid price the craps and fences and that. Alec Bell wis anither een. I likit Alec, we aye got on fine thegither.
I did aa my ain blacksmithin. My Fadder wis weel aquaint wi oor local blacksmith. That man actually rowed in aboot his flittin fae Foggie wi a barra - aye, he'd a puckle loads of coorse. That wis 4 miles awa. Onywye fin I wis a loon I aye landed up caain the forge fire bellows for him. Fae that, I graduated to deein maist smiddy wark, and learned to dee it weel. I could dee horse sheein and waalin sock ploos; so thats the wye I eyndit up deein aa my ain. We hid a smiddy made in a shed that I used aa my days and man, it wis fine wark on a coorse day. Bertie Reid wis a great character and comedian as weel as a first class aunctioneer - he could tak bleed oot o a steen. His Fadder wis blacksmith in the Howe o Muirest afore he shifted to Turra. Bertie aye said that he wis born in an iron bed in the howe o Meeries.
Grass sickness wis an afa thing. I niver saa it in my young day ata. There wis twa kines : a quick death kine an a lingering een that made the peer beasts dwine awa, ti feenish up as thin as hun a hun dog. They river got a cure fort. It wis a gie hocht ti ging in tull a park in a Simmer mornin and fin a beast lyin deed. I got that a feoy times and I will niver forget the feelin.
The Dances were really good. They were nearly aa held in the Farm lofts 1ike the one here. You would be amazed at the distances folk biked to them. Some from as far away as Hunt1y on the one side and from Rosehearty on the other. I suppose they just got home in time to start work. They were most enjoyable affairs though.
There wis Dancin classes held in the Simmer time here in the smaaer hie laft abeen the stable. The Maister wis a mannie Burr and we nick-named him 'Stottie'. He hid a craftie ower at Mountblairy wye. A mannie caaed Rosewood took the bairns at sax o clock. We did aa kines o dances includin Rory o More, Patranella, Lancers and so on. Stottie held a mid term, then a finishing dance at eyn o term. The bairns wis a bittie feart at Rosewood --he files gid them a clacht wi the bow fin they gid wrang.
Later on there wis a lad Murray fae Turra took ower fae Stottie It wis great fun at the finishing Dance which coincided wi the tail o hairst. We danced by the licht o lanterns till fower o clock in the mornin. Even at the winter dances we didna need heatin- the exertions o dancin keepit the heat up. The slater nails wis a nesty thing in the reef - ye hid ti watch yersel there. I mind ae Dance we hid in the hie laft that we hid ti stop and shift the horses awa oot aneths - they were dancin aboot feart at the soon abeen their heeds.
Then there wis aye a hairst dance to celebrate gettin Winter. There wis a big feed first laid on by the kitchie staff and sometimes meal and ale. This wis followed by the Dance. This affair wis by invitation only by the feed men, and kitchie deem, and wis held in the barn instead so as nae ti hae mait to cairry up a stair. Usually ae lad or mair played a melodeon and a fiddle, and this wis aye a great event. Onywy we aye got up a fair sweat bit aye wore dancin beets which wis polished to a high degree. Aabody wis on the fleer, in that days there wis naebody stannin idle- if ye ken fit I mean.
We gid to the dances we wir polished beets o fit we caad patent leather tied on the cairrier. We changed into them when we got there. We aye keepit the Band goin flat oot. Charlie Rennie hid a Band and played the Cornet - he fair kept them richt wi the timin. Laird Carnousie there hid the first car roon here -a steam driven een, made aboot 1900. He wis a Director o Press in London.
Afore we hid the ile ingine, we hid a steam een that caaed the Mull. Fin I wis a loon, I aye got the job o gettin up the steam in her wi sticks and coal. The corn we grew en, wis Tattie and Sandy oats. Then we grew Castleton R30. The runs were up to 8 quarters if you were lucky .
At Forglen sqweelie there wis 30 o's fae this side alone. Noo there's only twa.
There wis a dizzen hooses mairried folk at Carnousie alene.They didna get a lot o pey bit they got their perquisites o meal, milk and tatties. They were aye weel contented and interested in their wark. They were great ploomen and liket to clean their harness. They hid twa sets o harness an ilkie day set an een ti gan fae hame like to a plooin match wi.
We traivelled the beasts to Turra to the Mart. Weel there wis naething on the turnpike at that time ye ken.
Porter Fair wis a great to-do. Man what a steer! The streets o Turra were solid wi folk fae Hutcheons rioht up to the square. There wis stands o chape johns up the side o the pavements, sellin stuff o a kines. The men that wis lookin for a fee wore corn dollies in their bonnets. That wis an afa craze: they made them themsels and some war gey fancy. They took them oot fin they got a fee.
The dancin Maisters charged 14/6 for a term. They liket a good shot o drink noo in aan. I mind Murray wis warst at ae feenishin nicht, he got fair blotto.
Carnousie held a picnic ivery eer and we hid strong-man events at it, like pullin the swingeltree - that wis a great caper roon oor wye. Then there wis rinnin tee. A great favourite affair wis the quoiting match. There are noo only fower original faimilies left in oor district noo. We aye pyed the rent wi the sale o foals ivery year in the al days.