Story: Visitors at Braeside

Well, the visitors that came to Braeside, they’d be neighbours just, people – maybe, my cousins and

nephews and that from other places. And usually at Hogmanay, Christmas, we had a farmer ball in the barn

and somebody – my father – would clean out the barn and we’d have to help him. There was a man called

Mr Porter from Queensbriggs used to come and play the melodium and my mother would make tea and

we’d have tea and dancing on the Hogmanay.

Sometimes we maybe had a shepherd who came with his sheep to eat turnips – if we had turnips left. That

was Donald Shop [Shaw?] and he used to bring me and my three sisters a matchbox filled with pennies or

halfpennies and we used to think we was in heaven getting this little wee matchbox full of pennies. Used to

have one for the four of us.

And then the family came with the bakery stuff and came up to where shepherd Ferguson died. They were

Big Braeside and my father was Little Braeside – there were two Braesides beside each other. This old

shepherd Ferguson used to be there.

I went up to help with him with his hay one day, to gather up his hay and take it in and so he would come

down and pay me, he said.

One day he arrived down at the house and he came into the house and he was sitting for a while and then

Isabel, my sister, was always called Jock and I was called Donal. And so he comes into the house and he

was sitting and he put his hand in his pocket and took it out and he said “Here, Donal, that’s your money for

the hay and he gave it to Isabel and she took it and she never gave me it back!

“So he thought that she was you?”

Aye – he got mixed up”.

“And she was happy to go along with it, was she?”

Aye, she just took the money and that was it. I’ve not got it back yet. Four sisters; Mary, Edith, Isabel and

Kathleen. And we had a wee brother about – well, young Kath would have been about eight or nine when

Bertie, my brother was born. So we were just four girls and I was Donal, Isabel was Jock. Kathleen and

Mary well, just were there.


My father said I was always small and when I started school I took pneumonia after I started so Dr

MacKenzie said “You’ll need to keep that lass – six. ??? And my father said to me I was always peare,

always standing in the fireplace with my shoes on the wrong feet and greeting [crying]. Maybe I was a

peare thing.

“Well, you’ve lived to a good age!”

“What does ‘peare’ mean?”

“Poor. It’s Doric we should have been learning!”