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Our Collection Wick Voices Johnston Collection The Garden Boats & Fishing

George Farquhar

‘There was always something on the table’

Born: 1935

Duration: 26m 14s

Type: Audio

Filesize: 35Mb

Recorded: 21 February 2019


About this recording

“It was just a bare existence and no more,” George Farquhar says of his childhood in Spittal. From the age of 12 he was doing his bit to supplement the family income by working on local farms. He also learned how to hunt for hares, ducks and grouse in the surrounding countryside – not for the sake of sport or enjoyment, but to ensure there was enough to eat.
“If I shot two brown hares in a day, that did us for a whole week,” he recalls.
“I can safely say I don’t think I was ever really hungry in my young life, and yet we had nothing. There was always something on the table for us."
He adds: “Partridges when I got them were a speciality – you got a special dinner that day.”
Another example of living off the land was the collecting and eating of shochad (lapwing) eggs.
George also reminisces about the rough-and-tumble of childhood games, including being wedged into a large tyre and hurtling down the side of Spittal Hill.
He recalls how his only holiday would be a trip with his mother and other family members to the County Show, and talks with some pride about setting a Causewaymire peat-cutting record.
George remembers the time of Operation Snowdrop in 1955 when he faced an arduous journey on foot to Halkirk and back to collect basic supplies.
Having served his time as a joiner, he went on to work for a number of local firms as well as the council.
George has lived in Wick with his wife Margaret (née Geddes) since they were married in 1966.


Very well narrated , brought back a lot of memories of my childhood on long holiday visits to the Spittal household.
Uncle George was the first person that ever took me fishing and helped me land my first ever trout at Loch Stemster. Unfortunately being a kid of 10 or 11 I could not stop the trout going under the boat and braking his brother Willies rod. George being the good soul that he is not only managed to get the trout back from under the boat to let me net it but he also took the blame for the rod being broken when we got back to Spittal. Much to my relief .
Hope to see you soon George - coming up to Orkney in April will drop in on way back

Posted by David Farquhar at 20:11:35 on 04/03/2019 - Report comment

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