Dalmore Daytime

Dalmore Daytime
Sandy Beach

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Murchadh a Sgiobair.

Murchadh a Sgiobair(Murdo the Ship's Skipper) lived in a taigh dubh with his wife at No.6 Dalmore high up on the croft.The "black house" had very thick walls and was thatched with straw.The long axis of these black houses was in the direction of the strong prevailing winds (W. or S.W.) and were often built in the shelter of a hill,as was the case with Murdo's house.He and his wife had no children,but made everyone welcome inside their warm and inviting home.When I was about 6/7 years,I spent a bit of time with Murdo,"helping"around the 4 acre croft,or so I thought.Murdo assured me that he could not do a full day's work without my input(or with words to that effect).
I cannot recall Murdo's surname, but"nicknames" or noms de plume were often employed where there were a paucity of Mac surnames (eg Macleod,Macdonald,Mackay etc) and equally with Christian names(Donald,Murdo,Angus etc).My paternal grandfather,Alexander Maclennan was always known as "Shoudie",while my other grandfather,Donald Macleod was called "Glass".To this day I don't know why or how they acquired these pseudonyms.So, in the case of our Murdo,one cannot assume that he was the skipper of a boat.or that his father was,but it is nevertheless possible! Only his family could answer that one.
It was shortly after World War 2(the year 1947/48),and I,a game wee guy,was there to help my old pal Murdo in and around the croft at No.6.We were accompanied at all times by his "sonsie billie"Monty,a dog of questionable pedigree,but of unquestionable loyalty.One beautiful summer night,with the Milky Way illumining the scene,a crowd of people,young and old along with their dogs were gathered on the road outside Donald Macleod's house at No.8 Dalmore.They were waiting for the Magharan to deliver a lorry load of materials for Domhnull Challum (Donald Macleod No.8 - not Donald Macleod "Glass" at No.5).
The lorry arrived and the bright lights helped the Magharan in what were very difficult manoevres to place the tailgate of the lorry opposite the weaving shed.During this time of frantic activity,no one had noticed that one of the dogs had fallen under the rear wheels of this very heavy lorry.The dog was dying,but little could have been done to save him.It was Monty,my dear pal,who would have done his bit at El Alemein.Monty was carefully removed and his corpse was placed in Murdo's barn to save him from the ravens and the gulls.
After breakfast I joined Murdo at Monty's burial over near the fence and away from the feanags .Murdo led, spade in one hand, and Monty's tail in the other This was how Monty went to his grave,no ceremony,no Last Post.Still,a wee boy of 6/7 would have known no better.

1 comment:

Shelley said...

Thank you for these compelling stories.

Happy New Year to you!