Dalmore Daytime

Dalmore Daytime
Sandy Beach

Friday, 5 December 2008

A Home Fit For Courting Minks.

You will remember that each summer,during our holiday in Dalmore,our Uncle Shonnie would set us up (an unfortunate phrase)with a "Big Job" that would take up a good proportion of our holiday time viz. taking home the peats by horse and cart. You will recall that in negotiating a price for this contract,Shonnie knew that he could not engage us for less than £1 (each)."You drive a hard bargain",was all he would say.
Doing the bobbins for the tweeds(5 shillings per tweed)or selling fishing net floats to my "agent" in Stornoway(1 shilling each)were looked upon as private enterprise,which was encouraged.as long as it didn't interfere with the "Big Job" or the "iteachan".Working for George at the minks was to see my income double, because making a box and cage, together earned me another 5 shillings.The young kids in the village could only stand and stare at the sight of "Spangles" and "Palm Toffee" sticking out of all the pockets of my dungarees,when I returned from town "on business". At times like this,my young friends appreciated my largesse with the "siucarean". I could appreciate how Carnegie must have felt!
I was involved in most aspects of George's mink business. To start with,I made the hutches and cages for the mink,and in doing so,earned good money. The mink cages were made of a strong hexagonal wire mesh,whose diameter would allow only about half an inch of mink nose to poke through. Any more than that - it would be goodbye fingers. Wire cutters, pliers and metal ring ties were employed in the construction of these cuboidal cages,which were big enough for the mink to move about freely. They had to be carefully made to prevent escape,with no sharp protrusions that would damage the animal's pelt. The hutch (or box) would be attached at one end,and a door provided at the other end when the male mink came "a'dean suiridhe" (came courting).
Now you must not think that I devised and planned the cages and boxes myself. Seoras had all the measurements and templates written down for me,and when he saw that I could do a proper job,he let me get on with it. By doing this,Seoras inspired confidence,and you felt a useful member of the team.
I'll continue with the minks in my next post.

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