Dalmore Daytime

Dalmore Daytime
Sandy Beach

Friday, 25 July 2008

Stornoway and the "Deedle Doddle".

I have to say that, when I was younger,I found Stornoway to be an interesting place,and at times,even exciting. It was of course a town,a Royal Burgh indeed,and increasingly cosmopolitan. There were people from Mallaig,Buckie,Inverness and a few Sassenaich in highly placed positions,with of course the Italians in the cafes and the itinerant Asian gentlemen with their large brown cases of clothing and haberdashery.
Some people had long since left their rural idyll for life in the town,in search of a job,a home and in some cases marriage and a family. Living in the city,you felt that it went on and on in all directions,whereas with Stornoway, you could define its limits - it had grown gradually around the harbour area over some time, in an easy and attractive way . Later,probably under Mathieson, Stornoway was rebuilt as a "model town" with its rectangular grid of streets. You couldn't lose yourself in Stornoway,unless your sat-nav was compromised by a few "halfs". Our reasons for "going across" to Stornoway were varied,and almost always pleasurable. Carloway Football Club played the different Stornoway teams at Goathill Park,and with 3 or 4 teams sharing that football pitch ( United,Athletic,Rovers and School? ),we were over in Stornoway many a night. Sheep dog trials in the Castle Grounds would also see us "in town". The mink farm required us to visit the slaughterhouse and the Broad Bay fish shop in Stornoway once a week for animal offal and fresh fish carcasses. I will return again to expand on "the mink" and the sheep dog trials.
My brother,Donald ,was a gifted football player and showed promise from an early age(primary school and secondary school teams). I remember that our Aunty Peigi took a great interest in Donald's career. When money was tight,after the war,she sent money to our mother(her sister)to buy Donald his first pair of football boots,and on another occasion a leather football.There was no Nike nor Adidas in 1948 ( perhaps the young Fritz Walter had heard of them ),but these boots were made entirely from a lightly tanned cow hide,and that included leather studs and leather boot laces. The boots had steel toe caps,presumably to allow one to "toe end" a long kick without the boot imploding. The toes,after a few games,pointed upwards and this could be useful in "punting the ball into the middle". The leather studs were hammered into the sole of the boot,which often resulted in the protruding nails piercing the soles of the foot. The leather football had an inner rubber tube (bladder) which was pushed through an opening in the leather panels. The bladder was inflated to the right pressure,the connector tied with string and the "tubey" laced up,boy's style.It was inevitable,that during a game, the lacing would ease a bit and stand proud of the ball. If one were to head this "tubey",the chances were that,more so on a wet day, your forehead was left with a nasty grase or worse. Goodness knows where this football gear was made,but it was the same for Willie Waddell,Billy Steel or "Bustling" Billy Houliston.Donald had this "state of the art" gear,but the difference was that the professionals were paid £5 per game. Coming up - The Stornoway Cup Final: United v Carloway,at Goathill Park around the year 1956?


Shelley said...

Do 2 haufs make a whole? ;)

Anonymous said...

Shelley, that American humour (not HUMOR) could get you into trouble,lass!
Two haufs makes a "large" and
Two large makes a "gill".
You're just awee rascal,hen.