Dalmore Daytime

Dalmore Daytime
Sandy Beach

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Clann 'ic Iain. "Long" and "Glass"

My maternal grandfather, Donald Macleod,was known as "Glass",and this monicker.if ever understood,was forgotten in the mists of time. But, he would always be known as "Glass",somewhat neater than his "sloinneadh" in Gaelic, "Domhnall Thormoid 'an 'ic Iain". "Sloinneadh" means surname in English, but it conveys a lot more information than the anglicised surname "Macleod",which is a clan name shared by hundreds of thousands of people the world over. However this simple lineage explains Glass's "slionneadh" in Gaelic,of course.
Iain(John Macleod b.~1760)--> Mac Iain(John Macleod b.~1790)--> Tormod 'an 'ic Iain(Norman Macleod b.1824)--> Domhnall Thormoid 'an 'ic Iain(Donald Macleod b.1860 ie.GLASS).
Iain Shoudie,a Maclennan uncle,and a nonsense rhymster,used to sing a little ditty to me as a young boy, which made some allusion to a physical characteristic inherited from my Macleod side.The last line of the ditty was
"Ha sron clann 'ic Iain air an Dhada". Whatever he observed,I (Dada)could see nothing peculiar about my nose.
I remember when (in 1951)I was 10 years old being taken to see the only other survivor of Glass's siblings,his brother Duncan,known as "Long",who was on his death bed in his old style black house at No.18 Gearrannan.This was a very old design of "taigh dubh",with the long axis of the house perpendicular to the hill and following its slope downhill. There was only one door which was used by people and animals alike,and the interior was "open plan". There was no "tallan" to separate man and beast. Just inside the door on the right was the well supplied by a spring.I don't know if this was unusual in a house of this vintage ie. first find yourself a spring and then build your house around it! There were no windows at all,and the fire burned in the middle of the rough clay floor.There was a gap in the thatch above the fire,which allowed some of the smoke out, and a small amount of daylight in,by which one could just see "Long".I do remember some people around his bed who were probably close relatives like my mother,one of many nieces("Long" and his wife,Catherine,had no children of their own). There was a cupboard and a few chairs, and the box bed on which "Long" was lying. At the lower end of the house was a large amount of cow manure,which would have been cleared out in spring, if Duncan had been a fit man. My abiding memory of "Taigh Long" was one of great poverty,and yet, many people who lived in these black houses reared large families and lived to a good age. "Long" lived all of 89 years,and his brother Glass died a year later in 1953,aged 92 years - poor in some things,rich in the things that matter.

1 comment:

Tamra said...

I really enjoyed reading your account of family and life in that area. Really lovely. Thanks for sharing.
Tamra - USA