Dalmore Daytime

Dalmore Daytime
Sandy Beach

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

More on the Boer.

Calum Mackay,The Boer,came from Shawbost and got the croft at No.3 in a process of drawing lots(more on this later) in 1921.He
built his house and byre just below the road in sight of the trigh(shore).When building this taigh dubh(black house),the Boer came up with an innovation in chimney build.He decided it was not necessary to lead the smoke of the kitchen fire all the way up to the stack outside.(this would incur less stone,and some awkward work).Half-way up,the chimney was diverted into the bathach(byre),and the theory was that the smoke would be dissapated through the thatch and doors of the byre.Theory and practice are not always bedfellows,and when the wind came from a certain direction,as it nearly always did,the smoke was blown back into the kitchen in dense clouds of blue.The smoke from Calum's pipe added a certain aroma to the sweet smell of the peat smoke.As your eyes acclimatised,you would see the Boer with his head inclined to a radio,Calum's pride and joy.This was one of your "Marconi"jobs,which drew its electric current from lead-acid cells,rechargable at the "shed"(shop)in Carloway.This was the only radio in the village,and Calum was up to speed on everything.During the last war(1939-1945)all the men of the village would be in Taigh a Bhoer to get the latest news from his radio.During one report the name of Field-Marshall Goering kept cropping up.Finally the Boer said"Goering,Goering,I knew Goering,but the bugger is a damn sight heavier now than he was in these days"I think Calum may have been spinning a yarn here,but what a story!
The Boer was famed throughout the island for his expertise on sheep,and particularly rams,and because of this his opinion was often sought.when a ram was being purchased,an expensive item in these days.I think the Boer might have been an advisor to a "gentleman of means" from Shawbost,one Domhnull Goosie,who was married into the family who owned the tweed mill in Shawbost.He was tall,sported a military moustache.and was immaculately turned out in plus fours,hose and brogues.He had in more recent times been a Regimental Sergeant Major in the British Army.He often appeared in Dalmore in a beautiful limousine to pick up his friend the Boer to have a "look at some rams".They could sometimes be away for days on end.

Note : I discovered an interesting fact about Goring's father, Doctor Heinrich Goring, who was in the Diplomatic Service of the Kaiser's Germany in the late 19 th century. In the1880s, Dr. Heinrich Goring was appointed South West Africa's first Imperial Commissioner. This land (now Namibia) was the only territory which Germany acquired in the European "land grab" for Africa. Heinrich Goring's diplomatic career ended in1898 and he settled back in Germany. His son, Hermann Goring was entirely raised by governesses in Germany and could not have come across Calum Mackay during the Boer War. Still, it's tempting to speculate, and it is still a good story.

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