Dalmore Daytime

Dalmore Daytime
Sandy Beach

Monday, 11 August 2008

Glass,Radio Luxemburg and a Barrel of Whisky.

I was 12 year old when "Glass" died,but still have vivid memories of him. I have recounted previously that I always slept behind the bodach "up in the room",that I was privy to his long prayers to God,that he "took the book" every night without exception and that he closely resembled the King's father,King George V.
His people had remained with the established church(Church of Scotland)at the Disruption which took place back in 1843, giving rise to the Free Church, which the vast majority of Lewis people joined. I remember my grandfather,Glass, dressing for church,three piece black suit,white shirt,black tie,highly polished boots and fob watch and chain across his middle. The last thing before leaving was to stand in front of mirror by the room door,and gently comb the royal white beard. He had been an elder of his church in Carloway for many years,and strangely he had a doppelganger there in the Carloway church, in the person of the Carloway Postmaster,"Am Post Mhor". They really were alike,elders of their church and men of a certain standing. The "Eaglais Saor" lacked the gravitas of such men.
I think that Glass might have been termed a liberal of the Church,but in truth, most people outwith the Free Church were looked upon as such, adhering to some dangerous heresies of the "distant past". Glass,you'll remember,allowed us city boys to listen to Radio Luxemburg's "Top Twenty" at 11.00 pm on a Sunday night. "O mo gradh ort". Unlike "Shoudie", my other grandfather, Glass neither smoked nor drank(ie.alcohol)but saw no reason to denounce others who did. During the war, Glass found a barrel of whisky bobbing about on the surf on Dalmore beach. There was no need to worry the hard pressed customs' men,so Glass had the barrel removed to his barn by horse and cart, under the watchful eye of a couple of interested old friends in the village. "Dhe a'seo",they must have wondered. Well,they would discover shortly. Glass would invite Shoudie and Domhnull Chalum over to No.5 each day after lunch(except Sunday,of course - he wasn't that much of a liberal). Glass would excuse himself and head for the "sobhal",where the "uisge beatha" was secreted under the hay,draw off two good measures and return to his pals,who never once made a comment,but they did wonder about Glass's way with water and whisky. The conversations these afternoons were highly enjoyable and at times frivolous,despite the war and its privations. Shoudie must have hoped that Glass could change a few dockin leaves into tobacco! These afternoon get-togethers would last quite a while - well,until the barrel ran dry.

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