Document 1680

Interview with Bernice Sibbald for Scottish Readers Remember Project

Author(s): N/A

Copyright holder(s): SAPPHIRE, SCOTS Project

Audio transcription

F1189 It's the thirteenth of June, two thousand and nine, and I'm in downtown Toronto, in er Canada, which is a long way from home for me, and joining me today is Bernice Sibbald, erm who's going to talk with me today about her reading experiences across her lifetime. Can I thank you very much first of all er Bernice, for coming along today, and bringing pastries! //They're [inaudible]. [laugh]//
F1680 //[laugh] You're very welcome. [laugh]//
F1189 Now, can we start with a very easy question. Erm, that's just to ask you where you were born.
F1680 I was born in Edinburgh, Scotland.
F1189 Right, well there's some irony I think in that, isn't there, given that I've come from there. //[laugh]//
F1680 //I know. [laugh]//
F1189 Now what we want to hear about is how you got from Edinburgh, Scotland, to over here. But the other question I need to ask you, to begin with, is, if you don't mind, to say when you were born in Edinburgh.
F1680 I was born on the twenty-sixth of May, nineteen fifty-three.
F1189 So you're a child of the fifties, just like me. //And officially//
F1680 //Mmhm.//
F1189 the youngest ever interviewee for "Scottish Readers Remember", so congratulations! //[inaudible] [laugh]//
F1680 //That's the first time I've been the youngest for anything in a long time. [laugh]//
F1189 Now where did you family live in Edinburgh?
F1680 We lived, initially we lived in Niddrie Mains Drive,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Thirty Niddrie Mains Drive. Then we moved to Niddrie House Drive, which was a new scheme, which has now been demolished, I believe. And from there, I I got married and I moved to Musselburgh, //to Dalkeith, sorry, Dalkeith, just beside Mu-.//
F1189 //Ah uh-huh.//
F1680 And then I emigrated from there, from Dalkeith.
F1189 Right, uh-huh. So, Niddrie, which part of Edinburgh's that?
F1680 It's it's near, I'm trying to think, it would be... past Craigmillar.
F1189 Right.
F1680 It wasn't considered a very nice area.
F1189 Really?
F1680 Mmhm.
F1189 Now, I might be wrong, but was Niddrie a-a- an interwar housing estate? //[inaudible].//
F1680 //I believe it was, I think it was erm// sort of post-war, there were stairs, //six houses in our stair, erm,//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm uh-huh.//
F1680 //and they were well built, but it's been flattened now, I believe, and they're gonna build new houses, yeah.// //I went//
F1189 //Yeah, nothing lasts.//
F1680 there last year and the only point of reference I had was a church, and we lived close to the church. So, everything else had been demolished.
F1189 Now who else was in your family by the time you moved on? //Right.//
F1680 //Okay, I had an older sister, my mum and my dad. I'm the second eldest of five kids.// //Yeah, yes.//
F1189 //Oh there was younger ones came after you?// Five of you, and you're a big sister.
F1680 Mmhm.
F1189 You're a middle child as well. //I see you shaking your head there, yes.//
F1680 //Almost yeah, I was second out of... yeah, yes, mmhm.// I was an, I was an actual, the middle child for ten years, cause my mum had one, two, three of us, then ten years later she had another two. So
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 mmhm.
F1189 She's a brave woman then. //[laugh]//
F1680 //She certainly is, brave or crazy, I don't know which. [laugh]//
F1189 Now how much older was your older sister //[inaudible]?//
F1680 //My older sister's only fourteen months older than me,// then there's er me, and then my young- the one under me's three and a half years younger, then the next one is thirteen years younger than me, and the youngest one is sixteen years younger than me.
F1189 Mmhm. So tha- that is a bit of a spaced-out //family, isn't it?//
F1680 //It is, it is.//
F1189 Now what did your dad do for a living?
F1680 My dad initially was a butcher,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 but then he had health pro-, well he had dermatitis, a lot of trouble with his hands, so he had to give that up and he went into the building trade, and he was a builder's labourer.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And that's what he did. But he died of an accident when he was only forty-three, so he was... wasn't in ou- our life our adult years.
F1189 What age were you when that happened?
F1680 I was twen-, I was er twenty I believe, or almost twenty, yeah.
F1189 Mmhm. But still that's a blow, //erm when you're//
F1680 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1189 just a young woman. //And//
F1680 //Mmhm. It was.//
F1189 what about your mother? [throat] Did she work at all?
F1680 My mum did work, she worked erm she worked in the Cardboard Converters, that's the only one I can remember er when I was young, she worked in the Cardboard Converters, and my grandmother used to look after us, and sometimes my Auntie Peggy,
F1189 Mm.
F1680 and we would walk to the main road at, I think, four-thirty or five o'clock, and my dad's little work van would pick us up,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 and take us home,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 with my dad in it of course. And er as I got older, my mum changed, and she started, I'm trying to think, she started working as a cook in the day-care centre, but I think at that point I had emigrated.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm.
F1680 Yeah, she was in the Cardboard Converters, then she left, she had maybe a few little part-time jobs in between,
F1189 Mmhm mmhm. //She had a busy life, your mum,//
F1680 //and then...// //She did, considering she she she worked,//
F1189 //[inaudible], yeah.//
F1680 she knitted all the time, she used to sew clothes for us, she baked, you name it. //She was a jack of all trades.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Proper housewife. //And worked. Yeah, that's a classic tale, isn't it?//
F1680 //Proper, yeah, mmhm yes, uh-huh.// I mean remember getting up, being a kid getting up to go to the toilet, and she was sitting knitting, cause she wanted us to have a new sweater for Easter, or, you know, a new cardigan or something.
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 And every s-, I always remember too, every Easter we used to go to the North Bridge, to a store called, I think it was called Graftons, and we all got an Easter bonnet. And I'm ashamed to think we used to wear them, we loved them. [laugh] They were the strangest looking hats. //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// But that was tradition, //wasn't it, getting new clothes for Easter?//
F1680 //It was, that's right, we always, we were dressed from the skin out for Easter with new clothes.//
F1189 Were your family er Roman Catholic?
F1680 Yes. //How did you know? My mum's not, my dad was, and we were all//
F1189 //I knew that, you see. [laugh] Uh-huh.//
F1680 raised Roman Catholic. But my mum's Protestant.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 But she went to the church more often than my dad did, //so...//
F1189 //Ah, yeah, the the the converts are always er// //more devout.//
F1680 //[cough]// She never actually, she never changed though, she always kept her, she never used to go to church, she does now, but erm but she always came to the Catholic church when we were doing our, you know, our baptisms, first communions, confirmations, it was always her that was there, not my dad. So...
F1189 Did your dad go at all?
F1680 He didn't even go to our christening, my mum said, she said she went with my aunt, had us christened and brought us home.
F1189 Uh-huh. Did your mother actually convert then?
F1680 No, no, she's, to this day she's Church of Scotland. And she goes to her own church now, Church of Scotland.
F1189 Uh-huh. //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 //But when she comes over here on holiday she comes with me to my church.// //Mmhm. I still practise, yes, mmhm.//
F1189 //So you still haven't given it up?//
F1680 I think I'm the only one of my sisters who does, but I s-, I do it. My kids don't, but then I feel that erm that's, they- they've been raised Catholic, but I think when they get older they'll probably go back, right now they're just not interested in any religion at all. //So...//
F1189 //Well that's not an uncommon story,// //in a//
F1680 //No.//
F1189 secular age, //isn't it, Bernice?//
F1680 //That's right.// That's right.
F1189 Now, how big was that house in Niddrie, it was a local authority house, //is that right? Mmhm.//
F1680 //Yes, yes, it was a rental.// We only had erm two bedrooms there.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And at that point though, our first house, my mum had three of us, then Beverley came along, she's the second youngest, and when Beverley was a baby we moved, and and the house we moved to had three bedrooms, and that's when Pauline came along. So we actually lived in a bigger house by the time we had the five kids.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 By today's standards it was still small, but you know, we thought it was big.
F1189 Mmhm. So you got a four apartment then, and quickly filled it? //[laugh]//
F1680 //That's right. [laugh]// And the kitchen was the one room that was used the most, believe it or not, cause it was a big kitchen, but //it's like everywhere else, we all used to congregate in the kitchen, not even the living room.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm.// And did you have a big kitchen, er did you say you had a big kitchen?
F1680 We had a big kitchen in the second house, not in the first //one, it was tiny.//
F1189 //Right, mmhm.//
F1680 The second house was a big kitchen.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 But as I say, by today's standards, it would still be considered a small house.
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 But we thought our kitchen was big, we could all sit in there and eat, and er and that's where we used to listen to "Top of the Pops" //[laugh] before we went out//
F1189 //Aha! [laugh]//
F1680 to the to the dancing.
F1189 Uh-huh. Would that be the Top Twenty on the radio? //Uh-huh uh-huh. That was//
F1680 //Actually, it would, it wasn't "Top of the Pops", it'd be the Top Twenty, because "Top of the Pops" was on TV.// Yeah, it was the Top Twenty. //Yeah. A Sunday.//
F1189 //and that that was a S- Sunday?//
F1680 And then we used to go to the Milton Road House afterwards to their their disco. //[laugh]//
F1189 //The glamour! [laugh]//
F1680 Oh boy! [laugh]
F1189 Now the wee house that you had when you were born, er was that the sort of classic four in a block?
F1680 That was six. And do you know, actually, I was not, that's the only house I really remember, but we did have a house prior to that, which was in Dalkeith. But my mum said it was too far away from the city and she couldn't stand it. And I think actually I was born when my parents lived in my grandmother's house in a bedroom. They rented a bedroom from my grandmother.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 My sister, when they had my sister they lived there, and I think they lived there when I was born.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Then they moved to this house in Dalkeith, that my mum has said was in the middle of nowhere.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Er so the first house I remember is the one in Niddrie Mains.
F1189 Mmhm. //Yes, mmhm.//
F1680 //Cause I was at...// I mean I remember being three years old and living in that house. That's the earliest memories I have.
F1189 It's, I think there was such a pressure on housing in the post-war years, they were //probably lucky actually//
F1680 //Yeah, yeah.// //Oh yeah, yeah they were.//
F1189 //to get a house.//
F1680 And th-, and and I said to my mum not so long ago, you know, "why didn't you keep the house in Dalkeith?" and she said "Oh the bus service was bad", and... but when I think on, it was a a detached house with a front and back yard.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Must have been wonderful, but she didn't see it, because none of us had, my dad didn't have a car and my mum didn't dri-, you know?
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 No-one had cars in those days, //so//
F1189 //No, that's right.// //Uh-huh.//
F1680 //so it was difficult to get around.//
F1189 Them were the days. //[laugh]//
F1680 //I know! [laugh]//
F1189 Now in that house that you say you remember, //when you were about three years old,//
F1680 //Uh-huh.//
F1189 do you recall where books were kept, or if there were books? //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 //There were books, and they would have been kept in our bedroom,// but [cough], erm because books were considered toys, almost, when I was young.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 My mum wasn't a reader, my dad was. Erm, but I can never ever remember my parents reading to me, never. My older sister would read to me, my cousins, and in turn I would read to my younger sisters,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 but our f-, our parents never read to us.
F1189 Mmhm. Now why do you think that is?
F1680 I'm trying, well my mum doesn't like reading, I know that. To this day she still doesn't. Erm,
F1189 She's a knitter. //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 //She's a knitter and a sewer and a baker.// I'm trying to think. I don't even know why my dad didn't read to us, because he was he was quite the reader. Erm, I, you know, I don't think people spent as much time with their children as they do nowadays,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 really, I think they had, they all had big families,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 they came from big families, and everyone, the older kids were were the ones who had to provide the entertainment or the teaching.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 But er, yeah, I was thinking of that the other week there, that my parents never read to us, and I always read to my kids.
F1189 Parenting's changed. //Yeah.//
F1680 //It has, it has, it really has.// //Uh-huh.//
F1189 //You were supposed to get out to play and entertain yourself.// //[laugh] Uh-huh.//
F1680 //That's right. You know, if the weather was good// we were pr- practically thrown out. Well you never had to throw me out, I loved to go out, but my older sister hated it, and I remember my mum pushing her out the door and telling her to get in the sunlight for a while.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 //And and that, they would see us when it was lunchtime, or dinnertime, we used to call it, and then teatime.// And that was it.
F1189 And that was it. //Yeah, but you did have books though, you had//
F1680 //Mmhm.// //We had books.//
F1189 //childhood books.//
F1680 I remember "Black Beauty". //I I got that as a Christmas gift.//
F1189 //Uh-huh.// Uh-huh.
F1680 "Little Women".
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 Erm, those were two Christmas gifts. Actually, my sister got "Little Women", and I got "Black Beauty", so once I had finished mine I read hers //and vice versa.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 And those, actually those are the first books, other than school books that I remember.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 I mean, I still have my s-, I still have a school book erm, that I had when I was in Miss Riley's class at school. My first, she was, I think, my first teacher. And I have that book at home, and it has a story, and at the end it has words that you used to have to learn to spell.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm.
F1680 Erm, but I can't remember what that book's called.
F1189 And you managed to keep it. //You pinched it.//
F1680 //I kept it, yes.// //I must have! I can't, I don't know how I came by it.//
F1189 //[laugh]//
F1680 [laugh]
F1189 And have you got that in Canada?
F1680 I've got it in Canada. //I've got it in Canada.//
F1189 //That's amazing. Why did you bring it with you?//
F1680 It was like I brought my teddy bear that I had when I was three. There were just things that I thought, it kept me grounded, let me,
F1189 Mm.
F1680 you know, it just kept part of my childhood with me. Cause I I felt as if I was leaving all my childhood behind.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 So this was something I could bring with me, and erm it just reminded me of my childhood.
F1189 Mmhm. Did you bring "Black Beauty" with you?
F1680 I didn't. I think I must have read that book until I wore the pages down, and er I just loved that book.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 It was, and then as I got older I read other editions, I guess, of "Black Beauty",
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 but they weren't as basic as the first one, but it just, I can always remember that book, it opened up a whole new world, //yeah.//
F1189 //Mm.// Do you remember what it looked like?
F1680 I just remember, each page had a a picture on it,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 and and kind of large print at the bottom of the page.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 so I guess it was for beginners really, and erm and this big black horse with the white marking on its er forehead, //or, is that what you call them?//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 Yeah.
F1189 Did it have a paper cover, was it a hard //cover?//
F1680 //It was a hard cover.// It was hard cover. And it was a big book, it was probably about, twel-, maybe twelve inches by, I don't know, maybe nine? //It was a big book.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// So was that usual for you to get books at Christmas time?
F1680 No-M, erm, not really, this was, well we didn't get a lot of books at Christmas time. And my parents never bought us a lot of books. I used to go to the public library, and that's probably where I got most of my books
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 we read. Now, I was saying our books were treated like toys. We didn't have a huge amount of books in the house.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 We used to go to the library to pick a book up if we wanted, so it was returned.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 So we didn't have a lot of books around the the house.
F1189 Did you have book shelves?
F1680 No, no.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 Erm, no we didn't.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Our books were in our toybox.
F1189 Right, uh-huh. And what about your dad, you say he was a reader?
F1680 He was more a reader, yeah, erm, but we s-, but even then he would have them on his his, like in the bedroom,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 maybe, I'd see four or five books but I don't know if he borrowed them from people, because I can never remember having, seeing, lots and lots of books or book shelves in the house. We never had book shelves.
F1189 Mm. Do you recall what kind of books he liked?
F1680 My dad probably liked things to do with erm detectives, I think that's what he he enjoyed.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Yeah. But I never took so much of an interest in my dad's reading, so I'm I'm almost guessing, but I have a funny feeling that's what he would read.
F1189 Mm mmhm. What about newspapers?
F1680 Oh he read the newspapers. And he read the the pink and green news. I don't know if you've heard of that? You used to get a pink one and you used to get a green one, I think, I don't know if it was just on Saturdays. Erm, I think they must have had the racing, all the racing in it?
F1189 Sport, yes. //I do remember now. [laugh]//
F1680 //And, you, okay.// And, it was just a pale pale pink and a pale green.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And he used to study those, the racing forms he used to study.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 True, because he was a bit of a gambler.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 And erm, but he always read the newspapers.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 In fact on a Sunday, it used, I used to be sent to the store, I used to pick up the Post, the People, and I think it was the News of the World. [laugh] That was the trashy one, I believe. Yeah? //But would it have been the People? Post, People, News of the World, I think those were the three we got on a Sunday.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //On a Sunday? That's quite a lot of newspapers//
F1680 //Mmhm.// Uh-huh.
F1189 to come into the house. //Did they all get-?//
F1680 //Yeah, oh but my dad,// my dad read them. We used to read the Broons and Oor Wullie.
F1189 Mmhm. //Oh yes, yes indeed. [laugh]//
F1680 //And and Francis Gay, do you remember Fr-? Is he still going? Yeah. I used to read Francis Gay.// //erm, I wasn't interested in//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 //the rest of the paper.// But my dad read them from cover to cover.
F1189 The other one that people often got was was the Weekly News. Do you remember that?
F1680 Oh yeah, the er yeah like the Edinburgh Evening Ti-, the Edinburgh Evening News, I think it was called, was it? //Yeah.//
F1189 //Uh-huh.// //That was the daily one. Mmhm.//
F1680 //Yeah. That was a daily one?// //[throat]//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 No, I don't know if we got it every day. We didn't get it delivered - I know that. But my dad probably picked it up on days he felt like //it.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 And it would be into the, in the house, but erm other than putting it down to polish his boots,
F1189 Mm. //Mm. There was a local newsagent then//
F1680 //I can't remember a lot about it.// //Oh yeah, we had a newsagent up the street from us, uh-huh,//
F1189 //you went to? Uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 who knew all our names. Mmhm. And then after that, it was the newsagent in Craigmillar I used to know. Used to go there for various, you know, they used to have Christmas clubs?
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And you could put your money away, and it would buy annuals and things, and er, I went there one year when my son was four, and Duncan, I think it was, he said to me "Bernice, I haven't seen you for a long time." And my mum said "That's because she's living in Canada now." He hadn't seen me for like four years, //four or five years.//
F1189 //[laugh]//
F1680 But he thought it had only been a matter of months.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm.
F1680 But er yeah.
F1189 Yeah, that, you'd been away but no one noticed. //[laugh] Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 //That's right, that's, and he said he couldn't believe it, he thought I ha-, he had seen me just a few months ago.// //To him that was a long time.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
F1680 But it had actually been years.
F1189 Now you mentioned annuals there. //Erm,//
F1680 //Mmhm.//
F1189 Now when would you have got the annuals?
F1680 Well actually, yeah, we used to get annuals at Christmas time. I forgot about those. Yeah, the Beano, erm, I can't remember the name of them all. But I always remember the Beano book, and the-, we used to, we always got the Broons or or erm Oor Wullie.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 You know, one came out one year and one-. And to this day my husband still gets them. My mother sends him the the Broons or the Oor Wullie for Christmas every year.
F1189 I was about to ask if you can actually buy them here. //These are sent? Uh-huh.//
F1680 //My mum sends them from Scotland, I've still got them, yeah, yeah.//
F1189 Tell him to keep them. They're becoming collectable.
F1680 And I'll tell you what I did get just last year, my niece sent it over to me. eh Ma Broon's Cookbook. And I love it. I haven't actually made anything //yet but//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 I love reading reading it and going through it.
F1189 Well there's a recipe in there for Scotch pie. [laugh] //You can try that. [laugh]//
F1680 //I must try it. I'll go back today and [laugh] I'll try it. [laugh]// //[laugh]//
F1189 //Cause believe it or not you can't get a decent Scotch pie in Scotland any more,// //so you'd have to//
F1680 //Really?//
F1189 make them yourself. I know. //There you go. [laugh]//
F1680 //Oh golly.// //I must have a look for that recipe we have. Cause it's er, I love the way it looks like old scraps of paper. It looks like some of my own recipe books, you know, my cook books.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Any who did you say sent that to you?
F1680 [cough] My niece in Scotland, my niece in Edinburgh, Emma.
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 She sent that to me last year when my mum came over, mmhm.
F1189 Do you still get newspapers sent over to you here?
F1680 No, I don't. My mum used to send the, she used to send the Sunday Post for the first few years that we were here, but then it kind of fell by the wayside, because at that point then we could ge-get it in a newsagent
F1189 Mm.
F1680 fairly close to home, we used to, it was maybe, you know, a week or a few days late, //but you could still get it.//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 But then er that newsagent was taken over and didn't get it any more.
F1189 That was here in Canada?
F1680 Yes, mmhm. Because that was still a popular paper when we first came here. Lots of people, erm Scots were were still buying it.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 So it was worth our while importing it. //Mmhm.//
F1189 //Amazing, isn't it? Yeah.// But you don't see that any more?
F1680 No, no, that, that was a newsagent, erm they were up on [inaudible], //which probably doesn't mean anything to you, but//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 It was taken over, I think it was, I think it was taken over by Vietnamese people, so that really didn't mean anything to them.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 So, that was it.
F1189 Still, it was business. //Do you think it was maybe because?//
F1680 //Yeah, it was very [inaudible].// It was probably starting to fall off a bit too.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 You know, erm, so that's probably why they stopped. It was like the people who bought the Scottish butcher's over. They didn't know how to bake Scottish things, so people stopped going to them and...
F1189 Because they weren't Scottish then //[inaudible].//
F1680 //Well it could have been, yeah, and they didn't know// //how the Scots...//
F1189 //Now where was the Scots butcher?//
F1680 He was on er Weston Road in Church.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Now this is the Church Street at Weston, though, cause I think there's another Church Street downtown. //[inaudible].//
F1189 //Is that in the centre of Toronto?// //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 //No, it's further out, yeah, it's in a little village called, it's in a, they say it's a village called Weston.// Erm, Erm, it was there, but I don't think they realise that Scots have a sweet tooth. [laugh] //[laugh]//
F1189 //[exhale]// //Well they ought to! [laugh]//
F1680 //[laugh]// The pastries and things, they discontinued things, they changed the recipes for things, and so people just thought "oh".
F1189 What kind of things did they sell?
F1680 [cough] Do you know, I didn't go in it after..., cause I I used to go there once in a while, it was a treat.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 But you could pick up, when I say, when I say, it was called, it was a Scottish baker and butcher really, but the-the- their butcher meat really consisted of everything frozen, like sliced sausage, black pudding, white puddings, er mealy pudding, erm potato scones and that sort of thing. //They were all frozen though.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 But their, but then they used to have Tunnocks, erm caramel wafers and all that, and and you know the erm snowballs? And I don't think these people continued with all that, so when my husband had [inaudible] once, "Oh they had nothing that, you know, people used to buy." //And they u-, they used to bake.//
F1189 //Does a-, does anyone sell it now?//
F1680 Yeah, you could go down to the, er we say the Beaches, but it's called the Beach. Erm, there's a store there that sells erm all the the, they say British candies, foo- sweets and things. But they're quite expensive. And and they sell Batchelors peas, //marrowfat peas, as well. [laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// That's interesting, then that they're taken the Scottish out of it. I mean presumably it still is Tunnocks teacakes and //things like that.//
F1680 //Yeah, well this place// I-I- they don't actually say, I think they say //British, erm yeah.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
F1680 But I, because it's not just things from Scotland they'll have in the Beaches. It's erm, they'll probably import stuff from parts of England and that //as well. [inaudible].//
F1189 //Mmhm. So Lea and Perrins sauce and...?// //Uh-huh.//
F1680 //Yeah, yeah, yeah.// //But they're they're quite expensive.//
F1189 //HP.//
F1680 Take my, I took my mum there, and she said "Oh, they're robbers, they're robbers, look at what they're charging." [laugh] So. //Well that's right, I said, if you... yeah, mmhm.//
F1189 //If you want it, you'll pay.// Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 //You'll pay three times what you pay in Scotland for it, but you'll, you really want it you'll pay it.//
F1189 Can we go back to those annuals, which is where we //we started from,//
F1680 //[cough] Mmhm.//
F1189 Did you have a collection of them then that you kept over the years?
F1680 The annuals? You know, I, we probably, once we read them, erm they probably got handed to our cousins and to this one, so they were probably pretty tattered.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And then often we used books to put our scraps in, as well, once we had read them. //So//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 I remember reading books and then, you know, we'd eventually put scraps in them.
F1189 Do you remember any particular books that you kept scraps in?
F1680 Erm, off-hand I don't. I think this is where some of my dad's books came in too,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 because they were nice and thick and you could get lots of scraps in them.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 But I can't remember the name of them. They were pretty beaten-up by the time we were finished with them.
F1189 Yeah.
F1680 I know that.
F1189 Was that common then, to exchange things like annuals and books with your //cousins and friends? Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 //It, yeah, it was, it definitely was, mmhm, yes.// Because ther-there wasn't the money available that there is nowadays, and we weren't so much a, I don't think we were as a, such a wasteful society. And yeah, we used to give our cousins, because we had, erm our cousins were all big readers too. //So yeah, we would erm.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 And and, you know, I don't even think we took things to charity stores in those days, cause I don't think we had any. I think it was a case of charity begins at home.
F1189 I think you're right. I don't think there were. Charity shops are //only the last//
F1680 //No. [cough]// //We used to call them drugstores and thi-.//
F1189 //twenty, twenty-five years, uh-huh.//
F1680 And and you didn't really donate stuff //to, yeah.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// There were some second-hand bookshops though in Edinburgh, do you //remember them?//
F1680 //There probably were.// But I can never remember going into them. Nope. A-a-and except [cough] when I when I actually lived in Morningside. There was one somewhere in Morningside, and I can't remember exactly where. [sniff] And he sold second-hand books. Now I only remember going in a couple of times, but for the life of me I don't know what I bought.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Don't remember.
F1189 There was one quite famous one in Edinburgh, I think it had a few branches, called Bobby's.
F1680 No, it doesn't sound... no. //Is this fairly new, or is this old old?//
F1189 //Erm, it doesn't exist any more, I don't think.// In your lifetime, I think it would have been there. //Mmhm. I think there's one down in Gorgie.//
F1680 //I may ha-, I've probably known it but just never paid attention to the name.// Okay, okay.
F1189 Maybe out of your way.
F1680 No, my si-, actually my sister when she got married lived up erm Gorgie, I can't remember the name of the street though. So, but yeah, I didn't really go to visit her all that much. She used to come, we used to always meet at my mum's //house.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
F1680 And then she was only married about a year and a half before I emigrated. //So...//
F1189 //Yes.// So there wasn't a permanence then to to these childhood books, then, apart from your your schoolbook //which you still have?//
F1680 //Yeah, that's right, and I// you know, actually I think that was stored away somewhere and I came across it by accident.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And then after that it just, like, after that it seemed like something precious. Something that I really wanted to keep. And and really it probably just survived because it was stored somewhere that I couldn't see it. //[laugh] Couldn't find it.//
F1189 //Yes, uh-huh.// Oh I know how you feel. All of mine went in the skip when my parents moved house. //I only found found out about it later.//
F1680 //Yeah, would... [laugh].//
F1189 Erm, but of course when they're not under your eye, you're not, you're not //thinking about it, it becomes precious//
F1680 //That's right.// //Yeah.//
F1189 //later on when you're older.//
F1680 It's true, it's true, when you're young you don't really think of that. And and, and as I say they were considered toys when I was young, so...
F1189 Mmhm. Now are there any other books that you remember getting, say for examples as as prizes, special gifts?
F1680 I got, when I was sixteen, I got the art prize at school. And it was a b-, a an art book on, oh now who was it that wrote the Bi-, that painted "The Birth of Venus"? Erm.
F1189 Botticelli. //Mmhm.//
F1680 //Botticelli.// It was an art book, and I was really surprised, because I didn't even know I was getting this until they called my name, on Botticelli, and I still have that. Erm, I kind of treasured that. I think I think the cover eventually detached from the pages, but I still have it.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And erm, that's that's probably the the only one I remember from high school, and only because it was a prize, erm, //but t-.//
F1189 //And where did you go to school?//
F1680 I went to St Thomas Aquinas, in Lauriston, in Edinburgh, //which has since, it was a Victorian house when I went, but it's since been demolished.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Uh-huh. Uh-huh.//
F1680 //because it was unsafe, and it's, they've rebuilt it, so I I, next time I'm home, I'm gonnae have a, cause my cousin's married to a teacher there, he said he'd gladly show me round.// So I think I'd like to to have a look around it next time. //[cough]//
F1189 //And what age were you when you left school?//
F1680 I left school at sixteen, and they had the most amazing library there. And I remember reading a book called "Daddy Long-Legs" from this li-, cause my sister told me, "oh you have to read it". And I always remember "Daddy Long-Legs", but that library had... the floor was hardwood, which you didn't, and it was a a nice honey-coloured hardwood,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 and it had beautiful big windows, and it was a gorgeous library. It was really lovely. And and tables you could sit at and read, and erm, and not long tables - they had round tables,
F1189 Mm mmhm.
F1680 which was a bit unusual. //That was in the school.//
F1189 //And that was in the school? Mmhm.//
F1680 it it was really a beautiful... See the library had been completely re- //refurbished and//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 and it was lovely. But I remember, erm, taking lots of books out of the library, but for the life of me I can't remember. I do remember "Daddy Long-Legs", erm, [laugh], I mean it wasn't a mind-blowing book, but I do remember reading that and thoroughly enjoying it. And I used to, that's where I I started reading Arthur Conan Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes". //Mmhm.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh. From the school library?//
F1680 From the school library, yep, yep. And er I didn't just read "Sherlock Holmes", I read a lot of other books that he had written, but don't ask me their names now, the mind er... Isn't that funny, I'd forgotten all about that. That's where I really got into Arthur Conan Doyle though.
F1189 And who would you say then was your favourite author, as a child? //If you can identify any.//
F1680 //As a child.// You know, I think, looking back, because erm, I probably think Arthur Conan Doyle because I read so many books. I mean, I love "Black Beauty", but I was a lot younger then and I didn't, I guess I didn't sort of pick up with it and run at that time.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 Erm, probably Arthur Conan Doyle.
F1189 Now were you aware at the time you were reading them, what age were you when you were reading Sherlock Holmes?
F1680 I was probably about fourteen, so I was probably a late... But I al-, I was always a reader, but I guess I never really paid so much attention to, I'd read a book and then I'd forget.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And erm yeah, I'd probably be about fourteen when I started reading them, and er yeah, I'm trying to think of his other, probably come back to me later but erm.
F1189 Well what I was going to say, were were you aware that he had a Scottish connection, Conan Doyle?
F1680 I probably wasn't, no, no.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Did he?
F1189 Yes, uh-huh, yeah, he's thought of as part of, sort of, canon of, //so yeah, even though Sherlock Holmes obviously is//
F1680 //Oh, okay.// //Is set in London, that's right.//
F1189 //set in London. Mmhm.//
F1680 Yeah, yeah.
F1189 So I was just interested whether or not that mattered to you, //and that's probably why they were in the school library, uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 //No, no, it could have been, it could have been, but erm.// And this was a a beautiful library. I think we erm, I think we could have probably used it more than we did, although when we were going to English class, one period a week, we'd go up to the library and choose a book and sit and read it. And erm so they kind of encouraged it, when I, now that I think of it.
F1189 And what about the public library, what do you remember about that?
F1680 Do you know, when I was in high school, I never went to the public library, because we had such a good school library. So I never, because our school library had everything, and I only really went to the public library when I was in elementary school.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 But once I went to high school I never went to it.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And [?]for by that[/?], it was easier to take your books back when you went to school every day, than the the public library where you had to make an effort to take them back.
F1189 Mmhm. Now, I can remember certain books that I took out of the public library when I was a a child, or I can remember series of books that were available there. //Can you remember anything like that?//
F1680 //Mmhm.// I can't. I remember, I remember going to the library, looking through the books, then getting it and she can stamp it, but erm I can't ever say I I read series of books as a kid, no. I would just pick up, you know, a book that looked good, I would read it, take it back.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 But I, no, I'm certain till I started with the Sherlock Holmes, I didn't really read a series of books, //or or books by the one author, until I was older.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Very popular ones that were around, especially for girls at the time, were er Enid Blyton's books.
F1680 Right, yeah!
F1189 [laugh]
F1680 I remember reading Enid Blyton but I couldn't tell you the names of the books. But you're r-, I had forgotten she even existed. Oh my goodness, yeah.
F1189 Yeah.
F1680 Oh for goodness' sake. You're right. //Yeah.//
F1189 //[laugh]// That's interesting that you didn't remember them then. //They don't loom large. Mmhm.//
F1680 //Yeah, isn't that funny? Yeah.// But now that you say the the name, oh.
F1189 She wasn't the only one, the school stories //er//
F1680 //Uh-huh.//
F1189 thing like that. There were other authors that did similar sorts of stuff, but she obviously was the most popular.
F1680 Do you know what I find though, with living in Canada, [cough], unless someone from back home triggers your memory,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 you've forgotten. Tha-, I think I was telling you earlier, you have no one to go over your childhood with, cause all your friends are back in Scotland, so you tend to forget some of the things about your childhood, unless someone triggers those memories.
F1189 Do you feel that, do you feel your memories are over-written, because you're so far away?
F1680 Yeah, I really do. And then my sister will call me and she'll say remember something, and it's something I had completely forgotten about but then she mentions it and it comes back to me.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm.
F1680 Yeah. //But people here don't...//
F1189 //How do you feel about that?//
F1680 I think it's a bit sad actually, I really do. I think it's sad, especially as you get older. You want to talk about your childhood more, and erm, and there's no one to talk, cause no one shares the same memories.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Erm, and even I mean, my husband, I met him when I was nineteen. So we had already gone through our childhood, and we both had certain things we can we can relate to, but not things that happen together. //No.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Is your husband Scottish? Uh-huh.//
F1680 //But erm. He is, he's from Edinburgh, he's from// //He's from erm South Clark Street.//
F1189 //[laugh]// Right, so you met over there //and then you came together? Uh-huh.//
F1680 //We met over there, yeah, yeah.// //Uh-huh.//
F1189 //I know South Clark Street.// //[laugh]//
F1680 //Yeah, well he lived in// I mean, he lived in South Clark Street, and they moved to Fernieside, but
F1189 Mm.
F1680 so I knew him when he was in Fernieside, but South Clark Street, they, they, the house they lived in was above a store, two hundred years old.
F1189 Mm mmhm. //They are old ones down there.//
F1680 //[inaudible] and they refurbished it, and you couldn't afford to buy now.// //[laugh]//
F1189 //No, you couldn't. [laugh]// //You'd be shocked.//
F1680 //[laugh]// //[inhale], but erm, yeah, so so it's funny, you forget a lot of the things you've read, done, said, when you were young.//
F1189 //Uh-huh. Mm. Mmhm.//
F1680 Cause there, there's no one to go over it with you, remind you of it.
F1189 Does that make the experience of being away from home more acute for you then?
F1680 It probably does, yeah.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 Yeah, and and erm yes, certain things will will trigger, I'll get homesick, and I'll think "Oh I wish I was back." Erm, certain smells, I mean I'm out on a wet damp morning and I think of the Dean and Stockbridge, and I think "Oh boy!" I'd love to, what I'd give to be back there now. //Isn't it funny?//
F1189 //Uh-huh.// //Do you still think of home as being//
F1680 //But-.// //Sco-. I do.//
F1189 //Scotland?//
F1680 And, it's funny, I was in Pioneer Village once, you should go there while you're here. //[sniff] Erm,//
F1189 //Mm?//
F1680 And it was a festival day, [cough] and I was sitting having a cup of tea, and this this erm, the-, four four English people came in, and they said, "do you mind if we sit at your table?", and I said "No", so we got talking. And one of the women said "Do you miss Scotland?" and I says, "Oh god, I'd go back tomorrow." And she said to me "What is it with the Scots, they're always, they always miss Scotland", she says, "Scotland must be a wonderful place, because the English don't seem to miss it as much as the S-, England as much as the Scots miss Scotland." //And I thought, yeah, it's,//
F1189 //Mm.// //Would that be your observation as well?//
F1680 //I wonder if that's true.// Erm, you know, I don't know quite as many English people, erm I live in a, I live in a street, that's, we used to have lots and lots of Italians, erm, I'm trying to think, I I do know, I do know a few people, and they seem to be content, the few English, there's one I know who'd like to... she gets very homesick. Erm, but the Scots that I know over here, my husband, it's primarily my husband's cousin and my husband's brother, and they both, years ago they would have said they'd have never gone home,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 But now, especially my husband's cousin, she has a hankering to go home, she does. And she came from the middle o-, she came from Bucha-Buchanan Street just off Leith Walk.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm.
F1680 She was born and raised there.
F1189 She wouldn't recognise Leith now. //[laugh]//
F1680 //Probably wouldn't. Well she was just back home,// //we all go home about once every couple of years,//
F1189 //Mmhm uh-huh.//
F1680 she was back home there er for Christmas.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 And wouldn't you know it, they had a a a they had a class reunion, her elementary school class. And someone contacted her from Scotland, found out where she was in Canada, and she went back for the re-reunion and she said it was one of the best things she had done in her life. //Oh she loved it.//
F1189 //Really? Uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 Meeting all these people that she, she had forgotten so- about some of them until she met them again, and er she said it was great.
F1189 Mmhm mm. That's interesting, isn't it? Reunions like that actually might be even more meaningful
F1680 Uh-huh.
F1189 for people who've emigrated.
F1680 And as you get, as you get older, when you're young it's an adventure, but as you get older, certain things, you know, you you miss certain things, and and and it would be nice to be able to go home for six months every year.
F1189 Mmhm. //It would be nice. If you didn't have to work. [laugh]//
F1680 //It would be nice. [laugh]// [laugh] Working's a drag, but //[cough]//
F1189 //Now, remind me now, you said you left school when you were// //sixteen.//
F1680 //When I was sixteen.// [inhale] Then I worked for a erm, I worked for a, you know, a short time in Scottish Special Housing,
F1189 Mm.
F1680 then I went to nursing college, I went to er Royal Edinburgh Hospital, I was trained by them, so.
F1189 The Royal Edinburgh's a psychiatric //hospital.//
F1680 //That's correct, yes, yes.// And I worked in Craighouse, er well I worked at the Royal Ed., then d- Gogarburn, and did a little stint in the Royal Infirmary which I hated. Absolutely hated. So much I said I'd never go in as a patient. [laugh] //[laugh]//
F1189 //Now it's a very neat turn of history, this, because as you know, the Scottish Centre for the Book is based at Craighouse [inaudible]// //[inaudible].//
F1680 //Isn't that really strange, uh-huh.//
F1189 If you come over to Scotland, you'll need to get in touch with me and I'll take you round and let you have a look //at it now, uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 //Oh that would be something, eh.//
F1189 So you'd be eighteen then, when you started nursing? //Is that right? And it's a three-year//
F1680 //Uh-huh, yeah about that, yeah.// //Actually no, mine was just a two-year, I was just... yeah.//
F1189 //course. Do the enrolment?// //Uh-huh.//
F1680 //Yeah.// And I always cons-, I, one of the, one of my tutors said I should have gone in for the three years. And I, you know, I considered it, then erm, then I got married, and then m-, you know, I, everything just seemed to..., then I emigrated, and the rest is history. [laugh]
F1189 A lot, there were lots of enrolled nurses worked in //in psychiatric hospitals then.//
F1680 //Uh-huh.//
F1189 Now, they had a very specific role to //play, they had a lot of responsibility.//
F1680 //Uh-huh.// I absolutely loved it, and er and I loved working at Gogarburn too, erm I really did, I loved it.
F1189 So you stayed with the the psychiatric nursing then, you didn't go on and do any //general [inaudible]?//
F1680 //I went on to, after that I went on to work in// a day-care with underprivileged children,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 for a, because because then I, when I got married we couldn't find anywhere to live in Edinburgh, we lived in Dalkeith.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 So then I went to work with underprivileged children, [cough] because my nursing would allow it.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Erm, mainly because, this sounds terrible, but it was easier to get //to with the buses, from Dalkeith to Edinburgh.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 And then and then erm, and then from there we just, we emigrated. And I was twenty-two when I emigrated.
F1189 Right, so you were pretty young when you got //married?//
F1680 //I was young, yeah.// I was twenty-one when I got married. And, you know, if my daughter had told me at twenty-two she was going to move three thousand miles away, I would probably tie her to a chair,
F1189 [laugh]
F1680 and not let her! [laugh] Cause it-, when I looked at her at twenty-two and I thought, [inhale] "how could my mum have let me leave at twenty-two years old?" But I was I was, right, I was a married woman.
F1189 Well that's right, again, I think parenting's changed, and //[inaudible].//
F1680 //My mum was eighteen when she got married, so I guess I was older than her, you know?//
F1189 Uh-huh, so, //and and yes,//
F1680 //Yeah.//
F1189 you you were, I think people had the attitude you were off their hands then //when you were married.//
F1680 //That's right.// That's right. I mean, my sister got married in the May, and I got married in the December. And at my sister's wedding someone said to my mum, "Oh, why aren't you crying?" She said, "Well the way I look at it, two down and three to go!" //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// //They're, they're all girls? Uh-huh. My goodness!//
F1680 //All girls. [laugh]// //[laugh]//
F1189 //She did have her troubles, [inaudible], did she? [laugh]//
F1680 Oh boy! [laugh] The youngest one's the only one who never married.
F1189 Uh-huh. //Mmhm.//
F1680 //Erm, she was more, I guess career-o-oriented, so she didn't.//
F1189 Now when you were training to be a nurse,
F1680 Uh-huh.
F1189 trainee nurses, I know, work pretty awful hours, erm in between times, in between your shifts, did that give you any chance to catch up with reading, or did you give up reading during that time?
F1680 Do you know, I probably gave up reading as a hobby, because I was usually studying.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mm mmhm.//
F1680 //So, I was reading, but not as a hobby, or not just for enjoyment. It was out of necessity.// And it was usually medical books I was reading.
F1189 Right.
F1680 And I used to read, was it, is it called the Lancet, Lancet? //Lancet.//
F1189 //The Lancet, the medical journal?// //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 //I used to, we used to be able to get those, take those home and read those.//
F1189 They were in the hospital then? //Uh-huh.//
F1680 //Yeah, we had// we had access to them, so yeah, used to take them home with me and read them. But I-I-I can't really say I read anything for strictly pleasure at that time.
F1189 It's a bit harsh, really, isn't it?
F1680 I guess it is, you know? But I guess we thought that was what we had to, no one forced us //to//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 to just read medical books, and that, but I would have been so embarrassed had I failed. [laugh] So... //So...//
F1189 //Well what about things like the Nursing Times,// //the Nursing Mirror?//
F1680 //You know, I can't even remember the Nursing T-.// I can't remember those. We probably had them but I really can't remember them.
F1189 I'm not surprised, mind you, that you don't, cause they were expensive.
F1680 So I never bought them, probably, yeah.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And I, let me tell you, they, we got paid once a month.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And the last week of the month, I never had any money and I never had any food.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 So my husband used to, his mother used to serve me up gift baskets of food.
F1189 Mmhm. //Red Cross box. [laugh]//
F1680 //[laugh]// [inhale] So she used to keep me going for the last week, so I really probably didn't have money to buy the newspapers.
F1189 And what about things like erm magazines for young women, that kind of thing? //Mmhm.//
F1680 //My sisters, I was never big on fashion magazines but my sister used to buy, [inhale] goodness, what was it now?// Erm, what was the ma-, it was, I think it's still on the go today. It was a fashion magazine and er, //so I used to I used to borrow it from her and look through it once in a while, but not all the time.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 You know, I can't even remember.
F1189 Would it have been Cosmopolitan?
F1680 Cosmopolitan, it was. How did you know? //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// //We're too similar in age, you and I.//
F1680 //Cosmopol-, Cosmopolitan's still on the go today and I still don't buy it.//
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 Erm,
F1189 Well I was going to ask you what you thought about it at that time.
F1680 Overpriced, too many ads, and erm, and er after I read a magazine, I usually like to feel I've //learned something.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 And learning designer names is not one thing I really care about, so.
F1189 Well again, Cosmopolitan was, it was expensive.
F1680 It was.
F1189 Erm, but it was, at that time it was very of the moment. Cause I'm thinking that you you were a young woman in the seventies, //the early seventies.//
F1680 //Mmhm.//
F1189 And that's thought of as a time of liberation //for women. Do you remember anything of that going on in Edinburgh,//
F1680 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Erm.//
F1189 //that impinged on you?//
F1680 In in what way? Erm. //[cough]//
F1189 //Well the fact that you you could buy Cosmopolitan, which, famously I think had the first male nude centrefold. [laugh]// //[laugh] Sorry, I [inaudible]. Mmhm.//
F1680 //Well you know, I was working in a hospital, so that probably didn't really bother me too much. [laugh] I probably thought, well you've seen one seen them all.// Erm.
F1189 I'm thinking of of women's liberation, //at the time.//
F1680 //Do you know something, I will admit though,// women's liberation probably did not bother me quite so much, because I came from a family where women were very strong willed //anyways,//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 erm who were not under their husbands' thumbs. Like, my dad didn't say "jump" and my mum say "how high?"
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Although she did lay his clothes out. But she was still a very strong individual,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 so erm, so I came from a family where the women were all very //strong, so it didn't really, we didn't//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
F1680 feel as if we had to break a-, how can I say, break any barriers, //or//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 I guess though in the larger scale when I'm thinking of it, women were often paid less than men,
F1189 Mm.
F1680 erm there weren't as many women doctors, and lawyers, and and er, so I guess in my own little way, I I I wasn't erm how c-, subservient
F1189 Mm.
F1680 to to men, er never was,
F1189 Mm.
F1680 never will be, so but but I can't really think of any major ways it it it impacted me, because I didn't really feel I had anything to prove.
F1189 We don't we don't have a lot of sort of historical data on
F1680 [cough]
F1189 how women's liberation operated //in Scotland.//
F1680 //Uh-huh.// //Really? Uh-huh.//
F1189 //But there were groups. Yeah, uh-huh.// I don't know. I mean I grew up tending to think of it as something that happened somewhere else, //you know, in London and places like that. Mmhm.//
F1680 //I I probably did too, yeah, yeah, yeah.// It's true. You thought that was more erm, something that would happen in in London, not in smaller areas. But I guess really we all had our little, we all input in our own little way.
F1189 Mmhm. You don't remember "Spare Rib", or any of these...
F1680 What was that?
F1189 It was a a magazine, //a women's lib magazine.//
F1680 //No, no.// //No. [cough]//
F1189 //Me neither, [inaudible].// //[laugh] Women's liberation never happened in Scotland.//
F1680 //No. Oh okay. [laugh]//
F1189 But as you say, it wasn't something that was very relevant for you. //You didn't feel that you were//
F1680 //No, it wasn't really.//
F1189 second //class? Mm mmhm.//
F1680 //I didn't f-, no I never did.// I never did. Erm.
F1189 And of course you went into a female-dominated profession, what was then a //female-dominated profession.//
F1680 //That's right, that's right.// And and you know, actually, we had quite a few male nurses, we had lots,
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 //especially in the psy-, well you'll know, the psychiatric field.// There were, we had lots of male nurses.
F1189 Yes, yes, more so than in any other area.
F1680 Yes, [cough], I mean you went into the Royal Infirmary, and, cause we had to spend part of our term there. And the the matrons there who ran the wards, of course, they did not like getting male nurses. They did not like it at all. //So they used to be lucky because they got sent to watch, they got sent out to watch all the operations.//
F1189 //I can see why. [laugh]// //Uh-huh. Uh-huh.//
F1680 //"Oh doctor so and so, you go and watch that operation", and they didn't have to do any of the work.//
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 So erm, because the Royal Infirmary didn't like them at that time. //Or the the matrons didn't like them at that time.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.// Well I suppose that might have been seen as something of an assault on their authority. //They'd be used to having that.//
F1680 //It could have, yeah, yeah.// And they were uncomfortable.
F1189 And they weren't wrong either //because//
F1680 //[laugh]// //[cough]//
F1189 //well I don't know about for you, but I certainly recall the men who came into nursing when I was nursing, at that time in the early eighties, tended to get promoted an awful lot more quickly.//
F1680 Yeah, you know, you're you're right there. Yeah, when I think about it. Now, I had a, my friend's brother who was also a friend of mine, he erm, he actually just, he just died last August, at the age of sixty,
F1189 Mm.
F1680 erm he was a nurse, and he climbed the ranks, very quickly when I think of it, [cough], and he started, probably the same time, er, had his training maybe a year before, and boom boom boom he just climbed right up there.
F1189 Mmhm. Yeah, so it's like you say, something //[inaudible]. Yeah.//
F1680 //When I think of it, yeah, I never, I hadn't thought of it.// Plus I, and he actually own-owns a nursing home in Lockerbie.
F1189 Mmhm. In in the Borders?
F1680 Yeah, yeah. Well, he's part-owner. Er but he he, as I say, unfortunately, he died erm just last August, but yeah he did, he climbed the ranks very quickly.
F1189 Now was nursing a profession that any of your other sisters went into?
F1680 My older sister did, but then she got, she got married and she left.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 So, but she did, but my other sisters, no they didn't.
F1189 I just wondered what made you choose to do that.
F1680 I always kind of liked looking after people, and I always thought it was interesting. Erm, and then my sister went in so I followed suit.
F1189 Yeah. //Mmhm.//
F1680 //So I guess really because she had gone into it, I followed suit.//
F1189 Cause do you have to give up a lot, as you said, you didn't get much time to to read. //for pleasure.//
F1680 //Mmhm.// But at the same time too, you partied a lot. //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]//
F1680 So, erm when I think of it now, I couldn't do it now, but when I think of it now, we did read a lot but the books that we read were strictly books that would help us //in nursing. [cough]//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 And then we partied a lot more in the-, you know, someone would buy a keg. //[laugh]//
F1189 //So you weren't that disciplined! [laugh]// And was that in the nurses' home then? //[laugh]//
F1680 //Yes. [laugh]// Erm, yeah, someone would er, well actually we had, you know the, you know the er kitchens there, //[cough] your restaurant?//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 Is it s-, is it sti-, in in the Andrew Duncan clinic, is it still, it used to be a teaching centre //for for chefs.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 And it was absolutely beautiful there.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
F1680 //And I remember, and they used to have art work on the walls, that you could actually buy.// //And they had//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 they had round tables with table cloths, and [cough] and I remember one guy, talking about reading, one person who had probably never been to the, er into a restaurant before, or cafeteria, whatever you want to call it. He came in and he put a book down in front of him, and he started eating, while he was reading the book, and someone, one of the kitchen staff came out and said "You have to put your book away. It's ill manners to read while you're sitting at a table here", he had to put his book away. //Can you believe that?//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 Anyway, it was the the guy who was in charge of the kitchens that got the keg, [laugh] we would all, you know, we'd have a few drinks. //Mmhm.//
F1189 //Have a party. Yeah.// Ah well, good for you. //[laugh]//
F1680 //Erm,// but er, I always remember being in at that time when that man started reading his book, and I don't know if he was a doctor, but anyway, //he certainly felt a bit sheepish, I think. Yeah, and he put the book away and started//
F1189 //He got told off? Uh-huh mmhm.// //Do you remember//
F1680 //eating.//
F1189 any sort of etiquette like that around books, say, in your house? //Not being able to read at the table.//
F1680 //We could never read at the table, never read at the table, no.// My dad was quite strict. He didn't like us-, you were at the table to eat,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 and that was it, no reading at the table. //No, never.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 [cough]. So, and I don't even think my dad read at the table. He would read sitting at the fireplace. //Bu-.//
F1189 //Uh-huh. And what about the borrowing of library books?//
F1680 We would, erm, you mean where we were allowed to read them?
F1189 Yeah.
F1680 We used to sit either in the living room or our bedroom, but never at the table.
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 While you were eating, never.
F1189 Did you ever read outdoors when you were a child?
F1680 At picnics and things? No, no, we we never did, because we were usually having too much fun doing something else. Because I think in those days we used to, we really used our imagination outside,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 and er and it wasn't that often you got a really good day, so if you got a good day you used to //Reading was for rainy days,//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Mmhm.//
F1680 //in the house.// But, or at night-time, before you went to bed. [cough] But erm, no, never outside.
F1189 Now the-the bus system around Edinburgh is quite good.
F1680 It's good. Mm.
F1189 And the reason why I asked you about outdoor reading, is that some people like to do, or some people like to do is to read on the bus.
F1680 Uh-huh.
F1189 Do you remember doing that?
F1680 As a, as a child, no.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And not even as a teenager.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 That's something I probably did //as a-an adult.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
F1680 But I never did it as a child or a teenager. I don't know why. But see now, I don't go anywhere usually without something to read, because I go crazy.
F1189 Mmhm. So you took up reading again //after you gave up nursing. Uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 //[cough] I did, yeah, I probably fell out of it for a little bit and then I started again.//
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Cause it's a great escape.
F1189 Now when you chose to come to Canada, well can I ask you first of all, was that a joint decision between you and your //husband? Mmhm.//
F1680 //It was. It was my husband's idea, because his brother was here.// And I guess he kind of had to talk me into it. And then yeah, it was a joint decision. And er,
F1189 Did you ever consider anywhere else?
F1680 No, cause he had family here. But I never, no I never considered.
F1189 And you always knew you were coming to Toronto?
F1680 Yes. Because again his brother was here.
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 But had I, had I been able to choose, I'd have probably gone to the east coast. //Because erm//
F1189 //Uh-huh.//
F1680 the people like there are very much like the Scots, //and it's just, they're very friendly, and it's, there's just something, I just love the east coast.//
F1189 //Uh-huh.// Uh-huh, uh-huh. So that would be eh //Vancouver, uh-huh, sorry, I'm [inaudible] uh-huh.//
F1680 //That'd be like Prince Edward Island, [cough], yeah, Vancouver's out west, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, or Newfoundland as we say in Scotland,// erm, New Brunswick, //[cough] [sniff]//
F1189 //Now, Prince Edward Island, for me, that's "Anne of Green Gables".// //[laugh] Did you read that?//
F1680 //Yeah.// //I did read it, and it's erm, PEI is, "Anne of Green Gables" is everywhere, it's very commercialised there. And erm,//
F1189 //Mmhm. [laugh] Uh-huh.// //Uh-huh? Uh-huh.//
F1680 //We actually went to her house, well it's not her, really her house, it's one that they've made to look...// I think they do ha-, I think they did have a house that she spent part of her childhood we went into. But erm I did read "Anne of Green Gables", but not until, I hadn't even heard of "Anne of Green Gables" till I came here. //Yeah.//
F1189 //Really? Uh-huh.// //Uh-huh.//
F1680 //Didn't know anything about her until I came here.// And then suddenly we were flooded with it.
F1189 Now it was made as a television programme. I can remember it, but you're a wee bit older than me so maybe you missed it //[inaudible]. Erm//
F1680 //I may have, yeah, I may have.//
F1189 Do you remember any television programmes, since we're on that subject, that you read the book of or //the other way round?//
F1680 //[cough]// When I was a child? [cough] //Do you know, television started at something like five in the afternoon and it finished at ten.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
F1680 //And we were always in bed by nine o'clock.// So we probably only got to watch TV, because then when my dad came home he was, he got to watch his thing. //We probably only watched for about an hour, believe it or not.//
F1189 //Uh-huh.// Mmhm.
F1680 And erm, and I can't even remember any of the programmes, erm "The Lone Ranger", I remember that.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
F1680 //But I never read a book of the Lone Ranger.// I guess TV didn't have such a big impact on me, because it it was only on for a few hours a day, and we were restricted.
F1189 That's very interesting, isn't it, that //it took only a few years//
F1680 //Mmhm.// //Yeah.//
F1189 //to become a much bigger part of children's lives.//
F1680 Yeah.
F1189 Cause although I probably only watched about an hour a day as well, erm during the week, we watched an awful lot more television at weekends.
F1680 You know, my dad was big on erm, we used we used to watch educational things mainly at weekends, cause er my dad used to like watching, you know, anything, he'd watch //nature sh-.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mmhm.//
F1680 //And I mean of course th-those didn't really come along till a wee bit later.//
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Erm, and we tended to watch those, and to this day, I can honestly say I don't watch a lot of rubbish TV.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Erm, and if I do see something on TV, [cough] I'll tell you what I did watch, years ago, called "The Far Pavilions". //And I read that book after it.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 And I've read that book and I've read that book and I've r-, cause it's one of those books, a lot of books I'll read once and I'll think "well, I enjoyed it, but not enough to read it again", "The Far Pavilions" is probably my favourite book.
F1189 Now did you seek that book out //because you'd seen//
F1680 //I did.// //A-actually, when I say that now,//
F1189 //the programme?//
F1680 I'd seen the, I'd seen "The Far Pavilions" on TV, and I was at, I can't remember where I was at, but they were selling second-hand books,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 and I saw "The Far Pavilions", and I thought, "Oh, I've got to get this", because I loved the programme. And the book of course is much more, books are always much more interesting than the the programme.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mm.//
F1680 //But to this day, in fact I'm on my second one now, because the first one was second-hand and the pages fell apart, and someone offered to buy it, this guy offered to buy it from me and I refused to sell it to him.// And it was so falling apart, I used to have to keep it in a plastic bag.
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 [cough] And then eventually, I saw it again in another second-hand place, and I bought that. And I got rid of the first one. And then I read up on M.M. Kaye,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 the author, because I wanted to know if this was strictly fiction.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 But there was a little bit of her own life, because her own father was in the the erm forces, //in India.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 //And her uncle, and I think her brother, and her husband, so// so she said there was a little bit, she had taken a little bit from each of them and... //yeah.//
F1189 //She wrote about what she knew.//
F1680 And then she wrote another book called "Shadow of the Moon" which was about the Raj in India too.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And I enjoyed that one as well. I've always had a thing about India, I'd love to go there.
F1189 Yeah, uh-huh. //Uh-huh.//
F1680 //So those are two books I... but "The Far Pavilions", I even bought the the erm DVD.//
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Just loved it, fou-, I think it's four or five hours' worth, so you don't, you can't watch it all in one go. //[inhale]//
F1189 //And how long ago was that, that you watched the programme in the first place?//
F1680 Truthfully, let me just see, probably about, I would say it's about fifteen or sixteen //years ago, was it not?//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //I don't remember it, do you know that?//
F1680 //Probably.// You don't? //Well I was here, and I guess it, yeah, yeah.//
F1189 //[laugh] I know the book though.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 //Oh I just, it was just, I just loved it, I just fell in love with it.// //And that was it.//
F1189 //I was just wondering whether it was shown in the UK.//
F1680 Oh it was a British production wasn't it? I think it- cause it's Ben erm what's his, Ben Cross, Ben Cross who's, Ben Cross, I believe who's in it. //And he's British, isn't he? Yeah, I think it's a British, yeah.//
F1189 //Mm, it probably will be, mmhm.//
F1680 So erm, well maybe it just wasn't //your thing. [cough] Some things do, yeah.//
F1189 //It passed me by, well that's right, you know, that's the way it happens.// So, when you came out here, twenty-two as you say, //it must have been a wrench.//
F1680 //Yeah.// //Everything was was strange, like//
F1189 //Erm, mmhm.//
F1680 I look at some of the crosswalks, and I wouldn't cross unless there was a group of people crossing, because I really wasn't sure what the lights //said.//
F1189 //[laugh]//
F1680 So I'd wait until there was a crowd, and then I'd follow them across. //[cough]//
F1189 //They're different here, I noticed that myself.// //And it is a bit unsettling.//
F1680 //Yeah, cause [inhale] I// //And when you, and when you got these vast, like a street that's got six lanes to it, and I thought, "Oh my", I came from one where, we were lucky if we had two lanes going each way, never mind, you know, three or four going each way.//
F1189 //Mm uh-huh.// //And the the level of traffic in a city like//
F1680 //So, [exhale].// //[cough] Yeah.//
F1189 //[inaudible]. Uh-huh.//
F1680 But there's one thing that's good here is that most streets are pa-, you know they are parallel to one another. So y- as long as you know your north, south, east and west, you'll get by.
F1189 Yeah.
F1680 And I only know my south, so [laugh], so I'm still at
F1189 Now did you know anything about that though, //before you came here?//
F1680 //[cough] You know,// //I wish I had, I didn't look into it at all, I didn't know the first thing, I didn't do any reading up on it.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 I came here and it was a real culture shock, and I..., and years later, I thought to myself, "I should have really investigated this a bit more", because erm, I, because I came in January, and we spoke to my sister-in-law and we said "What's the weather like?" She said "Oh, it's not bad." Now, now I know "not bad" means they're still knee-deep in //snow, but you know?//
F1189 //Uh-huh.// //Mmhm.//
F1680 //I came without any boots.// //And we were knee-deep in snow, so the first thing I had to buy was a pair of sensible boots, because fashion boots just don't cut it here.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm. Yeah.//
F1680 Sensible boots, up to my knees.
F1189 Should have brought your wellies. //[laugh]//
F1680 //I should have.// //They would have had to be lined though. But, but you know, erm, you know, back home everything was fashion.//
F1189 //Uh-huh.//
F1680 And I wouldnae have been caught wearing the kind of boots I was wearing here. Because I wore the ones with the platforms, and the heels, and the zips up the side, and leather, and And suddenly I came here, and you dressed for comfort.
F1189 Mm mmhm. //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 //Not for fashion any more. It was a real shock.//
F1189 What could you bring with you here? Erm, I mean, I take it you flew?
F1680 We flew. [cough] And we had some of our belongings brought over in tea-chests.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Real old tea-chests. //And erm,//
F1189 //Uh-huh.//
F1680 but we had to keep it to, we'd mainly like blankets, it was our wedding gifts. //And in those days you didn't get stoves and fridges and things for your, it was tea-towels and towels and blankets,//
F1189 //Uh-huh. Mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
F1680 //so those things we brought over with us.// Erm, really just so we could start, start things here, and then of course when I came here, [cough] I didn't read a lot for pleasure. But I used to read things to make, because I was really into crafts.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mm mm mmhm.//
F1680 //So I would learn how to make macramé lightshades for the bedroom, and er, and this is what I started doing, I started buying a lot of craft magazines, craft books to teach me how to make stuff.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Now, do you remember seeing them in Scotland, or was that something new that you//
F1680 //Er...// //That was something new I encountered here, because I went to macramé classes.//
F1189 //encountered here? Uh-huh.// Uh-huh.
F1680 And and I guess I didn't... In Scotland, it was knitting. I I I was knitting from the age of six.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 So I would pick up knitting patt-, my mum always had them, so I never really had to buy them. I came here and I had nothing, so I started picking up craft magazines. I'd go to the library and get knitting books.
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 Erm, and I'd pick up various books at the library too, but mainly on, especially when we moved into the house, then it was gardening books.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 [cough] And I'd come home with, cause in Scotland there was a limit of two books. I'd come here and I could take as many books as I wanted.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 I'd go home with six or eight books.
F1189 Uh-huh uh-huh.
F1680 And er...
F1189 Did it feel like the land of plenty?
F1680 It did actually. It felt, it really did, because I could, suddenly I could pick up six or eight books and take them all home with me. And erm instead of these two books that I had to keep for two weeks.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
F1680 //And it was great.// [cough] And it did feel like the land of plenty, because when I first came here erm everything was in abundance. And really, when I think of it now, And we-we were really spoiled, and and erm and when I left Scotland you didn't get plastic bags in all the stores for your stuff. I was still taking a bag to the grocery //store.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 When I came here, everything was put in bags for you, they bagged everything for you, //you got all these plastic bags, I mean, what a wasteful society when I think of it.//
F1189 //[laugh]// //You left Scotland//
F1680 //Oh my goodness.//
F1189 at a time really of economic repression, //the the Seventies.//
F1680 //Yeah.// Nineteen seven-, January nineteen seventy-six I left there, //the day before Rabbie Burns day, twenty-fourth of January nineteen seventy-six.//
F1189 //[laugh]//
F1680 [cough] And we came here.
F1189 Did you recognise that at the time, that it was the day before Burns //day? Mm.//
F1680 //You know something? I probably didn't.// //And it was years later, I was looking through my my landing paper, and I thought "I came here the day before Rabbie Burns day".//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 And then I came here, I came here, and of course my brother-in-law was very Canadian by this time.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And he spoke with a Canadian twang.
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 And erm but I never never, and he used to say to me, my sister-in-law used to say "Oh isn't this great, isn't that great?" and he'd say, no point in telling Bernice because she'll say it's not as good as it is in Scotland. [laugh] //And it's true, it's true, I hate to say it, I used, it's true I used to say "Well, it's okay, but not as good as in Scotland".//
F1189 //[laugh] Uh-huh.// //Were you rel-reluctant then?//
F1680 //So I...// I I was, and you know, if I can, if if I can be perfectly honest, to this day I'm still not settled. //To this day.//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 Thirty-odd years later, I am still not settled. Isn't that real-, I mean,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And I just recognised this about myself probably about ten years ago. Always wanted a dog, all my life I wanted a dog, and I wouldn't get one, because I never knew if I was staying. [laugh] I never knew if I was staying or going back to Scotland. But then my daughter moved back with her dog, and I love this thing. I said, "they can all go as long as they leave me the dog".
F1189 Mmhm. So you you felt a wee bit like a sort of sojourner here, you weren't //here to stay.//
F1680 //I I, to this day I still feel like that.// I still do not feel like I've really put roots down.
F1189 Mmhm. Now the scheme to come here, at that time in the Seventies, cause you weren't alone, there were lots of people erm still moving //[inaudible].//
F1680 //Yeah, but we didn't get financial aid, we had to pay our own fare.// //Yeah yeah.//
F1189 //Did you?//
F1680 It wasn't like Australia where it was th-. //Cause I I remember people who lived on our stair went to Australia, and it was ten pound for each of them, yeah.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Uh-huh.//
F1680 //No, we paid our our own way, but it was only one-way.//
F1189 Was that allowed then because you had family here, //did someone have to sponsor you?//
F1680 //Actually, my my brother-in-law sponsored us.// //[cough] Yeah,//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 he sponsored us.
F1189 Now that was a lot of money then to save up //the airfare.//
F1680 //It was, and do you know?// We came here and we had, when I think of it, si-, six hundred pounds saved,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 which we thought, was it six hundred, yeah, I think it was six hundred, no it was three hundred pounds saved.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 That's what we came with, cause it was like six hundred dollars, three hundred pound, and we thought that was a fortune! //A fortune! But then my si-, we got here and my sister-in-law said, "Oh my husband makes that in a week".//
F1189 //It was a fortune! [laugh] Uh-huh.//
F1680 And I thought... But to us this was a fortune, and my mother-in-law even thought it was a fortune, so much so that she wrote and told my sister-in-law that we were coming with three hundred pound, [laugh] which she really shouldn't have done, I found out later, but she did, because she thought this was a lot of money, //and we got here and it wasn't. [cough]//
F1189 //It's some determination there, really, to// how did you feel about getting out of Scotland and seeing a wee bit of the world? I know you...
F1680 It, you know, it felt like an adventure.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 It was like an adventure.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Yep, and erm And and I mean I must admit though when I came here I cried and cried and cried. I'd get up in the morning, my eyes were all puffy, because I missed my my family so much. But yeah, at the same time, when summer came, and we would go on barbecues and picnics, and it it was lovely.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 It was really lovely, I loved it. And then my family came to visit and I wanted to go back with them. I was broken-hearted.
F1189 [exhale]
F1680 And so it was a, it was a wrench. Even to this day it's a wrench when they they come and they go back. I'm getting more used to it now, because I know, well I'll be seeing you soon. //[cough]//
F1189 //Di-did you fly from Glasgow or Prestwick?//
F1680 From, we flew, probably from Prestwick. Yeah, and and the family came with us.
F1189 Mmhm. //To wave you off?//
F1680 //And...// //to wa-, and everybody was crying.//
F1189 //[laugh]//
F1680 They were all crying, and we went, then we went through the doors to go, and my husband said "Well, do you want to go back out?" and I said "I'm not going back out. Cause I'm breaking my heart as it is, it's going to be worse going back again, you know, erm through the gates". Not that they would have let us anyway. I think he was dreaming.
F1189 It's a pretty long flight then too.
F1680 It did s-, yeah, it seemed long, and erm and you know, we went, my sister-in-law and my brother-in-law picked us up, [cough] we went back to their house. And this must seem strange to you, but I always remember the next morning, I, obviously I'd been crying all night, and the next morning, I don't know why I tortured myself, but I got up and my sister-in-law had been washing the dishes with something called Ivory, washing-up liquid. And to this day, I I can never use that, because the smell of it brings back all those memories. Obviously the sense of smell is //so linked to your... and to this day//
F1189 //That's right, uh-huh.//
F1680 I will never buy Ivory washing-up liquid, because it depresses me. I feel like... I think back to those days.
F1189 Uh-huh. //Mmhm.//
F1680 //And isn't it strange?//
F1189 So that probably wasn't a good time for you, thinking //when you first arrived?//
F1680 //It probably wasn't,// when I first arrived, I was, it was an adventure, but I was so homesick as well.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And erm
F1189 Did you have anything to read on the flight out here from Prestwick?
F1680 Yeah, I probably did. I probably did er crossword puzzles on that. //But//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 it was so traumatic in my life, you'd think I would remember every detail, but I can't. //because it was, [cough] it was so, yeah, it was so traumatic.//
F1189 //No, sometimes it's the other way round, isn't it? Yeah.//
F1680 And then when I came here, erm, I can't even remember if my brother-in-law and sister-in-law were... She's a big reader now but I can't remember what she read then.
F1189 Did you stay with them then?
F1680 We stayed with them. We stayed in their attic. And there were no windows, and the only way I knew it was daylight, I could hear the squirrels scurrying across the roof. [laugh] [inhale] //No, [cough], we stayed with them for, well,//
F1189 //So no home of your own either, and that must have been quite unsettling.//
F1680 we stayed with them for about three months, I think, and then we moved into our own place,
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 an apartment, and that's when I started probably erm trying to make things
F1189 Mm.
F1680 for the house, the apartment.
F1189 And to do that then, you obviously sought out //books.//
F1680 //Th-the library just up the street// was within walking distance, yeah. //[cough]//
F1189 //Toronto has fantastic libraries. I haven't actually been in it yet, but I've looked at it online.// //It's huge.//
F1680 //Uh-huh. Yeah.//
F1189 Erm what's your impression, or what was your impression //[?]of them[/?]?//
F1680 //The the the libraries,// //well when I went of course, they didn't have the computers and all the [inaudible].//
F1189 //Mm mm.//
F1680 But I loved it because there wasn't the same, back home you were scared to talk in a library, when I was young you were scared to talk. //[cough] Now you could sit at round tables near the windows and relax,//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 you know, nice chairs to sit and
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 and you could sit and you could read, and you could discuss things with the librarian, //which was foreign to me, because it was always "Sh, sh, sh", you know, when you were at the library.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 They had programmes for the kids, here, when I first came. Erm, in fact I used to take my kids to some of their, they had craft programmes and all of that in the libraries
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 for the kids. Erm reading times.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And erm, well of course, I didn't have children in Scotland, so maybe they had them in the libraries there, I don't know.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 But I came here and suddenly this this library was not just for reading, it wasn't just for picking up books, they they had all their, they had brochures from the city to tell you what was going on //in the city and//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Ah, now that's//
F1680 //things like that.//
F1189 interesting. Do you think then the the library system was part of the mechanism //for helping people to settle down?//
F1680 //[cough]// It was, and to this day it is. Because my my daughter-in-law was telling me that the library er were giving out so many tickets, free tickets to go to //just, this is just, you know, recently,//
F1189 //Mm mm.//
F1680 to go to Pioneer Village, to various various thing-, erm, //things around the city, the art gallery, the museum, all free,//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
F1680 erm for a period of time, they only, they offered so many tickets and she managed to get some.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And by the way, you have to pay for the art galleries here, //which I I//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Mmhm.//
F1680 //last time I went, I wrote them a letter saying "I think this is disgraceful.// How does someone who has a low income afford, you know, even the museum?" The museum is er, what did I pay the last time I went to see an exhibit, and it was only in, I went in January, and I think we paid, oh that's right we got there at twenty past four, //no we got there at four o'clock, and at four thirty they were reducing the rates, so we walked into the shop until four thirty.//
F1189 //Uh-huh.//
F1680 And half price was something like twelve fifty each, twelve dollars and fifty cents each.
F1189 Expensive.
F1680 So you imagine twenty-five dollars.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 That's a lot for people to come in and see something that they're suppo-, that their taxes are paying for anyway.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 So I have to write them a letter too. [laugh] //[laugh] It is, and that's what I-//
F1189 //It's different from Scotland. [laugh]//
F1680 And you know, if you go to the art gallery, they, well, last time I was there they had letters posted up from people, //who had been there, and a lot of them were European, the le-, from from people from Europe, [cough] stating that why is it their art galleries are free and they're not free here.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mmhm mmhm.
F1680 So er, and even the museum. I can see paying to go in for a special exhibit, but not just to walk around the museum or the art gallery.
F1189 Mmhm. //So speaking of culture, you know, when you came here, how did you encounter the the two languages?//
F1680 //[cough]// Well my sister-in-law's from Quebec, so she's French. There there, it's mainly English spoken here. Erm, Lisa's family's from Quebec, because they're from [?]Saint Jean de[/?] [inaudible],
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 which is a wee town away in the boonies that a lot of people haven't even heard of. She would speak French, and the French I learned at school doesn't, just does not cut it. [cough] Erm, couldn't understand a word they say, because they speak, erm well I guess they're... although she's been to France, my sister-in-law, and she she can communicate //very well, she says there's no difference.//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 But someone told me that Parisian French, and the Quebecois French, you know, //it's a bit different.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 But erm we really didn't experience a lot of it when we came here, because most people
F1189 Mm.
F1680 speak English.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 But when we went to Montreal, years and years ago, erm, well you know, I shouldn't, maybe I shouldn't be saying this, but but they're supposed to be rudest, the... Quebec is supposed to be the rud-rudest province in the whole of Canada.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And we went to Montreal a few years, quite a few years ago now, and we went to a restaurant, and they served everybody around us, I went to a store to pay for something, and they served the people on either side of me, and ignored me. Now, how did they know I wasn't a tourist from Scotland, //instead of being from Toronto?//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 They didn't know that. Erm, but but I love Montreal, because we went there when the jazz fe-, when the Just for Laughs festival was on, and I loved it.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 And I, and a lot of the people I met, I loved.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
F1680 //I really did.// But there's still this thing about English-speaking //people. Yes.//
F1189 //Yeah, slightly discriminating.//
F1680 Yes.
F1189 What about when you did come here as a Scot? I mean there are lots of Scots //[inaudible],//
F1680 //Mmhm [cough]// //[cough]//
F1189 //with your Scottish accent and so on and so forth, did you feel different?//
F1680 You know, I didn't, because there were lots of Scots, and and a lot of people say they love my accent. And when I hear myself on tape, I cringe.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 But to this day, and I work in a, I work in a paediatrician's office, and to this day I'm always getting people telling me they love my accent.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm.
F1680 And the doctor I work for is Jewish and he's from Israel,
F1189 Mmhm. //[laugh]//
F1680 //And they never tell him they love his accent, but they're always telling me that they love my accent.//
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 And then we've got people who come into the office, and they may be from Cameroon, Somalia, and and we seem to have a connection, especially when it's the World Cup,
F1189 Mmhm. //[laugh]//
F1680 //because they watch it and I watch it.// Erm, and I don't know, I seem to find I have, being a Scot, I don't know why, but I seem to feel I have more of a connection with them
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 than I do some of the other nationalities.
F1189 Mm. //Mm.//
F1680 //I don't know why that is, erm,// but a lot of them will know of Scot-, the-they all know England, and they'll say "Oh yeah, it's England", and I'll say "No, no, we're Scotland". But a lot of them do know the Scots, especially the people who are interested in soccer, or football. //Yeah, yeah.//
F1189 //It's football [inaudible].// //The Scotland er football fans are pretty famous, aren't they? [laugh]//
F1680 //They all know the Scots then. [cough] [laugh]// But they all, in fact one one man, he's he's from Somalia, he'll bring his kids into my office and he'll come in and he'll say "Up the Celtic!" //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Mmhm uh-huh.//
F1680 //Cause he started saying "Up the Rangers", and I said "Come here, come here", I'm Catholic, so it has to be Celtic, so now he comes in and he'll say "Up the Celtic", and he's er but he sings it "Up the Celtic".// And he's from Somalia. //So.//
F1189 //There is a// There's a Celtic football supporters' club //in Toronto.//
F1680 //Oh yeah.// //[cough] It's actually in Brampton.//
F1189 //Do you ever have any...? Is it?// Do you ever have any contact //with them?//
F1680 //Erm, well my husband's,// //my husband's cousin's husband, if you can get that,//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 Sandra's husband is from Glasgow,
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
F1680 //and he's... belongs to the the erm, he goes to the Celtic club for all the games every week.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
F1680 //They watch it on the big screen TV.// //No, because I just like the World Cup,//
F1189 //But not yourself, you're not that big a fan?// Uh-huh. //Uh-huh.//
F1680 //but I'm not a big football fan, other than the World Cup, then I like to watch it.//
F1189 Did you watch it when you were back in Scotland?
F1680 Never, never. It's like a tie to... I came from a family of five girls too, where we were never really, well we didn't play soccer.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 It wasn't the done thing then for girls to play soccer. //So I never did.//
F1189 //Or to go to football matches.//
F1680 Well that's right. I mean I think I went to one football match,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 because my hus-, my uncle was the preside-, the vice-president of the Hearts Supporters' Club,
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 in Niddrie.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And I went once with them on the bus,
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 but erm, yeah, but but I, now I feel it's like a little tie to home.
F1189 Aye. //Uh-huh.//
F1680 //And er// and I find all the Europeans, my neighbour's Portuguese, he'll watch it. Have to laugh though, a few years ago he came through, [cough] and he said to us erm, he was all happy and cheery, and he said "Yeah, we won, we won, we won the the soccer game, and er we beat you", and John says, "You didn't beat us, you beat the English. //We're Scots, we couldn't care less." [laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// //[laugh]//
F1680 //So he said, "Oh yeah, I forgot", [laugh] so off he went.// //[laugh]//
F1189 //Not allowed to forget. [laugh]// Now, it's very multicultural, //Canada.//
F1680 //Oh yeah.// //[cough]//
F1189 //Was that something you were aware of before you came here?//
F1680 It wasn't quite as multicultural.
F1189 Mm. //Mm. Mm.//
F1680 //Erm, over the past few years it's really, wh-when I first came here we had lots of Italians, lots and lots of Italians,// //erm, and probably Portuguese, and eh, you know,//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 European, but not, over the past few years, I find we get much more people from Africa,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 a lot of people from Africa, India, erm //but er when I first came here, I I can honestly say, no it didn't really bo-, I thought it was interesting,//
F1189 //Mm mm mmhm.// Mmhm.
F1680 it was interesting. And now there are so many more cultures, //you know?//
F1189 //Now you said you// you never really got the chance to read anything about Canada.
F1680 I didn't. And I'm ashamed of myself now. I should have.
F1189 Was there no erm
F1680 [cough] [sniff]
F1189 immigration literature that you received when you applied for a visa, //Mm mmhm.//
F1680 //You know, they didn't, now when you think about that, that was really...// They, my husband was a painter and decorator. //And I remember sitting watching a movie about Paul the painter and decorator in Canada, cause his name was Paul.//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 It was a load of garbage. And that was it, that was the extent of what, in fact when we went for one of our interviews, they let us sit and watch this little five-minute movie //thing.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// //[laugh]//
F1680 //And what a lot of garbage it was.// //That was it, that was the extent of it.//
F1189 //Uh-huh.//
F1680 There was no literature, it was really, you came here and you just had to learn...
F1189 Mm.
F1680 Well thank goodness we had someone to come to,
F1189 Mm.
F1680 because er boy it was a a bit of a shock.
F1189 All the the sort of Scottish societies, the ones around football, there are others, there are things like //country dancing,//
F1680 //[cough]// I know, I know.
F1189 Did you ever join anything //like that? Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 //I never did join them, no.// Because, you know, i-it's funny but erm I didn't just seek out Scottish people, so one of my, one of my very first friends here, of course my sister-in-law and my husband's cousin, but one of my very first friends and longest friends, [CENSORED: forename], and she's part, she's the one that's part-native //and part-English.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
F1680 But she's very much into her native
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 erm [inaudible]. Erm, so [CENSORED: forename] and I, we we, when my children were small I was very involved in my children's sports, their swimming,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 their... we used to take them to playgroups and [CENSORED: forename] went, her children were ages with mine, and we just became very good friends. And she was the one who put me on to Erma Bombeck. //[laugh]//
F1189 //Oh right. Now, tell me about that.//
F1680 Okay. [CENSORED: forename] used to, I remember once she said to me, cause our kids were all young, "Have you ever read Erma Bombeck's books?" and I said no. So she gave me my first one. And it was "The Grass is-", "The grass is always greener over the septic tank". //[cough] And have you read Erma Bombeck?//
F1189 //No, I haven't, no.// //Uh-huh.//
F1680 //She's an American humourist. She died about fourteen years ago.// But her books are very funny, they're light, they're everyday living.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 So you read her books and you can understand exactly what she's talking about, about the mess her kids make and this and that, but she puts a comical twist //on everything.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
F1680 So I started reading her books. Mainly because, you know when you have kids, you're always so busy doing this and that, and this was, this was a nice thing just to pick up and read. And it made you laugh.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 So I started reading Erma Bombeck. //[cough] Yeah.//
F1189 //So it was a friend who took you back to reading again.// //Mm.//
F1680 //It was, yeah.// I mean I would I would always read, I would always things that were lying around.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 But I must, honestly, I... when I first spoke to you I started thinking about my reading and I thought, really people have changed the way I read over here, or they've encouraged me,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 [cough] and erm [CENSORED: forename] was one of them. //[cough] Excuse me.//
F1189 //I was thinking too, this all [inaudible],// would those books have been something you'd have been likely to have encountered in Scotland?
F1680 I don't think so, because she's American.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 Is she from Pennsylvania? Anyway.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 Erm, and a lot of it's American humour.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And probably, probably wouldn't understand everything
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 [cough] had I lived in
F1189 Mm.
F1680 Scotland. I may not have understood her humour.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 But erm, she, and even the title of her books, this one, "When you look like your passport photo, it's time to go home".
F1189 [laugh] //[laugh]//
F1680 //Just, "Motherhood, the second oldest profession",// "If life was a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?" And, you know, these are //her her books, and//
F1189 //Mmhm mm.//
F1680 each one was funnier than the the one before, so she was erm, she used to do newspaper columns as well. //I never did read any of her columns.//
F1189 //Ah right, uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 Cause I think it was all American newspapers. But erm,
F1189 Now where did you get those books from? Did your friend give you them, or //did you buy them? Uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 //She probably gave me the first one but then I went to the library and and picked them up.// And it was embarrassing, because you'd be sitting on a bus and start to chuckle.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And laugh, you know? And you look m-, I must have looked like an idiot more than once, because I'm sitting laughing to myself, and it's because of her, //her writing.//
F1189 //So you started// reading on public transport then?
F1680 And I never stopped. It passes the time. //Mmhm.//
F1189 //Uh-huh.// //Well the distances you travel here of course are that much greater.//
F1680 //[cough] That's right, that's right.//
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And I used to, in my last job I used to, driving there was a nightmare, so it was easier to go by subway, because subway's so much faster, but even then it still took an hour. So if I didn't have something to read, I would go //stir-crazy, you know, I just had to have something to pass, pass the time and read.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 In fact sometimes I would take puz-public transport because I had a good book,
F1189 [exhale]
F1680 and I just wanted to read it, you know, because if you drive, you can't
F1189 Uh-huh uh-huh.
F1680 you can't read, so it was always somet-, sometimes it was better. //[cough]//
F1189 //Did you drive before you came here?//
F1680 No, no, not at all.
F1189 So that was something else that you you //[inaudible].//
F1680 //And I was thirty-four before I got my licence.//
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 So I wasn't young.
F1189 Uh-huh. And again, I mean a lot of women of our age don't ever learn to //drive in Scotland.//
F1680 //That's right, that's right.// Yeah.
F1189 So is that something else again that you felt compelled to do here?
F1680 I did, because I I was depending too much on my husband and things, you know, so...
F1189 Mmhm mmhm. Now you said you couldn't get a nursing job.
F1680 I probably should have tried later on,
F1189 Uh-huh. //Erm,//
F1680 //and gone later on.//
F1189 So you looked for other kinds of employment, but did you have your children pretty soon after that, or did //[inaudible]?//
F1680 //I was three years married when I had my children, yes, I was probably only er two years here when I had my children, yeah.// //[cough]//
F1189 //Now, your children are Canadian.// //[laugh]//
F1680 //Very much so.// //But they can understand my accent. [laugh]//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh.// Erm, so it's not an embarrassment to them then to have //a Scottish mother?//
F1680 //Oh no, oh no, not at all.//
F1189 How do you think Scots are seen generally in in in Canada?
F1680 Do you know, I think they're very well respected.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 Because erm, they know that the Scots are, well if they don't know I soon tell them, that Scots invent more things per //capita than any other nation.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 Erm, but I would have to say Scots are very well respected
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 yeah, in Canada.
F1189 Because of their long legacy of migration here, or //because of something about Scotland?//
F1680 //Yeah.// I I think it's just because probably of what they've, yeah, just their legacy of migration. I mean you look back at Canadian history, Scots are prominent in the history.
F1189 Do you think that gives you a special //place in in multicultural Canada?//
F1680 //[cough]// //Not really, [laugh] I don't think so, I don't think so.//
F1189 //[laugh] Uh-huh.//
F1680 I'd like to think that a lot of the people who are coming into Canada now are aware of their Canadian history, but a lot of them aren't.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 They're not.
F1189 Mm mmhm.
F1680 [cough] We have, I mean, I don't know if you know it here, Th-, to me they should focus more on Canadian history. //But then we have we have Black History month in the schools now, so so the month of February's black history//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 and Canada's doing a turn-around now. [cough] They're gonna be opening some schools that are for black children only now. Why was all the the the fighting years and years ago, they wanted people to be integrated. Now Canada's going back the way. //I- yeah.//
F1189 //That's extraordinary, I didn't know that.//
F1680 [cough] Oh did you not? Yeah, yeah, there are gonna be, they took a vote
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Erm because they feel they're not getting enough of their own black history. Erm, and I think it's up to the parents to teach the children their history from the country they came from //too.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 I mean, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the schools teaching it, but I think, primarily, if you're in Canada, the history should be Canadian history. And then, you know, all knowledge is good, //so//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
F1680 erm but yeah, they're gonna be opening black high s-, high schools strictly for black children. //Erm,//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Now wh-? Mmhm.//
F1680 //Now they're not compelled to go, if, some parents are saying no they're not sending their children to those schools.//
F1189 Well they may be wise. [laugh] //Erm,//
F1680 //Well yeah. [cough]//
F1189 I was thinking you know about Canadian history, and how your your own children will have engaged with that,
F1680 Uh-huh.
F1189 and whether or not you learned anything from that, and if you tried to teach them a little bit about Scottish history as well. //[laugh] Uh-huh.//
F1680 //Oh yeah, my kids probably have heard more of Scottish history from me than they have Canadian, because I'm afraid I'm not as well versed in Canadian as...// Yeah, and I used to, oh you know, when my mum used to live, after I moved here though, my mum lived in a high-rise, before the house she's in now, erm near Craigmillar Castle.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Now my kids had heard me telling them about the Green Lady in Craigmillar Castle, long before they went //over there. [cough]//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 //And one time they were at my mum's, and erm the festival was on, and of course they have a banquet and dancing in Craigmillar Castle,// anyway, they could hear the bagpipes.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And my son looked at my mum's window and he could see this green,
F1189 Mmhm. //[laugh]//
F1680 //and he started freaking out, saying it was the Green Lady.// And my mum said "Who the hell told him about the Green Lady!" And I said "It was me", she said "You're off your head". [laugh] But I used to tell my kids, I mean, my husband used to work late hours because he was the only one working, [cough], so when we were at the table, having supper, having dinner, //not like my fa- my father, we weren't allowed to speak. I used to tell my children stories, and usually about Scotland.//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 And about the ghosts and about the Green Lady and all this, so my son was four years old when we came, when he saw this green light coming from Craigmillar Castle. //and he thought it was the Green Lady, cause I had told him all these stories about the Green Lady, so he was freaking out thinking there was a ghost in the castle. [laugh]//
F1189 //Mm. Uh-huh. [laugh]// Scotland might have seemed like a magical place //to him.//
F1680 //[cough] It probably did.//
F1189 Children.
F1680 And I mean, they've heard the stories, cause I brought the book back too, "Greyfriars Bobby". So they're used to "Greyfriar's Bobby", and erm, and er, and I brought books back there about the ghosts, //the hauntings and...//
F1189 //You second-guessed me there, because I was going to ask you if you had any Scottish// //books in your house, apart from "Ma Broon's Cookbook".//
F1680 //Mmhm [cough] Yeah, yeah.//
F1189 Erm, //Mmhm.//
F1680 //Oh yeah, I've got the Oor Wullie books, I've got the erm the Oor Wullie and the the Broons books, all those that my husband's had,// //we've got "Greyfriar's Bobby", we've got all about ghosts in Scotland,//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
F1680 //erm, we've got a book on tartans, we've got quite a few// //Scottish books.//
F1189 //Now those ones about// "Greyfriar's Bobby", did you buy them here, //or did you buy them back at home?//
F1680 //[cough] No, in Scotland.// Brought them back, read them, and er we've got a book on the West Highland Way, cause my son was always going to cycle it, maybe he will one of these days.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Erm, but yeah.
F1189 Erm, and what about the sort of old stalwarts of Scottish literature, things like er Robert Burns, for example, do you have anything like that? //Uh-huh.//
F1680 //We go to Burns suppers now.// //And you know, I don't really have so many, erm I don't really have poems of Burns, or that, no.//
F1189 //Uh-huh.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 //But my my children are very familiar, because we do talk about Rabbie Burns, or Robbie Burns as they call it here.// Er, [cough], one of my friends, I let him read my, he's of Italian descent,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 he's a a friend of ours, and I was letting him read the cookbook of
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Ma Broon, and he said to me, "Bernice, I can't understand a word". //[laugh] And so he gave it back to me.//
F1189 //[laugh]//
F1680 But erm yeah my kids, and then do you know what I find too? Like, I I don't sit down and read poetry.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Erm, I don't sit down and read quotations,
F1189 Mm.
F1680 but if I happen to read them, er you know, if I happen to see them in the course of things and it interests me, I'll cut it out.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 Like I'm always cutting little quotes out and I'll come across them later, and that. But I I was talking to my my daughter, I was quoting erm "Daffodils", Wordsworth, //isn't it Wordsworth?//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 She had never heard of it.
F1189 Ah, right. //So it's not taught//
F1680 //Ah.// //They're not, they're not taught, I don't even think they're taught poetry over here.//
F1189 //over here then? Mm.//
F1680 Erm, I also quoted Walter de la Mare, The-"The Traveller",
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 never heard of him. //And I said "My, what do they teach you in schools nowadays?" Because erm she-she's vague, they just don't seem to get into poetry at all in the schools over here, and I don't know why.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Now how do you feel then, from your second-hand experience with your children, about the education system in Canada as compared to the one that you encountered in Scotland?//
F1680 //[cough]// [cough] I guess, you know, I think our-, I'll be quite honest, I think ours in Scotland, as far as literature goes, was much better,
F1189 Mm.
F1680 much better. Erm, all the kids here have to read "Catcher in the Rye". I've never read it, but... have you read it? //Is it interesting?//
F1189 //I have, yes. Uh-huh.// It's quite good actually. [laugh]
F1680 Well this is one of the ones they all have to read here.
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 Erm, and and they do have to read so many so many books, I can't remember what kind they are, but I think they're probably pretty dry. Erm, but I I would have to admit, to me my high school, erm I think it was a bit more //interesting. As far as//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 the English literature, you know, our English classes went.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
F1680 //I think it was probably more interesting than they have here.// I mean we used to, well of course I was in Edinburgh, they used to take us to to the theatre //to see "Romeo and Juliet".//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 Never hear of the kids doing that here.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm. //Mmhm.//
F1680 //So er you you know, "Hamlet" we'd go to the theatre, cause I hated reading Shakespeare, I must admit.// But if you if you were to see someone perform it, it was different.
F1189 Yes, uh-huh. //Since you mentioned Shakespeare, and not liking him,//
F1680 //But they, they don't...// [cough]
F1189 and that's fine by me. Can I ask you if you can remember any books that you were made to read, back at home in Scotland, that you really disliked?
F1680 Er, made to read, let me see. Well we were, we were made to read Shakespeare's plays, you know? And I found, I mean I remember reading "The Merchant of Venice", that I found quite interesting //though.//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 Erm, "A Midsummer's Dream", Do you know, I read, I remember that, a portion of that being one of my books in elementary school.
F1189 Mm. //Mm.//
F1680 //Erm, I I quite liked that too, but I'm thinking of "Hamlet", and those... I just hated it.// And it was a drag to read it. And I would read a page, and then I'd have to reread it because I hadn't absorbed //any of it, and then I would//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mm.//
F1680 //have to reread it, cause, I couldn't...// //It's funny, if I read a book, and if I think, cannot get past the first chapter, I put it down, because it's not going to hold my interest.//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 And I find some of, you know, just some of Shakespeare's did not hold my interest at all. And we had to read them. And then we had to play them out in the class. That wasn't so bad, you know? If you were acting it out, acting out was much better than just trying to //to read it.//
F1189 //Mmhm yes, uh-huh.// Did you get Robert Burns at school?
F1680 [cough] Probably did but I can't remember. //We did get these, yeah, we did get his poems, erm.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 We did get his poems. You know, I got more Robert Burns in elementary school than I did in high school. And in elementary school, and I don't think it was just Burns' poems, you had to memorise a poem and recite it. And I always remember one, I can't remember the title but "you've hurt your finger, puir wee man! your pinkie? deary me!". //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]//
F1680 "Now just you haud it that way till I get my specs and see!". //I learned that in elementary school.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 And it was a competition.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 You had to, everybody in the class had to learn it, and then they would decide who said it the best, and it was between another girl and myself, and she won.
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 And it-, things were always between her and I and she always won, and I don't know if the teachers just liked her mother better than they liked m-, I don't know! But she always s-, it was always like between her and I, and she would win. [tut]
F1189 Second again! //[laugh]//
F1680 //I know. [inhale]// Oh boy.
F1189 Now said you went to Burns suppers.
F1680 We go to them over here.
F1189 Did you start doing that early on after you //moved here?//
F1680 //Yes.//
F1189 Had you ever been to one back in Scotland? //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 //I had been, but probably only a couple before I emigrated, because it wasn't sort of fashionable.// //Mm.//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 Erm, but I came here and er and it was just like you got together with all your ain folk again.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And it was just nice. Now I didn't go every year, because there was a, probably a spell where, you know, when our kids were growing //up and and//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 but it just wasn't, no babysitters and things like... Cause that's another thing when you've emigrated. You don't have family to babysit any more. Erm, but then as we got older too, we started going to //more of them again.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// //And who hosted the Burns suppers?//
F1680 //Yeah, and they alw-.// It's usually Canadian Legion, we got to the Canadian Legion
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 Burns suppers.
F1189 Oh right, uh-huh.
F1680 I've been to one in a church //before,//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 but that was, but that was a teetotal one, because it was in a church. //[laugh]//
F1189 //[exhale]// //Not in the spirit of Burns, that one. [laugh]//
F1680 //That's right, that's right.// But the woman who who, erm, the woman who recited the the er grace and ever-, she did it, she was from Glasgow.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Sh-she just died recently. But she was really good, she was excellent.
F1189 Yeah.
F1680 You know, she'd say the Selkirk Grace, and she would address the haggis, and and she said "Anyone who wants translations, see me after the meal".
F1189 And she was a woman //doing that? That's interesting.//
F1680 //Yes. Yes.// [cough] Oh we had a Burns supper in my house. //Erm, about three or four, four years ago maybe,//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mmhm//
F1680 //decided to have one.// And our friends range from Scottish erm native, [laugh] we had Irish and we had Italian.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 We had a whole... and it was John's cousin who who er addressed the haggis,
F1189 Mm.
F1680 as well. She was very good as well.
F1189 So you didn't particularly seek out Scottish //friends here?//
F1680 //No.// No, not really. Erm, I was never in th-, my husband's cousin had a lot of Scottish friends. Erm, but I I can't say I really, no I didn't try to seek them out, but I didn't try not to seek them out either. //you know, erm,//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 whereas my my brother-in-law tended to want to become very Canadian. We didn't have that intention. You know, we were Scots living in Canada. And er, no, we er, I have I have erm some Scottish friends, and one of the how old is [CENSORED: forename], [CENSORED: forename]'s seventy-nine. And then I have another Scottish friend, who I go to church with on a Sunday, [CENSORED: forename]. [CENSORED: forename]'s eighty-two.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And then we have old [CENSORED: forename] down the street, like, even although they're a lot older than me I still consider them friends, cause we'll go to, [cough], for coffee together and that. [CENSORED: forename] [CENSORED: surname] down the street is eighty-four. And he's from Glasgow.
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 And his wife died a few years ago, she was from Port Glasgow. And erm, but they're funny, //you know?//
F1189 //And are these Scottish people who are neighbours or people you've met through the church?//
F1680 Erm, [CENSORED: forename]'s a neighbour, he lives down the street. [CENSORED: forename], it's hard to say, I know [CENSORED: forename], I can't remember where I met her, I meet her at church.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 But I know also all [CENSORED: forename]'s, [CENSORED: forename]'s sister and [CENSORED: forename]'s nieces, and at the a-, Canadian Legion, //a lot of them went to the Canadian Legion, yeah.//
F1189 //Yeah.//
F1680 So I probably met a lot of them there.
F1189 Now the Canadian Legion then, would t- is that for, erm, was that set up for ex-service //personnel. Right, uh-huh.//
F1680 //Yeah, uh-huh.// //Yeah.//
F1189 //Uh-huh. So what took you into that?//
F1680 My husband. Cause he could get cheap beer there. //[laugh] But then//
F1189 //[laugh] It's a good enough reason, isn't it?// //Uh-huh uh-huh mmhm.//
F1680 //and then we would go to dances there, and erm,// he joined.
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 I never joined.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 But he could not become a [cough], he was an affiliate member,
F1189 Mm.
F1680 because my husband was never in the //forces.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mmhm.//
F1680 //Er, but his dad was in the Merchant Navy.// Now mine was in the Royal Navy, so I could have joined.
F1189 Ah right, I see.
F1680 Erm, and in fact I remember once my mum sent my dad's papers over for me to see.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 And I didn't know this but their their, all their information was written on linen, //it's not on paper, in case their ship goes down.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.// //My goodness, uh-huh.//
F1680 //You can still...// So she wa-, she, cause my husband wanted seats, so she sent it over for us //to see.//
F1189 //Uh-huh.//
F1680 And then we sent it back to her, but I said to her if anything ever happens to her, I'd like my son, him being the oldest grandson, to get
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 cause things mean some-, you know, in my kids anyway, things [cough] from their grandparents really mean something to them. //Being that they're Scottish.//
F1189 //Now,// since you mention that too, when did you first go back //to Scotland?//
F1680 //[cough]// After I emigrated?
F1189 Mm.
F1680 When my daughter was six weeks old, five or six weeks old, we //took her back.//
F1189 //Ooh, that's a brave thing to do, uh-huh.// //Uh-huh? Uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 //Face straight, she slept all the way. We had her baptised over there.// So probably two and a half years later.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 No, two years later, yeah.
F1189 That wasn't long.
F1680 Yeah, and then
F1189 You were doing alright then, //[inaudible]. Mmhm.//
F1680 //the longest I've ever been away is six years.// That's the longest, and I said I'd never do that again.
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 And remember when we emigrated, telephone calls were expensive, very expensive. It's not like now. But I always said to my husband, "if we go, you're not going to restrict me with the phone", you know, so sometimes we had horrendous bills, //wondering how we were going to pay them.//
F1189 //[laugh]//
F1680 Erm, but erm and now it's nothing, you know, I'll just pick up the phone, chat to my mum. //[cough] [cough]//
F1189 //Well I know from my own Canadian relatives that it was still cheaper for them to phone Scotland, than it was to phone from// //Scotland to Canada.//
F1680 //Uh-huh.// //Well my mum finds now though, that it's, she said it's about the same, yeah, yeah.//
F1189 //Yeah. Mm. About the same, mm mm.// Yeah, so so the world's shifted //in that way.//
F1680 //It is.// But yeah, it, I think years ago when we first came it probably was more expensive. And then of course we did not pay if we had to call our next-door neighbour, whereas you did in Scotland.
F1189 Yes. //Uh-huh mm mmhm.//
F1680 //And you still do, whereas we still don't.// //So. [cough]//
F1189 //Yeah, so the land of plenty, right enough.//
F1680 I mean that was one thing that was great. Now, [CENSORED: companyname] used to have a monopoly. And they were terrible. They were strict, you know, you daren't be late with this bill and this and this. //But now that there's, they no longer have the monopoly, they're... yeah.//
F1189 //Competition.// Mmhm. So how did you feel landing back there?
F1680 [cough] Oh it was wonderful.
F1189 [laugh]
F1680 It was wonderful, I wanted... I could have stayed, I could have stayed. Broke my heart leaving again. You know, the leavings are the worst thing. I mean it got to the point where I would say, I'd rather, I I I used to say, I think I should get up in the middle of the night and just take off, because everyone starts crying, I start crying, you know, whereas if I got up and just took off and no one was there, I'd be a lot better.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm.
F1680 But erm oh just, just bad.
F1189 You would be holding your daughter all the way there and back, //so I don't imagine you had a book//
F1680 //Yep.// //[cough] I- you know something, I don't think I did.//
F1189 //in your lap. [laugh]//
F1680 Erm, I don't think I did, and then we had her baptised over there. But we've always done, or what I've always done when I go back home, I erm I like to get all the touristy literature, //because that's often how you learn about y- things, about St Giles and everything,//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
F1680 //and read up on it and er,// you know it's funny, I seem to be, I seem to go for a few years without really doing any serious reading, other than, you know, a bit of a magazine //here and there and er//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 erm, probably just magazines, not really sitting down to read
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
F1680 //a good book.//
F1189 Well you can do that, I mean one of the //times//
F1680 //[cough]//
F1189 that that often happens to people is when they've got young children.
F1680 Yeah. I mean the books at that time were probably, all about [inaudible], er I read to my children every night and they always had a lot of books.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 And I used to take them out maybe twice a month to buy a new book //for them and//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 and er
F1189 Did you take them to the library?
F1680 My children? Yes, they would go to the library, and then the school took them,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 and then I used to take them to the world's biggest bookstore //which is downtown.//
F1189 //Oh!// //Really? [laugh] Uh-huh.//
F1680 //[cough] And they would g-, near near the Eden Centre.// And I'd let them choose a book there, but there's so many there.
F1189 What's it, //what's it called? It's called that?//
F1680 //The World's Biggest Bookstore, yeah.//
F1189 Right, I'll need to get down there then. //Uh-huh.//
F1680 //It's near the Eden Centre.// Erm, [cough] //And I used to le-. Yeah, I used to let them buy,//
F1189 //I think I know where that is.//
F1680 oh be ready for the panhandlers though, I mean, I haven't been there for a long time, but last time, in the short space of getting on the subway t-, off the subway to go to the store, I think eight people tried to hit me up for money.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Erm, but er yeah I think during that period of time it was mainly //cooking books, because I learned to, how to//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 Then I learned that canning was the big thing over here.
F1189 Uh-huh. //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 //So I used to buy books on how to pickle things and can things and what have you.// Erm cookbooks and then it was mainly my children's books and they... //cause I always, even although my parents never read to me I always read to them.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 Erm, even in the middle of the day, I would sit down and read to them if they were getting a bit rambunctious or whatever, we'd sit and we'd read.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And to the point was, my husband never liked reading to them but he did. But if the-, he missed one word, //they knew.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //[laugh] Yes.//
F1680 //Because it was the same books they always wanted, over and over again.// You know how kids have a favourite book? And I would say "Oh wouldn't you like to read this? Or wouldn't you like...?" No, no, it had to be this one.
F1189 And were they Canadian books?
F1680 [cough] "Let's Go Trucks" I remember, I us- //I think it was.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 I think they were erm little Ladybird books or something they were called, I think.
F1189 Ah well they're very British, //aren't they?//
F1680 //[cough]// Well maybe these weren't. I think these were Canadian though, because just erm, it wasn't lorries,
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
F1680 //it was trucks,// you know, so maybe maybe it was a type of
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 book, but changed for Canadian readers.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 But erm I used to just take them to the, most of the time I just took them to the store, the local store.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 The World's Biggest Bookstore once in a while, but mainly the local store and we'd pick up these books, and then every night they they got a book each, or sometimes two each. And and they had their favourites,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 and they memorised them.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Er, but as my son got older, he refused to read fiction. He only reads fact. //And... yeah, it must be.//
F1189 //It's a boy thing. Mmhm.//
F1680 [cough] But it got him into trouble at school, cause he wouldn't read fiction for his erm projects, and, you know, he refused, he was stubborn, and he would only read fact, and //and my daughter reads mainly things on criminal, criminal histories, and all about... so that's what she favours now, even to this day.//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 So we have completely different tastes in reading.
F1189 Now, nowadays in Scotland you can buy books in the supermarket, but that's a relatively new thing, //[inaudible].//
F1680 //[cough]//
F1189 Did you encounter that when you came over here to Canada because you had supermarkets, //big stores unlike [inaudible]? Mm.//
F1680 //We had supermarkets, but [cough] but not the grocery store, never// //never, and even to this day you can't buy them in the grocery stores, I don't think. Yeah.//
F1189 //Mmhm. Really?//
F1680 Erm, I'm thinking of th-, they'll have magazines at the ch- oh wait, no, they'll have magazines at the checkout but I don't see books.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm uh-huh.//
F1680 //But yeah, [?]Wal-mart[/?] and and big stores like that, yeah you could always buy the books there.// But then I mean they don't have the same, you don't have the same um um amount or or erm //ha-have//
F1189 //They would be more likely to be best-sellers.// //[inaudible].//
F1680 //Yeah that's right, that's right.// Yeah, erm but we've er, but we've got lots of bookstores here
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 too. [cough] //But I think we probably have more bookstores in Scotland, do we not? [cough] Do we not?//
F1189 //Oh.// Increasingly not, bec- well actually the biggest bookshop in Glasgow is Borders, which is American.
F1680 Uh-huh.
F1189 It's a bit sad, really. We've lost an awful lot of them. //At least the home-grown ones.//
F1680 //[cough] We used to have [?]Cole's[/?].// //Cole's here, but I just don't see it so much.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 //Chapter's. Indigo.// Erm, those are big ones here. And, yeah, if I want a book here, I must admit, I mainly go to Chapter's. Haven't been to the library in years, because I usually just go and //buy my books now.//
F1189 //Oh now when did you stop// going to the library? //Uh-huh.//
F1680 //But I-, you want the honest truth, and this may sound terrible. My car was stolen once and it had all my library books in the back of it.// And, but a couple of, I'd taken about eight books out
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 and I'd returned two of them, and erm My car was stolen. And when we got it back the books were gone. And I remember going to the library, and I was saying, "Can you tell me what I'm owe you?" And they said "It's such and such, here's your list of books", and I said "No I returned these two.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 So give me, tell me what I'm owe for the rest." And I used to call them, I used to go in, cause I couldn't get more books out until, and I called and called and I left messages, "can you send me my bill, blah blah blah", never did, and I stopped going because I knew I hadn-, [inhale], I stopped going because I thought well, I'm I'm ow-, they've never settled me the bill, I never knew how much I was owe them. //And they could never, the-the-they could not. It was always the amount plus these two books, and I knew I had given them these two books back.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 And they never did rectify it. So to this day I should go in and I should //say "What am I owe you?" and just, yeah.//
F1189 //You should go in under a pseudonym. [laugh]//
F1680 Oh you've got to show your ID now though. You know, I should go, and I think, this has been, this has been years, years and years. And I should go in and just say //you know, "tell me what I'm owe, I'm gonna pay for those two books."//
F1189 //Well they may have lost track.//
F1680 No, I do-, I doubt it very much. "I'm gonna pay for those two darned books and be done with it", //you know? That's what I'm-.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 And I said there, I was thinking to myself the other week, I thought I should go back and just say, you know, but it's not as if, in all honesty I kept asking them for the bill.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm.
F1680 And and they were always going to and going to and going to and then they never did. Cause I used to be in there all the time. And then I stopped. But I'm gonna start again, I'm gonna go back and I'm gonna say "Okay, I've got my, I've got my chequebook, just tell me how much this is, and I'm paying for those two books that I know I returned anyways." //[cough]//
F1189 //And whe- how long ago was that?//
F1680 When this happened? Over ten years. [laugh]
F1189 Yo-you had a good innings then. //[inaudible] mmhm.//
F1680 //[cough]// But you know? Erm, as I was saying, I wish they had have just, they were always telling me, "yeah we'll look into it, we'll look into it", they never did. //And I guess I got fed up and I thought oh, and I've got a great library near me.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 The [?]viewees[/?] a nice library.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 But er but I always just buy the books I want now, then I I I give them away or... I'll be quite honest, I don't keep... I do have books downstairs, I do in my //basement, I have bookshelves of books.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
F1680 But if I'm not gonna read a book again, I give it away. //I usually know the ones//
F1189 //Are you a keen reader?//
F1680 Yes, yeah, I am.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And it's usually the same old books I reread, you know, erm, No I did read, did you see the movie "Angels and Demons"?
F1189 No, I haven't seen it.
F1680 Okay. [cough] Went the other week to see it.
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 I did read the book.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 I I loved the book, I read, I read the book, now I don't know why the, why the movie "The Da Vinci Code" //came out before "Angels and Demons",//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 cause "Angels and Demons" should have been first, //shouldn't it?//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 "Angels and Dem-" I love both those books. //Oh yeah, I did.//
F1189 //Do you? Uh-huh.//
F1680 I mean, I know it's, a lot of it's it's fictitious and that,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 but so much so that two years ago when I was in Scotland, I went to Roslyn church, //abbey, church, whatever,//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 erm to see it, and I took pictures and erm and and I also bought their little book all on it there, //you know, about the//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 the apprentices' pillar and //what have you.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 And I loved it. No, I love historical books. //Now, hated when I was in high school, I-, that's another thing I hated to read, historical books when I was in high school.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 Because it was all politics and and that did nothing
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 for me.
F1189 So what kind of politics?
F1680 [cough] You know, it was all, well I thought it was all about erm Lord Chamberlain and this, and all about the war, when I went //to school it was all about the wars, and sort of the politics involved and who was the//
F1189 //Ah right, uh-huh mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 you know, who was the Lord Chamberlain at that, or or wherever at that, //and//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 I wasn't interested in that. I really wasn't.
F1189 Ah, you should have been reading historical romances. //Bernice. [laugh]//
F1680 //I probably would have liked it more,// //you know, I would have.//
F1189 //Uh-huh yes, uh-huh.//
F1680 But you know something, I do not like soppy romance //books now.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
F1680 You couldn't pay me to read... what are the ones that are all the //the rage?//
F1189 //Er,// //Mills and Boon?//
F1680 //[cough]// Wha- Di-, Princess Diana's erm step grandmother, is it? //What was it she...?//
F1189 //Oh Barbara Cartland.// [laugh]
F1680 I couldn't read any of those books.
F1189 Uh-huh. //Did you ever read anything like that?//
F1680 //Oh I'm sorry, no. [cough]//
F1189 Were you ever keen on romances?
F1680 I I liked romances, but only if there was something historical in it too.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
F1680 //I never ever liked pure romances, because I found them too... I guess I'm a Scot in that way, you know?//
F1189 Cynical. //[laugh]//
F1680 //Yeah, you know, and sickly sweet and...// //I never, I could never stand that.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 Never.
F1189 Right.
F1680 My mum brought a mag-, a [cough] a magazine over a few years ago when she was over, and er I started reading it, and I said to her, "Mum, how could you read this rubbish?" //Cause that's what it was, it was absolute rubbish.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 But my mum's not a big reader so this to her was, she thoroughly enjoyed //these.//
F1189 //Yeah, uh-huh.//
F1680 And I and I said, and some of them were true-life things, and I said "If I had a life like that, I'd be embarrassed, and I wouldn't want anybody to know." You know, if I'd done all these things to myself, forget it.
F1189 And did she bring that from Scotland over to //here? Yeah, I think I know the//
F1680 //Yeah.// //[cough]//
F1189 //kind of thing you mean.//
F1680 Er er oh god.
F1189 So what is your favourite genre? I mean you mentioned "The Da Vinci Code" there.
F1680 I loved it. //[cough]//
F1189 //Erm, and that's sort of a thriller.//
F1680 Yeah. //Erm,//
F1189 //Do you have a favourite genre of of book?//
F1680 You know, I can't say, I can't say, I'm trying to think of some of the //ones that I've...//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 erm oh, you know, I did go through a phase though
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 of reading erm Jane Austens.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 Yeah.
F1189 Now what brought you to them?
F1680 Ah because [cough] in my last job, I got very friendly with a girl who was a huge reader,
F1189 Mm.
F1680 I mean huge. And she, in fact, she does not like to, she's very careful with all her books, she carries them all in a little plastic bag. [cough]
F1189 That is careful! [laugh]
F1680 And she moved from out west, and she had so many books she had //to store a lot of them out west.//
F1189 //Mm mm mmhm.//
F1680 And it was just her. She she would say, "Have you read this?"
F1189 Mm.
F1680 "Have you read that?" and and I'd pick it up and I'd read it, and suddenly I was into Jane Austen and reading, and a lot of people //found it heavy-going, but no I loved it.//
F1189 //Mm mm.// //Mmhm mm.//
F1680 //Erm, I just loved it, and I would read, not just Jane Austen, but you know, erm who's the other one I'm thinking of now?// Er, not Jane Austen but, the other female.
F1189 Would it be one of the Brontës? //Mmhm.//
F1680 //[cough] Brontës.// //Yeah, I used to read the Brontës er sisters, you know,//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Did you ever read them when you were younger then?//
F1680 //Various books from-.// No, because I thought, I thought they were //dull,//
F1189 //Dull. Mmhm.//
F1680 and what have you, you know, but but as I got older, oh, god I just loved it, and...
F1189 Now Jane Austen has become more popular again.
F1680 [cough]
F1189 She's always been popular obviously, as a classic author. But because of television and film //adaptations.//
F1680 //Yeah, that's true.//
F1189 Have you seen any of //them? Mm.//
F1680 //Oh yeah, yeah.// //"Pride and Prejudice", and yeah, yeah.//
F1189 //Uh-huh. Uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 Oh loved it, yeah. //I loved erm Colin Firth. [laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Yes.//
F1680 //[inhale] Yeah.// //Oh yeah, any of these come on TV, I have to watch them.//
F1189 //So [inaudible].// Mmhm.
F1680 And I have to read the book. "Bleak House", I started that about four times, //do you know?//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //That's Dickens? Not a big fan of Dickens,//
F1680 //I could not get into it. Did you read it? Did you like it? Yeah.// //No, now see, now some of Dickens, I like.//
F1189 //personally. [laugh]// Mmhm.
F1680 But "Bleak House" oh, I just... //[cough]//
F1189 //And are they books you've read recently then, Bernice, the the Dickens?//
F1680 Er, I'd say maybe eight, nine years ago, yeah. //[cough]//
F1189 //So you're coming round to the classics// //now in your life? Mmhm.//
F1680 //And even still, yeah, and even still I will pick one of er// //one of the classics up and read it, yeah.//
F1189 //Mmhm yeah.// So wh-when do you read them? Do you read them every day, or do you save them up and take them on holiday?
F1680 Oh no I read them every day. //If I//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 if I picked it up today, I'd start it tonight.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And then I would carry it with me until I finished it. //Yeah.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Erm, how do you manage with the sort of language of Dickens, I mean, are you comfortable with that now? //Mmhm.//
F1680 //You know, I-I'd pretty much say I am. Sometimes I have to reread something,// //but yeah I I I must admit.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Cause it is a challenge, I think, //reading books like that, I'll I'll be honest with you, I find Dickens too much of a challenge. [laugh]//
F1680 //[cough] Yeah.// //[cough] Now,//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Mmhm.//
F1680 //with Dickens I probably, I I won't say I've read a lot of Dickens but probably the more common, the more, you know, the more well-known,// //but erm but yeah, I must, I I must admit some of the the classics, as I'm getting older I'm getting more into them probably.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Uh-huh.//
F1680 //My sister in Scotland's a great reader, and will send me books.// //She actually, she was supposed to, my mum just left a few weeks ago, and she was supposed to send "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas".//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mmhm.
F1680 But she said it's such a small book I'll read it in no time. //So she s-. [cough]//
F1189 //Do you do that, do you send books// //backwards and forwards to Scotland. Would you send them to here as well?//
F1680 //Yeah, she'll send books over to me, yeah yeah yeah yeah.// I'll send them, [?]maybe by mail[/?], if my mum's here I'll send books back. Erm, you know who else, my sister, I love M-Mary Higgins Clark. //I like some of her books too, do you read, have you read any of hers? [cough] She's another American.//
F1189 //Mm no no no, but since you mention// things like that, oh American right, we think of books now as being part of a global market, w-would you say there is there is a difference between the kinds of things that you get sent from home and the kinds of books that you //see prominent on the shelves in Canada?//
F1680 //[cough]// Probably because erm M-Mary Higgins Clark is suspense, //really,//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
F1680 but there's always a twist. //Like Agatha Christie, there's another, I used to love her books too.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 I read her books in high school, in fact, now that I think of it. Erm, Mary Higgins Clark, I remember years ago, my younger sister was over, and I had just finished a book, and I gave it to Beverley.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 And sh-, what was it, I can't remember what it was called, but she said to me "My goodness, I know why you couldn't put this book down now, it was so good." //It was so good.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 It just kept you... I-I-I have a love-hate relationship with books that that I can't put down, because then I can't get anything else done,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 because I read it until the wee hours in the morning,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 and then I'm up a few hours later, and I'm exhausted. //Or, or I'm reading and reading and I'm not getting any housework done or anything else.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Mm.
F1680 So I have a love-hate relationship with those. I hate them for being so good, but I love them because I'm enjoying them. //[cough]//
F1189 //Do you think there's ever going to be a time in your life again where you give up reading// //for a wee while?//
F1680 //No, no.// //I think I I...//
F1189 //When do you think that started really// //really [inaudible]?//
F1680 //I think when I had the children, and I was just too busy.// //I had a house to run, a garden, children.//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 And I think I was just really too busy.
F1189 Mm mmhm.
F1680 Whe-when I guess when I had time for myself I wanted to sleep, [laugh] so... //But no, never again. I'm never gonna be as busy as I was when I had the the kids.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// And what about the gardening //books and the cookery books and things like that, do you//
F1680 //[cough]// //I love those.//
F1189 //still...?//
F1680 To this day
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 I still pick up gardening books and cookery books,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 er,
F1189 Do you actually buy them?
F1680 Oh yeah, yeah.
F1189 Cause these are expensive often, //these//
F1680 //[cough] Yeah.//
F1189 big books with colour print.
F1680 Do you know, I buy them, because t-, erm, to me I like, they're like wee works of art, //I can g-, it's like buying a//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 an expensive ornament. I can go back and read them, and and look at them, and re-, reference //books almost.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //So those are the books you keep?//
F1680 //And er [cough]// //Those are probably, yeah,//
F1189 //Unlike paperbacks.//
F1680 paperbacks I'll give to people. Those are the ones I keep. I bought a book at Pioneer Village [cough] not so long ago. Tussie mussies, do you know what tussie mussies were? Little bouquets that they used to give out in Victorian times. But each flower means something different, //so there's a whole message//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Oh yes, flower language, uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 //inside this little bouquet, yeah yeah.// //So I bought a book on on tussie mussies.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 And erm I was always going to make them myself but I never did get round to it. I just love sitting reading it and
F1189 Mm.
F1680 and looking at it. //[cough]//
F1189 //Books like that were not in your home, Bernice.// Do you keep them on public display or do you have them in //[inaudible]. Mmhm.//
F1680 //Er, I don't have them, I have them in like a basket in the living room.// But they're not really, //they're not on the coffee table.//
F1189 //Uh-huh.// //Right, uh-huh.//
F1680 //Yeah.// //[cough] I don't want coffee spilt on them, they're mine, you know?//
F1189 //[laugh]//
F1680 But I don't put books on the coffee table. Because I have the, my grandson's running around, and er, mind he's five, five and a half.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 But no, I don't know why. My coffee table's not huge, and my house is small.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
F1680 //So erm, I don't usually put books on the coffee table. I know it's fashionable, but I keep them// to myself, I keep them in a basket. //[cough] I don't think//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Exactly, yeah, uh-huh.//
F1680 //to me your coffee table's for coffee, and not things, not// //you know, if I want a book, I will go and I'll I'll get it. I don't put my books there so that everyone c- who comes...//
F1189 //Mm mm.//
F1680 If somebody comes to visit, they're not going to sit and read a book. They're going to visit with me. I'll send them home with a book, if they, if they're interested //in something.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 Which reminds me, I gave my friend "A Thousand Splendid Moons" to read //but I haven't got it back.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 Because I promised it to someone else //too.//
F1189 //Uh-huh.// //Is that the [?]Khalid Samie[/?] one? [inaudible].//
F1680 //So I'll need to ask her for it. [cough] Yes, because I I read "The Kite Runner",// which is very good. //And you know...//
F1189 //Now, "A Thousand Splendid Suns"// //[inaudible]. Yeah.//
F1680 //[cough] Suns, that was it, yeah.// //[cough] Did I say 'moons' or 'suns'?//
F1189 //I really really... I'm not sure, you maybe did. [laugh] But I know// //what you mean. Erm,//
F1680 //But it's "A Thousand Splendid Suns", yeah.//
F1189 That's a really sad sad book. It would make you cry. //Erm//
F1680 //It's very sad, it's a very sad...// And I see, the the doctors' office I work in, we have a a, I'd say our practice is mainly Somalian patients. Probably eighty percent, and I see some of the girls come in, and after reading the book I have a a different sort of respect for them.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Cause some of them are in arrange-, and I know they're arranged marriages, because I can think of one girl who must be seventeen, and her husband's in his fifties.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 Now don't tell me that wasn't an arranged marriage. //And and I sort of have this other, I feel sad, you know, and I have this sort of respect for this girl for putting up with all this.//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 Cause we've got a few that come in who I'm sure are arranged marriages. Now, I'm sure, maybe some are not. Maybe some are love marriages.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 But certainly at seventeen or eighteen years old, I would never have... A guy that age was my dad, not not someone you would go out with and marry. //[cough]//
F1189 //It's a great book though//
F1680 [sniff]
F1189 for giving you insights //into into another culture.//
F1680 //Mmhm.// //[cough] Yeah.//
F1189 //I think, I really enjoyed it, even though it made me cry.// //Erm, and I'm just interested in the fact that//
F1680 //It was sad though.//
F1189 you've got quite eclectic tastes I think going on there. You like the comic //novels,//
F1680 //Uh-huh.//
F1189 and also like //to read something like that.//
F1680 //Yeah, yeah.// I'll tell you what I don't like. I'm not interested in movie stars.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 I'm not interested in "Us" magazine, cause I don't care if if you're a movie star and you spent //three million on your house, I don't care if you're driving a fancy car.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 I-it's like people, I would rather sit down with someone, erm and have a good conversation,
F1189 Mmhm. //Mm mmhm.//
F1680 //than you know, and and them be penniless, than sit down with a millionaire who's boring, and bored me to tears, you know?// I don't care what you have, or what...
F1189 I notice you've got "Hello" magazine in Canada. //Us as well, [laugh]//
F1680 //Yes, [cough] yes.// //And and my friend//
F1189 //things like that.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 //my friend's always bringing me down, my friend who's native, [CENSORED: forename],// lots of magazines, maybe once a month. I don't know where she gets them. But I go through them, and I take out the ones I want, and I give I give the rest to my //sister-in-law, and "Hello" magazine's one that I never look at.//
F1189 //Uh-huh.//
F1680 And and I'll read the others and then I'll pass them on to my sister-in-law too, [cough] //you know?//
F1189 //Now what about erm royalty,// cause royalty are still //quite big in Canada, and...//
F1680 //[cough] Yeah.// If I've t- if I've to be honest, I mean I have a a respect for the monarchy, erm and I did read... I, my aunts years ago gave me a bo-book about, on the Queen Mother's //life, and I read that and I found it interesting.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 But I don't go out and buy a magazine just because royalty are in it, no I don't. //Erm [inhale]//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 Just like I don't go and buy a magazine because some movie star's //in it. I have//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 erm I'm trying to think, I like to read something that I'm gonna, that I I feel I'm gonna come away with a wee bit of knowledge. //[cough]//
F1189 //So you don't think being Scottish has anything to do with that, erm sort of lack of interest really// //in the monarch? [laugh]//
F1680 //No, not at all, not at all, but// //I mean, I like to hear that they're doing well, and and if I'm reading a magazine and it happens to have something in it, I'll read it,//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mmhm.//
F1680 //you know?// But I won't go out and buy it just because [inaudible] about Prince William or or Harry's //latest, er I'm not really interested. Yeah, yeah, like//
F1189 //Uh-huh. Click. [laugh]//
F1680 Sorry, I don't care.
F1189 Now what about erm Scottish authors, because you do go home as you //say quite often.//
F1680 //Yep.// //[cough]//
F1189 //Do you pick up any of them?//
F1680 When I'm over there?
F1189 Mm.
F1680 You know, I-I would like to pick up more, but there, the only thing is, I've a large family over there, and I'm very busy when I go there. And they send me back with so many things,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 that I really have to watch the weight, and books are so heavy. //[cough] Erm,//
F1189 //Tell me about it, yes, uh-huh.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 //and that's my problem, that I really... last time I went home I had to leave practically... because my grandson was very young, and my family had bought all these clothes and things for him,// I practically had to leave all my wardrobe there, and bring his stuff back, and and so I had very little room for anything else. And that's the problem
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 cause books are like, yeah, they're so heavy, and you're travelling.
F1189 Yeah.
F1680 And I mean, they're even weighing your hand luggage now. So...
F1189 That's right. //[laugh] That's the first time that's happened to me, coming to Canada.//
F1680 //[cough] So...// //Oh yeah.//
F1189 //I had my hand luggage er// //weighed. Mm.//
F1680 //My hand luggage was over and I had to take stuff out.//
F1189 Me too. [laugh] //And it was books actually. [laugh] Mmhm yeah.//
F1680 //And I had to put, oh I had to put in my case, and my case was heavier, and I had to pay sixty-odd, thirty-odd pound I paid.//
F1189 I was thinking really of the the kind of erm novelists who are popular in Scotland just now, //writing detective fiction,//
F1680 //Wh-who-// //[cough]//
F1189 //thrillers, and that kind of thing.//
F1680 You know, I'd have to admit my sister is my, she's the one that that probably is the one that, she's the one that keeps me in touch with what's going on,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 bookwise in Scotland.
F1189 Mmhm. //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 //So I depend on her taste,// [cough] and that's probably not her taste, so
F1189 Right, and so what's her taste then?
F1680 She, she sent me one, erm she sent, well as I say, she's gonna send me "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas", [cough] but it's been a while since she sent me a book now. She did send me one and I can't remember what it was. The Rice, wasn't the Rice Princess, or something. It was about someone in, I can't remember what it, this this this girl who was born in, was she in India? You know, I'm trying to think of it. //My sister loved the book and she sent it to me, and it was ve- a very sad book.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mm mmhm.//
F1680 //And I read it, and I knew I wouldn't read it again, isn't that weird, so I gave it to my friend.// It was the Rice something, it was called. [cough] Can't remember. //But Christine's taste is not always exactly the same as my own taste.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 But for the most part I trust her, //you know? [laugh]//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 But, a-again, she only sends me books over if someone's coming over,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 because they are so expensive to mail. And then half the time, erm, I've got a little bookshop along from where I work, erm called Squibs, and she's very good, she'll order things if I want it, cause I wanted a-, every every year I have Victorian tea for my friends,
F1189 Mmhm. //Ah. Mmhm uh-huh.//
F1680 //and I wanted a book just on Victorian teas and I couldn't get it.// //And she ordered it for me. [cough]//
F1189 //Ah!// //Right, so you actually got advice from a bookseller then?//
F1680 //Becaus-,// [cough] yeah.
F1189 So what about things like Amazon, would you use that?
F1680 What's Amazon?
F1189 The online bookshop.
F1680 No.
F1189 Cause you do use a computer, I //know that, uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 //[cough] Yeah, I do.// But I don't use anything that I have to give my credit card, because because someone,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 this was a credit card I never use, someone racked up to fourteen thousand dollars, just er last October. Thankfully I did't have to //pay it.//
F1189 //It does happen, uh-huh.// //You wouldn't do that.//
F1680 //So now I I don't, I don't buy anything over the internet any more.// I did, I did buy something from Chapters, er er oh months ago, before this happened //to me and then after that I thought//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 No, sorry, not doing it any more. This is funny, it was a credit card I kept in a cupboard, I never even used too. But someone must have //had the number.//
F1189 //Mm yep, well it's common enough.// //It's true, isn't it? And that's put you off, obviously.//
F1680 //[cough]// It put me off buying anything over the, yeah, definitely.
F1189 How would you feel about that, about about buying books which if you go into a shop you pick //off the shelf and have a look at the cover, and//
F1680 //[cough]//
F1189 look at the blurb on the back. How would you feel about buying them virtually?
F1680 Do you know, I'd prefer to see them and buy them, because it's to me like, I-I'll give you a for instance. I was buy-, I did my grocery shopping erm [cough] at Grocery Gateway dot com once.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And one of the things I ordered was a steak and mushroom pie, and this looked //lovely.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
F1680 And I thought "this'll do the family one night", and when it was delivered it was for one. It was one serving. //So I was disappointed.//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 Erm, and I-I'd hate to feel like that with a book, //that once I got it delivered I was disappointed.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 So I like to look through it and see it, and I like to see what I'm buying.
F1189 Mmhm. //You like to touch it.//
F1680 //So,// //I like to touch it.//
F1189 //Yeah.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 //I like to flick through the pages, yeah.// Yeah.
F1189 So you're a rereader?
F1680 Yes. [cough]
F1189 Those books that you've reread, you've mentioned one which is "The Far //Pavilions".//
F1680 //Yeah.//
F1189 Are there any others //that are special favourites?//
F1680 //Yeah, I read// erm I've read Erma Bombeck, I reread actually [?]her mother[/?] who had the second er, the s-, what was it, the second, erm "The Second Oldest Profession".
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 //I read hers just a few weeks ago again and had read hers years ago. [cough]// Erm, I've read "Shadow of the Moon", and the other M. M. Kaye one that's
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 kind of like the Raj in India. //Erm, those are ones I I would read and reread and I'm trying to think of//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 I have to, [cough], my my sister, you know those m-, this isn't books but these are movies, you know erm the the movie that just won all the awards for erm the S- the "Slumdog Millionaire"?
F1189 Oh yes, uh-huh uh-huh.
F1680 Now, if that was a book, I'd read it but I'd read in once.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 "The Curious Tale of Benjamin Button"
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 I would probably read over and over again, because I watched those movies back to back
F1189 Mm.
F1680 and "Slumdog Millionaire" I watched it and I would never //watch it again. I enjoyed it.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 But "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" got me thinking.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 And I found, and unconsciously I found myself thinking about this movie and thinking and thinking. And I thought, that's probably a book I would read again, so a book that gets me thinking
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 that that holds my interest, even after I've finished reading it, I'll probably read again.
F1189 Mm mmhm.
F1680 I know it sounds a bit strange. //But [cough]//
F1189 //No, it doesn't sound, I mean I think there are two different... I don't reread, you see,// //unless... no I don't.//
F1680 //Oh you don't?// //Yeah. [cough] Oh yeah. Uh-huh.//
F1189 //[laugh] But my daughter on the other hand, that's part of the pattern of of of her reading.// Er, she'll read the same books over and over and over again, and get something else out of them.
F1680 Uh-huh.
F1189 Erm, I don't know, I //there's too many books, that's right. [laugh] No no no no no. I mean I have, I have reread books//
F1680 //Once you've read it. You're probably smarter than me, you retain everything. I just don't retain everything probably. [cough]//
F1189 though but it's unusual for me to do that. I-I think it's just the different relationship
F1680 Yeah. //[cough]//
F1189 //people have with them.//
F1680 No, I must admit, and there's some books, like I say "The Far Pavilions", I won't even give it away, and it can be shabby,
F1189 Uh-huh.
F1680 and I won't give it away, cause I know I'm gonna read it again.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 It's just a, some books are sort of like feel-good books,
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm. Mmhm.//
F1680 //And I'm not talking about love stories or anything, they, they're just, it's like a comfort.//
F1189 Mmhm. Do you have a favourite author then? I know that's a hard question.
F1680 No, I, in all honesty, [cough] no. I used to read John Grishams,
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 you know, but //but I'm not big on [?]Courtroom[/?] and I read his first few books, and then when I read his first book I thought he was my favourite author, and then I read his next one, and then I read a third one and I thought, I'm never reading another thing that he writes.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
F1680 That's it, done. So I can't say I have.
F1189 Mm mmhm.
F1680 Erm, no. He was, he's just too much the same. So I I went right off him. So I'll probably never pick up another thing that he writes again. Sorry, but //that's the way it is. [laugh] [cough] No, he doesn't.//
F1189 //[laugh] He doesn't need your money anyway. [laugh]// [cough] And I wanted just to ask you. You've mentioned an awful lot of these authors already. But there are a few kind of iconic Scottish authors, erm that that you haven't mentioned, I mean they're people like er for example Walter Scott. //Erm.//
F1680 //[inhale]// //Sir Walter Scott.//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Mmhm.//
F1680 //"Ivanhoe" and that.// //You know, I can't say I've really sat down and read things in depth//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 erm or gone on a binge, //as I would call it.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 I've maybe read something here and there.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 But, but no, you know, it's good to be reminded //of//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 some of our authors. Because, I guess if my children had been in the Scottish school system, where they'd be maybe be reading things like that, but with my children not being in it, and I'm I'm so far removed, you forget. //Okay, I must remember [laugh] and start reading//
F1189 //[laugh]// He's not terribly popular, Walter Scott. [laugh] //[laugh]//
F1680 //[cough]//
F1189 Famous but not popular //nowadays.//
F1680 //Yeah.//
F1189 I think people feel he is a bit of a trial to read cause the language is very //ponderous and//
F1680 //Yeah yeah.//
F1189 and dated, but a a lot of people will have him inflicted on them when they were at school. //Mmhm. No. Mm mmhm.//
F1680 //I guess, you know, I can't even re-remember reading much of Sir Walter Scott in school though.// //[cough]//
F1189 //So you were never made to read that?// //That's interesting, yeah.//
F1680 //No, no, no.// Not that I can remember anyway. But you know I have a tendency to forget things that I don't like. //So maybe...//
F1189 //Yeah, you'd probably remember him though.// //I ca- I can't read him, I [laugh] erm,//
F1680 //[laugh]//
F1189 Slightly more updated are people like John Buchan. Did you ever //read him?//
F1680 //What did John Buchan write?// //[inhale]//
F1189 //"The Thirty-Nine Steps", famously.// //But also lots of others.//
F1680 //The movie.// Do you know, no, I'm ashamed to say no.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 So wha-what's his era?
F1189 He would be writing in the, in the twenties,
F1680 Okay.
F1189 the thirties, you know, before the war.
F1680 Yeah. [inhale] I used to read a lot of Hercule Poirot. //[laugh] [cough] Yeah, I loved Agatha Christie.//
F1189 //Oh yeah, uh-huh uh-huh, Agatha Christie, yeah, mmhm.// Mmhm yeah.
F1680 Yeah.
F1189 But not him. //No.//
F1680 //No.// I must er,
F1189 You know, books come in and out of fashion, //that's the thing.//
F1680 //Yeah, y-, yeah.//
F1189 And you are a bit younger than a lot of other readers. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
F1680 //And do you know something, er I find, I never thought about it until after I was speaking to you, I'm very much influenced by my surroundings, by the people I I meet or friends with and what have you.// //Yeah.//
F1189 //Yeah.// Now, some of the other kind of er authors of of literary //fiction, Scottish fiction,//
F1680 //[cough] Mmhm.//
F1189 now are people like erm William Boyd, //have you ever read any of them? Uh-huh.//
F1680 //I don't know William Boyd, no.// What's hi-, what did he write?
F1189 tut Trying to think what the last one was called. The one that's quite famous, I think, is called "Brazzaville Beach". //No? Now that's//
F1680 //No.// //And when did he write it?//
F1189 //interesting.// Mm that would be about twenty years ago or so, but he's still //writing.//
F1680 //And s-// and see, I was here, I don't think we have the same access.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 It's mainly American
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 er names we hear, //Canadian, Am-, yeah, definitely, definitely.//
F1189 //Do you think so? Ah uh-huh uh-huh.// //Or is it different?//
F1680 //Yeah.// Well I think we're very isolated here, I think it's either Canadian or American, yeah.
F1189 And then popular stories about Scotland, by people like say Margaret Thomson Davis, have you //ever read any of them?//
F1680 //[cough]// I haven't.
F1189 Mmhm. //No? Would that be something you would like to to read//
F1680 //No.// //I would actually, yeah.//
F1189 //about, erm, about// tenement life in Glasgow and things like //that?//
F1680 //I think that'd be interesting, yeah.//
F1189 Well there you are, I've given you a name now. [cough] //[laugh]//
F1680 //I'll have to write it down because I'll forget. [laugh]// //Margaret Thom-?//
F1189 //Thomson Davis.//
F1680 Davis.
F1189 And there's another woman who's written more recently, called Meg Henderson, //who's written about Glasgow life//
F1680 //[inhale]// //Meg Henderson sounds familiar, I wonder if someone spoke to me about her.//
F1189 //[inaudible]. Mmhm uh-huh.// Well the first book she wrote which got a lot of publici-pub-publicity, was called er "Finding Peggy",
F1680 Oh. //Oh I'm gonna write this, before I leave, write it down, mm [cough] yeah.//
F1189 //Peggy being her auntie. I'll write them down for you, don't you worry.//
F1680 Oh that, cause that would be interesting, getting some more books to read.
F1189 I've only got one more question for you, cause you've been terrifically good //today, you really have.//
F1680 //Oh thank you. [laugh]//
F1189 But it's quite a hard question. And that is to ask you if you could sum up for me what reading has meant in your lifetime to you?
F1680 [cough] Okay, erm I'd have to say number one is, it's an escape.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 You're in a place,
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
F1680 //mentally,// erm, it's an enjoyment,
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
F1680 //it's a pleasure, sometimes it's just a pleasure.// And and also I find it's it's a learning tool.
F1189 Mm.
F1680 I-it's something I really look forward to. //I really do, I can see m- if I had a good book, I can't wait to finish working so I can go home and I can read it.//
F1189 //Mm.//
F1680 [cough] And in fact, what did I just finish reading? Oh it was an, it was an, erm Mary Higgins Clark one.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 My sister-in-law had given it to me for my birthday. And I said to her "I love you and I hate you because I cannot put this book down, and I'm sitting up reading it till..." oh. And so... I don't know, I really can't sum it up in just one word. There's just so many things I feel about reading.
F1189 But you've summed it up very nicely anyway. So can I just end now by saying thank you very much, Bernice, //thank you for//
F1680 //Oh you're very welcome.//
F1189 spending this time with me, and I've really enjoyed talking to you.
F1680 I've thoroughly enjoyed it. Oh and one other book I did read, I didn't tell you.
F1189 Mmhm.
F1680 Clarissa Dickson Wright's //autobiography. [laugh]//
F1189 //Oh yes. [laugh] Well she's had quite a life.// //[laugh] Uh-huh.//
F1680 //I didn't agree with everything she said, but she has, she's been quite the girl.//
F1189 She's a woman of forthright opinion //[inaudible].//
F1680 //Oh, is she ever! [cough]//
F1189 You've got to admire her for that. //[laugh]//
F1680 //Oh my goodness, and wasn't she instrumental and er, well she was one of the ones, that helped the universities, er there's no fees, is that right, to go to// //university now, in Scotland, yeah?//
F1189 //In Scotland, that's right. Mmhm.// That's correct. //Up the Scots, eh? [laugh]//
F1680 //So, good on her. I know, eh?//

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Information about Document 1680

Interview with Bernice Sibbald for Scottish Readers Remember Project


Audio audience

For gender Mixed
Audience size N/A

Audio awareness & spontaneity

Speaker awareness N/A
Degree of spontaneity N/A

Audio footage information

Year of recording 2009
Recording person id 1189
Size (min) 142
Size (mb) 549

Audio setting

Recording venue Interviewee's home
Geographic location of speech Toronto

Audio relationship between recorder/interviewer and speakers

Speakers knew each other N/A

Audio transcription information

Transcriber id 718
Year of transcription 2009
Year material recorded 2010
Word count 28837

Audio type



Participant details

Participant id 1189
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1950
Educational attainment University
Age left school 16
Occupation Research Assistant
Place of birth Ayr
Region of birth S Ayr
Birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Glasgow
Region of residence Glasgow
Residence CSD dialect area Gsw
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Journeyman joiner
Father's place of birth Ayr
Father's region of birth S Ayr
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Domestic
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


Participant details

Participant id 1201
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1950
Educational attainment College
Age left school 16
Upbringing/religious beliefs Catholicism
Occupation Medical secretary
Place of birth Edinburgh
Region of birth Midlothian
Birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Toronto
Region of residence Ontario
Country of residence Canada
Father's occupation Bricklayer
Father's place of birth Edinburgh
Father's region of birth Midlothian
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Housewife
Mother's place of birth Edinburgh
Mother's region of birth Midlothian
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes everyday use
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes with family and Scottish friends