Document 1682

Interview with Robert Bruce for Scottish Readers Remember Project

Author(s): N/A

Copyright holder(s): SAPPHIRE, SCOTS Project

Audio transcription

F1189 It's the nineteenth of June two thousand and nine and I'm at the home of Robert Bruce in York. Is it North York, //Robert?//
M1682 //North York.//
F1189 Ehm which is a suburb of Toronto. //Uh-huh.//
M1682 //Suburb of Toronto, yes.// //Hmm.//
F1189 //And we're here today to talk ehm about your reading experiences across your lifetime, Robert.// Can I begin by thanking you very much //for allowing me to//
M1682 //Oh you're welcome.//
F1189 visit you today. I'm most grateful for that. And start with a very easy question which is to ask you where you were born and if you've no scruples about it when you were born?
M1682 Okay I was actually born in Edinburgh, eh Scotland and I was born on the twenty-third of July nineteen forty-two,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 at Simpson's Memorial Hospital,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 is where it was and I lived eh first residence was at St James's eh S-S-Square,
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //which has now been taken down as part of a shopping mall but// //I don't remember//
F1189 //Indeed.//
M1682 living there. //It's right behind the the actual Edinburgh Cathedral.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Yes yes uh-huh.//
M1682 //St Mary's.//
F1189 That's the St James' shopping centre //uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1682 //St James' shopping centre that's right.//
F1189 Ehm famous name actually. Yeah, I can remember when that was being built. //[laugh]//
M1682 //Yeah.// I hear it's getting torn down.
F1189 It's being refurbished, //yes [laugh].//
M1682 //Refurbished yeah.//
F1189 So all change during that time.
M1682 Right.
F1189 And the Simpson Memorial Hospital of course also a famous name.
M1682 That's changed too yeah. //Actually I, I got a photograph from the Edinburgh Evening News archives about the St James area at the time.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //And eh where I was where I first lived was that was actually still in the photograph so I kept that, yeah.//
F1189 Yeah. So that's that's right in the heart of Edinburgh then. //What was your house like there?//
M1682 //Oh really di- yeah.// I-it was actually a tenement.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 We lived on, [click] can't remember, I think we were on the second or third floor.
F1189 Mmhm. //mmhm mmhm mmhm//
M1682 //It was a single end as they call them back then. In other words it was one room.// //You shared a toilet with about two or three neighbours and you had one sink,//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //which was for cooking, washing, bathing the whole lot.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 And eh there was a little alcove where, you were able to put another little bed in which I yo- eh I actually stay. //It was during the war, so my father was mainly away all the time being in the Royal Navy but eh.//
F1189 //Mm mm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //But that's where we grew up and I guess when he came home, on leave one time and then we ehm [click] my mother was pregnant again.// So I I guess they put in for eh city housing.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 And we got one of the prefabs. //So//
F1189 //Uh.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //we went, moved out to the prefab ah I was five at the time,// five or six at the time. Moved to the prefab. It was at Morden which is at the south end of Edinburgh.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //And we lived there for erm I think it was five years and I had another sister eh on the way so then we moved into the [inaudible] was a more a a permanent building,// //rather than a prefabricated one.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //And we lived there till, for quite a number of years until I actually went to, I lived in Malta for three years.// //And I started work there and then came back and worked at Rosyth dockyard,//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Right uh-huh. //Uh-huh.//
M1682 //finished my apprenticeship and my schooling there.//
F1189 Uh-huh.
M1682 And from there my mum and father they eh he came out of the service after, I think they call it twenty-two years, //and emigrated to the United States and I stayed in Scotland,//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 to finish my education.
F1189 And you became an electrician?
M1682 I became el- yes, in Scotland it was called an electrical fitter
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 eh with the government.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 But eh ehm I decided I'd had a visit to North America and I liked it.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 I decided I wanted to emigrate.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Eventually I did because my parents, they actually went to the the United States and Ohio. //Er and I liked it there but I preferred Canada, when I when I visited Canada I preferred Canada and I thought//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 I came here and stayed.
F1189 Mmhm. [click] Well I'm gonna ask you later on about your impressions of Canada //and the//
M1682 //Okay.//
F1189 States and the comparisons of them. But could I go back a wee bit //to your//
M1682 //Okay.//
F1189 earlier life and ask you which is the house, of those different houses that you've described, that you have first memories of? //Mm mm.//
M1682 //I think I'm really going to say the very very first one St James' Place.// //It was actually S-St James' Place.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1682 [inhale] //I remember that one but if I go back in time or I reminisce or what have you I'll always remember going up the stairs which were all very worn as the old houses were, the stairs were.//
F1189 //Mm mm mm mmhm.//
M1682 [inhale] //Eh the neighbours, one of our neighbours was a taxi driver at the time.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mm mm.//
M1682 //Ah I don't rememb- I was never much of a social person even today I'm not much of a social person so I never really remember having any friends.// But I always remember living at the back of the Cathedral and the Theatre Royal
F1189 Mm.
M1682 was there.
F1189 Mmhm. //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1682 //And it actually went on fire whilst I was living there and I remember running down the street away from it in my father's arms.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Because it was it was such a big blaze at the time they tried to clear everybody out of the neighbourhood.// But eh, //so I I remember all these things, the prefab er I kind of remember that and some of the people I met there but it was out of town and I at that time was six, seven years old and I had to travel all across the city of Edinburgh to go to school.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm mm mmhm.// Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Which, a thing that you just, there's no way you could do today ah for the safety of your own self.// //But back then I used to get on on a nice empty bus because the local transit didn't go that far.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mm.//
M1682 //I get on a a [cough] an outside town bus, take me into town and transfer to the local transit, onto sort of a streetcar at the time.// //And it would take me to to my school which was Holy Cross Academy at the time,//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //eh when I was seven and I look back on that in amazement to think that I even did it on my own, you know?//
F1189 mmhm Now Holy Cross, is that down in Leith //somewhere?//
M1682 //Yes it is.// //It's it's yeah it's ehm yeah I'd probably say it was Lei, near Granton L-Leith but er in that neighbourhood that side of it yeah.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //It was er it was a big Catholic a- academy at the time, for secondary school.// //I think it was the only o- the only one that that gave you a five-year option in school.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mmhm. //Mm Yes mmhm.//
M1682 //All the other ones were like three, or more ehm technical schools and things like that.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //Which, when I graduated you might say from the elementary school eh I opted for the technical school rather than going to...//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //cause I I didn't have much ambition in going to university at the time so// played around too much. //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// But getting a trade was was an ambition in itself.
M1682 It was, yeah. //Yeah it was eh and at the time at that age, and I still think about it now ah doing... it was called the eleven plus.//
F1189 //Mm.// Mm.
M1682 To me it's a difficult age for any child to make any kind of decision
F1189 Mm. //Mm.//
M1682 //on what they're gonna be for the rest of their life.// //And I have to admit at eleven plus I had no idea, I just didn't want to learn all different languages like Greek and Latin and French and I thought "what good are they gonna be to me", so//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm mm.//
M1682 //I decided I would go to ah St Anthony's which was a secondary school and that's where I learned eh, not so much the technical trades because I did take journalism, and I learned book keeping and shorthand and typing at th- there but eh.// When I went to Malta then it was different, then I learned the technical trades. And then I realised that a a good apprenticeship was hard to come by and I could get one through the government.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 [click] I had to take an exam to qualify,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 passed it and I picked the right one.
F1189 Now what took you to Malta?
M1682 My father and the Navy.
F1189 Right. //So he stayed in the Navy after the war, did he?//
M1682 //So he was transferred there, yeah,// oh yeah. Oh he was in the Navy before the war.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 He actually join- he was a boy seaman he joined the Navy when he was fifteen I think.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Ehm fifteen, that would have made him nineteen, nineteen thirty-six he would've joined the Navy.// And then he served as a boy seaman which doesn't count as your years in the Navy except for your time served.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 And then he did a full twenty-two years, including all the war years, yeah.
F1189 Mmhm. So you'd be used to him being //away.//
M1682 //Away// a lot yeah. It was some- the odd time he was eh transferred to Rosyth.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm mmhm mm.//
M1682 //Cause there was a Naval eh shipyard there and what have you so s-sometimes he he was like he'd maybe do two or three years' stint there.// //But the bulk of the time he was stationed in Portsmouth or abroad.//
F1189 //Mm.// Mmhm yes. Now, were you the oldest child? //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1682 //I'm the oldest.// I have two sisters younger than me yeah.
F1189 So there's three of you. Now can you remember way back in your house at St James' if there were any books in the house?
M1682 [inhale] Hmm
F1189 It was a wee house. //Mm.//
M1682 //I know, it'd be difficult to say.// I'm gonna have to I can't remember t- an-and let you know what books were there.
F1189 Mm. //Mm.//
M1682 //But there certainly were, there certainly was reading material.// Because I did start reading at a very very early age. I was reading when I went to school.
F1189 Mmhm. //Yes mmhm.//
M1682 //Eh I used to read the newspapers and tha- I do recall reading newspapers when I was that young.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 As far as books are concerned I don't know, it was during the war so it may have been difficult to get a hold of books or, //I don't remember my mum actually sitting down reading books in the evening or anything like that but,//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //but reading material there must've been because eh obviously my mum taught me to read at a young age.// //Cause I was certainly reading, eh [click] newspaper articles before any normal child would be at that age, so I was I was quite quite proud of myself, you might say.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm mm.// //Yes uh-huh.//
M1682 //Yeah.//
F1189 You were a clever boy. //[laugh]//
M1682 //[laugh]// Yeah.
F1189 Those newspapers that came into the house, can you remember what titles they were? //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Oh it'd be the Edinburgh Evening News, eh The Edinburgh Dispatch, ehm [click] the most definite one we would never miss would be the Sunday Post,// //for//
F1189 //[laugh]//
M1682 Oor Wullie and The Broons. //Ehm other than that there would be newspapers left by other people, maybe the S-Sunday Mail, Sunday Express.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmmmhm.//
M1682 //I don't think we got a daily newspaper other than the Edinburgh Evening News at the time.// But that was a regular. And on the weekend of course, on Saturday, there was always the pink and the green. //I think,//
F1189 //Yes.//
M1682 I'm not sure which was which, one was the News, one was Dispatch, but one was pink and one was green, //green papers.//
F1189 //I think// the pink one was the sport. And the //racing, yes.//
M1682 //Oh they were, it was// //Saturday sport all the results were in it, yes, that's true.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh yes.// Uh-huh uh-huh. Now, did you exchange with neighbours then, newspapers?
M1682 Eh, mm.
F1189 Cause they could be quite close-knit communities, the tenements. //Mm mm.//
M1682 //Yes, I'll say yes I'll say because ehm at that time people eh men were coming back from the war or had been injured during the war.//
F1189 Mm. //Mm.//
M1682 //Ehm there was a lot of ehm [click] panhandling or begging going around.//
F1189 Mm. //Mm.//
M1682 //I mean I can remember quite often people coming to the door and asking for a a sandwich.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mm mmhm.//
M1682 //Just bread and butter or bread and jam or what have you.// So I daresay that er newspapers were passed that way as well //eh//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1682 on. //Myself I was too young to think about doing something like that until I started reading comics.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Right uh-huh. //Uh-huh now you've//
M1682 //But eh no-//
F1189 second-guessed me there Robert. //I was about to ask you about comics.//
M1682 //Ah. [laugh]// //Oh yeah.//
F1189 //What do you remember of the comics?// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //I remember I could kick my rear end because I, when The Eagle started my mother bought me The Eagle,// the first day it started.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 But I had, and at the time my mother although she died being a collector of absolutely everything she wasn't back then. //If she'd thought for a moment and kept that first issue, [laugh] it's worth thousands of pounds today,//
F1189 //[inhale] [laugh]//
M1682 thousands.
F1189 Uh-huh.
M1682 But she didn't and I didn't. But eh I remember getting The Eagle and then later on in years another comic came out called The Tiger.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 And I ge- I got The Tiger and those were two comics that I I got every week.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 As with my pocket money and eh well, //The Beano and The Dandy and er [click] oh oh The Rover, which took me a while to get used to because there weren't too many pictures in The Rover.//
F1189 //Mm mm.// Mmhm.
M1682 But eh Ho- was it the Hotspur?
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 The Hotspur, yeah. //And that was the same it was a lot more eh stories rather than pictures.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm.// //Mm mm.//
M1682 //And ehm and then I guess we got onto the Marvel comics or the DC comics,// //which were the swappable ones where you collected them and swapped them with friends at school and stuff like that.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 And then [cough] my, the best comics of all would be the Classics, //The Classics Illustrated.//
F1189 //Mm.// Oh now I haven't heard of that, tell me about that.
M1682 Oh I'll show you them. I have some downstairs.
F1189 Do you? //[laugh]//
M1682 //Yeah.// //Now the Classics Illustrated are all classic ehm stories by like Kipling, Stevenson, Daniel Defoe, eh [click] all these people.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// //Mm mmhm mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //And they're it was put into picture ah sort of, so you could actually not just read it but you're actually looking at the the the photograph, not photograph, but pictures of the comics.// //And they were, they were prized those ones they couldn- you know I I I liked those and I looked after them and you didn't just swap them for anything they they had to be swapped on a like a ten-for-one basis you might say but.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 No, the-they were the best ones and that was yeah that's gon- and I was big into comics, I I //especially the Classics,//
F1189 //Sounds like it.// //Mm.//
M1682 //yeah.//
F1189 Mmhm. Now, those comics that you say you still have, are they the original ones //that you've got?//
M1682 //They are?// Yeah.
F1189 So you've brought them all the way with you //from the old world to the new.//
M1682 //Yeah but they don't look bra- yeah.// //Oh yeah I brought them but eh now they're not worth anything because they're well-used and well what have you it's not.//
F1189 //[laugh] Uh-huh mmhm mm mmhm.// //Mm mm mm mmhm.//
M1682 //If I'd known they were going to be collectors' items or something I would've probably looked after them a lot better but but I won't give them away because I know how old they are and eh, well I kind of treasure them a little bit, you know?//
F1189 I'll be really interested //to see them.//
M1682 //Yeah I'll sh- yeah.// //I'll show you them, they're downstairs.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh.// Ehm, now about what age would you have been when you were getting the Classic comics then?
M1682 Oh //ehm//
F1189 //People like Stevenson and so forth.//
M1682 I'm gonna say ten.
F1189 Mm mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mm.//
M1682 //Probably in the very early fifties is when I would start with those comics. I I forget actually when the the Eagle came out.// //I was quite young at the time so it it would've come out after the war certainly which would've been nineteen forty-five so [cough] excuse me.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// //Mmhm mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //The Eagle would've come out probably late forties, early fifties as well.// //So at that time when I started r- actually reading the comics was when I would probably start collecting the Classics Illustrated.//
F1189 //Mm mm mmhm.// //Mm.//
M1682 //I'm not sure but I'm I think the Classics Illustrated were actually an American comic.//
F1189 Now that's interesting, //isn't it?//
M1682 //I think// //yes ah when when I I get them I'll, you'll, I'll look at them and I think it's got an American cost on it like ten cents or something like that.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.// //Uh-huh.//
M1682 //But er yeah but they were American I belive.//
F1189 Uh-huh. //Mmhm mmhm mm mmhm.//
M1682 //So and that being the case certainly would've been in well into the fifties maybe before I got them because bringing stuff over from America was important and not necessarily comics were at that time.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Yeah.//
M1682 //But.//
F1189 Now where did you buy those those comics? //Uh-huh.//
M1682 //Oh they'd be the local newsagent and that.// //Local newsagent or swap them with friends, well you know, a Dinky toy for some comics or or what have you, it was//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 just trade and sell.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm. And where did you get the money for them?
M1682 Pocket money.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mm mm mmhm.//
M1682 //Ehm delivered newspapers, I delivered newspapers which was a a thing that young children did back then. I don't know if they still do but we eh you had your local paper route and you made money that way.// And my mum was good to me. //You weren't erm, knowing that I didn't have a father around a lot of the time sh-she worked hard.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 And full time.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mm mmhm.//
M1682 //And made sure and because I, she was full time I had to look after my sisters and quite o- even then when I look back at a very very early age I would make sure they were home from school I would make dinner for them and serve them dinner before my m- my mum got home.// So I go- mum paid me, you might say. //Pocket money, extra for doing things like that.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.// And she depended on you //obviously.//
M1682 //Oh I did.// Very much.
F1189 What did she do for a living? //Mmhm mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Ehm she was a nurse, she was a nurse during the war and she worked at the, the Burn hospital at uhm Gogarburn I believe it was.// It's not there now I don't think. //But it was the Burn h- which was ah wasn't a very good thing during the war because a lot of airmen came there.//
F1189 //Mm mm.//
M1682 But eh and then when she had the children, myself, ehm of course nursing was finished [?]she was on[/?] //worked for the Red Cross for a while.//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1682 But then she worked with her, my dad's cousin's wife. //They got very fr-, she actually lives in Brampton.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mm mm.//
M1682 //They got very very friendly eh together and she eh worked with her as manager of a shoe store, a shoe shop.// //Or she was ehm [click] a waitress in a restaurant,//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //just round the corner from where we lived as an extra job for money.// //But mostly she worked in the shoe shop.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mmhm. So that that income would've been essential //I imagine because a//
M1682 //Oh it was definitely was.// //Yeah.//
F1189 //serviceman's income wasn't much.//
M1682 No it wasn't. No and eh although it, say one thing for the service ah a married serviceman had to allot so much of his money home to the, //to the wife.//
F1189 //So they docked his// wages did they? //[laugh]//
M1682 //Yes.// //So I mean she did get money but no it would probably not have been enough for the kind of lifestyle we had not that it was rich,//
F1189 //Uh-huh mmhm mmhm mm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm yes.//
M1682 //but er definitely was supplemented by my mum working yeah.//
F1189 Now do you remember anything like a a a bookshelf, or ehm, a bookcase?
M1682 Mm.
F1189 In either the St James' flat or or the prefab.
M1682 I can't say I remember a bookcase. //There may have been, even then I don't even know if there was a shelf because it was, it was one room so it was very small and it had to hold all of our furniture, clothing, everything,//
F1189 //Mm mm Yes mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //and cooking equipment so if there was anything there may have been some cookery books on a shelf or something like that.// //Eh at the prefab in Morden it was a three-bedroom prefab and they definitely would have bookshelves there because I would've had a bookshelf in my bedroom and my sister would've had as well.//
F1189 //Mm mm mm.// Mmhm. //Mm.//
M1682 //And I and I dares- oh my father was still in the Navy at the time.// //But eh in their bedroom there would've been a bookshelf with books in them yeah.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.// //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 //I don't recall what my mother used to read actually, it's funny I never thought about that.//
F1189 But you think she did read?
M1682 Oh ah de- ah yes definitely did read. Definitely did read yeah.
F1189 I'm just wondering who who was the earliest influence on you becoming a reader.
M1682 A reader. //I'd say my mum because ehm, since nineteen forty-two and I I, when I was growing up and old enough to understand that these were words that can be written.//
F1189 //Mm.// Mmhm. //Mmmm.//
M1682 //She was one that was obviously teaching me because my father was away all the time so.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //She would've had the greatest intr- influence in actually teaching me.// And and made it fun for me.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 And then when comics started arriving on the doorstep you might say it was easier to to see pictures and read with the pictures.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //That I I got interested and I enjoyed reading.// //That was that was the big thing, I enjoyed reading it was eh it was a past time I didn't have to please anybody else,//
F1189 //Mmhm mm.//
M1682 except myself.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //And if the story was a good story then I was obviously enrapt in it until I was finished, you know.// You know. //But my mum I'd say would be the starting influence, yeah.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mmhm. Do you think that was ehm your way of of getting a bit of privacy, //to become engaged in a book?//
M1682 //Ehm,// I'd say yes. //Yeah it pro-probably was.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 I ehm
F1189 Cause there were a lot of demands on you as //as a young boy.//
M1682 //There we- there was a lot of// yeah when I was a young, there was a lot of demands but I mean my mother gave me a lot of freedom. //I have to admit that because I mean I don't ever recall doing without eh material things and I don't recall going without playing eh soccer or football as you call it in in Scotland er with with the gang on the street.//
F1189 //Mm mm mm mmhm.// Mm. //Mm mm.//
M1682 //I had my bicycle I used to er and a scooter and I used to go crazy on those things round... we lived with about with a kind of a circle round us.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //And I mean that the antics that I got into those days I would, I would cringe at to think that how I'd never broke my neck you know but.// //But th- I didn't do without any of those, or friends. This is after we moved from the prefab to the, more ehm [click] sturdier building you might say.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm mm.//
M1682 Mmhm. But eh so, at the t- ehm privacy yeah, //I would say eh because I enjoyed reading it was to me it wasn't priv- it was it was like a game,//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //you might say, if you enjoy going out and playing a particular game [cough] you went and did it.// Me I enjoyed reading so I did it.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 So I mean that I look at it from that side of it rather than a privacy kind of a thing. //And because it's eh [click] you do it by yourself it is privacy I guess.//
F1189 //Mm mm mmhm.//
M1682 I was never much of a reader I I sometimes read to my sisters but I would say it wasn't a big thing.
F1189 Mm. //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 //To me it was reading was reading on my own at my own speed.//
F1189 Mm. //Now besides the comics that you had did you have any books?//
M1682 //Mmhm.// //Oh yeah oh yeah I had, eh I had let's see the classics you might say I had eh "Kidnapped" and "Robinson Crusoe" and "Swiss Family Robinson" eh Enid Blyton stories ehm.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 Didn't have the "Hardy Boys" cause that was more American.
F1189 Mm. //Mm mm mmhm.//
M1682 //Ehm I don't know "Captains Courageous", like Kipling's stories, "Kim" and that.// //Yeah but but I I had all those books back then, in fact I still have some downstairs.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm. //[laugh]//
M1682 //[laugh]// //Ah I,//
F1189 //You're a collector.// //Hoarder.//
M1682 //I didn't I// //didn't, a hoarder's the word. I didn't think I was a collector but yeah you're right a hoarder.//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //But eh I also gave to my granddaughter a a whole collection of the classics.// //And there was ehm a whole s-, a whole story and a half story in each book.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mm.//
M1682 //And it was a set of I think fourteen books and I gave only about a couple of years ago she's, Sarah's nine now or ten.// //And she's an avid reader.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //So I gave her them but I still have another set downstairs of eh the classics you might say.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Yeah.
F1189 Now where did you get them from?
M1682 The ones that I have downstairs are actually from a neighbour. //And ehm//
F1189 //Right uh-huh uh-huh.// //Mm.//
M1682 //I'm not sure if they brought them over to them when they em- cause they actually, he's from Glasgow she's from Leeds.// And they emigrated to the United States, he worked for IBM.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 And moved from San Francisco to Toronto, now whether he brought them or they brought them over from the United Kingdom or not I don't know but there's definitely ehm [click] older //books that would've come with them.//
F1189 //[inaudible].// Mmhm.
M1682 If they did yeah.
F1189 Now the ones you had when you you were a boy
M1682 Yeah.
F1189 ehm did they come to you as presents or, how did you get them?
M1682 Oh [laugh] I either purchased them in a newsagent or I swapped for them. //Yeah, no I,//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mm mm mmhm.//
M1682 //At one time you could see young boys like when I was young walking round the street with like about four, fifty comics in your arm, going around trying to swap them all.// So I mean there was various ways of doing it. //But when I realised the the Classics Illustrated were ehm little more than just a-a-a fictional story per se like science fiction and like Dan Dare and and what have you.//
F1189 //Mm mm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm mm mm mmhm.//
M1682 //They were more they were written by, authors, well-known authors that I realised that maybe I should keep these maybe my grandchildren would like to read them and what have you.// //So so no I I put them aside and kept them.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mm.// Mm. Did you have a favourite? //Favourite//
M1682 //Author?//
F1189 story or a favourite author when you were when you were a young boy say //round about ten, twelve?//
M1682 //I'm gonna say s- yeah,// //I'd say eh Robert Louis Stevenson, I would probably say "Kidnapped"//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //ehm was one of my favourite stories and funny enough I didn't know there was a sequel to "Kidnapped" until I came to Canada.// //I was passing through the airport on my way back from Scotland on vacation and I saw the book "Catriona".//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mm.//
M1682 //I thought// //oh, that's by St- that's I've never read that.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm.// //Mm.//
M1682 //And I picked it up started going through it and realised it was a a sequel to "Kidnapped".// //So, I bought it and purchased it and read it.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mmhm mm.//
M1682 //But eh and so I'd say Stevenson was probably ah th- and in fa- it's for ehm action stories.// Then you have to go to Defoe with "Crusoe".
F1189 Mm.
M1682 And eh "Swiss Family Robinson". //And don't ask me who the author is cause I forget.//
F1189 //[laugh]// //[laugh]//
M1682 //[laugh]//
F1189 Eh now th-the famous one of Stevenson's is obviously "Treasure Island".
M1682 "Treasure Island", yeah, yeah.
F1189 Did you have that in a book form or was that one of the Classic //comics?//
M1682 //That, I had that in bo-// //I don't know if I had "Treasure Island" in the classics downstairs but I definitely had it in the book form.//
F1189 //Mm mm.//
M1682 And I would've had it in the comics as well.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Oh yeah.
F1189 Now Edinburgh's got some quite good public libraries.
M1682 Oh yeah.
F1189 Ehm
M1682 Yeah.
F1189 did you ever use them?
M1682 I did. Yeah ehm actually over here I'm a regular //weekly user of the public library here, I I in fact I'm sure it annoys my wife but I probably read way way too much.//
F1189 //Mm mm mmhm mm.// //[laugh]//
M1682 //[laugh]// Takes up so much of my time.
F1189 Uh-huh. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //But eh back in Edinburgh I did use public libraries yeah.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 I would have to say I probably used the school library more.
F1189 Mm. //Mm mm.//
M1682 //Because ehm by the time I left Edinburgh I was either eh during m- doing an apprenticeship which didn't allow me the free time of reading that I would've needed.// Or I would've liked I should say. [cough] Excuse me. //So I I didn't actually, wouldn't have used that kind of a library.//
F1189 //Mm.// Mm. //Mm.//
M1682 //It'd more have been a [click] a, a library where it would be more technical.// //Eh mathematical n- geometry and and stuff that I would need to learn about,//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //calculus and that but eh.// //So reading stories eh in later years before I got married would would not have been sort of regular public library no.//
F1189 //Mm mm mmhm.// Mmhm. //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 //But no I eh definitely did use the library I used it uh-huh.//
F1189 Mmhm. Can you recall anything about the, your school library or or the public library you used? //Mm.//
M1682 //Eh I guess the biggest thing is especially when you are young is, and I was quite intimidated I, so I made sure I didn't make any noise.// //[laugh]//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1682 Because you got hissed at or what have you. //Yes. [laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //Eh you get the whole [inaudible].// //But no eh I mean I guess that's what you remember most is is the solitude, the quietness ehm.//
F1189 //Mm mm mm.// //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 //As I didn't go to university to get a de- a a degree in any sort, I, ehm I did see students in libraries using it especially as a reference.// //And er I never had to do that but er I could see why it's done now because it's definitely it's er you know, you have to broaden your knowledge on on a certain subject that's certainly, it's not what you're just gonna get in school.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// Mm.
M1682 It's a lot more to it so.
F1189 Did you go to the central library up on George the Fourth bridge? //Mm.//
M1682 //Ehm only as one of those things that you do to visit like going to the museum.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mm.//
M1682 //Or ehm going to Heriot Watt university or or or what have you.// //So I did yes go on George the Fourth bridge th- ehm library.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mm mmhm [cough] mm mmhm.//
M1682 //But I wouldn't have gone there for any particular reason because any of the books that I would've been reading at that time I could get either in my school library or in the local public library.// Yeah.
F1189 Now you mentioned Enid Blyton //ehm uh-huh//
M1682 //Yes I have some of her books downstairs.// //[laugh]//
F1189 //uh-huh.// Were they favourites at all?
M1682 No they were more girly books. //[laugh]//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1682 So no they weren't eh at the time, time of the reading you might say eh I was more into action
F1189 Mm.
M1682 reading than ehm than girly books and Enid Blyton was more for g- more for girls I thought at the time.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 But once again I kept them because I had my daughters and they read them.
F1189 Mmhm. Yes now I wondered perhaps if they'd belonged to your sister? //The Enid//
M1682 //My sister?// //Ehm//
F1189 //Blyton books.//
M1682 no.
F1189 Mm. //Mm.//
M1682 //I'll be honest. I'm not sure where I got them from. My wife might've even got them.//
F1189 Mm. //Mm mm.//
M1682 //I'm not sure where they actually came from but we've had them for a long ti- well,// //my eldest daughter's in her early forties now so I mean we've had them at least thirty//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.// //You've acquired them.//
M1682 //years [laugh].// //We acquired them, yes.//
F1189 //And you y- and// and you remember reading them when you were //much younger?//
M1682 //Oh I re- I re-,// yeah. //My mother would have read Enid Blyton to me, that kind of story, yeah.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh.// Uh-huh. So would that have been er the Famous Five or
M1682 Yeah.
F1189 or the adventure stories?
M1682 The Famous Five yeah.
F1189 Mmhm. Mmhm.
M1682 But oh my memory's not that great. //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]//
M1682 But no, now you mention it I do, the Famous Five.
F1189 Uh-huh. //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 //And now and again I go downstairs and say to myself, I'll get a cardboard box and I'll say, 'These have all got to go. Nobody's reading them anymore' or what have you and then they go all back on the shelf agian.// [laugh]
F1189 Can't quite bring //yourself to do it.//
M1682 //Can't quite// //no no.//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mm.//
M1682 //I I guess I'm a collector or a hoarder that way because it's ah I think it's a sin to throw out written material like that,// //that somebody spent time, making for you to read you know so it's...//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 So yeah.
F1189 Yes, real readers are often like that. They they like the actual books themselves.
M1682 Yeah.
F1189 Uh-huh. Ehm now, you left school I would imagine then at fifteen?
M1682 I left school at... how old would I be? Nineteen sixty. //I was sixteen, nineteen fifty-eight//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1682 I left school. At the time I was in Malta. And I was at the Royal Naval school
F1189 Mm.
M1682 in Malta, //which was a school for ehm [click] students whose mothers or fathers were in the services,//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //regardless of the Navy, Army or Airforce.// But you went to the Royal Naval school there. And I was sixteen when I qualified, to start my apprenticeship
F1189 Mm.
M1682 in the dockyard,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 in the technical college. //And I started working in Rosy- in Malta at that time, it was still part of the Royal Navy,//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1682 before it became privately owned. //And then when my father got transferred [cough] back to the United Kingdom I got transferred to Rosyth dockyard which was the nearest one to my home town.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1682 And I completed my apprenticeship and my education at the college
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 in Rosyth.
F1189 Now going off to Malta must have been a bit of an adventure, were you happy about that?
M1682 Not the first year. //I have to admit I I don't think anybody does when you're uprooted into s- from your home, your friends, your way of life//
F1189 //Mm.// Mm.
M1682 to a new location like that. //And then you're talking about all different people. I had a, albeit an Edinburgh accent it's not quite as eh a heavy accent as a Glaswegian or an Aberdonian for that matter.//
F1189 //Mm mm.//
M1682 But it was definitely different in Malta because er the bulk of, the majority of all the peole there were definitely of English descent.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 [click] So I kind of stood out a little bit but eh I was a sportsman and I was a runner. So, I mean I acquired quite a lot of friends in school because I I did apply myself at them. I was quite good at them.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 And actually did eh play and run for the school at the time.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mm.//
M1682 //So I did make a lot of friends and it, then it turned, then I realised that we're sitting in the centre of the Mediterranean.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 And we had got there around August, and I was still swimming in the waters around September, October, even the end of October. And everybody else thought I was nuts, crazy I mean nobody goes in the water in Malta in October. And then I realised next October why. [laugh] Cause I'd got used to the summer and eh from then on I loved it. //And that's when I became interested in history,//
F1189 //Mm.// Mm. Mmhm.
M1682 is in Malta.
F1189 Yes. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //Because eh and I've been, to this day I'm definitely definitely wanting to get back.// //I never saw, I'll I'll say I only saw maybe ten percent of the Malta that I would really love to see.//
F1189 //Mm.// Mmhm. //Mm mm.//
M1682 //And what I did see was was enough. It's a lot more than what a tourist would see certainly but there's a lot more to see and I didn't see that.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Yep.
F1189 So did you read about the the history then of //of Malta, of that part of the Mediterranean?//
M1682 //Oh yes oh yeah I was yeah, yeah.// Oh yeah I was very much into it.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Very much into the the Malta, Malta Cross, you know, the the St John's... knights of St John and, and what have you.// //And as I said a lot of these pla- I was, a bit young you might say to to visit these places because I was still having a good time with my friends, playing football and and what have you, that I could've spent more time [cough] going into the like the the churches, some of the churches like the dome and Mdina is the second biggest one next to St [click] eh St Peter's in Rome.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mm mm mmhm.// Mm. //Mm.//
M1682 //And I mean I did go in and I did see it but I didn't appreciate it the way I should've done.// //I didn't see the catacombs back then. They didn't interest me back then.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1682 Ehm Valletta was [cough] a city that was just a city
F1189 Mm.
M1682 back then, although it was old. And and it was certainly Mediterranean. [cough] Excuse me. But eh it was just a city. It's not till y-you get older that you realise just, what you were eh witnessing. //And what was there and what was there many many years before, you know?//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm mmhm.// I'm just wondering where you got access to to books that told you
M1682 Eh.
F1189 what that history had //been.//
M1682 //I would have// to say out the library, I would I would say out the library, ehm what I didn't get taught at school about the history of Malta I would I would definitely have, //g-.//
F1189 //So was there a library on the naval base?//
M1682 Oh yeah.Yep. It wasn't actually a base. //We were the whole of Malta was a an a [click] a service island you might say it it the, all the services were there.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mm.//
M1682 //Ehm,// //and there were naval bases, there was army bases, there was airforce bases.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 [cough] The school itself was a like like any other school.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //It was just run by naval personnel.// So I mean we were getting eh bussed from our home
F1189 Mm.
M1682 to the school but eh so it wasn't really a a base per se but yeah. //But yes there was the libraries that were in there and yeah.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1682 And you were encouraged to use them, you were encouraged. I mean there was a lot eh very educated people it was-wasn't just a, a, a what kind of a school do you call it now, with ehm it covered everything, it covered all the way from high grammar school in England
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 down to a wood-working, technology type of education. //So I mean it covered all the bases, like there was some students that came there who were ehm [click] heading to big type, like Cambridge and Oxford.//
F1189 //Mm.// Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mm.//
M1682 //You got that education there that qualified you to get into Cambridge and Oxford and Edinburgh or Glasgow Universities, i-i-it eh it was quite diversified the school.// So I mean eh as I say so it was i-it was good and //you might al-.//
F1189 //Did girls// go there too, //Robert? So it was coed.//
M1682 //Oh yes yeah yeah yeah it was coeducational.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Yep.
F1189 Do you think having been uprooted influenced your decision in any way, not not to pursue any kind of further education?
M1682 No. //I would say the uprooting to Malta probably was about the best thing that happened to me.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm.//
M1682 Because I doubt very much if I would have got the education I got
F1189 Mm. //Mm mm.//
M1682 //when I left that naval school as to what education I've got now and what qualifications I have now.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 I I wouldn't have got that back in Scotland. Definitely not. I wouldn't even have known about it.
F1189 So that's part of your formation as a reader //as well.//
M1682 //Oh// most definitely, yeah. I-it made a big difference. I eh n- my father was a martinet. He was very very strict, adamant about most stuff and most things. Eh there wasn't much leeway in him at all. And I th- pretty well got that from him that if I wanted to do thing-, you do it yourself.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 And you don't do it, I mean you do it right.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 So you don't have to do it again.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 And that- that's the way I was kind of brought up under my father's presence and eh //I became that way I guess in later life because when I come to Canada it was ehm I started working here I think I was only here a couple of months and I was made a leader like I was made a man in charge of the job or a man in charge of a crew of men or what at a very early age.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// Mm.
M1682 And eh and being in the union which you had to join [cough] it was unheard of because I wasn't a full union member so I had to have written permission by the union to be in charge of union men. //But it went down well and eh most of my life here I've been that way, in charge of jobs or men or both yeah.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.// You made a //success mm.//
M1682 //And I and I think that's// //mainly because of the the way my father was so strict with me at the time.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.// mmhm
M1682 And my mum of course, not being around at the times when mothers usually are and me having to take charge an-and what have you. I-I was more responsible, //and realised...//
F1189 //So you were, yes,// the classic oldest child.
M1682 Yeah [laugh].
F1189 I know because I'm one //too.//
M1682 //Are you one// //too, are you? [laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]//
M1682 Yeah.
F1189 Now, the kind of school that you went to in Malta would have been much more cosmopolitan as you say //ehm//
M1682 //Oh yeah.//
F1189 and a different kind of education. Do you think that introduced you to a wider range of of reading?
M1682 Mm.
F1189 You were already quite //widely read anyway.//
M1682 //Yeah I was// //quite widely read I would say it didn't introduce me to a new one other than a technical one because that was when I decided to become more technical and take a trade.//
F1189 //Mm mm.// Mm. //Mm mmhm mm.//
M1682 //So I would have read a lot more ehm technical journals and things like that from that time at school, yes, but as far as eh [click] ehm not educational reading, as far as [click] I can't even say the word now r-r-reading for for just for//
F1189 For pleasure. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //pleasure pleasure reading.// //Ehm, no it wouldn't have changed me then no I I I think students at that time from Scotland would have been on a par or even higher especially reading-wise than the English students and I think that was noticeable,//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// //Mm.//
M1682 //when I was there I-I-I-I thought ehm wha-what I mean I wasn't the only Scots-Scotsman that was there. There was quite a lot of Scots and Welsh and Irish but eh [cough] I-I think we were a little more, little better well read// than some of the English [cough] [cough] goodness me, some of the English students that were there,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 I would say but eh.
F1189 That's interesting.
M1682 It yeah. Now when I'm saying that I'm saying it on our educational level.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Now i-i-if you went into the higher educational which was like up to the higher grammar level then that would be different. They would eh they would've read, a lot more uhm of the classics//
F1189 Mm.
M1682 that probably I wouldn't read
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 [click] at that time.
F1189 Mmhm. //Do you think,//
M1682 //Yeah.//
F1189 you think that's that was the [?]pay[/?]?
M1682 I would think so yeah. //Like I mean [click] eh Alexandre Dumas an-an-and au- and authors like the French authors what have you.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1682 Eh other than them being in the classics comics I probably wouldn't have read those books,
F1189 Mm.
M1682 other than as I said if you saw the pictures in front of you.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 So it wasn't until after that educational time then that I realised that these authors weren't just eh comic book stories.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 These were actual classics of the world.
F1189 Mm mmhm. //But//
M1682 //You know.//
F1189 you did realise that though.
M1682 Oh I did.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm mmhm mm.//
M1682 //Oh yeah-yeah-yeah I did I mean eventually I realised that and it wasn't until as I said I was that that age or older before I actually read them// //as a book in book form.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //Yeah.//
F1189 Mmhm. Ah so you came back to Scotland then?
M1682 Came back to Scotland with a Scottish accent but very English.
F1189 Uh-huh.
M1682 My ehm [click] my words changed. That was ah very noticeable. I got back into Edinburgh, after it was almost three years, back to Edinburgh, [cough] I was staying with my, at my, an aunt's house with my cousins. Most of my cousins were all female but I couldn't believe the Scottish accent.
F1189 [laugh]
M1682 In Edinburgh it was so heavy I thought, I didn't speak like that, did I? Eh I can't think they have changed any but I th- I couldn't have spoken like that. //But I spoke proper because it was an English grammar school.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //So I mean I didn't say "ach ye didnae ken" I said "oh you don't know".// [exhale] //So I I mean a lot of my words had changed and I didn't have the Scottish slang, you might say, that was common with the-the working class.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1682 So //that al-.//
F1189 //Did you get ribbed?//
M1682 Oh yes,
F1189 [laugh]
M1682 by my cousins. //By my cou- I must, and it was in fun it was, you know.//
F1189 //Uh-huh. [laugh]//
M1682 "Ooh he's very proper." //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]//
M1682 And I didn't think I was. [laugh] //Cause I hadn't purposely tried to change. It was just a ehm you do that because I mean that y- th-the majority of the people in Malta that I spoke and played with were were either English or Welsh or what have you and they didn't say these, say these words.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mm mmhm.//
M1682 So you didn't say them back. //There was the odd, Scots person from ehm [click] the west coast maybe that ah still had a more twangier accent than I did, but I would have to say that even after a year or two years at that school even you would have changed.//
F1189 //Mm.// Mm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //From "I didnae ken" to "I don't know" or "aye" you don't say "aye" anymore you say "yes" and "naw", "no", you know.//
F1189 Mm. //Mm mm.//
M1682 //So different ehm but so I I did change yeah an-and it was noticable and I did get ribbed.//
F1189 Mmhm. //[laugh]//
M1682 //Good.// //And I'm not even going to say that I I changed back, because by then I was g- as I said I was working, I went to Rosyth dockyard and then the dockyard on the apprenticeship programmme, it was ehm mostly Scottish lads.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mm.// //Mm mm mmhm.//
M1682 //But they were from all over Scotland. They were from the north, the east, south and west of Scotland all doing their apprenticeship in that one dockyard which was the only naval one,// in Scotland.
F1189 Mm. //Mm.//
M1682 //So there was a mix of all different Scottish accents.// //So you you didn't catch on or latch onto any one in particular so.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //And I don't think I ever swayed back to being the slang that I had before.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Because it had been so long an-and I I probably liked the way I spoke rather than...
F1189 Right so this way an early lesson really //in making adjustments//
M1682 //I-it was oh yeah.// It definitely //was yeah.//
F1189 //when you move around.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //I move around yeah and I did change.// And coming to Canada you change again. //It's the same thing.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //And oh well I've lived here over forty years now so I mean it's, I still myself have a Scottish accent. Obviously I mean people will, I only have to open my mouth in the United States and they say "oh you're Scottish",//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 you know? //"Yeah okay I'm Scottish but eh".//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Mmhm uh-huh mm mmhm.//
M1682 //But if I go back to Scotland they know that I've got a different accent, I mean I'm not, I definitely don't have an Edinburgh accent anymore.// //But eh and you say different words again you-you-you change your colloquialism, your different words for different things.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 And you have to adapt to that otherwise people wouldn't know know what you were saying. I mean we still get eh we still say words today that are very Scottish and we have to translate them, not thinking that we've said it,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 you know like like "put it on the bunker". Well we don't have a bunker here. //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]//
M1682 You have a countertop. //You know what I mean? [laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Or the pavement.//
M1682 //So,// //o-or the pavement well the pavement here yeah exactly the pavement here is a road,//
F1189 //[laugh]// //[laugh]//
M1682 //not the sidewalk.// Yeah so I mean it's it's little things like that and you get used to it and you and you do change.
F1189 Mm. //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 //And you go back ehm it doesn't take long when you go, I mean I've been going back now for vacation and holidays for so many times that it doesn't take long to go back and get the idiosyncrasies back again and say "Will you stay on the pavement" kind of thing.// So I mean I will say that almost within a couple of days of being back on vacation.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 //My wife when she goes up to visit her relatives in Invernesshire she's only there about a couple of hours and she's speaking like an Invernessian so no, so she gets the accent vey quick.// //But eh I don't change that much but eh but I do, I think you adapt your words to whatever the the English colloquialisms in in the town and where you're living, you know?//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mm.// Mmhm now, you mentioned a wee while back that you were quite sporty,
M1682 Mmhm.
F1189 ehm you like the football. //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1682 //Yeah I played, I played football and on a [cough] on a school team.// We played it for fun at home.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm mmhm mm mmhm.//
M1682 //In-in Edinburgh before I went to Malta and then it was more organised in Malta and I actually eh I actually went with a team called St George's which is a first division Maltese team.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 I actually played in the European cup and what have you. But they had different divisions and I I-I played with their like their lowest boys' division at the time cause I'd have been about fifteen, fourteen or fifteen at the time. But it-it was quite big and we played football a lot with the local people and I lived in a very very small village
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //away from everything in Malta and got to know the locals.// //Mostly it was all locals that I had with, around me.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm.// Mmhm. //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 //And we played football with them and then I started playing with a organised team at the school and then we, I played for the school, actual school itself.// //It was called Tal-Handaq, the name of the school.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 And...
F1189 Did you pick u-up any of the local language then? //Mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //I did but I I, to this day I could probably sit down and think and think and think and come up with a few words but I didn't speak the language, no.// Eh Maltese is a, a variation of about oh I don't know how many different //languages.//
F1189 //Bit of// //Italian, bit of French mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Oh Ital-, English, French, Arabic.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 It's, //whoever had them or owned them at one time put a piece of their language in with it and a lot of it's Latin too so I mean,//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.// //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 //No it was just eh words that you had to pick up because you were playing with Maltese kids your own age.// //But eh I would've picked them up and certainly most of the swear words, you know.//
F1189 //Mm.// Mmhm. //[laugh]//
M1682 //Anyway they're first words you pick.// //[laugh] They're the first words you pick up.//
F1189 //[laugh]//
M1682 But eh so //yeah.//
F1189 //Did you// support a football team back in //Scotland?//
M1682 //Ah yes I did.// Eh I support Heart of Midlothian.
F1189 Oh good. [laugh]
M1682 Yeah. Although that was a no no for my side of the family cause we were we were Catholic so you were supposed to support //Hibernian.//
F1189 //Hibs, yes.// Uh-huh uh-huh.
M1682 But no, I, my pride and joy was Willie Bauld. //I'd remember going to the football games when Bauld, Conn, Wardhaugh played for eh the front three of the Hearts line and that's what got me going to the socc- the football games,//
F1189 //Uh-huh mmhm mmhmmmhm mm mm.//
M1682 was, were those three.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 And eh I became a Hearts fan because of it.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //Really, and I stayed that way, yeah.// I have a son-in-law who's a Hibs fan. //A-absolute ardent Hibs fan so him and I get on quite well together where especially when Hibs lose and I win, Hearts win, you know.//
F1189 //Mmhm. [laugh]// //[laugh]//
M1682 //But eh.// //Now he's-he's//
F1189 //Now.// //Uh-huh mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //big actually he plays semi-professionals eh football in Scotland for some of the smaller eh Albion Rovers and things like that and he and he coaches a team over here.//
F1189 Mmhm. Ehm do you carry on following the Hearts down... //Uh-huh mm mmhm.//
M1682 //Well I-I whenever I can but [cough] every weekend I always look at the results and what have you.// //Ehm being this far away it's it's difficult we don't get a lot of Scottish premier league football on the television eh unless you pay into a quite a a lot of money to Setanta I believe it is at home//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mm mmhm.// //That's right uh-huh.//
M1682 //as well yeah.// //Now if I did that, I think on a Tuesday evening you get SPL games.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Other than that it's nearly all English premier league games you get and they don't interest me as much so.// //I do follow the Hearts on a paper basis.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// And what, and where do you read about the their performance if you like ehm.
M1682 Oh in the Scotsman.
F1189 Right. So do you go onto the Scotsman online?
M1682 Online.
F1189 Uh-huh right uh-huh. Excellent.
M1682 Yeah.
F1189 Don't suppose there's a Hearts supporters' Club in, in Toronto?
M1682 Eh I, there m- I should've d-, there just might be. //It's certainly there it's not well-known I know a lot of people who I see Hearts people you know how the- they wear the football jerseys and what have you.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //I couldn't believe I've seen so many of them in E-, in Toronto [cough] but certainly not enough to warrant a a supporters' club I wouldn't think no no.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //There may be a get-together or some- eh but I certainly haven't heard of it and I haven't gone looking for it.// Same as Hibs. //Celtic and Rangers, they have their clubs certainly they do have their clubs here.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm. Now did you like to read about sport then when you were a boy? I mean you'd get a bit //of it in comics but ehm.//
M1682 //Oh yeah [cough] oh yeah.// //Yeah th-th-there were the comic that came out called the Tiger,//
F1189 //mmhm// Mm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //it was, a lot of sport was in that.// I think the Roy of the Rovers was the front story on that. //It was Roy of the Rovers.//
F1189 //That's right uh-huh.// Uh-huh. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //And th-that of course that would be football once again that was that was my favourite at the time, yeah so.// Yeah I er, I would, //read probably that but I think from ehm, there wouldn't be an awful lot more in the way of ehm [click] reading material other than an individual like Roy of the Rovers.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //So I think it mostly would be science fiction I think that you'd get interested// //in.//
F1189 //Well,// //Willie Bauld's a a famous name, so I mean there probably were stories written about//
M1682 //Mmhm.// //Oh well yeah I do have books downstairs.//
F1189 //him. Mm.// //[laugh]//
M1682 //[laugh]//
F1189 And are they ones you've bought later on? //Mm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Later on or they were gifts for or ehm ehm visitors visiting Canad- [cough] stay-staying here like ehm,// //my in-laws they would ehm [cough] maybe go to the Hearts store and maybe bring me over a a book about the Hearts or what have you so I mean.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm mm mmhm.// //Yes.//
M1682 //Yeah I've collected quite a few things that way.//
F1189 Uh-huh uh-huh. Now, I suppose we should move on really to, cause you say you didn't read an awful lot when you were training to be ehm
M1682 No. //Outside of te- eh no outside of//
F1189 //an electrical fitter.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //technical manuals no I would say I didn't read any eh, anything now I forget what that word was I used I even brought it up you know.// //Recreational reading you might say.//
F1189 //Yes uh-huh.// //Mm.//
M1682 //Well I shouldn't say I didn't, I'm going to, cause I stayed in a boarding house when I was in Rosyth.// //I would stay there and go oh to Edinburgh on the weekends and after my folk, my family moved to the United States I stayed with an aunt on the weekends.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 And eventually met my wife and s-started dating her. But so in all that time, I mean, I would've been reading [cough] excuse me, I would've been reading yeah //paperbacks.//
F1189 //Would you like me// me to stop?
M1682 Ah yeah I'll go and get a glass of water. I probably would be reading paperbacks
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 ehm on the train back and forward.
F1189 Uh-huh. //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 //Ehm mostly I was a newspaper person I would say at the time.// [cough] So in the morning, I would have the newspaper in the train,
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //going to work and coming back I'd either be sleeping because I'd be tired cause it was a long day.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mm.//
M1682 //But eh any other reading material would probably have come in the way of ehm comics just for to pass the time.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mm mm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Or or well-known stories I don't think I would've picked up any-anything new and I certainly wasn't into eh mystery or-or-or fiction or thrillers other than children's ones probably at the time so.//
F1189 Now yo-you did mention paperbacks there. //Ehm can you remember what kinds of paperbacks they were, or where you got them from?//
M1682 //Mmhm.// Oh. I be honest I really I really I think they would just get a- I definitely didn't buy any.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 So I would have to say I just got handed them if somebody had finished a book they just give it to me. //We were g- we were kind of close-knit as apprentices although they as I said we came from all reaches of Scotland.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mm mm mm mmhm mm.//
M1682 //We were still in although some of us were in houses there was also a-a-a big ehm [click] dormitory-type place where a lot of the, especially the, more the west coast eh apprentices stayed in the dormitory-type thing.// //And then they would have ehm they would have their own per se library, reading library and it was it would be all paperbacks and the likes and I would probably get one from a friend you might say who enjoyed a book and say "Oh you should read this it's good" so,//
F1189 //Mm mm mmhm mmhm mmhm mm mmhm mmhm mm mmhm.//
M1682 not necessarily, excuse me, that I would enjoy but eh,
F1189 [laugh] //Uh-huh but//
M1682 //but that's-that's probably the way I would've got them.//
F1189 light reading?
M1682 Yeah.
F1189 I mean the kinds of sort of genres that that young men often read from both before the war and after it we-were things like Western novels and //stuff like that.//
M1682 //Ah yeah.// Yeah that's. I probably did have a phase
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 where I I liked eh Westerns.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Ehm //I I once again I'd have to relate back to the comics because I I'd I mean I remember Buck Jones, Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger and Tonto.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mm mmhm mmhm mm.//
M1682 //I mean I remember all those I mean but I remember them more in comic version rather than a book version.// Ehm I do remember Lash LaRue
F1189 Mmhm. //Mm.//
M1682 //and I would've read his books.// Ehm //at the time because he was one of the the let's say the better known Western authors.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mmhm mmhm mm.//
M1682 //But eh it wasn't a phase where I I was into big [inaudible] oaters as they call them, it was westerns.// //Eh I have a brother-in-law who is. He's very very big into westerns and to me it was ehm I got tired of of things going to the movies.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm mmhm.// Mm. //[laugh]//
M1682 //You got in there and it was you saw the Indians you shouted "Boo" you saw the cavalry you shouted "Hurray".// //A book was like, a western was like that.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.// //Uh-huh.//
M1682 //It's the same.// And each story has only got a different name. //The stories are the same.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1682 You're either hoisting a bank or you're robbing a stagecoach or you're fighting Indians. [laugh] I say. I mean it's, //you just change the name, change the colour of your horse or what have you ah//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //really th-th-th-the I guess they didn't hold a lot of interest after a while, westerns to me.// You had to eh
F1189 And the good guy always wins. //[laugh]//
M1682 //and the good guy always oh c-c-course yeah.// //The good guy always wins, yeah.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.// Uh-huh. //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 //Yeah yo-you wonder just how there's any Indians alive today.// //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// Now what age were you when your family decided to go to the States?
M1682 The United States I would've been, they went in nineteen... I'd, I guess I was twenty.
F1189 Mm. //Mm.//
M1682 //I was nineteen or, nineteen or twenty.// Twe- sixty-two. //Yeah I think they went in nineteen sixty-two or sixty-three.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1682 I know in, no nineteen sixty-three, nineteen sixty-three was when I went on vacation.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //And they had already been there at least a year.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //Probably even a a uh a year and a half so I would've said it'd been eh late sixty-one,//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //early sixty-two is when they emigrated.//
F1189 Mmhm. And had you met your wife by then?
M1682 I had just met her. //I, my dad hadn't seen her.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1682 He went to the States first.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mm.//
M1682 //Ehm he emigrated first to get a house and what have you.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //And my mother followed, I'm going to say like, five months later,// //with my two sisters.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //In that interim period is when I met Grace.//
F1189 Mmhm. Right uh-huh.
M1682 And ah
F1189 It was all happening for you then. //[laugh]//
M1682 //oh it was all happening for me, yeah.// //And we had a party on my aunt I should say well actually the aunt that also emigrated to Canada after we did ehm [click] had a party for my mum going away.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm mmhm.// Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //And I took Grace to the party. That's where she met my mum and my two young sisters at the time,//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 and other members of my family especially my dad's side.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Yeah.
F1189 Now what do you think motivated your your dad?
M1682 My dad? Eh I'm gonna say i- he was a service man,
F1189 Mm.
M1682 a hundred per cent.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm mm.//
M1682 //Adapting to ehm civilian life, would've been a, the most difficult thing for him to do.// //He was always the man in charge.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mmhm. //Mm mm.//
M1682 //He was I think at the time, and I'm not sure when it was, it was probably before the war or just at the start of the war, he was made a petty officer in the Royal Navy.// //And he was the youngest serving naval personnel to become a petty officer at that time.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Mm.
M1682 So I mean he was obviously a-a-a born leader of men. //And to walk out of the navy after so many years of being told what to do and a structured life, let's say a structured life, to walk out and fend for yourself must've been a very very difficult thing for him to do.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm mm mmhm.//
M1682 Plus the fact that because he the navy my mum spent a lot of time with her family, more so. //Ehm his mother, my grandmother was a a martinette and only liked boys.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1682 Like the sun, the moon, the stars shone on me when I was born. //If I had been a girl, God forbid what she would've done and said to my mum.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1682 As it was when my sister was born, the second grandchild to her she was shunned and ignored.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 But me I got everything. //And she was that that strong a person and I think that went down in s- hereditary through to my uncle, my dad's brother, and him, and eh he became a leader because of it and and his time served in the Navy because of it as a leader so walking out of the Navy at that time was a difficult thing for him to do.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm mmhm mm mmhm.// //Mmhm mm.//
M1682 //I think that his choice was becoming one of those ehm men in uniform that open doors at hotels and stuff like that so.// His brother had emigrated to ehm Canada,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 and had chosen to train as a painter and decorater. //And eh [click] married a Canadian girl and had since emigrated down to Ohio in the United States.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //And he wrote to his brother, my dad, and told him "why don't you emigrate, take a take some training as a painter and decorator and I've got, guarantee a job for you over here".// And that was the choice. And that's what they did.
F1189 Yes. //Yes mmhm.//
M1682 //So my mother, two sisters uprooted and went over to the States.//
F1189 Now when you went on a holiday.
M1682 In nineteen sixty-three I went it was my twenty-first birthday present.
F1189 [laugh]
M1682 I went.
F1189 Oh did they pay for it?
M1682 My mum did, yeah yeah. //Oh well they had a hard time. They my-my dad was very very difficult ehm with my mum.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mm. //Mm.//
M1682 //And he had a drinking problem.// Very bad drinking problem. //And a lot of times his entire wages was gone in alcohol over the weekend.//
F1189 //Mm.// Mmhm.
M1682 So my mum had no money. So a few times that sh- her sisters in Edinburgh had sent her some money and what have you. So it was quite a feat. I didn't know how she had done it but she got herself a couple of jobs in the States and eh paid for my fare to go to the States. //And eh on a vacation in nineteen sixty-three and when I got there I would once again I was still playing football and I signed up with a German club,//
F1189 //Mm.// mm
M1682 was playing football with them [inaudible] Swabians they were called. //And eh got to know them quite well, their guys my age they were all driving little jalopies and c-cars and eh a whole different way of life.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// //Mmhm mm.//
M1682 //Completely different than what was back in Sc- back in Scotland there was too martinet here you, there you were enjoying yourself.// And when I went back I said to my girlfriend, I think she was still my girlf- she may have been my fiancée but anyway. //I said that's w-we're definitely emigrating, I said this life over there is for me.//
F1189 //Mm.// Mmhm.
M1682 And the first choice of course obviously was to go to Ohio.
F1189 Mm. //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 //But, as it happened eh comes time we were our wedding arrangements, our wedding plans and we paid for everything by the time we had done all that we just didn't have the money to emigrate to the States cause you needed to have at least some financial backing behind you.// [inhale] So we looked into eh going to Canada which was close enough by looking at the map we picked er Toronto as a city which was close to Ohio with intentions of going to Canada, Canadian government paid your fare interest free.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mm.//
M1682 //And it gave you as long as you wanted to pay it back interest free.// I though, okay that's fine that's what we'll do, so I th- we landed here with maybe about fifty pound in our pocket between the two of us, uhm got jobs right away. And then I realised just what I remembered from Ohio in sixty-three that it was ten times better in Toronto and everything was the same.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 You still had the cars, you still had the people. //It was very British here at that time I mean a lot of the population was ehm ehm [cough] very Scottish English accents and still had them.//
F1189 //Mm mm.//
M1682 It wasn't as if they had gone Americanized. And there was a lot of British candy, a lot of ehm British foodstuffs eh and there was even a lot of British cars
F1189 Mm.
M1682 on the roads. So [cough] it was it was good for my wife cause she did become very homesick at the start.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 And eh when you got on the subway you were sitting next to somebody with a strong Glasgow accent, it was like sitting at home you know so. It made it it made a big difference and I said "there's no way", I said "we're just not leaving Canada, that's all there is to it". And at the time I di-didn't realise that at that moment but a-at the time I look back now if I'd actually emigrated to the States I would've been eligible to get drafted to go to Vietnam. //So it was another big favour you might say in in not going eh//
F1189 //Mmhm yes mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //was that, so I was quite lucky and I sure didn't make a mistake.// //Yep.//
F1189 //[laugh] Doesn't look like it.// //Now//
M1682 //No I certainly did not.//
F1189 before you, how did you travel by the way ehm both to Ohio the first time and to Canada? Did you fly or did you sail? //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Oh no I flew I flew to Ohio on my holiday yeah, I flew to Idlewild which is now ehm [click] Kennedy airport in New York,// //and then from there to Cleveland Ohio.//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1682 And when we emigrated I left Greenock on the Empress of England and sailed. //Arrived in first Quebec and then down to Montreal [cough] then jumped on a train in Montreal to Toronto.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1682 And there was an old neighbour of my wife's who lived in a small town called Galt.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 It's now, what's it called now? It's, it became three towns all became one.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 Hespeler and what have you but anyway. //And they picked us up and we stayed with them for two weeks.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //I tried to get a job in the small town, Babcock and Wilcox was a big industrial plant there.// //And eh [click] I didn't like I didn't like the company, I didn't like the company they had met and made.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mmhm mmhm. [laugh]//
M1682 //They went to clubs and they were ehm basically I-I-I got the shock of my life when you went in and you saw flyers getting thrown through the air and hitting the walls and the mirrors and I thought "woah woah this is, maybe I am a snob but they don't do this in Edinburgh" you know?// //So I said "no uh-huh" I said if this was Scottish clientele or people that live here and I have to be friends with them I said it's just not going to work.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm mm mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //I s- so we eh decided to move to Toronto and try our luck.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 And as luck would have it we were, we lucked out.
F1189 Now that was a-a-a long journey by sea.
M1682 By sea eh eh it was. Eh it took it took my wife three days to get her sea legs. She was very very sick. //Had to get the doctor a couple of times but eh eh I guess being a naval son an-and actually having been to sea quite a few times I didn't bother me any, but//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mm mmhm mm.//
M1682 //we enjoyed it, we met friends they-they moved to Hamilton when they arrived in Canada but er we've since lost touch with them but eh we made friends on-on board and it was good it was sort- a- it's not seven days I'm trying to think I think it was maybe a five-day trip.//
F1189 Mmhm. I just wondered if you, well if you brought any books with you //from Scotland on that occasion?//
M1682 //Oh I brought all my// all my all my school books.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 In fact I still have them.
F1189 Mmhm. //Yes uh-huh.//
M1682 //All my school books I brought with me ehm// //I probably should've handed them back to the college but [laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Ehm uh-huh mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //but eh no I still have them. I got my mechanics book, my maths books eh I think I've got my calculus book, all them.// //Eh as far as ehm pleasure books ehm I don't know if I would've brought any of the classics like the classic comics I probably would've brought them.//
F1189 //Mm mm.// //Mm.//
M1682 //And I would've probably would've brought the classics but I wouldn't have brought anything other than, a book that was maybe worth something to me.// //And at that time I don't know if I had anything that was really worth a lot to me.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //They were, to me they were still just books,// //that could ah you//
F1189 //Yes uh-huh.// //Mm mmhm mm mmhm.//
M1682 //could, you could borrow out the library if you really wanted them or you could give them to a friend so I wasn't a collector.// //Certainly not a hoarder back then. [laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// Now was the, sometimes in these big liners then there were small libraries actually //for people to pass their time.//
M1682 //Yeah, yeah, yeah I don't// //yeah I don't remember how big the Empress of England was because it wasn't a big liner it was a a li- an ocean liner granted, but it certainly wasn't a big one. It was nothing like what you see today.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mm mm.// //Mm.//
M1682 //EhmI don't even know if they're ploughing the seas anymore cause they're they're certainly very costly because they don't hold that many passengers.// //But eh there would've been a library on it but I mean I've taken cruises since then and ah I always check the library out.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm.//
M1682 It's quite extensive.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 A lot of it's nautical, granted, but ah ah I still check them out.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm. So was it was it fun the trip?
M1682 It was fun yeah yeah. //It's well well yeah.//
F1189 //Apart from the sea sickness that your wife had. [laugh]//
M1682 Apart fr- apart from that it was fun. I ehm I learned one lesson very very quickly coming, one morning I sat down for breakfast and eh I asked for the pro-proverbial bacon and eggs and they said "how would you like your eggs?" but normally you don't get asked that in Scotland you just get //you get [laugh] well you get them//
F1189 //You're lucky to get them. [laugh]// //Uh-huh uh-huhuh-huh mmhm.//
M1682 //but I didn't know that they asked in Canada how you like your eggs.// So I said "Oh sunny side up".
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 I thought I'm smart you know, I'll say sunny side up, so I got them sunny side up, well sunny side up was they were raw. The top of it was still raw.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //That was the one and only time that I couldn't eat for about six hours.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 I'm not saying I was sick but I certainly was green. //Oh!//
F1189 //[laugh]//
M1682 I took one look at that egg and I thought, I learned fast. Over easy. //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// //[laugh] Mmhm mm mmhm.//
M1682 //Yeah. That was one quick Canadian lesson you might say but eh other than that the rest of the trip that I do remember we played all the games we played in the, all the the costume games where you dressed up and// //did your, did a lot yeah we enjoyed it they-they make a good they make good fun of it but I mean the bulk of us were all emigrants.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Mm. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //I guess there was some people eh going on holiday or returning from holiday but ah not as many as there were e-emigrants.// //Which in a way you were third, let's say you were third class because it was you know first class passengers and immigrants more or less but eh.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm yes mmhm.// //Now it was a kind of assisted//
M1682 //But the//
F1189 passage that you had. //Yes mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Oh yes oh yeah the government eh the government of Canada paid for the package yeah.//
F1189 Did they give you any kind of erm literature on coming to Canada or finding your feet as a new migrant?
M1682 Ehm, I would have to think that they did.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 I think u- I think a lot of it was done at the consulate in Glasgow.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 I think a lot of it was done there in the interviews that you had to go for. What to expect ehm, how to choose where to live.
F1189 Mm. //Mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //And because of my education and my wife's education at the time it was more obvious to come to a city rather that a-a-a small town.// Ehm.
F1189 What is it your wife did, by the way? //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //She was ehm she was a-an assistant to a-a, eh she worked in what do you call them insurance company in Charlotte Square in Edinburgh.// National Guarantee was where she worked. //And she was eh office work is what she did and//
F1189 //Mmhm.// So she had skills too then. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //Oh oh she was eh shorthand typist// //type of thing so I mean in back in that time y-y-you came on a point system.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mmhm. //Mmhm mm.//
M1682 //So whatever skills you had like being, having a trade a qualified trade put you almost to the top of the points system.//
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm mmhm mm mmhm.//
M1682 //[cough] Having a finished education put you up there, having skills in office work like if you had been a chartered accountant or-or something like that.// //[cough] My wife having her shorthand typing and book keeping and what have you,//
F1189 //Mm.// Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //it gave her, extra amount of points as well so we both because we were, being married gave you points as well, so having all of these points accumulated together we didn't have any problem,//
F1189 Mmhm. //Uh-huh.//
M1682 //was emigrating to Canada it was, we were there.// //And at that time they were needing people, they were still needing a lot of people, especially skilled.//
F1189 //Mm.// Mmhm. So you didn't keep any of these pamphlets then, Robert? //I think there probably would've been some that.//
M1682 //Ooh gosh.// I can ask my wife ehm //I'm s- I'm I think I know we've kept some things like the menus from the SS Empress of England.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1682 But whether we kept anything like, like that I don't know. I know the the form that you got when you landed,
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //it was a little strip of paper, saying that you were actually an immigrant, a landed immigrant and it was y- this was a legal tender of paper.//
F1189 Mmhm. //[laugh]//
M1682 //I didn't think it was that important and I think my eldest daughter one day got hold of, scribbled all over it.// //It was panic,//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Mmhm mmhm. [laugh]//
M1682 //and I needed it for identification at one t- at that time I didn't know but I needed it for identification at one time and says "Who did this? You any idea what this means?"// //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]//
M1682 So.
F1189 She was creative then. //[laugh] Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Yeah I I learned fast after that, anything legal you put away from your chilren.// //[laugh]//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1682 But eh no I I don't know if I do have any literature relating to emigrating or-or-or anything else. And certainly stuff from on the ship, if I do have it would be in the trunk that came with me on the ship.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 It's holding my wife's wedding dress which is underneath the stairs.
F1189 [laugh]
M1682 And it's underneath a ton of Christmas stuff that take hours //to get to, it's in there somewhere.//
F1189 //In there somewhere yes.// //Now,//
M1682 //Yeah.// //Mmhm.//
F1189 //the picture that was usually painted for obvious reasons was quite a positive one uhm you know,// how things would be for ehm people arriving in in new countries. Do you do you find it that way? //Mmhm mm.//
M1682 //I think in the mid-sixties it certainly was yeah.// //There's ehm [click] work was in abundance, you didn't have any problem.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //If you were willing to work there was jobs.// //It didn't matter what you wanted to do, even if you just wanted to be a janitor in a big department store or what have you, there was work.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mm.//
M1682 //Pages on the newspapers had work// //available for anybody from all ages to all//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1682 different kinds of work. //It was it was a growing city, I mean it was a big city back then ehm but it was a big growing city and it was growing fast, really, really fast.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mm mmhm mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //I mean people were emigrating here not in the tens and twenties, people were coming here in the hundreds and thousands.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 And that's how fast the city was growing. And if as I said if you, definitely, if you were one of the skilled tra- at the time the skilled trades were the workers.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //W- the blue collar workers they call them, we were earning wages the equivalent of bank managers and people like that at that time.// //Because.//
F1189 //Did you// move around different companies?
M1682 Yeah yeah when in the union you do yeah yeah you ehm eh I tended not to, I liked usually, once again I'm a sticker. //I would stay with the the one commpany and I would finish one job but there were such a big company they had about ten jobs going.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm mm mmhm mmhm.// //Mm.//
M1682 //And I'd get transferred to another one.// //And then I'd finish that job and get transferred to another one.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 So in all the years I actually worked here in the city, I'm going to say I've spent, nineteen sixty, forty-four
F1189 Mm.
M1682 mm //I'll say I've spent of the forty-four years, probably about thirty-eight, thirty-seven years with three different companies only.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mmhm. //Yeah so.//
M1682 //Three, three companies yeah.// //Am- yeah.//
F1189 //Fair amount of continuity there.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Yep.// //But in saying that ehm you actually, if you think about it, if you're not a company man per se you're actually working out of the union so you've no, you have no loyalty to actual company unless once you're working for them of course but your actual loyalty is to the union because they do get you the work.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mm. //Now I see uh-huh.//
M1682 //Yeah I c- yeah.// //I couldn't when I first came I wasn't in the union and I got work with an electrical company ehm mostly [cough] on motors and some electronics.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //And eh my idea was to actually go to a company called Litton Industries when I first came because they did the electronics which is what I finished working on in the dockyard and they worked on guidance systems for like the cruise missile and things like that.// //Well that's what I was working on in the dockyard. I worked on the weapons systems and all the [cough] all the electronics to do with guiding weapons and what have you.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 With my intention of doing that with Litton companies. I got here, electronics was one of the poorliest paid, //including the supervisor was poorly paid.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //I went I thought "okay, that's it I'll get my hands dirty", getting my hands dirty working as an electrician I had twice as much money as a foreman or supervisor in electronics.// That's my choice so I'm going to take it and I did and I never looked back. //So I worked for a year and a half on motors and electronics before I got in the union.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1682 Once you're in the union then you're the bottom man on the list. //[cough]//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //You just work your way up the list, if there happens to be a list at that time there didn't happen to be a list so whatever company, say a company like State Electric has a job and they need forty electricians on the job and they can't transfer forty from other jobs,// they call the union and the union will send them as many men as they can get them.
F1189 Right.
M1682 Well if your name's on the list if there happens to be a list the t-top name you'll get sent to State Electric. And you'll do that job for them. [cough] //State might transfer you to another job if they if they think you're good and they want to keep you.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 Or the job's finished and you'll go back to the union and your name'll go on the bottom //of the list.//
F1189 //Right.// //So that-that's how it works.//
M1682 //And you work your way up.// //That's how it works it's-it's a fair system.//
F1189 //It's fair then.// Mmhm.
M1682 But ehm th-
F1189 It's very different from eh //eh from Scotland.//
M1682 //oh very different very different// from Scotland. //It's a fair system but the membership in the union they keep it to a number that is able to work in the city of Toronto.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm. //Mm.//
M1682 //It's only during bad bad times where you'll see a a wor- an out-of-work list of like four or five hundred people.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Now that's really hard.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm mm mmhm.//
M1682 //At any other time, the list might only be as high as a hundred but I'm saying a hundred but we're talking, in the electricians' union certainly we're talking quite a few thousand electricians in the city,//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //you know?// But.
F1189 And needed I expect cause it's a //very big city.//
M1682 //Mm.// //Oh yeah yeah.//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Now//
M1682 //Oh it's big.//
F1189 when did you pick up the reading habit again cause you
M1682 Ehm
F1189 you'd been a bit busy for that.
M1682 [click] I, it's hard to say when I would. //I-I don't know if I ever lost the reading habit. I-I mean I've always been I've always been reading.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mm.//
M1682 //Not as bad or as avid as I am now but ehm I've I I've always been reading.// But ehm I think television played a big role.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 Ehm //that certainly cut back on my reading in the evenings eh television.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mm mm.//
M1682 //I I started, I get hooked on to one particular programme which was on one night of the week.// And I'd make sure I watched that same one. //And, I did that, I did that for quite a while actually and it- it's not a good influence but it-it's easier than reading a book, even a comic book.//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1682 [laugh] But er //so, oh yeah.//
F1189 //Well we're all prey to it I'm afraid.// I mean did you have a television back in Scotland, did you have access to one?
M1682 Eh we did actually, before ehm when we got back from Malta. Ehm we got back in nineteen fifty-eight.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 That's right, we got back in nineteen fifty-eight. //Uhm they, my family moved in sixty-one so for those three years we had a a black and white television yeah.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm mmhm. So i-it wasn't something new although it would've been colour television I would imagine
M1682 Oh it was new to us that's for sure. //Oh yeah.//
F1189 //when you came here.// //[laugh]//
M1682 //Oh// //it was new to us.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1682 Oh no and same as my wife.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Eh a lot of the neighbours around eh my wife's neighbourhood had televisions.// //Her mum and father just couldn't afford such a thing so I mean//
F1189 //Mmhm mm.//
M1682 it was a big thing for our neighbour to shout out the window "Come on over and watch television tonight" so, at least you'd go over so. It was, it was new to us.
F1189 Mm. //Mm mm.//
M1682 //And eh a television that as I said was, even when I moved into ehm digs in Rosyth into ehm well, like a B and B you might say, in Rosyth eh the people there would've had television but I certainly wouldn't have watched it.// //I didn't.//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1682 And I did a lot of reading then because I-I didn't watch television.
F1189 Uh-huh.
M1682 Yeah and if I eh and I didn't go out a lot. //If I wasn't going to night school eh and I stayed home then I would've been reading.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mm mmhm.//
M1682 //I remember now I I did a lot of reading then cause I'd just stay up in my room and lie on the bed and read.// //Yeah.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Can you remember what kind of thing it was you were //reading?//
M1682 //Oh they// //they would be like science fiction novels and maybe at that time some westerns, the thrillers.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 It-it wouldn't have been anything eh any of the classics I don't think.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 //Cause it would be it would have to be something to stimulate me quickly you might say.// //So.//
F1189 //So// the paperbacks //then perhaps?//
M1682 //Paperbacks.// //Oh yeah oh they'd be paperbacks yeah.//
F1189 //You mentioned,// mmhm.
M1682 But I-I couldn't see owning a hardcover book eh I guess because for the want of me I couldn't throw so- a hardcover book out.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 To me it was something that's, it's a hardcover book was something you keep, you know?
F1189 Mm. //Mm mm.//
M1682 //Even if you don't like it you still keep it, you know?//
F1189 It has value.
M1682 Oh yeah or you hand it on. [laugh] But you certainly don't throw it out.
F1189 Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
M1682 Yeah. Anyway I'm just going to take a sip.
F1189 We'll both get a drink yes.
M1682 Right.
F1189 Now uhm what kind of thing then did you read when you were here on your first few years here? Did your reading tastes change at all?
M1682 My first //few years.//
F1189 //Few years.// Over in Canada.
M1682 Oh over in Canada?
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Oh gosh. I'm, I don't know. //Newspapers certainly I-I-I-I mean I've always read a newspaper, daily I read the newspaper.//
F1189 //Mm mm.//
M1682 Ehm, //so back then I would probably have had two pa- two newspapers. They don't have an evening paper here.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //They just have morning papers so I would've read at least one, probably two papers//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 all the time. Ehm //we were only in Canada a year when my first child was born.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mm.//
M1682 //And I would say between that and visiting and friends and relatives that my time was occupied with bringing up my children.// //Because my wife didn't work at that time, she had only worked for a short time until it was time to ehm have the children.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 So she stopped working then so I mean I was working full-time so I would come home and we'd occupy ourselves with walks or, or things like that. //So reading-wise it'd be very hard for me to try remember what kind of reading I did.//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1682 Ehm //once again it would certainly would have been pleasure reading, it wouldn't have been any...//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //And it once again it probably wouldn't have been any hard reading like, you know, it's so...//
F1189 Now Toronto has a-a great big library system. An enormous one. [laugh] Lots of branches. Did you
M1682 Oh yeah yeah.
F1189 use the libraries //then?//
M1682 //I// use the library a lot. //I, in fact my library card is a North York library card and we don't have North York any more.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mm mm mmhm.//
M1682 //We have the greater Toronto area, so anybody joining the library in Toronto now gets a Toronto library card.// //Well I have I still have my North York card.//
F1189 //[laugh]// //[laugh]//
M1682 //[laugh]// But eh
F1189 Did you, eh when did you move to this district then, //Robert?//
M1682 //This district?// Nineteen seventy-one.
F1189 Right uh-huh so fairly early on. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Yeah it's nineteen seventy-o- this is ehm my first daughter was born when we lived on Young Street which was a a apartment above a store.// //My second child was born when we lived in an apartment on the second floor of an apartment building at [?]Thorncrown[/?] Park.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm.// mmhm
M1682 And my third daughter was born here. We moved here in the September, she was born in October.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm.
M1682 So.
F1189 Now, this is a very comfortable house.
M1682 Yeah. //It w- yeah we-we made a good decision back the-.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mm.//
M1682 //The only decision I would have rather have, liked to have made and I didn't have the money to do, was I would have liked to had a garage.// //Or a garage.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Eh which this house didn't come with, it just didn- but it did have a private driveway rather than a shared one.// //And I did want that and that's so I picked this one but ehm in saying that it's probably the best move I ever did was-was doing that.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mm mm.//
M1682 //We would ha- we'd had three children if we'd stayed where we were we would've had to got a three-bedroom apartment because of three children.// //And to rent a three-bedroom apartment as compared to paying a mortgage was very close.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 So I said "what's the point, let's pay a mortgage. At least we own the place." Anyway that's what we did and, and another great ehm move that we didn't make we, is when the, when they grew up and they got married and moved away we didn't sell it.
F1189 Mmhm. //You kept it.//
M1682 //So.// We-we kept it and because all the people that we know now they did sell and bought bigger. //Now all their children are gone and they're sitting in huge houses paying enormous heating bills, paying enormous taxes and can't afford to move back because we're, the neighbourhood that I live in is ehm very very sought after.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Mm. //Mm mm mmhm.//
M1682 //Especially by the Asian community by-by any community actually but it's very very much sought after because I'm so near downtown, I'm right on the highway, north, south, east and west and ah// //a-any which way to get to the airport or what have you, it's it's such a central location.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1682 And another thing that the Asian people look for is what kind of schooling is in the neighbourhood. A Y Jackson secondary school is the number one school in Toronto
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 for a secondary school. I said and ah th-their intermediate schools have all got good names as well. So, and you can tell that by the students that are going to them and what have you so. //I said that's another reason why I w-won't sell because I can what I can sell this house for here I can buy a mansion for on the outskirts.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// //You're a canny Scot.//
M1682 //But I don't want to.// Mm? //I am a canny//
F1189 //A canny Scot.// //[laugh]//
M1682 //Scot yeah.// //I guess a canny Scot yeah.//
F1189 //[laugh] Uh-huh.//
M1682 Yeah.
F1189 Now.
M1682 The house is worth, house is worth a few a few dollars now. //But in saying that when we bought it and for what it was worth let's say many years ago [cough] I could have sold it and moved back to Edinburgh and bought myself a rather nice house in a very nice neighbourhood.//
F1189 //Uh-huh mm mm mmhm.//
M1682 I can't do that now.
F1189 Right mm. //Mm.//
M1682 //For every penny that I can get out of this house here it will not buy me a nice house in Edinburgh.//
F1189 No. //I'm familiar with that problem.//
M1682 //It might buy me a,// //it might buy me a flat but it won't buy me a house.//
F1189 //[laugh] Mmhm mmhm.// Yes.
M1682 No and I can get nearly two hundred thousand pounds for this house. You won't get much for two hundred thousand pound in Edinburgh. //Single end.//
F1189 //No, you get you'll get your single end actually.// //[laugh]//
M1682 //Yeah exactly so.// //Yeah.//
F1189 //Now when did you first go back then// //to to Scotland?//
M1682 //Oh the first time I went// back my eldest daughter was six months old. //So in other words we came here in July sixty-five. We went back in Dece- forCchristmas december sixty-six was the first visit back.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm. And did you fly then?
M1682 Oh yeah oh yeah oh it's I've never gone by sea it's always always flying now yeah.
F1189 And was that into Prestwick? //Into Prestwick.//
M1682 //Into Pre- oh yeah.// //Into Prestwick and another four hour trip from Prestwick to Edinburgh, yeah.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh yes.// //[laugh]//
M1682 //[laugh]//
F1189 Now did you take any reading material along, can you remember, on that //that journey?//
M1682 //Oh I would've taken// //always taken the newspaper uhm I always take the newspaper because ah I'm a avid crossword doer. I do crosswords and if I if I'm for any reason going to be sitting down or spending time with my hands being idle I'll make sure I'm doing a crossword or a sudoku or something like that yeah.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhmmm mm mmhm mmhm mmhm mm.//
M1682 But eh otherw- other than that reading material I would make it a point because it's a seven-hour flight.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //I would make it a point that I did have something to read on the plane cause at that time you didn't have televisions on the plane either.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 So.
F1189 Is that still something you do then, //do you read when you're travelling?//
M1682 //Oh yeah oh I'm// //I I wo-wouldn't I wouldn't fly over to Europe without a book in my hand on the plane.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 Going and coming back. This year eh ehm this year when I was home on vacation I took Ken Follett's ehm [click] the sequel to "Pillars of the Earth". Oh what's it called? //"The world we live in" or something like that it's a big big thick book.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mm.//
M1682 And they all called me nuts "Why you taking something that heavy?" you know. //I says "cause I'm enjoying it and I'm reading it".//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 So I did, I read it and I finished it so I had to get myself another book coming back.
F1189 Is that a hardback? //Paperback. No I haven't, no.//
M1682 //No it's a paperback actually yeah. Have you not read Ken Follett "Pillars of the Earth"? Oh.// //And you like his-, you like history?//
F1189 //[laugh] You recommend?// //[laugh]//
M1682 //Oh yeah.// I de- "Pillars of the Earth" was good. //This one is a a sequel to it but it's two hundred years later. The first one I think is in the tenth century, this is the twelfth century in a small town thirteenth, fourteenth century, small town in England when the plague comes out and what have you.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm mmhmmmhm.//
M1682 But it's mainly ah the first one's mainly about building a cathedral.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //And how the stone masons were very clever men back then, and I mean stone masons today could never build what stone masons could do eight hundred years ago.// //Oh//
F1189 //Ah I can believe that.//
M1682 not a chance not a chance.
F1189 Now, you say you you took that, did you leave that or //did you bring it back with you?//
M1682 //No I brought it// //back.//
F1189 //[laugh]// //[laugh]//
M1682 //I brought it back.//
F1189 And what did you buy to come back //again?//
M1682 //Ehm// //I'm trying to think what I bought to come back.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1682 Oh I'm telling a lie. I didn't finish it. //I,//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //mm//
M1682 //I was reading the same book on the plane.// //I didn't finish it.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //I finished it probably a day after I got back.//
F1189 Mmhm. Well, //mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Maybe that was the reason I brought that heavy book back with me, but yeah no I didn't that's what I read on the plane coming back.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Other than the newspaper.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Yeah.
F1189 Now //t-//
M1682 //But-//
F1189 when you go back to Scotland,
M1682 Mmhm.
F1189 do you go into the bookshops there?
M1682 B- at home?
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Yeah, I ehm quite often I'll buy one or two books. I've got a ccouple of L- eh Robert Louis Stevenson's book. I bought ehm "The Stone of Destiny"
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 eh last September when I was home. Ehm //I bought some soccer books, books for my son-in-law mainly.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //But yeah I do use the bookstore. I'll go in and usually I'm a window shopper in a bookstore.// //And if there's something that really catches my eye then I'll go inside//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //And eh and browse.// But eh.
F1189 Now what about here in Canada? Ehm where do you get your books from?
M1682 Costco. [laugh] mmhm //I go t- I mainly buy paperbacks. I don't buy I don't usually buy a hardcover ehm//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //but I'll buy paperback and if I buy paperbacks I'll go to Costco because they are so much cheaper.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Yeah.
F1189 And do you buy them eh a few at a time or just one at a time? //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 //Mm no I'll buy, I'll buy I'd say probably about two, maybe three at a time.// //But eh and the odd occa- I mean, I've gone to Cosco where a few times and there's maybe only been one book that catches my eye.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //Or I'm getting very very bad now for having read so many authors that I could go into Costco and say mm I think I've read that one.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 So I won't buy it. //You know and I'll just have to check up and see if I have read it because I'm I'm getting, I have read so many many authors that now I'm getting eh I might get a bit confused in Costco because Costco will bring out a book that's not nec- although it's brand new in paperback to look at, it may be like four years old in paperback,//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 in which case I have read it four years ago.
F1189 Mmhm. //[laugh] Uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1682 //But it looks brand new in Costco, you know what I mean.// So.
F1189 Now what kind of store is Costco? //Mmhm.//
M1682 //S- Costco?// Costco's the same as your, what's the one you need a card for to buy things in?
F1189 Oh it's like a a //trade//
M1682 //Is there Cos-.// No it's not a do-it-yourself.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 No there's a Costco just outside Edinburgh.
F1189 Is there?
M1682 Yeah ehm. //Right out it's,//
F1189 //Right so it's like a big warehouse, sort of out of town type.// //Right.//
M1682 //no it's a a a wholesale foodstore.// //Wholesale//
F1189 //Got you.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //foodstore that sells a lot of other stuff but mai- and ha- not hardware but all food products, tinned products ehm and what have you.// //But they also sell clothes, books, they're also a butchers, big, big butchers.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm mmhm mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //But they sell it all in bulk.// //Like when you buy if you were going there to buy a ketchup you'd buy a box of six.//
F1189 //Mmhm. Yes right.// I understand what you mean, yes.
M1682 Yeah. //But you've got two stores like that, you'd you'd have Costcos back ah in Scotland I know you'd have Costco but there's another one//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm yes.//
M1682 //over there that was the same way and you have to be a member to go to the s- to it.//
F1189 That's correct. //There's a few of them you're right uh-huh.//
M1682 //Yeah yeah.//
F1189 Now,
M1682 Well that's what it is, kind of //store like that.//
F1189 //is it the same// authors that you go for then or or particular genres of of //fiction?//
M1682 //Yeah.// //Over the years I ehm I read so many, by so many different authors because I would swap books.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //I swap books especially with one friend. She is a an avid reader like I am and we and we swap a lot,// //interesting and that's a good story and that's a good story and I would read it.//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1682 But now I going to the library I-I cut back for years now, I pick an author.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //And I'll read that author until I've exhausted whatever that author's written.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 I've now probably exhausted about ten to fifteen authors.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //And I'll-I'll keep up provided they're still alive and writing, usually they'll come out with one book a year.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //But eh and I'll-I'll keep up I'll go into their website to see if they've done anything new.// If they have I'll buy it.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 But ehm and that-that's the way I do it right now, right now I'm going through an author called Catherine Coulter. //She writes about ehm [click] the ones I'm reading are about the FBI,//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Right uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1682 //and what have you.// //But some of the books that really interested me more was Ann Perry.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1682 Ad- have you read Ann Perry at //all?//
F1189 //No I haven't.// //Uh-huh.//
M1682 //You haven't? Aw.//
F1189 Tell me about that. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //Ann Perry. She lives in Scotland, now in fact she might even live in Edinburgh.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Ehm she was born Rhodesia I believe of whatever. //I mean it's best to go to the website. It's just Ann with no E just Ann Perry.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.// //Mm.//
M1682 //And she's written books and she has two central characters.// So two different themes, stories. //One's of the upper class and he's a police superintendent but he's married to ehm [click] ehm not royalty, how do you call it the upper class.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm ehm.// Aristocracy.
M1682 Aristo-he's married into aristocracy. //So that side of it he's really really good and you're getting all and it all takes place in Victorian England,//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Right.
M1682 in London.
F1189 Uh-huh. //Uh-huh mmhm mmhm mmhm. [laugh] Yes.//
M1682 //You're getting the upper class side of things where you you you s-send a card over, a butler saying that you would like to visit the next day kind of thing.// //Or you've got all your different maids for all you're different courses and what have you.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 And the other one his name is Monk.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mm mm.//
M1682 //And he was a a regular po-policeman that got injured and lost his memory and is now a private investigator.// //And you're, on that side of the story you're getting all the seedy side of London.//
F1189 //Mm.// Mm. //Mmhm mmhm. Yeah uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1682 //The Whitechapel and like the Jack the Ripper type stories and what have you.// //So you're getting two different views of London from two different characters.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Yes.//
M1682 //And// everyone I've an- really you should read the books in sequel, because ehm although one story doesn't carry to the next one, his age does.
F1189 So there's a lot //there's a lot of these books? Mm.//
M1682 //Oh he's go- oh oh I'd I// I'd say there's at least ten, twelve of each character, yeah.
F1189 So who introduced you to //to this author?//
M1682 //Library.//
F1189 Right. //Uh-huh mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //The li- oh definitely the li- I mean I'd go round the library looking lost. I thought "who am I going to pick now?"// You know. //Occasionally somebody might say like, you know, Ian Rankin, I've read all of Ian Rankin's and I've got what I don't have in the house, my daughter has, some of them we've got all of Ian Rankin's books.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1682 And he's got a friend that lives here, not far from Toronto who's an author and he writes about a Yorkshire detective.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //Ehm [click] and for the life of me I can never remember this man's name and I might even write to Rankin or go on his website and ask him what this author's name is cause I keep forgetting.// //Because I haven't, I've only read a couple of his books and I enjoyed them but as I say I never, at the time I never wrote names down and I should have done and I can't remember his name.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhmmm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //But I know he lives just outside Toronto and when Ian Rankin visits here for the big book fair that they sometimes have I know that's where he stays.//
F1189 Mmhm. Have you ehm gone to hear Ian Rankin at the book fair or anything //like that? No.//
M1682 //No I haven't no.// No no I haven't.
F1189 Is he a favourite of yours then?
M1682 Mm because it's Edinburgh. //Yeah.//
F1189 //Yeah.// Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //I would I would say if he had, if he would, if he'd been Glaswegian and all his stories were in Glasgow I would say no.//
F1189 Mm. //Mm mmhm mm.//
M1682 //Other than the fact his stories are good and he happens to be a Scottish policeman.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //But because it happened to be Edinburgh and I know all the pubs and all the streets he's writing about, it brings back memories to me of Edinburgh so yes I'm def- he's definitely a favourite that way, you know?//
F1189 So do you know the //Oxford Bar then?//
M1682 //Other than he's a Hibs fan.// //Other than he's a Hibs fan.//
F1189 //[laugh]// //[laugh]//
M1682 //[laugh]//
F1189 Aw a big Rebus fan myself. //Ehm,//
M1682 //Yeah//
F1189 so I-I understand what you-you're you're meaning //ah Robert.//
M1682 //Right.//
F1189 Ehm, it seems to me that you-you're, you most fond of of Scottish authors then or British authors at least. //Mm mm mm mm mm.//
M1682 //Yes, I would say yeah I uhm as far as American or even Canadian authors for that matter I mean there are lots of good ehm good for quick, fast fictional reading, pleasure reading, probably American authors are a lot better.// //Other than Anne Perry and there's a few other authors at home that I can mention but other than that them but ehm Catherine Coulter or ah I mean I could name quite a few au- if I can remember them all but I mean I've read nearly all her books,//
F1189 //Mm mm mm mm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mm.//
M1682 //h-have all been very very good some have been about eh forensic knowledges and and sciences and and stuff like that.// //And they're good but they're good fast reads and they're easy to hand on, you know, I mean I don't mind spending five dollars on a paperback and then just handing it on to someone or s- and not getting it back again it doesn't, you know.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 So doing that and I would read as I said they're they're quick read. When I go to the library I I'll get two books out of the library.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 I've seen me go back the next week.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //I get two more cause I'm finished those two already, you know, so er to read as much as that it's too expensive to keep buying them.//
F1189 And the likes of in in the local library here, would you be able to get Ian Rankin's books //and things like that if you wanted them?//
M1682 //Oh yeah oh oh yeah.// //Yeah, yeah.//
F1189 //Mm mm.// //Mm mm.//
M1682 //Oh yeah, I mean I I don't fool around with the library I don't shop at the library we have a big one at Fairview so it's quite a big one.// //And we've got a main library, it used to be North York, main North York library right on Young Street just south from the subway station.//
F1189 //Mm mm mmhm mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //But my local one is just a little community one not far from here.// But I ehm I'll go into ther-the-the library web.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 And I'll eh like what I'll probably do now was this Catherine Coulters and cause I was at the library yesterday [inaudible]. //They don't have the one book before the one I wanted.//
F1189 //Mm.// Mmhm.
M1682 So //I'll go into the library and I'll order it and they'll they'll bring it to my little local library from whichever library in the greater Toronto area.//
F1189 //Mmhm uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh.// So you're the type of reader then that likes, you like series of books, you like, you like that //progression? Mm.//
M1682 //I like a continuance, yeah.// //Now I like a continuance mainly because of the age as I'm going on because a lot of the time they'll, like Coul-Coulter writes about ehm oh no,//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1682 Patterson writes about Lieutenant Boxer or Sergeant Boxer,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 a female detective.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Now it's book number seven there and eh he'll refer at times in book number seven to previous events in the past.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mm mmhm mmhm mmhm mm mmhm mmhm yes uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1682 //Not consequent-, doesn't mean anything about the story that you're actually reading but it's little parts that you remember if you've read the series that you'll know that she was married or that she did have a child and she lost it or or what have you.// //But so I mean I like to keep abreast of it that way.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //And not just go willy nilly and pick up number five and then go to number one or if there is a sequence of events then I do like to start at the beginning.// //With Catherine Coulter it doesn't seem to be so far a sequence of events but she writes one book a year by the look of it//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1682 and that I've... try to start at book one.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mm.//
M1682 //So I I have actually read book number six ahead of time because the library didn't have it and I was just back from vacation.// But I will go onto the web and I'll order it so I can have the sequence at my local library.
F1189 So you like to be methodical? You're a methodical man. //[laugh] Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh. [laugh]//
M1682 //Ah I guess, more so than my wife yes. She's very methodical but it's all up inside her head, you know?//
F1189 Now are there any other Scottish authors that you, that you're particularly fond of? Mm.
M1682 Not I've read Watt, Stevenson,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 ehm Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,
F1189 Yes uh-huh.
M1682 Daniel Defoe.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Mm.
F1189 Now are you re-reading those, Robert, you know,
M1682 Eh
F1189 going on to read them again //later in life?//
M1682 //Stevenson I have.// No, Stevenson I've I've I've rea- I've read them the numerous times. //I've read "Catriona" I think maybe about two or three times since I bought it cause I never even knew it was there was such a story.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //But eh "Kidnapped" I would say, I might have read it to my grandchildren ehm// //I mean that was a story that I read when I was a child I mean I-I-I probably know the story inside out and backwards the same as "Treasure Island".//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1682 You know. Eh but eh //as far as Rankin's concerned I would say no he's like a a pleasure reader, it's a one time job, you don't need to read it twice.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //In fact if you do pick it up and you start reading it and you forgot that you've read it before and you start reading it oh I know how this ends.// //So you don't want to read it, you know?//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 So things like that. //But ehm if if the names in history like history like Stevenson or o-o-o-or Defoe or what have you and the classics that children should read and should be asked, or made to read, but certainly asked to read when they were young.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //That the- they'll realise just what authors of that calibre were like in those days.// //And the hardships they probably had to go through to even try write a book, you know?//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1682 They certainly [?]didn't got[/?] the the intelligence or or the knowledge of today //on how things were I mean they, we only have to look up the internet now to see what history was about.//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1682 They had to travel to see what history was about, you know?
F1189 Mmhm. Now the real big icons of Scottish literature are often very popular with eh people who //move away.//
M1682 //Like Rabbie Burns.// //[laugh]//
F1189 //Indeed uh-huh.// What do you think about him? //Mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Oh fantastic. I mean we're, my wife and I are quite quite the Burns fans. We always go to a Rabbie Burns supper come his his birthday.// //And eh course we always have haggis in the [?]freezer[/?] but eh no we ehm [click] my wife I read a ehm "A Tribute to a Haggis" once out the book, my wife could do it eh without reading it, she can a- know sort of by heart.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 Ehm, we're quite, we probably celebrate Robert Burns in Canada, probably a hundred times more than you celebrate it in Scotland. //There's more Burns parties and Burns societies and what have you all over Canada coast to coast//
F1189 //Mm mm.//
M1682 than-than-than what you have in the in-in Scotland I think. He's very big here, very big. //And not not just with Scottish people.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1682 He's very big in the United States as well.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 In fact the Scottish society is very big in North America.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //We have highland games, we've got more highland games than Scotland has, we have bigger highland games than Scotland has but// so I mean you can't turn a corner without bumping into something Scottish,
F1189 Mm.
M1682 you know? Or people that's ehm of Scottish descent or want to be. //[laugh]//
F1189 //Mm.// Yes. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //Mmhm.//
F1189 Have you met any of them? //[laugh] Uh-huh.//
M1682 //Oh yes yes yes yeah oh yeah yeah yeah.// //Well actually I shouldn't say I don't know how bad they want to be but I mean it'd be very difficult to prove that four generations back, their their mother was kicked out the country or something like that, you know what I mean.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// //Mm.//
M1682 //So it's it'd be hard to trace but no if they've got a Scottish-sounding or or pronouncing la- surname the chances are// //that ah//
F1189 //Somewhere// //there's a Scot.//
M1682 //that it's from somewhere yeah.//
F1189 Yeah uh-huh.
M1682 It was interesting because I, my sister is a nurse down in Ohio.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 And works in the emergency room and she has a another nurse working alongside her who's doing her family tree.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mm mm mmhm.//
M1682 //And it was very interesting because she said "oh I don't know much about Scotland, I'd rather, it'd be easier a lot better if you talked to my brother up in Canada he knows a lot more about the history and da da da da da da."// //So eventually, to cut story short she did get in touch with me through the internet and she sent me a letter of the family tree as far as she got because she traced her family tree from present day back to nineteen, eighteen sixty-six, seventies, fifteen sorry,//
F1189 //Mm.// Mmhm.
M1682 fifteen sixty-six. Eh and the the line starts with a John Maitland,
F1189 Mm.
M1682 that left Scotland for the United States. //He was in the Royal, the Scots Guards in the army at the time and that was when he he first showed up is fifteen sixty-six.//
F1189 //Mm mm.// //Mm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //She asked me if I could do any tracing for her and she gave me what she had learned prior to fifteen sixty-six but what she didn't do was giv- put any titles on or where they came from or just names.//
F1189 Mm.
M1682 I started doing a little checking.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 From John Maitland that left Lauderdale, he was the second son of the Earl of Mai- eh the Earl of Maitland, his brother became the Earl. //From that family going back she's related to Kings of Sweden, Denmark and Robert the Bruce.//
F1189 //Mm.// [laugh] //She'd love that.//
M1682 //Everyone, everyone of her// //family tree is a Lord, an Earl or they're all knighted.//
F1189 //[laugh] Uh-huh mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //And they all had a very, very influential on Scottish history.// //And Scottish law, and the Scottish royalty.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Have you got an interest in that then, Robert? //In genealogy?//
M1682 //Oh yeah, yeah, yeah,// yeah, //yeah.//
F1189 //Right.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //I I I cut my no- my own off when I was ehm [click] trying to check it because I was told it was quite possible that my ehm my grandfather was actually adopted.//
F1189 Mm. //Mm mmhm mm.//
M1682 //And I thought well if he was adopted what's the point me chas- checking my genealogy cause I mean it wasn't something that was recorded very much back then but// //I did a little cause when I did go back to Scotland, last September it was, and did more checking for this lady, I actually got a book that came out for the Maitlands and it traced them right back to second generation French knights that came across in Normandy, from Normandy ten sixty-six.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //So I had her whole family tree for her.// //All the royalty, the whole lot, it was quite good.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //But I, when I was there I sa- I said, digressed, I checked my own fmily and my grandfather wasn't ehm adopted.//
F1189 Mm. //Mm.//
M1682 //He was actually born with parents and I did what checking I could do but not being royalty it's it's a lot harder.//
F1189 Yes. //[laugh]//
M1682 //It's so much easier when you've got a royal name behind yourself to to trace, you know, where you come from.// So I only traced it back about four generations but eh. //But it-it's the name Bruce.//
F1189 //Did you read that// kind of eh non-fiction then, say books about tracing your ancestors or? //Mm mm mm mm.//
M1682 //Mm I wouldn't say books on it no or when I when I was doing th-th-the tracing for that girl I eh I would bring up information on he- with on her family mos- on-on her family on her branches of the family I should say, I would read a lot//
F1189 Mmhm. //Right. Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1682 //about who it was and who he was, and and how he made a name for himself either with the government or-or one way or// //another.//
F1189 //So would you be able to// do that online //or?//
M1682 //Yeah.// //Oh yeah//
F1189 //Yes.// mmhm
M1682 Well I do I would do a lot of that online for sure.
F1189 It does sound like you're doing a lot of online reading. I mean the Scotsman and
M1682 Eh
F1189 and th-the work you're doing genealogical work and //mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //er, genealogical I don't do an awful lot of that that's ah that can get m- I'll take spurts at it.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 //I'll get interested and if I'm following a good line then I will stay at it but if the line starts swaying away then so do I.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 But eh //but newspaper, I do read the Scotsman I I and once again I'm a bit biased cause usually I just read the Edinburgh side of it.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.// Right. [laugh] And you don't read the Herald then? [laugh]
M1682 No. //No I don't I don't read the Herald no.//
F1189 //[laugh]// Now,
M1682 Or the Record. [laugh]
F1189 when do you do your reading, that is your book reading?
M1682 My book, my book reading's all done at night.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //Ehm I may read for an hour, half an hour in the afternoon, I may.// //But most of my reading is done from I'd say nine-thirty, ten o'clock at night and I'll read till two in the morning.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 That's that's what well I don't have to get up early in the mornings. //So.//
F1189 //That's true.// Is that, is that because you do you think you read more now that //you're retired.//
M1682 //Yeah oh yeah.// //Oh I would never do that before I mean I certainly wouldn't do it during whilst I was ehm before I retired no no.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //I do that now because it's ehm it's quiet, I get peace and quiet.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //The cat doesn't bother when it's bellowing all the time, my wife's in bed, so.// //No I get a lot of reading done then and I quite enjoy it at that time yeah.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //And, more often or not I mean there may be a TV programme I want to watch in the early evening.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 And eh although I'll take a book down and put it on my knee whilst the television's on I can read
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //and er and have my wife watch television it won't distract me.// //I don't find it comfortable I-I've got to be very, very comfortable standing up reading//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1682 rather than sitting down. It's funny but you know I I can stand for two and three hours //and//
F1189 //Really?//
M1682 read a book. I can't sit down for two or three hours and read a book. //Yeah.//
F1189 //That's very unusual.// //[laugh] Uh-huh.//
M1682 //It is, I do it at the kitchen counter.// If you were to drive by here eh midnight,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 I'd say probably seven days a week my kitchen light would be on and I'd be standing at the kitchen counter,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 yeah. //That's where I re-.//
F1189 //I've never met// anyone who did //that before, no, you're unique.//
M1682 //No, no.//
F1189 [laugh]
M1682 Yeah.
F1189 Uh-huh.
M1682 Yeah. I do it all the time.
F1189 Uh-huh.
M1682 Just stan- I mean. //And I think that's the reason why I don't read in the afternoon or-or-or when television's on even although I might take my book down and try and read.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mm mm.//
M1682 I won't get, I won't get into the book.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 I might get distracted. I don't like that. So, //I don't read.//
F1189 //Do you always// finish a book when you've started it or? //Even if you're not enjoying it?//
M1682 //I yeah I would,// I would say that ehm in my lifetime, I've probably only ever lifted up two books in my lifetime that I never finished.
F1189 Mm. Now what were they?
M1682 Oh I wou- I wouldn't, I couldn't tell you I couldn't honestly te-. //They would've been eh [click] non-descript thrillers of or what have you.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mm.//
M1682 //And eh and if I didn't like it I mean that author would get scratched from my list cause I wouldn't even go looking for him again you know.// //Even if it was one bad book by that particular author it probably did the damage to him as far as I'm concerned.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.// Can you think of anyone that would fall into that //category for you?//
M1682 //I can't honestly,// no I can't ehm. I tell you... I can actually.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 I picked up an author, I tried reading his book,
F1189 Mm.
M1682 I'm going to say two, three, four times maybe.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 I said "Ah I can't get into this at all, this is just too much." And I put it down and forget about it and that went on for many, many, many, many years.
F1189 [cough] Mmhm.
M1682 Eventually I read every single one of his books and it's J R Tolkien.
F1189 Really? Uh-huh. //Uh-huh uh-huhuh-huh.//
M1682 //I couldn't get into "The Lord of the Rings" It's it's it was just way too much.// //Too many characters, too many different names and it just didn't interest me. It was too science fiction the whole lot.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 But I guess when I crossed the bridge and I got through or far enough into the first novel, you couldn't get me away from them, you know? I just I I read bang bang bang bang bang.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 I got the whole, I got them for my Christmas, the whole set, so I just sat //and read them all.//
F1189 //So who bought them// for you?
M1682 Oh my daughter, my daughter.
F1189 Is she a fan?
M1682 Eh of Tolkien? Mm at that, I wouldn't say a fan but she's read them. My second daughter, I would say she's more of a fan, you might say. She read them. //Cause her children are older than my eldest daughter's children and they were more interested in in "Lord of the Rings" and stuff like that.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mm.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //And I went to see it on stage here cause it was eh first came on stage here I think before it went to Britain. I don't even know if it went to Britain did it?// //"Lord of the Rings" no.//
F1189 //I don't think it did actually no.// //Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1682 //It cost them millions of dollars to rearrange the stage here to do.// Anyway. //It wasn't so great I mean it took away from the story what it should've been but er//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //What about the//
M1682 //it was good.//
F1189 films have you, have you seen the films?
M1682 Oh yeah I've seen the films, oh yeah oh. //With grandchildren you have to have the films. [laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]//
M1682 I think they've got the whole set and I've got the whole set of Harry Potter. //Who's not an English author but I mean she lives in Edinburgh so.//
F1189 //Mm.// She does uh-huh. What do you think of them?
M1682 [click] Eh fascinating. //I'd have to say they're absolutely fascinating for a young lady to spawn an idea like that and hit the world.//
F1189 //Mm mm.// Mm. Mmhm.
M1682 Out of the blue. //For a world that is so indoctrinated to watching television shows and everything else, to come out and sell that many on a continuing basis,//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// Mm.
M1682 is eh it's well it's-it's unheard of really I mean i-it's fantastic. And the stories themself are ehm are believable,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 in a way.
F1189 So you've read them all?
M1682 Oh I've got them all.
F1189 Uh-huh. //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1682 //Yeah yeah.// Oh I've got them all no I I ehm no I thoroughly enjoyed them. I I'm not crazy on the movies as much I mean. //And once again I'd have to say I-I-I much prefer reading a book than seeing a movie.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //And like all the "Stone of Destiny" I read the book and ehm was more interested in the story than it was in the movie.// //Ehm [cough] and actually a lot in to- ehm oh a lot of the movies I think although I get free tickets to go and see them when they first come out with their film stars and everything else I still prefer reading the book if there's...//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1682 Slumdog Millionnaire
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 is another one.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //I mean the book is a, the book is actually I think a hundred percent better than the movie.// The book is different than the movie.
F1189 And did you read the book first? //Right uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1682 //No I saw the movie first because I saw it at the festival last year.// //When it was first show-//
F1189 //So you would// do that then if it's, if it's a well-known film you might go away and seek out //the book.//
M1682 //Oh yeah// I'd seek out the book yeah. //I would and I-I yo-you'd see the difference I mean there there's quite a difference in the Slumdog Millionnaire than there is in the film.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Basically it's the same story how they ended up answering the questions.// //But the way he got to find out what the answers to the questions were was slightly s- different in the book than it is in the movie.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 Although both equally well done. And once again that, that movie's got Toronto to thank for it, //because it was first shown here and this was the first time we had accolades from the general public.//
F1189 //Mm mm.// //Mmhm mm.//
M1682 //And decided not to put it on DVD and to open it to the general public.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 And when [?]they'd done it[/?] then they got nominated for an Oscar and you know where it went from there. //Yeah.//
F1189 //Yes I do.// //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1682 //Otherwise it would never have been nominated for an Oscar.// You know that. //If it//
F1189 //Yes indeed.// //Uh-huh mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //if eh if it hadn't made it big in Toronto at our festival it was going to go eh get released on DVD within a month.//
F1189 Yes.
M1682 And and Boyle changed his mind and decided to try and release it. [laugh] So many //millions and millions and millions later yeah.//
F1189 //There you go. Uh-huh uh-huh.// //Now do you watch because you do get British television in Canada, you get a BBC//
M1682 //Yep. Uh-huh.// //Yeah we//
F1189 //channel and// //mmhm mmhm mm.//
M1682 //yeah we get BBC Canada, we get BBC USA and eh I do watch the news, BBC news.// Ehm comedy ehm [click] //I I used to watch it a lot more than I do now, I used to watch it a lot more than I do now. I I find that I'm maybe getting North Americanised eh some of the British co- eh comedy, it's getting well maybe it's getting more Americanised ac- cause it's getting more slapstick and silly.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mm mm.// Mm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //Whereas I, I'm not into that. Maybe I'm getting older I don't know.// //Fogey you know but.//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Uh-huh.//
M1682 //But British British shows now I mean my wife is, who can't watch Coronation Street,//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 you know. I don't watch Eastenders, she'll watch ehm Heartbeat.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Ehm she'll watch Heartbeat and Corrie.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //ehm Rebus when he was there and we used to watch, well we used to watch Frost.// Used to watch the other policeman as well, Midsomer //Murders.//
F1189 //Murders// Yes.
M1682 And we used to watch ehm [click] it's, you've just started it back home again, S- the Glasgow detective.
F1189 Oh Taggart?
M1682 Yeah.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm mm.//
M1682 //Taggart that's it yeah, well he's just started again. They've started making Taggart again.// Well we used to watch that but I mean these go back a few years so.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Since then I would have to say it's mostly American television that we do watch.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Ehm comedy back in those days it would be, On the Buses,
F1189 Mm.
M1682 Rising Damp, 'Allo 'Allo,
F1189 Mm.
M1682 eh Are You Being Served was one of the favourites of course. And so was eh Mis-mis-Mrs Bucket and what's that one called?
F1189 Oh yes ehm Keeping Up //Appearances.//
M1682 //Keeping Up Appearances.//
F1189 [laugh] //Uh-huh.//
M1682 //Yeah.// //So yeah we I mean we still get them and a lot of them we get on PBS now which is a public broadcasting station so//
F1189 //Mm mm mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //we get that and we get a lot, we get a lot of British programmes on PBS actually we got ehm Celtic Thunder.// //I don't know if you've heard of them at all? No, it's ehm it's a s- Aberdonian, couple of Irishmen and Welshmen, singers, phenomenal they are.//
F1189 //No no mm mm mmhm.//
M1682 And there's Celtic women,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 singing, they were all Scottish and Irish s- eh female singers, ehm eh PBS puts them out.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Or the Tattoo.
F1189 Mmhm. Well again, you know, I mean some of these things that have been done on television they either they come from books or they become books. //Taggart's a good example,//
M1682 //Right.// //Mmhm yeah.//
F1189 //you know I think there have been books written after the the television programme.// Ehm would that that tempt you at all if you, //saw it on television?//
M1682 //To read the books?// //Erm Taggart might, I mean I-I-I'm going to say I've never read any books with Taggart being the [cough] headliner in though I must admit so maybe I will have a look for something along that line.//
F1189 //Mm mm mmhm mmhm yes uh-huh.//
M1682 That might be a little more difficult in the library o-other than Rankin because Rankin is ehm
F1189 Well he's big. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //quite well known yeah he-he's made quite a name for himself so// //eh Scottish people request Rankin in the library and therefore they would stock them.//
F1189 //Mm.// Mmhm. //Mm.//
M1682 //Whether they would request Taggart or not I don't know, cause I've never ever looked.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //But eh watching a TV programme would not necessarily have me go out and and get a book no, no.// //If I got the book, like Rankin's books and eh I knew that a programme was coming up that had one of his stories on I would watch it but I don't think I'd do it the other way round.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mm.//
M1682 No.
F1189 Now hav-have you ever been homesick?
M1682 No.
F1189 Oh.
M1682 No. No. //No I//
F1189 //Never?//
M1682 adapted very, very quickly. //I, once I say I wasn't a social person really.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mm.//
M1682 //I mean I had no school chums from back home.// //Eh mainly because I changed schools and did different things.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 So I was never attached to anybody even my own cousins. //When I was young and my dad was in the Navy that's who he visited a lot,//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mmhm mmhm mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //were my cousins and [?][/?] all there's one male Brian but he's quite a bit younger than me but all most of my cousins are all female, some of them older than me.// //I was close to them and we did things on the weekend with ehm like go to Portobello beach or what have you.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //So it was family.//
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //I played football with the kids on the street.// I didn't play with any school chums. Going to a Catholic school you were from all over Edinburgh.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 You weren't at a local school. //Which one thi- is one thing I did miss when I lived in at the Inch which was a-a-a-an area of Edinburgh, all the local kids went to the local school which was down the road.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //And they came home from lunch and they played games in the afternoon.// //I didn't get to play those games until after I'd come home from school on the bus,//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1682 had dinner and then went out to play.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //These kids had all done these things all day already and gone to school.// //And yet we're learning the same things basically but so all the school friends I met in school came from all different areas in Edinburgh so//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //we had no close attachments that way,//
F1189 Mm.
M1682 other than being the same age.
F1189 Were there any difficulties being a a-a-a Roman Catholic then //in Edinburgh?//
M1682 //There was oh yeah.// //There wa- it was ehm not like so much in Glasgow or Northern Ireland, I mean we didn't have ehm that kind of problem.//
F1189 //Mm.// Mmhm.
M1682 It was there. Don't get me wrong it was there. I mean if you were a Catholic it was, obviously you're supposed to support th-the Hibs I mean your school uniforms were a green jackets or it was always green in //them or somewhere.//
F1189 //You bucked// the trend then, didn't you? //[laugh]//
M1682 //I did, I bucked the trend with Hearts but eh.// //eh but no I mean i-it was it would eh the rivalry was there between the two.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mm.//
M1682 //I mean even today I mean eh no I'm not going to say because it might get published.// //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Fair enough.//
M1682 //But eh// it's still it's still there. //I know ehm I know relatives today that ehm would not go inside a Catholic church.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1682 For any reason whatsoever.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Just just wouldn't do it. //It's eh and I mean I shake my head an-and I wonder how, you know, so petty.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mm.
M1682 I mean I'd I'd go inside a synagogue, I'd go inside a mosque. //I-I-it means nothing to me how you pray to your God kind of thing, it is, you're doing it.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //That's the main thing you know but eh so it did exist back then but it certainly wasn't noticed in where I was in school and it wasn't in the secondary school system.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 You know we weren't called names I mean we were just a hundred yards away from Leith Academy which is a big eh big school.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //Mind you it was a, once again it was I believe it's a fee-paying school I think it was so I mean it would've been better// //classes.//
F1189 //It used to be yes.//
M1682 Yeah. //It would've been a better class of children right enough, maybe, that went there but we played with them down in the main Leith p- the Leith Links we played with these kids you know so//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 we weren't shunned, we weren't looked any differently. //So I didn't feel any animosity the fact that I was a Catholic.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1682 Nobody ever, you know, looked differently at me or spoke differently to me.
F1189 Was that something you brought over here then? Did you keep up your religion? //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //I did, I did to start with I did, yeah, and then eh ehm I got married in Grace's church which was ehm I guess just your congregational Dalry congregational church it was.// [cough] //And then when we were over here and had our first baby, she wanted to go to church, I said well there's no Dalry congregational really. There was the United Church was the closest thing you could have to it, you know?//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 So I said okay and the Catholic church wasn't far from where we lived I said okay I'll go back to church, we'll go to church. So we started going to church got talking to the priest who happened to be a very, very family-oriented young man.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 I mean really, really nice guy. //Got talking and he says why don't you get married in the Catholic church and have cause we wanted our child baptised you see.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1682 I said okay so we did, we eventually he gave us a, she got some lessons and we got married in the Catholic church. All my three children were all baptised in the church. But as a churchgoer I'm not.
F1189 Mm. Do you think the churches though can be helpful in that way to to people settling here?
M1682 Certainly.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 Mm yes I'll say yes, but it's like anything else, it's like settling into a job, it's like settling into anything. //If you've got a good leader, it will help.//
F1189 //Mm.// Mmhm. //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 //If you went to a parish who's eh an old fogey, real old-fashioned Catholic priest then no it won't happen.//
F1189 No. Yes. //Mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Because he will not, he will not move or restrict himself from the laws of the church in any way.// //We were lucky we had, in fact we had three-three priests but two of them one was this eh Father at St Monica's, and//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mm.//
M1682 //another one who actually left the priesthood and got married was one of these gifted speakers.//
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm mm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //On a Sunday when it was his turn for sermon at the big mass at eleven o'clock [cough] you could turn around and in the congregation there would be rabbis and all different kinds of ministers, all in their eh different clerical costumes, listening to him speak, he was that good.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 But eh he left an-and got married but eh. So I'm I'll say yeah if ehm it can be it can be very helpful.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Eh if if you have the right leader, same as getting a job, you can go to a job where the the boss is an absolute tyrant.
F1189 Mmhm. //Yeah//
M1682 //But you're not going to like it so// so you leave so and if you go to a small town in Canada usually there is only the one Catholic church. You can't just leave because the next town's like maybe a hundred miles away.
F1189 That's true.
M1682 Hop on a streetcar to go to another church, you know?
F1189 Now the-the Scottish societies that you mentioned earlier on, did you, do you join any of them? //Mmhm mmhm uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1682 //I... Scottish country dancing, I went to the Royal county Scottish dancing society for, Grace and I, for years and years.// //Just these last coup-, she hurt her achilles tendon and I got a slight stroke on my left hand and I never got the strength back.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm yeah.//
M1682 //But eh we were dancers for years and years and years and years. We, I mean I even the Scottish fiddle orchestra were in the [click] Guinness Book of World Records for the number of dancers doing the eightsome reel.// //Yeah.//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Uh-huh mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //And we were big dancers at the Royal Scottish eh Dance Society, yeah.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 We haven't done it for a while.
F1189 And, what would you say now, cause I'm coming near the end, Robert, you've spoken for a long time. //Thanks for that.//
M1682 //Okay.// //What would I say?//
F1189 //What// would you say now is your sort of national identity? Do you feel more //Scottish or Canadian?//
M1682 //Ah no I'd say I'm Canadian.// I'd definitely say I was Canadian, I mean eh //When it comes to football, although Canada is building a football programme here and we do have an excellent first division Toronto team which I am a proud [eh] season ticket holder of,//
F1189 //Mmhm mm mm mmhm mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1682 eh when it comes to that at so I'll always be Scotland.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 I'll always be Scotland or any Scottish team.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Okay. //So I don't care if it's Rangers, Celtic, Aberdeen, if they're playing the European Cup or any other cup, I would definitely, definitely on the Scottish side of thing-.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //Regardless if there's any of the Scottish on the team it doesn't matter.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 The fact that they come from the Scottish town. When it comes to Olympics that's where I get eh a little mixed. It's definitely Canada a hundred percent.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //But on the British team if he happens to be a, he or she happens to be Scottish, then I'd be rooting for that person.//
F1189 Yes.
M1682 Only because they're Scottish not because they're from Britain, if you know what I mean. //So like last Olympic Games when you had the swimmer or the cyclists that was getting the Olympic medals and what have you, I mean I was definitely rooting on them.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Now they could be up against the Canadian but knowing what Scottish people have to do to get to that talent, I think it's a lot harder than what Canadians and Americans, certainly Americans, have to do to get that talent that I would root for the under- probably root for the underdog.//
F1189 Mmhm. //[laugh]//
M1682 //Even against a Canadian.// But either way I'm a winner. //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// And, as for the Scots in Canada then, where do you see their their place then? You know how important do you think they've been?
M1682 In Canada?
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Oh my goodness me. //I don't think North America, and I can't just say Canada, I don't think North America would be where it is today without Scotsmen.//
F1189 //Mm mm mm.// Mmhm.
M1682 I don't eh I don't know what kind of countries they would be.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Ehm //I really don't, it would be hard to say because eh the influence that Scottish people had in the in the early years in North America has influenced this, both these countries or North America has influenced both them//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //to this day and still does.// The-the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in thirteen oh-six, it's not a copy. But the Declaration of Independence in seventeen seventy-six is virtually, virtually a copy of the Declaration of Arbroath.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 All the signers on the Declaration of Independence are either first-born Scottish, second-born Scottish, or landed immigrants.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 That all all of them I think they're, I'm not sure there's even one don't have a Scottish background
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 behind them.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 Our first Prime Minister in Canada was Scottish, Sir John A Macdonald. //I think Scottish eh you only have to travel round Ontario and certainly Eastern provinces like the Maritimes to see the names of ehm towns, streets, cities.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1682 It's very, very predominantly Scottish, very, very much so and in some of these small towns it's stayed that way. Like Kincardine ehm //so- Maxwell, Maxwell, you know?//
F1189 //Yeah the names give it away, don't they mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //I mean but they've stayed Scottish, they're very, I mean when you go in there they you still get the impression that you're in Scotland kind of thing even with the people there.//
F1189 Mm.
M1682 So it's not just changing the name to sound Scottish, it, they are. But in-in a lot of cases a lot of the names... I mean it you go up to Bruce County and Grey County and it's all Port Elgin, Kin-KinKincardine, Tobermory,
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //you know?// //It's all,//
F1189 //[laugh]//
M1682 so I mean it definitely ehm //a major, major influence.//
F1189 //And what about the// the literary heritage then, you know? How do you think that's viewed in, in Canada?
M1682 Eh, the literary heritage.
F1189 I mean things like Burns and Stevenson and Walter Scott //and so forth.//
M1682 //Yeah.// //I think the country's educated enough and I'd say more so than the United States because they're very self-centred, educated people.//
F1189 //Mm mm.// Mmhm. //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 //Now you only have to crawl across the border fifty miles south of the Canadian border and it's quite possible that the locals down there thinks it snows up here in the wi-, in the summer time,//
F1189 Mm.
M1682 you know? //It-it's hard to believe and a lot of Americans don't believe that Toronto and Niagara Falls is hundreds of miles s-south of their most Northern part and I'm not talking Alaska I'm talking about Michigan,//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mm.//
M1682 //and what have you.// //And they can't believe that we're actually south of these people, you know.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1682 They think Canada's the true north, but but eh //So I don't know but I ehm education-wise, I think, our students probably have an easier time reading classics than what they would, our classics from Britain, Great Britain say and Scotland, than the Americans do.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Mm. //Mm mm mm mm.//
M1682 //They would read more fictional stories than, although I mean a lot of our classics are fictional stories too but they're, they do have eh eh the Scottish intent in them kind of a thing like, like "Kidnapped" and "Treasure Island" and what have you but// [cough] I don't know if eh I really can't say cause my children were never educated down there but u-up here if-if they go if they're going to a half decent school then they would have certainly have access to the books.
F1189 Mm.
M1682 You know. And it would be up to the parent to try encourage them to to read them, as I try with my grandchildren, you know?
F1189 Mmhm. //I'm//
M1682 //Yeah.//
F1189 sure you do.
M1682 [laugh] //They're goo- well.//
F1189 //Now I've got one last question for you.//
M1682 Okay.
F1189 [laugh] Sorry, did I, I was //interrupting.//
M1682 //Yeah, I was going to say,// //actually my eldest daughter's two daughters, they're turning out like me.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //You-you won't catch them without a book under their arm.// //And I got the shock of my life because they are so young that I'm looking at them, I thought, like the youngest one, how old is she? She's grade one, two.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1682 //That makes her seven, eight I think she's eight the books that she's reading are like, like books that thick and finishing them.// //I mean she's on page, two or three pages "I can't stop now Granddad. I've got to finish the story."//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mm.//
M1682 //I don't think I ever read books that big when she was that age so I mean they're avid readers, oh// there's not really a problem getting them to read. It's maybe steering them in the right direction.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //And right now it's not junk they're reading really it-it's children's stories so it's good.//
F1189 Would you encourage them to read about Scotland or? //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //Oh yeah oh yeah my other daughter's eh children now, they're going on vacation this July.// She was over on her own without them for the the wedding that we went to but they're goin- their whole family's going back in July and we set up an itinerary because ehm she wants to see as many castles as they can and we've tried to fit in as many as we can [cough] for them and they're going to Fort William, Inverness, Edinburgh, going down to Bamburgh Castle where Harry Potter was filmed.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 //And they're going to Dirleton, Tantallon and there's another castle on the coast just over the border, an English castle I forget what it's called.// //They're going there and they're going on the Harry Potter Express across the Glenfinnan Bridge.//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Fabulous.//
M1682 //So,// //yeah so I mean this year we've been eh teaching them quite a bit about it.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.// mmhm
M1682 And in fact she really, really wanted me to go because she thinks I know so much about Scotland that I would learn so much more if I was there. //Which I did the last time when they were just her and her husband.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1682 But you know I thought, you know what, one I don't want it, it's too expensive, two I don't nearl- know nearly as much as she thinks I know. //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Oh you//
M1682 //I said cause//
F1189 can't let that away. //[laugh]//
M1682 //Oh I ca- I can't let that away that's but eh//
F1189 Uh-huh. //Oh//
M1682 //I-I can// //I I can.//
F1189 //that's interesting that you're// //ehm they're learning a bit about Scotland through a literary trail.//
M1682 //Oh yeah yeah.//
F1189 Mm. //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 //Yeah ehm actually her husband is her name, his name is Muirhead so I mean he has got Scottish background.// //I don't know second generation or third genera- but he's definitely Scottish background.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// //[cough] Mmhm mmhm mm mmhm.//
M1682 //And eh and the kids are all, are all, well I think my three daughters are very Scottish, even though they were born in Canada they're still, all our friends have been Scottish type of thing you know, and all our close friends still today that we visit and see are all Scottish and come from Scotland.// So I mean they're still very, very Scottish. They go back on vacation to their aunts and uncles a lot of //times.//
F1189 //You've kept// that that sort of wider //community then?//
M1682 //We have we have.// //Yeah so I mean the grandchildren eh will have no id- no ehm problem knowing as they're growing up and their generation after them that they were definitely from Scottish descent.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm.// Mmhm.
M1682 That's that's a given. //[laugh]//
F1189 //Uh-huh.// //Now//
M1682 //Yeah.//
F1189 my last question was ehm if if you could for me, Robert, ehm sum up what reading has meant in your life? //Mm.//
M1682 //Sum up what reading has meant?// [cough] //Reading, the most important thing in the world that reading has done for me is give me an education,//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1682 that, I can talk with anybody, I feel I can talk with anybody, any educated person, //were they educated in the university or not.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1682 I can talk on any level. Eh I can talk on most subjects.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 And I think, I would have to say not [inaudible] I have to say that without reading you could never reach that level of education, to be able to enjoy and relax and enjoy it.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1682 So I would have to say that-that would be th-the biggest factor and I realised that when I was young and that's why I became an avid reader.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1682 //But ehm the more I read the more people talked to me about different subjects and if they talked to me about a subject I didn't know about I would probably look it up and find out what it meant.// And being an avid crossword doer is another major eh step in that direction because [cough] you learn words that you normally don't use in your everyday language. And if you don't know how to spell them, you, it takes you to a dictionary where you'll find out how you do spell them. //And d- going to the dictionary it will also give you different dif-definitions of that particular word.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1682 So, I'd say crosswords was a a major factor in in the reading and making it easier to read books that do have big fancy words in them because now you understand them. So, it's, that's my summing it up in that sense, yeah it's yeah.
F1189 Well yo-you've talked very eloquently today. //I'd like to//
M1682 //Thank you.//
F1189 thank you very much indeed. It's been a pleasure spending this time with you, Robert. //And I think//
M1682 //It's good.//
F1189 we'll switch off now.
M1682 Okay.

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Information about Document 1682

Interview with Robert Bruce 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) 138
Size (mb) 666

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 1219
Year of transcription 2010
Year material recorded 2009
Word count 28169

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 1203
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1940
Educational attainment College
Age left school 16
Occupation Electrician
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 Royal Navy
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 Nurse
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