Happy Daze, Happy Holidaze

A Memory of South Uist.

My memories take me back to South Bragar as a young boy of 9. My father, Angus Murray, born in No.30 moved to Glasgow many years before. But then and till this day I still go back with my family and tell them probably to often about my holidays as a child. How hot it was, how innocent we all were, we, as in my sister Maureen and cousins Effie, Nan and Callum No 36. We were hardly ever indoors not like the generation now. We built dens out of old fish boxes and corrigated iron - this was a castle to us. Helped on the croft, picking potaties, at the fanks, bringing home the peats, filling "Bobbans" doing the hay, waiting on the van to get " goodies ", running errons to Peggy Laxay and if we were good we were allowed to buy "Cramola Foam". The house was a hive of activity always someone popping in to visit, or a car parked outside. And some of the characters, you couldn't make them up. Sadly most have passed away ,but always in my thoughts;
Domhnall Barroch, Poshan (my Uncl ), Feeyoingl (excuse the spelling) Murchadh Sime (my uncle) Joe King, Skitteran, Domhnall Dhu, Domhnall Mor (my uncle) Duncan, Iann Dhu, the list is to long to mention all.
One of my funniest memories was when Domhnall Barroch came over on a Sunday and we were all in the living room playing cards or " the minister cat " and we made a "struebak " and biscuits. The biscuits were sugar coated shortbread but Domhnall wouldn't take one cause he thought we put salt on it. Think he knew, but was playing along with us. There was one year, we spent nearly the whole summer holidays collecting winkles and sold them to a man in North Bragar. We collected 5 hundred wieght at £6 a hundred wieght, but before we took them from the Machiar to his house on the tractor my uncle Murdo rubbed clods of wet sand on the sacks to gain a wee bit more weight. So we got £30 for 6 wks work, boy did Woolies make a profit that Saturday. Big bars of Galaxy, pik n mix and a fish supper for the bus on the way home. I also remember waiting on a Thursday for " Callan Towdie " to stop outside Kennys at No.28 and once he drove away me and my sister would run across the road, chase the sheep out the way and run by the fresh water well. Because Peggy Domhnall Dhu always, and I mean always, bought us a cream cooky and we would sit in her kitchen with Domhnall Duh, it was his tea break from the "Beart" and we would talk ,and talk and talk. Other memories rack me with fear, to think what we got up to. Standing on the back of the tractor, taking home the peats, going down to the machair to fish off the rocks , playing in the "old house " at No.29 where my cousin Dan now lives, seeing a sheep being killed in the byre and having chops the same day for our tea (H&S ...... exactly). Walking from 30 to 36 well after midnight, pitch black no street lights and 'not a care in the world'.
To think we wrap our children in cotton wool nowadays. I played football on many an occassion for South Bragar, and met many a friend, David Campbell, Caulley, Christopher, Mackinnon Bros to name a few. We weren't exactly Real Madrid but every game was a pleasure to play in. On one occassion I actually scored a goal against Barvas up in Carloway and still boast about it to my son telling him " that's the pitch daddy scored a goal and Prince Charles landed hie helicopter on. The Carloway Cattle Show is another memory I fondly recall but not the taste of the coconuts we used to win. I'd rather of had a "Roican" thick with butter or a bar of Toffee Bo from Peggy Laxay.
My memories will stay with me forever and a day, bring a smile to my face and a lump to my throat.
Oh ... " to see the world through the eyes of our childhood ,what a wonderfull word this would be "

I hope this relates to someone else's memories of the daze gone by and sadly missed .


Added 04 February 2014


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