Document 352

Conversation 08: Ayrshire woman and her mother

Author(s): N/A

Copyright holder(s): Prof John B Corbett, SCOTS Project

Audio transcription

F639 Earliest Christmas memory, would be between the ages of two and a half and nine, when we were living in Treebank Crescent, and we had paraffin heaters in the house cause we didn't have central heating. And we ran out of paraffin, and I said I would walk with my dad down to the garage and get more paraffin. And I remember it clearly because it was a beautiful night, and it was very starry. And I remember holding my dad's hand, and being very small, and looking up and saying to him, "Do you think Santa's on his way?" because it was Christmas Eve, and dad saying, "No, I don't think he's out yet", and we we both stood and looked up at the stars and we couldn't see Santa. And erm, the reason it's so special is that dad remembered it years later, I reminded him of it, and it's become our little thing to share. We always remind each other about it on Christmas Eve. And eh, I was saying, I don't really remember Christmases at Treebank Crescent, but I do remember Christmases at Fourhill Road.
F640 mmhm
F639 And eh, John and I were not children who got up very early in the morning, we would get up at our normal time, have our breakfast and then go through and open our presents. The anticipation was great, waiting for erm,
F640 The anticipation was probably better //than the realisation! [laugh]//
F639 //better than the realisation! [laugh]// //[laugh]//
F640 //[laugh]//
F639 Sadly! //And eh,//
F640 //[laugh]//
F639 no, we did fine, we did fine, and ehm as you said, Nana and Papa, you, I think every, every Christmas they came for dinner. And I was saying to Dan, yesterday, that Christmas was always, it always felt like a Sunday, //no matter//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 what day of the week it was. Because you didn't, you were usually in the house all day, so the feelin of Christmas by the end of Christmas day, I always felt just a little bit claustrophobic, //because I hadn't been outside; there was always//
F641 //[laugh]//
F639 //that feelin of.//
F640 //Can you imagine what your// what I felt like? //[laugh]//
F639 //You must have been havin the screamin heebie-jeebies then, [laugh]//
F641 //[laugh]//
F639 [inaudible] that feelin of not gettin out, not gettin fresh air and by the end of the day, you just, maybe hit-, had a little bit stuffy head, and you felt //a little bit claustrophobic cause you hadn't been out.//
F641 //mmhm mm//
F639 So it was always a peculiar day, but, Nana and Papa came, we would have dinner about three o'clock in the //afternoon, eh.//
F641 //[?]Or[/?], what did you eat?//
F639 Oh well, traditional. //We had//
F641 //Turkey?//
F639 ehm, oh we just had soup, //maybe to start,//
F640 //Soup, usually.// //mmhm//
F639 //maybe a different// kind of soup every year. But we always had traditional turkey, //brussels sprouts, roasted potatoes.//
F640 //Brussels sprouts, roast potatoes.// Cream potatoes.
F639 Cream potatoes, eh chipolata sausages,
F640 Cranberry //sauce.//
F639 //Cranberry// sauce, bread pu- bread sauce. And then obviously Christmas pudding; did we have anything as well as Christmas //pudding?//
F640 //No.//
F639 //No, just Christmas pudding.//
F641 //Was this home-made// //Christmas pudding?//
F640 //oh// //no, no.//
F639 //mm, no.// //you probably bought it.//
F641 //No?//
F639 I'll let mum, she can go, Christmas from her perspective, //ehm//
F641 //[laugh]//
F639 the work involved. //And eh//
F641 //[laugh]//
F639 brandy butter, //or cream.//
F640 //uh-huh//
F639 I don't remember liking the brandy butter too //much when I was young.//
F640 //mmhm//
F639 And, eh
F640 And then, //at rout-//
F641 //[inaudible]//
F639 Later on, cause, we would always have just a snack, maybe a cold turkey sandwich later at night. //No? No.//
F640 //No. No. Later on your aunt// Mary, and her husband and S- your cousin came //in.//
F639 //Came in.// Right.
F640 And I reset the table, and it was a cup of tea, //with//
F639 //mmhm//
F640 sandwiches,
F639 Right.
F640 mincemeat //pies,//
F639 //Right.// //oh//
F640 //and// Christmas cake.
F639 Oh that's right, now, that's right. Aye, cause like we can go on to New Year, after that, cause I have that. //Auntie Mary's cherry//
F640 //[?]Oh do you?[/?]//
F639 cherry cake, that I loved, that she used to, did she //make it?//
F640 //oh you went to your// Nana's at New Year.
F639 And she brought, did she make //make the cherry cake, was that home-made?//
F640 //And Nana always made that very// special; it was tinned salmon sandwiches. //[laugh]//
F639 //[laugh]//
F641 //[laugh]// mm //mm//
F640 //Oh did your Auntie// Mary bring cherry cake? //No, she wouldn't have made it. No.//
F639 //And I loved. She wouldn't have made it, that was.// I love cherry cake! Anyway,
F640 Oh I take yer Uncle //Bill,//
F639 //I can't// think if I've got any //other Christmas//
F640 //I take our// Uncle Bill one every year. Seven pounds //[?]it was.[/?]//
F639 //I loved those// cherry cakes, oh I loved it. I can't think of any other. We never got snow, at //Christmas//
F640 //No.//
F639 cause we lived beside the sea. //No.//
F640 //No, we never got snow.//
F639 I have one memory of snow when we were livin in Treebank Crescent. I've one memory //of goin out and//
F641 //mm//
F639 playin on the cul-de-sac, //in the snow and//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 watchin the snow comin down, standing at the window, we'd erm metal blinds, //Venetian blinds and//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 standin watchin the snow comin down. But I I can only remember that happening once; it maybe happened more, but.
F640 And the strange thing was, when they were young, as far as I can remember, they only got the gifts from us. We didn't get gifts, they didn't get gifts //from aunties.//
F641 //mmhm from// aunties, I see.
F640 Well you got something from your //Nana and Papa, but we//
F639 //Nana and Papa, I would th-.//
F640 didn't exchange gifts
F639 //No.//
F641 //With the// //rest of the family.//
F640 //with the sisters, you know?// I didn't buy the nieces and nephews, and they never got anything //back.//
F639 //And we got something// from Santa.
F640 mmhm
F639 A Santa gift.
F640 Well it was a Santa gift.
F639 Santa gave it in addition to one from //you and Dad?//
F640 //No.//
F639 No it was just a Sa- , cause I yeah, cause I need to get all this right for Sam. [laugh] //[laugh]//
F640 //[laugh]//
F641 //[laugh]//
F639 I don't know what. I couldn't. Do we give him one plus a Santa gift, or is it just from Santa under the tree? Right. //Get it right.//
F640 //Well it wasn't under the// tree; it was in your stocking.
F639 In your //stocking.//
F640 //Cause you hung// your stocking up.
F639 Right.
F640 You pegged it up, //somewhere that//
F639 //mmhm// And it was one of Dad's socks.
F640 mmhm, //oh aye the biggest we could//
F639 //Biggest stocking! [laugh]//
F641 //oh was it? [laugh]//
F639 //No it wasn't,//
F640 //find.//
F639 you know, nowadays you have the nice, you know, you //can buy them.//
F641 //Sure.//
F639 //But no, it was, it was one, er,//
F640 //oh, no it was//
F639 //we looked for the biggest//
F641 //It was a real?//
F639 sock he had! [laugh], //[laugh],//
F640 //[laugh]//
F641 //[laugh]//
F639 you know, and then, it was, it was a real sock that we put up, we hung up. We didn't have a a mantelpiece though; where did we put it?
F640 I think we just put it at the back of a chair, with //[inaudible]//
F639 //We just, I think// we just lay it across the back of the chair, that's //right.//
F640 //mmhm//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 And that. And that's right, cause John had a chair, and that //was designated//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 that's where John's presents would be, and then I had a chair and that's where my presents would be. //And//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 we hung our stocking. And we left, of course, I remember doing that at Treebank Crescent, a glass of milk //and, something for the reindeer.//
F641 //oh yes, [?]some cake[/?],// oh for the reindeer! //Carrots?//
F639 //Carrots for//
F640 //mmhm//
F639 the reindeer. And of course, it would be the empty glass would be there and the empty plate in the morning, you'd go //oh S-S-//
F640 //It was the magic of.//
F639 Santa's been, cause there he'd drunk the milk, //and he'd had the carr-,//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 the reindeer'd had the carrot. So you knew he'd been. //I do remember that.//
F641 //Yeah.//
F640 But because there were four of us in the fa-, four children in our family, we had a mantelpiece, but we put two chairs at a distance apart and tied the clothes rope
F641 oh
F640 from one chair to the other and our stockings were pegged up
F641 uh-huh
F640 there. But, ehm, we didn't have a special meal at Christmas, because my father, in those days, especially in Scotland anyway, England might have been different, but in Scotland your father worked on Christmas day. It was an ordinary, and Scotland didn't really ehm celebrate Christmas by not working; they still worked. And, ehm, of course, we only got one small toy, whatever it was, and a a small orange, and a coin, not a large coin, a very small coin, at the bottom of the stocking, and again it was m- one of my father's //socks, that//
F641 //Socks.//
F640 that were up. But we didn't have a special meal at Christmas time, eh, there was still the magic of Christmas day, but because my father worked, we didn't have //turkey,//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 we well, I never, I didn't know what turkey was, at that time, //[laugh].//
F641 //[laugh]//
F640 So we didn't have a special meal; the special time was at New Year,
F641 Okay.
F640 because, eh, my Dad got two days off,
F641 mmhm
F640 erm, the, and the shops were shut for two days. Well having six in the family, including my mum and dad, and pe- visitors coming in, there was a big shopping done. And we had a tut a boiler in our kitchen, where we boiled the clothes, a gas boiler,
F641 mmhm
F640 so that boiler was lined with clean dish-towels, //and my mother//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 bought bread and scones and cake, and filled the boiler up, [laugh] //with//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 food, enough to get us through, over the two-day holiday. And it was always the, so New Year's Day was the special meal. //Wh-//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 it was always a boiling fowl, //which my mother//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 boiled, because she could make soup with the stock. //And//
F639 //Yeah.//
F641 //uh-huh//
F640 you always got a, just, to me even in those days, it was a small piece of this boiling fowl; there was never enough, and that's why I think I love chicken, //to this day, because I//
F639 //[laugh]//
F640 //can still taste//
F641 //[?]eat so much[/?]//
F640 that piece of of of boiling fowl, that was, you know it was never, you never, you didn't say you wanted more, but there was never enough there. And ehm she would eh, boil a tongue, an ox tongue.
F641 mmhm
F640 And then she would put it betee- between two plates to press it, you know, pressed tongue. //And you put//
F639 //mm//
F641 //Yeah, yeah.//
F640 s- heavy books or something on top of it, so there was always tongue. And then, eh, the day after New Year, eh there was always a big steak pie. Cause you usually had people, well somebody, you know, ma- my aunt, or so-called aunt from Kilmarnock would maybe come that day. And, ehm, if you had visitors of course, the eh, you di- you didn't have a dining room; you had a living room which also //had a drop-leaf//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 table, so there was never enough space for everyone to to sit round the table.
F639 So it was //buffet-style?//
F640 //So the adults// always, no, //the adults ate//
F639 //[inaudible]//
F640 first.
F641 mmhm
F640 Er, it didn't matter, even, that's not just at New Year, I mean if if anybody ever came, at any time, the adults ate first and you sat in a chair, [laugh] //patiently starving, patiently waiting your turn//
F639 //[laugh] Changed days! Can you imagine that happening now?//
F641 //[laugh]//
F640 to to eat, and hoping, you know, there'd be //enough left.//
F641 //And hoping there would be// [laugh]
F640 But the thing was ehm, if eh, someone brought a a young person with them, they were allowed to be at the table. //with the adults,//
F639 //[?]No way![/?]//
F640 uh-huh, but we had to sit and wait until they were finished before, before we got ours. So that was really quite different. //And my mother//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 was, and father especially, father didn't really say much, but we knew by his look that, ehm, you know, we had to behave ourselves //and be very mannerly at the table.//
F641 //mmhm mm//
F640 My mother really taught us the manners, but my father eh made sure //that they were carried out,//
F641 //[inaudible] yeah.//
F640 you know, and you couldn't, you know, you had to //to ask to be excused from the table, "please may I//
F641 //[inaudible] enforce [laugh]//
F640 leave the table?" You could not leave the table until, you know, you had said that, until everybody was finished. But as I say it was really New Year time. Christmas was a nice time, but, it was not special as far as a meal was concerned, and //We nev- we never had//
F641 //uh-huh//
F640 guests; I had no relatives that stayed in the same town.
F641 uh-huh //So, and did you go to//
F640 //So, you never h-//
F641 to relatives later on, or?
F640 No, because they, no not, no, because they stayed at a distance away, you'd have to have gone by bus.
F641 uh-huh
F640 We didn't have a car of course. Didn't have a car, didn't have a telephone.
F641 mmhm
F640 Didn't have a fridge. I didn't have a fridge, actually, till I was, till we went to Treebank eh Crescent. I would be, [inhale], nearly, what, maybe eight years married before I ever had a fridge. So you shopped mainly every day.
F641 Can you think of that? //[laugh]//
F639 //mmhm!// //mm//
F640 //And therefore you bought// meat; I mean if you bought meat, you cooked it, or you maybe kee- kept the meat in a cool place
F641 [cough]
F640 for one day and then cooked it. So you really shopped. And ehm, oh aye my mother didn't have a fridge, didn't have a fridge or anything like that. //mmhm and,//
F639 //Most people now have two fridges.//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 in the summertime
F641 And the freezer.
F639 //And the freezer.//
F640 //We d-// we did have good weather, //quite often in the summertime,//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 when I was young, I mean we did have nice summer days that were really hot. So m- my mother had to put the milk and the butter. She would ehm, fill a a big dish with cold //water, and sit it in to keep//
F641 //With cold water, yeah, I remember.//
F640 cold water to ke- keep it //cool.//
F639 //But you'd just// //be shoppin every day.//
F640 //But you really shopped// //about every day.//
F639 //Yes.// you'd only get enough milk to last
F640 mmhm
F639 //a day or//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 so, cause it'd go off.
F641 Yeah.
F639 mmhm
F641 It's quite different from now.
F639 Yeah, well, yeah.
F640 And I mean you didn't have central heating, we didn't. It was only ehm, the winter that, before we left Treebank, we never really had a winter out of it; we had a an electric fire in the living room, and we had a par- paraffin //heater downstairs, and a paraffin heater at the top of the stairs,//
F639 //uh-huh [inaudible] at the top of the stairs.// //I remember that, the condensation.//
F640 //which was awful really, cause you got the smell from.// But it wasn't; they weren't good really. But, then the winter bef- just before we left, we never really got using it, I put, I wh- a storage heater at the bottom of the stair, your Uncle Jim did it, remember, and a storage heater in the dining, cause it was a dining-kitchen area, erm. So, yeah, she didn't really have central heating, so, but you survived it, //I mean.//
F639 //mmhm//
F640 Put hot-water bottles in bed at night and
F641 [laugh]
F639 //Well I lived in plenty of//
F640 //didn't have an electric blanket.//
F639 er student accommodation that didn't have central heating, oh, you used to wake up in the morning and ah, you could see your breath in the bedroom; //it was so cold!//
F641 //[laugh]// //Icicles in the wi- in the window!//
F639 //I had more clothes in bed than out of bed,// oh yeah it was cold in some of those places I lived in, freezing cold!
F641 mm
F639 We're spoiled now.
F641 oh definitely! [laugh] //[inaudible]//
F639 //But then, much happier!// //[laugh]//
F640 //[laugh]//
F641 //[laugh]//
F639 I'm not going back to no central heatin. [inhale]
F640 //So I don't know what//
F641 //No.//
F640 else we can think about; that's //sort of covered Christmas//
F639 //No [inaudible]// //and you used//
F640 //and New Year.//
F639 to clean the house, from top to bottom, the //house.//
F640 //Oh at New// Year.
F639 Yeah. //and you had to, all your bills,//
F640 //oh yes, mmhm//
F639 had to be paid. //There was, there were a lot of superstitions.//
F640 //Well, mmhm.// About New Year. //You didn't//
F639 //About New Year.//
F641 //Yeah.//
F640 go into the New Year with debt. //You paid everything before the New Year.//
F641 //ah okay, mmhm//
F640 You cleaned the house - really cleaned the house -
F639 mmhm
F640 eh for New Year.
F641 For New Year. //So//
F640 //er//
F641 did you help your mum?
F640 No! //No. [laugh]//
F639 //Never, never!//
F641 //[laugh]//
F639 //[laugh]//
F640 //Quite often we bought// new cushion covers and chair covers and things like that,
F639 mmhm
F640 for New Year coming in, Because you did expect to have //visitors.//
F639 //Company.//
F641 uh-huh
F640 You know, to have company. But,
F641 Do do you have any, do you have any superstitions, or things you do //for New Year?//
F640 //Yes.// //Yes, well, s-,//
F641 //What kind of thing?//
F640 your first, you know the first person who came to the door, had to be, was called your "First Foot",
F641 uh-huh
F640 And, they had to be dark-haired.
F641 Why?
F640 Because dark-haired people were lucky; it was unlucky to get a red-headed //person or a blonde.//
F641 //I see, uh-huh// [laugh] //[laugh]//
F639 //And I//
F640 //uh-huh//
F639 think that goes back to the Vikings; that's my theory, or maybe I've read it somewhere. Where erm //blonde people were unlucky,//
F640 //And they had to be carrying a piece of coal.//
F641 mm
F639 So it was like the Viking invasion, //the blonde.//
F641 //[?]In vain[/?]// mmhm
F639 So dark people, dark-haired people
F641 Were friendly and
F639 were yeah lucky. //[inaudible]//
F640 //And they'd b-, they would carry a piece of coal,// in their hand, that //was [inaudible]//
F641 //uh-huh// //To bring warmth for the//
F640 //good luck.//
F639 //"Lang may yer//
F641 //hands, eh?//
F639 lum reek", you'd to throw it in the fire, and say "Lang may yer lum reek", "Long may your chimney //smoke",//
F640 //Smoke,// because that meant you would be pro-, you know, have //enough coal to to heat the house.//
F639 //Always have heat to warm,// yeah.
F640 And eh, of course, in those days, the only time you had alcohol in the house was at New Year.
F641 mm
F640 You didn't have alcohol, because we didn't drink, we didn't drink at all. But at New Year, you, but I mean, you had only, maybe a, you know, a bottle of whisky and a bottle of sherry, something like that, I mean you didn't have a whole variety of //drink in,//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 erm, So it was, even, you know, when I was young, I mean my father, who did like a drink, //did only//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 have drink in the house at New Year. And you had, ehm, fruit loaf, //eh, not//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 fruit loaf, fruit cake, and shortbread of course.
F641 mmhm
F640 Ehm, and you really had to, I mean anybody, and and you said a "Happy New Year" to people, you celebrated New Year, I think you stopped saying "Happy New Year" to people up to about the eleventh of January,
F639 //mmhm//
F641 //uh-huh,// //ah because it's the beginning of the New Year [inaudible].//
F640 //you know, mmhm [inaudible].// It's not just for that //short period of time,//
F641 //For the day, yeah.//
F640 erm. Yes, there were these sort of things that were expected, of you, as I say, with your shortbread, your your cherry cake and your fruitcake. Ginger wine of course! You made ginger wine for the children.
F641 oh for the children. //uh-huh//
F640 //For the children.// And for anybody who happened to be non-drinkers that came in, which weren't very //many,//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 [laugh] //[laugh]//
F640 //eh in our family.//
F641 //[laugh]// I enjoy the smell of Christmas time round the house,
F640 uh-huh
F641 the smell of the the ginger wine, obviously, but of the cooking and all the sweets, and things that //houses smell.//
F640 //Well, the smell of// Christmas to me is actually of a very old-fashioned electric fire my mother //had, [laugh]//
F641 //[laugh]//
F640 which was plugged in when, while, because again you had no central heating; you had one coal fire, ehm and this this heater, when it was plugged in, for you to op- you know when it was time for you to open your presents, you //you know, you did it//
F641 //eh//
F640 in the bedroom because your your sock was at the bottom of //the bed when I was young.//
F641 //mm// uh-huh
F640 You, well, when I was very young it was hung //at the bottom of the bed, and then we put it on this//
F639 //[inaudible] and then [inaudible]//
F640 clothes rope when you went through to the living room when you were older. But Christmas to me was the smell of that electric //fire,//
F639 //[inaudible]//
F640 and, you know, I used it when I, and when I worked, I took it into the clinic where I worked, and plugged it in if necessary, and it still had that //smell! [laugh].//
F641 //[laugh]//
F640 But eh aye, it's just the the //things, but I I mean//
F639 //mmhm//
F640 quite honestly, New Year I remember. I remember Christmas //but New Year was more//
F639 //You didn't, did you do a// Christmas tree or anything?
F640 I can't remember if I'd a Christmas tree; it certainly wasn't a a - I can't remember having a real one, oh jings, it's yer Auntie Margaret really //you should be asking, but//
F639 //mm//
F640 we certainly had decorations up. //We had decorations up.//
F639 //mm Paper// //chains and things [?]did you make them all yourself?[/?]//
F640 //Well paper chains at the beginning,// and then you bought them, and they went from the middle of the light //to each corner of the room.//
F639 //mmhm mmhm//
F640 ehm you know the decorations set went up for Christmas, my mother always always did that.
F639 mm you did that for us; we decorated when we were //young.//
F640 //oh// uh-huh
F639 We used to have decorations up, cause it always, when you took them down, you know in //January, the place was so bare!//
F640 //The place was bare!//
F641 Yeah.
F639 //You know, you//
F640 //And one// especially was a big paper bell, which //hung at at the window, remember?//
F639 //That's right, the window big// paper bell, and and just like paper, or sort of, the the shiny balls, //hangin from the corners,//
F641 //mmhm mmhm//
F639 and things, I remember that, and then, you know, a face of a s- of a Santa Claus hanging up and snowmen, and
F641 mm //Did you used//
F639 //I remember that.//
F641 to put up a nativity scene or //er?//
F640 //No.//
F639 //We never had//
F641 //No?//
F639 a nativity scene, no.
F640 Because when I was very young I didn't really go to church, we didn't, well my parents never went to church. erm
F641 When did you start going and why?
F640 Er I started going, I think, whether my mother did go once or twice to this congregational church and I started I must have started quite y- young, maybe about twelve, thirteen, to go, and I went with, and my brother, well, he's two years younger, but we did eventually go together, my brother and myself, wh-, because I was teaching Sunday School when I was fourteen,
F641 mm
F640 so I must have gone //before that, must have been,//
F639 //mmhm//
F641 //Sure.//
F640 uh-huh ehm My mother had belonged to a church before she was married. But, once she was married, she didn't, well, she started having a //family quite quickly and//
F639 //Yeah, she did.//
F640 she didn't go back, and my father certainly ehm was not connected to a church. And I was actually, ehm, we had never been baptised.
F641 mm
F640 when we were babies, //because my father//
F641 //No?//
F640 probably wouldn't have gone and done it, ehm, he didn't eh express any views about anything, but he wouldn't have done that, I don't think, he wouldn't have gone to a church and stood. So, ehm, wh- when I was ten, so my brother would be eight, my other sister would be thirteen and my other sister would be fourteen, ehm, oh my mother, I'll tell I'll tell you what happened, there was a church, a Lochside church in our area, and I think my mother had gone to that church once or twice, I think I went to that Sunday School actually. I did go to the Sunday School for a wee while but I didn't like it very much. But she must have spoken to the minister and said we'd never been baptised, tut, christened as we call it, we'd never been christened.
F641 mmhm
F640 And eh, he had said, well it was never too late; he would do it. And eh he came to the house,
F641 mmhm
F640 one night, and and that, this, well she'd my mu- been my mother's friend when she was young, her pal, and but we ca-, so we called her "aunt", and she stayed in Kilmarnock, and she came down to be probably a sort of witness, but my father wouldn't, he never came. //He stayed//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 away //from the house,//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 ehm, and I can remember, I mean I can remember being christened; we a- the four of us sat along the couch waiting for the minister to come, and the minister was a tiny little man called Mr Paterson, eh, so much so that I think my sister Mary, especially, would be taller than he //was. And I can always//
F639 //[laugh]//
F641 //[laugh]//
F640 remember, you know, my mother put a nice cloth on the drop-leaf table, and she had a, her, it wasn't real crystal, it was a cut-glass sugar-bowl.
F641 mmhm
F640 where the water, //the water was in that, and//
F641 //[inaudible]//
F640 so I can remember, I can v- vividly remember being christened, [inhale] but, as I say I must have gone to that s- Lochside Sunday School for a little while, and then for some reason, I don't know why, we got to this congregational church. And eh, as I say, by the time I was fourteen, I was eh teaching Sunday School. And my brother, at age sixteen, became a Deacon, which is the same as an Elder in the church, //although he//
F641 //mm//
F640 has since, you know, has had no connection with the church since then. But we did go through, we went through Youth Fellowship, //ehm you know,//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 together, my brother and I and and ehm, it was one of the best times in my life, because we had lovely company. I've still got friends, you know, that were in the Youth Fellowship with me. //And of course we were//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 married in that church. //But,//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 erm, no my my parents had no church connection //at all.//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 So therefore, but you know, in Scotland, well, when you die //the minister of//
F641 //mm//
F640 the parish is bound to to attend the funeral
F641 mmhm
F640 you know, you don't need to belong to a church eh to have a minister, it's the minister of that parish
F641 mmhm //mmhm//
F640 //who does the funeral,// so when my mother and father died it was the minister of the Auld Kirk, which was the church nearest their house, who attended the funeral, which is very difficult, because you don't know the person; you've to be //told. Aye.//
F639 //mmhm//
F641 //Yes of course, mmhm//
F640 I mean, you know?
F641 Yeah. Did you used to go to church, //when you were little?//
F639 //mmhm, yeah.//
F640 //They went// //to Sunday School.//
F639 //We went to// Sunday School, and we went to church, right really till I went to University, and then I I sort of stopped going. And I haven't gone regularly,
F641 mmhm
F639 //since then.//
F640 //And I never forced// //it although, you//
F639 //mm erm//
F640 know her daddy was always in it; well, became an Elder //in the church.//
F641 //Yes.//
F640 We never forced it, but there's always the famous story that we tell about when I was, I used to go to church and and eh they went in to Sunday School.
F639 And I didn't enjoy Sunday //School.//
F640 //mmhm//
F641 //No?// Why not?
F639 [suck] I just, eh I just don't remember enjoying it, I just don't I don't think I really liked the other kids that were there //that much,//
F641 //mmhm// //[laugh]//
F640 //mm//
F639 And I was quite //shy, as well.//
F640 //Because it wasn't like// it wasn't like school; they don't have to behave themselves. //They're not kept//
F639 //Yeah.//
F640 under strict control, [laugh] so they can be rather //boisterous, which Alison didn't like.//
F639 //It is, yes.// Yeah. I don't really remember exactly. I just don't remember, you know, enjoying it that much. There was, yeah, there was a lot of running around and you were in a hall, and didn't //suit me.//
F640 //When it came// to a certain age, you just stopped and we just accepted //that. We didn't mmhm.//
F639 //And I went to church instead. I sat through the church service,//
F640 mmhm
F639 ehm which [laugh] I probably didn't really enjoy that much either. [laugh] //[laugh] yeah.//
F641 //[laugh] But it was better than it was!//
F639 It's a shame.
F641 I thought Sunday School was something like, you know, we would have catechism and religion, religious
F640 They're told stories. //They're told a story.//
F639 //They're told stories, [inaudible]//
F641 //[?]Stories of[/?]// //the Bible or?//
F639 //co-// colouring-in books, I mean I remember colouring in pictures and things at //Sunday School, and//
F640 //uh-huh//
F639 I mean, I'm glad I got the education,
F641 mmhm
F639 You know, and it's something that Dan and I need to figure out with Sam, because, you know, with Dan being Jewish, we have this, you know, what are we going to do? And we sometimes try and, we talk about it, but we can't quite figure out what to do, because, you know, Dan's not really interested in in Judaism, I mean he is interested in it on an in an intellectual level, but not really on a spiritual level.
F641 mmhm
F639 On a religious level, I won't say spiritual, cause that is s- something a little bit different.
F641 mmhm
F639 He probably is interested in it on a spiritual level, as I am interested in religion on a spiritual level, but, you know, we haven't quite figured out. //We would like Sam to have//
F641 //Practical, the practical thing.//
F639 some kind of //you know, education, cause you don't get it in the schools in the United States.//
F641 //mmhm yes, absolutely. No.//
F639 Complete separation of church //and state.//
F641 //ah here too.// //[inaudible] school. mmhm//
F639 //Oh no, you get it here, you get religious education in the schools here.//
F641 Yeah.
F639 But you you know you learn about all the religions in the schools here, but it's absolutely not taught in the States, because it's in the Constitution that you can't have it, you know ehm in the public public schools, [tut], but ehm so we, cause Sam, Sam wasn't baptised, we didn't have him christened, ehm you know, cause Dan wouldn't really have been comfortable standing up in a //Christian church.//
F641 //Yeah, I see.//
F639 But then, I didn't want him to have ehm a Jewish ceremony, necessarily, and I I didn't feel comfortable with that, because he's not Jewish; it goes through the female line. And he's, technically, he's not Jewish, //so.//
F641 //You// never converted to, you didn't have a //religious, no?//
F639 //No.// No, so he's, he's kind of caught in the middle. But, ehm yeah, we need to, we need to sort //something out.//
F641 //Yeah, to feel// [inaudible] as well.
F639 And it's a shame because actually the Presbyterian church close to us is, I I like it. //I'd probably be quite//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 comfortable going along to it, but I don't want to go on my own.
F640 mmhm
F639 //I feel as//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 if we do something I want it, us to do it as a family: I don't want to be going off on my own, you know, to do, to attend that, if Dan and Sam aren't involved in it. //So,//
F641 //Yeah, of course.//
F639 we'll see. We'll have to think about it.
F641 Yeah. Yeah, there's time. //[laugh] yeah.//
F639 //oh there is time, there is// time, and as you say it's never too late. I mean maybe down the line we'll decide we want to //get him baptised,//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 or I would say, you know, I do feel as if it is important to me to have him baptised, and we can do it when he's older, or he can decide,
F640 //mmhm//
F641 //[inaudible]//
F639 //I mean what I would like, ideally,//
F640 //Well, you and John were baptised of course, but I don't know if I would do it now.//
F641 mm //I think I would, I//
F639 //ideally, I would//
F640 //I don't think it's so important.//
F641 I I personally would still, //uh-huh.//
F639 //Yeah.// I mean, ideally I would like for Sam to know about both. //And that's I think//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 what we will try and do, but we have to work out how we're going //do that and then//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 let him decide when he's older, I mean he may decide he's interested in Judaism, //or he may decide,//
F641 //mm//
F639 "no I want to attend..."
F640 Or he might do neither!
F639 //Or he might do//
F641 //[laugh]//
F639 neither, but I'd like him to be, but, you know, I I think it's important that you get the the chance to find out, so you //can make the//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 decision, rather than, as you say, your parents didn't go to church, so you didn't really know anything. And I always remember my friend Gillian. She was never, never went to Sunday School, her parents never went to church. She always felt there was something //missing.//
F641 //mm//
F639 And she now goes to church, and and has just had both her girls, who are about eight and five, baptised. As as older children. //They went//
F640 //mmhm//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 through a ceremony, cause she never had them baptised as babies. //And//
F641 //mm//
F639 eh so, but she said she she would have liked to have known a bit more about it. So there's that side as well, you think, well, //I'd like//
F641 //Yeah.//
F639 to maybe at least know, and I think it's really important, I mean, apart from just living in society, but, you need to know, I think, even just for, to be able to study literature properly, you have to know //the allusions//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 to the Bible or to religion. You have to know what the stories are, //you know.//
F641 //Yeah.//
F639 Even if you think they're just stories. They're good stories. //You need to know about them, you know?//
F641 //[laugh] mmhm yeah.//
F639 You can't say, "well, I I've no idea who Noah is," or Moses, //or, you know, the New Testament.//
F641 //[laugh] mmhm//
F639 "I don't know anything about //it."//
F640 //Well, that's what// John said once, wasn't it, that //one of the best//
F639 //mmhm//
F640 things that happened to him was getting the Gideon Bible, //at//
F639 //mmhm//
F640 you when you went to Belmont, //didn't you, you all got a Gideon Bible.//
F639 //I read the whole thing.//
F640 And he read it so, when he went to University, I mean, when things were coming up as you say in literature, he knew //about it.//
F639 //You know what// they're referring to, I mean even in poetry, you //think, well if you don't//
F640 //mmhm//
F639 have a background in that. Even if you don't necessarily go down a hundred percent the belief, you know, that you //think//
F640 //mmhm//
F639 it's still, it's part of, you know, the world, //and the culture, and, you have to, yeah.//
F641 //mmhm yeah, yeah it's part of culture and knowledge, yeah.//
F639 Yeah, even if you, your faith isn't quite goin down that road.
F641 mmhm
F639 But erm, so, //but as I//
F641 //mm//
F639 say, we need to to work that out.
F641 Yeah. mm yeah, //do you enjoy Christmases now?//
F639 //[inaudible]//
F640 //oh yes!//
F641 //Celebrating// Christmas nowadays?
F639 //I do I'd say, yeah.//
F640 //I but, uh-huh.//
F639 Yes I do. I think now I probably enjoy it more with Sam.
F641 [laugh] yeah.
F639 You know, it was, I've always loved Christmas. //I've always loved it.//
F640 //I just// I just would like, eh, it was nice that other night when we went to Bob and Christine's because that's always the sort of thing I would want to do. I feel that you, we don't have, leading up to Christmas, we d- it's not that we d-, well especially for me, I do have the time, I'm not that busy now, especially if I'm not in- involved in doing a Christmas day dinner. You don't take the time for the lead-up to //Christmas, to spend time with//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 //With people.//
F640 //friends,//
F639 mmhm
F640 //and//
F641 //Yeah.//
F640 people and do something, even although it's just simple, like having them along for a coffee or something. erm and I really of course I, well, w- we didn't go to any church services, because although I I I am ba- I didn't go to church for a long time, I was very involved when I was young, as I say at th- that time in the Youth Fellowship it was a wonderful time in my life, but as the years have gone on, with the children, you didn't go ba-, you didn't go to church, didn't take time to go to church, erm, and I've gone back, since I've left work, to going back to church again, but it's //um it's//
F641 //It's not the same, huh.//
F640 no, well I I can't say I go, well, because I've got firm beliefs. I don't have //firms beliefs, I'm//
F641 //mm//
F640 still searching. I don't know what's, I was, I was very very sure when I was in my teenage years,
F639 mmhm
F640 because it was something th- that I could hang on to. //It it gave me//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 //mmhm//
F640 //something that I could// hang on to, it gave me something eh to believe in, but //you know, so so I am//
F641 //[inaudible] yeah.//
F640 s- sorry to say that I didn't go to any of the the services, you know, round //Christmas time.//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 Well, I can honestly say when I was young, the religious side of it was very important to me at //Christmas.//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 I really loved the Christmas story.
F641 mmhm
F639 And I can remember just, I would think about it, and Christmas Eve I would imagine in my head Mary and Joseph makin that long //journey,//
F641 //mmhm// //mmhm//
F639 //you know to// Bethlehem. I mean I really, you know and I think because I always sang in the choir at Christmas time, and I loved singing at the Christmas, you know the school //Christmas service,//
F641 //mm mm// mmhm
F639 We used to go along to Castlewood Church and sing, and I loved the Christmas songs, and I actually I really feel it wasn't the commercial side of it.
F641 mmhm
F639 You know, I really loved the Christmas story, and I I really, you know, it meant something to me. And I think
F640 Well that's maybe part of it too, that the commercialism side has crept //in so much//
F639 //Yeah.// //Too much [inaudible]//
F641 //People complain// they're so busy nowadays //they never have//
F640 //Well that's it// //but you know you get//
F641 //time.//
F639 //[inaudible]//
F640 //people in the shops and if, or if you meet someone they'll say,// "Isn't this a nightmare?" //It's not supposed//
F639 //Well, I know and it's [inaudible]//
F641 //[laugh]//
F639 //[inaudible] no it's not.//
F640 //to be a nightmare, and I think we're// really, it will n-, it'll never happen. But we're really needin to get back to the basics, because although we s- talk about when we were young, we only got one toy and we only got //a piece of fruit or something.//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 //That's [inaudible] but people, it's not going to go back to that,//
F640 //And, it's// //never goin to go back//
F641 //No.//
F639 //it's never going to go.//
F640 //to that, but// But but that actually was a better time, //because//
F639 //mmhm//
F640 it wasn't, all this //commercialism or//
F639 //[inaudible]// //is, or//
F641 //Yeah, you know.//
F639 you know the, //and people, it shouldn't be as//
F640 //It it wasn't a nightmare, it wasn't// //a nightmare.//
F639 //stressful.//
F641 //No.// //[laugh]//
F639 //[laugh]//
F640 //You shopped// for one toy, you decided what you were getting, you shopped for it and that was it. //So it wasn't//
F639 //Yeah.//
F640 //the night-, a nightmare.//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 People find it
F641 mm
F640 horrendous, it's a nightmare, it's a worry, it's debt, //you know, what's the point of it?//
F641 //Yeah, yeah.//
F639 //Yeah.//
F640 //[inaudible] you know?//
F639 And I do miss ehm going to a Christmas service.
F641 mmhm
F639 But then again because I don't go regularly, I also feel a bit embarrassed. //I wouldn't just go and//
F640 //mm//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 //turn up in church.//
F640 //Well, when I say that I was there// last Sunday, I mean I don't go to the midnight service now, or //even a service//
F639 //Yeah.//
F640 at six o'clock but I was there last Sunday. And of course it wa- it was the children that were taking part, and I //enjoy that.//
F639 //Yeah.//
F640 //Aye,//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 I enjoy that side, I still //enjoy that//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 side of it, but as far as, I don't have, I I mean I'm not going to church and having very strong beliefs, I just //don't. I'm//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 I'm still very uncertain, but they say well that's what it's //all about.//
F639 //That what it's// //all about.//
F641 //Yeah.//
F639 //hmm yeah, that's the thing, I//
F640 //should always be searching, or wondering, but// //but I//
F639 //mean I and I think//
F641 //Yeah.//
F639 //church isn't for everyone that's//
F640 //feel sometimes I'm hy- I'm a hypocrite.// //I feel like a hypocrite, because I'm sitting//
F639 //No, I don't think so.//
F640 there, and yet I'm not one of these people //oh there are people there who really believe.//
F639 //But then, the argument would be,// you're the person that should be going to church. Th- the church is meant for people that, you know it's meant for, it's not meant for everyone who's sitting there saying "Yeah, I've got all the answers and //I know//
F640 //mmhm//
F641 //Yeah.//
F639 exactly what's goin on." And my feeling is why, I feel, is more for the community aspect. I feel as if I would like an avenue for being able to do something, //you know because the//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 church, seemingly, I mean the the church in in Bethesda, the local one, they do a lot of good stuff. And she's a very, the woman who's the the minister there, she's she's very, quite political.
F641 mmhm //mm//
F639 //An I like// listening to her speak, and sh- they do a lot of ehm you know stuff for the community, and they get involved in things, and I think it would be nice, because I don't feel as if I have, you know, and //an outlet to, to, you know,//
F640 //Oh well, I'm ashamed to say I do nothing for the, in the church, now.//
F639 do //something,//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 I mean I don't, I haven't, you know, I //just don't do//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 things for //for others//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 //and eh//
F640 //[tut]// //Well,//
F639 //I just feel that's the//
F640 that's not really true. //You do sometimes. Look at that//
F639 //Well I feel as if [inaudible]//
F640 woman whose husband was ill and you made a meal and //that's I mean, you forget about that, you took you take meals//
F639 //Yeah, that's [inaudible] things.//
F640 round, well you have taken meals round for people.
F639 Aye, it's it's smaller //things but.//
F640 //You m- might// think it's a t- a small thing, but that's a big thing for the person that you're doing it for.
F639 //That is true erm.//
F641 //True, that's true mm.// //For for us it's eh//
F639 //Yeah, I do feel//
F641 Christmas is usually a time for family more than religion, I //think.//
F639 //Yeah.//
F640 //mmhm// //mmhm//
F639 //Yeah.// //[inaudible]//
F640 //Well that's what I// try to think //of it now, it's//
F641 //uh-huh//
F640 i- if nothing else, it should be a time for family to get //together.//
F641 //uh-huh// //It was so nice, this//
F639 //mmhm// //I know, this//
F640 //mmhm//
F641 //this time.//
F639 was lovely, this was lo- and it's been such a long time, since we were all here, and it's just nice, I mean, you know, we've, the last two years, as long as this tape doesn't get played in America, I haven't, I haven't really enjoyed Christmas as much, //because//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 you know, Dan's family doesn't celebrate //Christmas, so it's not the same for me!//
F641 //No, it's very different, of course, it's not the same,// //no.//
F640 //mmhm//
F639 You know, it's just, okay, we got together, but //to be honest it was,//
F641 //So, it's// //a deal, you can come every year!//
F639 //you know.// //[laugh]//
F640 //[laugh]//
F641 //[laugh]// //[laugh]//
F639 //[laugh] I was kind of hoping next//
F640 //Or we might make it one year to America, the four of us!// //[laugh]//
F639 //year maybe you'll come to America. [laugh]//
F641 //[laugh], well.// //[laugh]//
F639 //[laugh]//
F640 //[laugh]// //Cause we'll sleep in the basement,//
F639 //[inaudible]// //oh absolut-//
F640 //don't worry!//
F639 we can //get you all in.//
F641 //Who's to sleep in the basement?// //[laugh]//
F639 //All in.//
F640 //[laugh]//
F639 //[inaudible]//
F641 //We'll have to take the// //straws to see who'll go//
F640 //[laugh]// //[laugh]//
F639 //oh no.//
F641 //[laugh]//
F639 but you know, to the other end though, it's what you make it, and //we need to start//
F640 //That's right.//
F639 doin, we need to make our own traditions for Sam, //you know? That's//
F641 //mmhm// //definitely.//
F639 //right. Aye.//
F640 //But I I think,// eh, I I feel that I've always tried, even, you know, when Alison and John were not around at //Christmas time.//
F641 //mmhm//
F640 I s-, I didn't sort of sit and mope and say, "oh well, //it's not worth//
F641 //Yeah.//
F639 //No.//
F640 //doing anything.// //I always did something; always had//
F639 //You've got to do.//
F640 people in, or //we went//
F639 //Yes.//
F640 to to //family,//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 Yes.
F640 erm, whereas, you know, you've heard me saying, I've got, you know, one sister who has never really, eh, I mean it, recently it's been worse because as I say when she gets her Christmas cards, she doesn't even sit her Christmas cards up.
F639 Now we're starting to talk about people, so this'll have to be //censored.//
F640 //I know.// //[laugh]//
F639 //[laugh]//
F641 //[laugh]// //[laugh] I know!//
F640 //oh I hope she'll never hear this tape.//
F639 //This might be the bit that goes on the Web.//
F641 //[inaudible]// //[laugh] No!//
F639 //[laugh] [inaudible]//
F640 //[laugh]// //She doesn't have a computer.//
F639 //She doesn't have it.//
F641 //She hasn't got a computer.// //[laugh]//
F639 //[laugh]//
F640 //But it's true, it's// it's what, you've got to put something //into it,//
F639 //Yeah.// //It is it is an attitude.//
F640 //to get something out of// //it.//
F639 //You can't//
F641 //Yeah.//
F639 and I realise that, you can't say, you've got to make it work for yourself. You can't assume that other people will make your, your, you know, your //traditions, or your enjoyment,//
F641 //Your Christmas. [laugh]//
F639 for you, //so,//
F641 //Yeah.//
F639 you know. That's what you've got to do, but eh, I have to say, it's, it is nice to be with family. //I mean your//
F640 //mmhm//
F641 //mmhm//
F639 your own family.
F641 uh-huh //Yeah.//
F639 //ehm yeah, at// //this time.//
F640 //Not that we're clannish!//
F639 Not that we're clannish, //in any way!//
F640 //[laugh]//
F641 //[laugh], no no no, you'll start// //no, [laugh]//
F639 //In any way, it is//
F640 //[laugh]//
F639 it's very special. //Very special.//
F640 //I think we'd better get// //cracking.//
F639 //I know.// That's half past two!

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Information about Document 352

Conversation 08: Ayrshire woman and her mother


Audio audience

Adults (18+)
For gender Females
Audience size 3-5

Audio awareness & spontaneity

Speaker awareness Aware
Degree of spontaneity Spontaneous

Audio footage information

Original title Conversation 8
Year of recording 2002
Recording person id 608
Size (min) 36
Size (mb) 139

Audio setting

Recording venue At home
Geographic location of speech Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire

Audio relationship between recorder/interviewer and speakers

Family members or other close relationship
Speakers knew each other Yes

Audio speaker relationships

Family members or other close relationship

Audio transcription information

Transcriber id 718
Year of transcription 2004
Year material recorded 2002
Word count 8028

Audio type



Participant details

Participant id 639
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1960
Educational attainment University
Age left school 18
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Education Researcher
Place of birth Ayr
Region of birth S Ayr
Birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Bethesda
Region of residence Maryland, USA
Country of residence USA
Father's occupation Insurance Broker
Father's place of birth Auchinleck
Father's region of birth S Ayr
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Homemaker/Administrator
Mother's place of birth Ayr
Mother's region of birth S Ayr
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes Work/home
French Yes Yes Yes Yes
Scots Yes Yes No Yes Home


Participant details

Participant id 640
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1930
Educational attainment GCSEs/O-Grades
Age left school 14
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Retired
Place of birth Ayr
Region of birth S Ayr
Birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Ayr
Region of residence S Ayr
Residence CSD dialect area Ayr
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Garage attendant/Driver
Father's place of birth Stranraer
Father's region of birth Wigtown
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Wgt
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Housewife
Mother's place of birth Halifax
Mother's region of birth Nova Scotia
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Mother's country of birth Canada


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes At home


Participant details

Participant id 641