George Farquhar‘There was always something on the table’
Duration: 26m 14s
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.