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A photograph of Malcolm Simpson

Malcolm Simpson

“I found fish suppers and ice-cream when I moved to Thurso”

Born: 1939

Duration: 8m 21s

Type: Audio

Filesize: 8Mb

Recorded: 17 July 2019

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About this recording

Malcolm Simpson reflects upon his formative years on the island of Stroma, recalling hours spent on the beach and fishing, as well as the time he enjoyed helping out on the croft.
On coming home from school, the first task to be undertaken was to collect two buckets of water from the well. He remembers that on stormy days, the teacher dried wet clothes over the guard rail of the fire in the classroom.
Malcolm also explains how his grandfather was a boat builder and he talks about the variations and adaptations of the Stroma yawls, built to sail in the treacherous waters of the Pentland Firth.
Born on Stroma, Malcolm left the island at the age of fifteen, when he moved to Thurso in 1955 to 'serve his time' as a joiner.
He says, “We were never out of food,” but he also talks of the delight when “I found fish suppers and ice-cream when I moved to Thurso.”
He talks about the contrast between his first job, working at the harbour in Stroma, and his final job before retirement, when he was clerk of works at Scrabster harbour.
A keen photographer, Malcolm claims, “I would have liked if I had a digital camera and computer as I have now. I could have got quite good shots of ships coming down, hitting the flood tide as they passed the lighthouse at Stroma.”


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