Dalmore Daytime

Dalmore Daytime
Sandy Beach

Monday, 9 June 2008

Only the Best Will Do - "Well,Fancy"

Shonnie Glass, my uncle, was often first,always had to have the biggest or best,an innovator and entrepreneur, it was acknowledged, and a big businessman in the making. Shonnie was early on the road with his 250 cc BSA motorbike.He was probably the first to own a tractor and tipping trailer in the Carloway district. It was a grey Massey-Ferguson 315 which came all the way from Hamilton Brothers (Agricultural Engineers) in Paisley. As we lived close-by in Renfrew,many's the time one of us would arrange for some spare part to be ordered and dispatched to Lewis. The grass cutter and plough attachments constituted a revolution in local crofting,just as the tractor/trailer changed "the peats" forever. Shonnie's right hand man in this venture was Aonghas Iain a` Mhinisteir from Carloway. Angus,as he was otherwise and unsurprisingly called,was a great worker and held in high esteem by Shonnie,and with all he came in contact. Examples of biggest or best? The petrol engine used to drive the "bobbins machine" and favoured by many weavers was a small JAP engine,completely adequate for the purpose. Shonnie also had a JAP engine,but this was a monster(more like a jet engine), mounted on a very substantial base of cement blocks. The exhaust noise might waken the dead,and in Dalmore, that was not a good idea. When "the electric" came in 1951,you will remember that Shonnie bought this huge 13- valve radio with which it might have been possible to listen in on the conversations of Marshal Bulganin and Nikita Khruschev in the Kremlin in Moscow!
Fancy,the sheepdog,was a regular pillion passenger on Shonnie's motorbike,and got very excited at the prospect of an outing. Years before,if Shonnie needed the bike to seek out a sheep or lamb some miles away,he would tie an orange box onto the pillion, and stick Fancy in it,to use her on the moor. In time the box was removed,and Fancy would manage the pillion seat,by hitching her front "spogs" over Shonnie's shoulders. Latterly, with four feet on the seat,she "scratched the leather" to stay aboard during acceleration and violent cornering,such was Shonnie's driving. She was a little beaut! Sometimes Shonnie would say aloud that he had to go down to Carloway on the motorbike,but Fancy wasn't needed.Her head would go down between her spogs and her face would come over all sad (a consummate actress) until she heard the engine starting and Shonnie shouting "Where is my Fancy?".In two ticks,she was right behind him,her face aglow,giving a little yelp of excitement.
Shonnie and Fancy will be featured more in the future.

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