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TITLE
Working at the Herring Gutting in Wick
EXTERNAL ID
QZP40_CAITHNESS_CROFTING_106
PLACENAME
Wick
DISTRICT
Eastern Caithness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
CAITHNESS: Wick
PERIOD
1980s
CREATOR
Baba Mackay
SOURCE
Highland Libraries
ASSET ID
41387
KEYWORDS
fish workers
fish processing
fishing industry

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In this audio extract, Mrs Baba Mackay talks about her grandparents including a grandmother who worked at the herring gutting in Wick. The gutters wrapped rags, also called clooties, around their fingers to protect them from the knife blades and the brine.

'Ah mean, when we were young, as Ah said, ma grannie was at e herring - we didna go - but ma grannie was at e herring an we used tae go wi her tea til her, ye know? She came home at dinner time. Ma mother always gave her something at dinner time but then ma mother put up an enamel pan o tea, an enamel pail wi tea - it had a lid on e top o it at acted as a cup, ye know, an sandwiches til her. Ye see, we had til howld e sandwich because her hands were dirty an she couldna take e rags off her fingers til take e food. So we would howld e sandwich til her til she'd get a bite o it. She could take e cup herself, ye know, but, oh, them were the days, right enough. An good days.

An my ither grannie, when my grandda - he was a cooper - an when he was oot o work he'd nothing because they got no broo money in at day if they werena workan. An many a time in e winter they werena workan, an ma grannie was great for giean o half o it she hid left til anybody, ye know, if anybody next door hid nothing, she'd gie half o it til them, an my grandda always used til say, 'Ye're pleased now, Maggie, Ye've nothing for e dinner e morn, ee gave it all off', an she'd always say, 'Oh we'll get something, we'll easily do it'. An, sure as fate, ye'd be in in twa minutes an somebody'd knock at e door, an when ye went iss was twa kippers or twa herrin fae somebody at was workan at it. At was their dinner for e morn den. An he would say, 'Look, Ah telt ye' an at was it.

Interviewer: So, if they, if they werena at work they got nothing?

No, nothing at all. But there were two or three shillings off it they made [?] for a rainy day. Ma grandda always said wit he called e shop [?] o e kist. Little bitty in, e lifted e lid o e meal chest, an there's a little wee square bitty in ere an he called at e shop [?] o e kist an e always saved twa or three pound in at, ye know? Had tae pay it. An e always had tae pay e rent once a year, ye see? An e always saved up for rent, an they paid it an, fan they got their pay an at was it. They niver paid rent every week. And they'd maybe get coal in too when they hid e money an it did, well in, if they hidna got it, they hidna got it an at was it. They were very good for getting sticks tae anybody, it they had any sticks or anything, ye know? They niver seemed to want o what they hidnae got a lot, ye know?'

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Working at the Herring Gutting in Wick

CAITHNESS: Wick

1980s

fish workers; fish processing; fishing industry

Highland Libraries

Caithness Recordings: Fishing

In this audio extract, Mrs Baba Mackay talks about her grandparents including a grandmother who worked at the herring gutting in Wick. The gutters wrapped rags, also called clooties, around their fingers to protect them from the knife blades and the brine.<br /> <br /> 'Ah mean, when we were young, as Ah said, ma grannie was at e herring - we didna go - but ma grannie was at e herring an we used tae go wi her tea til her, ye know? She came home at dinner time. Ma mother always gave her something at dinner time but then ma mother put up an enamel pan o tea, an enamel pail wi tea - it had a lid on e top o it at acted as a cup, ye know, an sandwiches til her. Ye see, we had til howld e sandwich because her hands were dirty an she couldna take e rags off her fingers til take e food. So we would howld e sandwich til her til she'd get a bite o it. She could take e cup herself, ye know, but, oh, them were the days, right enough. An good days.<br /> <br /> An my ither grannie, when my grandda - he was a cooper - an when he was oot o work he'd nothing because they got no broo money in at day if they werena workan. An many a time in e winter they werena workan, an ma grannie was great for giean o half o it she hid left til anybody, ye know, if anybody next door hid nothing, she'd gie half o it til them, an my grandda always used til say, 'Ye're pleased now, Maggie, Ye've nothing for e dinner e morn, ee gave it all off', an she'd always say, 'Oh we'll get something, we'll easily do it'. An, sure as fate, ye'd be in in twa minutes an somebody'd knock at e door, an when ye went iss was twa kippers or twa herrin fae somebody at was workan at it. At was their dinner for e morn den. An he would say, 'Look, Ah telt ye' an at was it.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: So, if they, if they werena at work they got nothing?<br /> <br /> No, nothing at all. But there were two or three shillings off it they made [?] for a rainy day. Ma grandda always said wit he called e shop [?] o e kist. Little bitty in, e lifted e lid o e meal chest, an there's a little wee square bitty in ere an he called at e shop [?] o e kist an e always saved twa or three pound in at, ye know? Had tae pay it. An e always had tae pay e rent once a year, ye see? An e always saved up for rent, an they paid it an, fan they got their pay an at was it. They niver paid rent every week. And they'd maybe get coal in too when they hid e money an it did, well in, if they hidna got it, they hidna got it an at was it. They were very good for getting sticks tae anybody, it they had any sticks or anything, ye know? They niver seemed to want o what they hidnae got a lot, ye know?'