Document 825

Interview 07: Teacher speaking about childhood in Shetland

Author(s): N/A

Copyright holder(s): SCOTS Project

Audio transcription

F606 Right, so you grew up on Shetland then?
F828 Mmhm, on the second biggest island, it's cawed Yell.
F606 mmhm
F828 An eh, there was seven bairns in the faimilie,
F606 uh-huh
F828 an we had ehm, I suppose it, it could be considered to be an idyllic childhood in lots o weys //cause we had//
F606 //Aye.//
F828 freedom, we jist could do what we wanted really.
F606 mmhm
F828 Ehm, well we'd no electricity so we had no television
F606 No, [laugh]
F828 so I suppose we, we jist, we made up wur, wur own gemms an things an
F606 Mmhm. Was it a farm you lived on, //or a house?//
F828 //Mmhm, it was a croft that// Dad had, my dad had his own business, but we had, we had sheep, I think jist aboot everybody had sheep
F606 mmhm [laugh]
F828 for the subsidy [laugh], ehm but we didna, we had //I can mind//
F606 //[cough]//
F828 one year we had hay but //I think mostly//
F606 //mm//
F828 we didna. //We had pits//
F606 //mmhm//
F828 ehm
F606 Pits.
F828 pit, peat. //[laugh]//
F606 //Oh peat, yeah [laugh]//
F828 Pit, everything depends on pits
F606 Yes
F828 for, for the stove cause we didna have a cooker //so//
F606 //uh-huh//
F828 an we didna have, we didna even have watter in the hoose //so Mum//
F606 //uh//
F828 had tae cairry the watter fae the wall
F606 mmhm
F828 tae the hoose an wash ev- wash eh seven bairns' claes by, by haund so
F606 [laugh] It was a hard //life!//
F828 //It was a hard// life for her, //it had tae have been//
F606 //Yeah.//
F828 but ehm
F606 So what kind of things did you eat?
F828 [tut] an awful lot o mutton [laugh] //an a lot//
F606 //Yeah [laugh].//
F828 o fish,
F606 uh-huh
F828 an totties, potatoes
F606 mmhm
F828 an we didn-, didna have very many vegetables, cabbage certainly but ehm, we certainly had never got the variety o stuff that ye get doon here, no. //An we had,//
F606 //No.//
F828 I can mind the first time I ever saw a melon //I was aboot//
F606 //mmhm//
F828 ten or something,
F606 Yeah [laugh].
F828 cause we just got apples an oranges an, I suppose we would see pears an grapes but //we never//
F606 //mmhm//
F828 got ice cream because, we got ice cream once a year
F606 [laugh]
F828 on the last day o the term //cause it was brocht up fae//
F606 //Right//
F828 the mainland in big con-, steel containers.
F606 Oh aye.
F828 Or I know what, was something that kept it cool anywey it was seemed like it was great big boxes
F606 uh-huh
F828 ehm because of course there was, there were no electricity so //nobody had//
F606 //Mm//
F828 freezers so
F606 No.
F828 so a major treat to get a bit o ice //cream.//
F606 //Right [laugh].// //ah//
F828 //An like I mind the// first time I ever went tae, tae Lerwick, cause Lerwick is the, is the capital in the main island
F606 Yeah.
F828 I jist couldna believe how many houses there were and they were all so close together an
F606 mmhm
F828 it was very exciting
F606 Yeah [laugh] so where did you go to school then?
F828 I had to go to, you went, there was a school on the island, there was three schools I think at that //time,//
F606 //mmhm//
F828 an there was a junior secondary school so if you passed your Eleven Plus you could, you had the option to stay, just a four year school or you could go to the main island an board in the hostel //an that's whit I did.//
F606 //Oh yeah// uh-huh
F828 So but the, that, there were no car ferries like they have nooadays
F606 No?
F828 so I only got home an I was the, the on-, I was the first one to go in the family. //There's three older//
F606 //mmhm//
F828 than me but they didna, they chose not to go //so I only//
F606 //mmhm//
F828 got home Christmas, summer an, well whenever there was holidays //basically because//
F606 //Yeah.//
F828 it was too, it was too remote.
F606 uh-huh
F828 But ehm so it was kinda funny because you were never, it was almost as if ye were never really accepted back into the faimilie the same wey as ye were afore
F606 mmhm, cause you'd gone
F828 cause you'd, an th- th- s-, they all expected you to be, to have kind of ideas abuin yer station because you were gettin a, you were livin in the capital. //[laugh]//
F606 //uh-huh [laugh]//
F828 But ehm it was kinda strange cause you never, ye didna really have, ye didna feel at home anywhere
F606 mm
F828 and also dialect was different //in Lerwick//
F606 //Yeah.//
F828 from what it is in Yell so I had to be careful to say things like in, in Lerwick you say tatties. //In Yell//
F606 //mmhm//
F828 you say totties //an if I//
F606 //uh-huh//
F828 came home and accidentally said //tatties then//
F606 //Tatties, yeah.//
F828 my, my older brothers and sisters would make a fool o me.
F606 Uh-huh, [laugh] yeah.
F828 [laugh]
F606 Yeah so you were quite aware of the, the language //differences, yeah.//
F828 //Uh-huh, yeah,// yeah.
F606 Yeah.
F828 But there's, there are anither island, Whalsay, //there used to be a//
F606 //mmhm//
F828 lass worked here in the library come fae Whalsay, they have a, a really really broad accent //but they say the//
F606 //mmhm//
F828 they have letters that they say in a different way //ehm//
F606 //uh-huh//
F828 "K" they say like a "J". It's a bit, //it's bizarre.//
F606 //oh?// Yeah.
F828 Mm you would, you would need to go there an //an tape some o//
F606 //[cough]//
F828 them.
F606 Yeah [laugh] so have you travelled quite a lot on the islands or
F828 Mm no, no real-. //I suppose.//
F606 //Mm//
F828 Ehm a bit I suppose, //yeah.//
F606 //Yeah [laugh].// Frances said you'd a good story about making a haggis? //Is that//
F828 //Well, a good// //story aboot, I telt//
F606 //[laugh]//
F828 Frances that story, my phone number when I was little was five.
F606 Ah! //[laugh]//
F828 //[laugh]// No it's no haggis it was like ehm, we, we used, when they killed a sheep we would get the job o goin doon tae the sea //wi the//
F606 //mmhm//
F828 sheep's stomachs //tae wash them oot//
F606 //mmhm// //[tut]//
F828 //in the sea.// //It was//
F606 //uh-huh//
F828 a disgusting job. //And the//
F606 //Absolutely.//
F828 the [?]bungsies[/?], a [?]bungsy[/?] is a, an arctic, is it a skua?
F606 uh-huh
F828 I think so. They swoop on you.
F606 Yeah.
F828 But then, then we would take it home an Mum would mak puddings but it was like er, like dumplin,
F606 mmhm
F828 an she used the, the sheep's stomachs for, nooadays I suppose they use plastic //but that was what//
F606 //Yeah.//
F828 that was what Mum used tae do. //An they were//
F606 //Right.//
F828 very tasty.
F606 [laugh] Yeah. So presumably your parents' parents were also //Shetlanders, were they the same?//
F828 //Yeah, uh-huh, as far back// as, as [?]I don't think there an-[/?]. //As far//
F606 //[cough]//
F828 back as we, as we go I think we were
F606 mmhm
F828 Shetlanders.
F606 Yeah.
F828 mm
F606 But you left you said when you //were//
F828 //I left when// I left when I was fifteen cause I, I couldna wait tae leave [laugh] //ehm//
F606 //Yeah.//
F828 an I jist, it didn't, as soon as I could, it jist seemed so far away fae everything else an
F606 mmhm
F828 remote an you never got any decent clo-, clothes, claes I suppose we would say //an//
F606 //uh-huh//
F828 you never got groups comin up an it jist seemed like it was a backwater.
F606 Aye [laugh].
F828 So I couldna wait tae go.
F606 Yeah it must be quite difficult when you're a teenager especially //yeah.//
F828 //It's,// it's better noo I think.
F606 mmhm
F828 Ehm, well maybe not it's still, still is very very different because
F606 mmhm
F828 there's no quick way o getting there. //I mean you have to//
F606 //No! [laugh]//
F828 if you go up by boat it's fourteen hoor an if you
F606 Ah
F828 even if you fly it's a, it still takes, I mean, hou-, about an hour
F606 mmhm
F828 I think.
F606 So did most of your siblings stay or
F828 Ehm, n-, my ol-, the oldest boy lives in Norfolk
F606 Ah
F828 eh two older sisters stay in Yell and one younger sister
F606 mmhm
F828 ehm an my little brother stayed there, he's, he died, ehm and eh, one sister lives up in Fochabers so the most o them are //most o them are//
F606 //Yeah.//
F828 still there.
F606 Yeah. //[laugh]//
F828 //mm//
F606 that's good.
F828 An the one that lives in Fochabers has a, a hoose in Shetland too an she goes
F606 mmhm
F828 in fact she's goin up on Friday, she goes, she loves goin home. //I wouldn't,//
F606 //uh-huh//
F828 I wouldn't, I'm more of a, I like sun more than she does //I would//
F606 //Yeah! [laugh]//
F828 rather pay an go away tae Spain or something
F606 Right! [laugh] So you don't go back very much, mm?
F828 No, not very often, it's expensive, I could go to Spain. When I was little, when the kids were little we used to go //to ehm//
F606 //mmhm//
F828 France just aboot every year an last year the two oldest girls, my, I have three girls, //the two oldest ones//
F606 //uh-huh//
F828 went up to Shetland, //and//
F606 //uh-huh//
F828 they had thought it was fabulous, //and they said,//
F606 //Did they, yeah?//
F828 "Why did you drag us tae France every year, we could have been goin up to Shetland",
F606 uh-huh [laugh]
F828 but
F606 Yeah, so they still have a sense that it's part of their heritage uh-huh?
F828 I th-, I kinda feel guilty because I didna take them up an I s-, it is, I mean they, they do have roots there //but ehm//
F606 //mmhm//
F828 and they're very keen tae //tae keep,//
F606 //mm//
F828 tae cling on tae their roots, //whereas//
F606 //Yeah.//
F828 when I was their age I jist didna care //I didn't, I wanted tae get away.//
F606 //Want to get away anyway [laugh].// Did you go to Aberdeen //[inaudible]//
F828 //I, I came// tae Aberdeen, yeah.
F606 Ehm, went to university //there?//
F828 //But only// aft-, no because I'd left school withoot any qualifications, I'd left school //cause I was so desperate//
F606 //Aw//
F828 to get away.
F606 [laugh]
F828 And so then after I'd had my family then I did Highers and
F606 mmhm
F828 then went to university.
F606 mmhm
F828 So I've, it's only aboot, s-, I've only been teachin for aboot six years.

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Interview 07: Teacher speaking about childhood in Shetland. 2023. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 3 December 2023, from

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Information about Document 825

Interview 07: Teacher speaking about childhood in Shetland


Audio audience

Adults (18+)
For gender Mixed
Audience size 1

Audio awareness & spontaneity

Speaker awareness Aware
Degree of spontaneity Spontaneous
Special circumstances surrounding speech Participant had been asked to select a topic in advance

Audio footage information

Year of recording 2005
Recording person id 606
Size (min) 10
Size (mb) 47

Audio setting

Recording venue School staff room
Geographic location of speech Laurencekirk

Audio relationship between recorder/interviewer and speakers

Not previously acquainted
Speakers knew each other N/A

Audio transcription information

Transcriber id 631
Year of transcription 2005
Year material recorded 2005
Word count 1654

Audio type

General description Interview on childhood in Shetland


Participant details

Participant id 606
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1940
Educational attainment University
Age left school 18
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Academic
Place of birth Edinburgh
Region of birth Midlothian
Birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Glasgow
Region of residence Glasgow
Residence CSD dialect area Gsw
Country of residence Scotland
Father's place of birth Leith
Father's region of birth Midlothian
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's place of birth Edinburgh
Mother's region of birth Midlothian
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes All
Scots No Yes No Yes Work


Participant details

Participant id 828
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1950
Educational attainment University
Age left school 15
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Teacher
Place of birth Mid-Yell
Region of birth Shetland
Birthplace CSD dialect area Sh
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Stonehaven
Region of residence Aberdeen
Residence CSD dialect area Abd
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Haulage contractor
Father's place of birth Yell
Father's region of birth Shetland
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Sh
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Bookkeeper
Mother's place of birth Yell
Mother's region of birth Shetland
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Sh
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes
French Yes Yes Yes Yes
Italian No No No Yes
Scots Yes No No Yes
Spanish; Castilian Yes Yes Yes Yes