Am Bratach No. 312
October 2017
editor@bratach.co.uk

 

Litir bhon a Cheathram
le Alasdair MacMhaoirn

A’ cumail oirnn sa mhìos seo leis na cuimhneachan a bh’ aig Eòsaph MacAoidh nach maireann. An trup seo, a bhith a’t eagasg ann an Srath Mòr.
This month we are continuing with the reminiscences of Joseph Mackay. This time he talks about the period between the wars.

...chaidh mi gu srath mòr gu side school. Agus bha mi teagaisg sin uile sia bliadhna is corr ’us agus bha mi glè thoilichte leis cuideachd ach cha robh an t-uabhasach de dh’airgid ann agus chaidh mi gus an obair rathad a bha sheo agus an uairsin bhris an dara cogadh a-mach.
... I went to a side school in Strathmore. I taught there for more than six years and I was very happy with it but the wages were very poor so I went to work on the roads here, and then the second war broke out.

Nach b’ e obair cruaidh a bh’ ann? Ma bhios mi tuigsinn cuisean ceart, gun robh sibh fuireach cuide ris an teaghlach. Nach robh e duillich dhuibh a bhith a’ teagaisg na cloinne tron an là agus a bhith mar charaid dhaibh a’s an fheasgar?
Wasn’t the work difficult? If I understand things properly you lived with the family. Wasn’t it difficult to be a teacher through the day, and a friend in the evening?

Cha robh. Cha d’ rinn e diofar sam bith, bha an sluagh ann tuigsinn agus bha a chloinn ann tuigsinn. ’Se aon rud doirbh ann gun teagamh gun robh còignear chloinne ann agus anns a h-uile bliadhnaichean bhitheadh iad le chèile. Bha am fear bu shin’ bha e fàgail. Ach bha iad glè ’us bha sinn faotainn air (adhart) fearasd’ leòr ’us. Cha robh a chloinn, cha robh iad... bha iad glè mhath air ionnsachadh. Bha iad deònach ionnsachadh. Well, am fear bu shin’ chaidh a mharbhadh o’s an dara cogadh. Bha es’ o’s an Lovat Scouts. Cha robh es’ deònach air ionnsachadh mòran, bha athair aig na gheamair ... agus bha e a’ sireadh a bhith cuideachd ach tha cuimhne ’am bhitheadh e ... mar a thachair e a-mach, cha deach leis. Bha an dara fear bha e na gheamair o’s cinn Srath Mòr. Agus Tearlach, am fear bu shin’.
No. It didn’t make any difference, the children understood and the family understood. The one thing that was difficult was that there were five children in different years and they were all together. The oldest one left... They were very good and we got on well and the children were very good scholars. They were willing to learn. Well, the oldest one was killed in the second war. He was in the Lovat Scouts. He wasn’t so keen on school, his father was a keeper... and he wanted to be a keeper also, I remember... As it happened, he didn’t manage. The second one was a keeper in Strathmore. And Charles...

Chaidh a h-uile fear ann air adhart gu Laorag dha Ard Sgoil agus rinn iad glè a sin. Marion chaidh i gu bhith na Clerical Officer o’s Ghlasgow agus a-nis Tearlach, bha e seòrs’ ... an Agriculture. Bha Tearlach glè glè mhath. Fhuair e scholarships agus chaidh e a-muigh o’s an States. ’Se adviser to the Secretary of State for Agriculture. Chan ann uamhasach fad oirre nuair a rinn e retireagadh. Agus an deaghaidh sin, an nighean, ’s ise an tè b’ òige. Fhuair ise a chuid mu dheireadh den teagaisg ann a sheo, bha i fuireach cuide ri aunt ann o’s an taigh shìos agus phòs i o’s Laorag. Agus am fear bu shin mharbh e o’s Italy ’s ann am fear bu shine agus an tè b’ òige a mharbh le chèil’ chan eil a leanabh fhàgail a-nis ach Dòmhnall agus Tearlach agus Màiri.
They all went to High School in Lairg, and they did well there. Marion became a Clerical Officer in Glasgow, and Charles, he was something in agriculture. Charles was very, very good. He got scholarships and he went out to the United States. He was the adviser to the Secretary of State for Agriculture. It’s not long since he retired. The girl, the youngest one: she was the last taught here, she lived with her aunt in a house just outside of Lairg. The oldest one died in Italy, and the youngest is dead also. Of the children left there is only Donald, Charles and Màiri.

Robh Teaghlaichean eil’ a’ fuireach a’s an srath?
Were other families in the Strath?

Bha, ‘s e cìobairean ’sann ann Caisteal Dubh, trì no còig no ceathair mìltean air falbh agus bha amhainn mhòr mhòr a’ dol seachad ann a shin, bha sgoil eil’ ann a shin den an seòrs side schools a sheo. Agus aon eil’ aig h-Òp bha iad.... aig cìobair a bha e.
Yes, there were gamekeepers in Castle Dubh, three or four miles away, but not much passed in those days; there was another side school there similar to the one here. There was another in Hope, where there was a keeper and his family.

Nach ann anns an dearbh àite a rugadh Rob Donn?
Wasn’t Rob Donn born in that very place?

Oh, sin an dearbh àite, ‘s e, far an robh sgoil, ... co-dhiù...taobh sìos seachad air cùlaibh o’s taobh eile an allt, far an robh iads a’ cumail mucan. ’S ann thall sin a rugadh Rob Donn.
Oh yes, just where the school was, where the house was, well down behind at the back one the other side of the burn, where they used to keep pigs. That’s where Rob Donn was born.

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