More Tam Turnip’s Anecdotes

Love little snippets like this. Blantyre man Tam, writing under the name Tam Turnip in 1913 shared a few memories of Blantyre from his own childhood in the 1850’s. He wrote:

“The gravedigger, Neil McNaught, was a great character, very fond of a dram, which seldom took his head but affected his legs badly. I have often wondered he did not tumble in beside the coffin he was “happin’ up.” Neil was old, but the school bairns seemed to think he would last us all out, for they would say, “Wha’ll bury Neil; there’ll be naebody left tae bury him.” 

The schoolmaster, Mr Money, had a cork leg, and was terribly bothered wi’ his stomach. I got into his favour by rinnin’ for bakin’ soda tae pit in his drinkin’ water, an’ then he got relief. The one-room school was often close, an’ we had to tak’ turns waftin’ the door tae freshen the air, but we got on fine wi’ oor lessons, an’ had gran’ mid-day games at Prison-base, best kent as “Scout.” 

Most of the farmers were owners, and the “Blanter” lairds were a kindly race known by their farms. “Priestfield” went with his own milk cart. A woman who did not appear as usual because she had run up a score was told never to mind that but to bring ower her can, as the bairn could not want milk. “Barnhill” found a poor man helping himself to potatoes from the pit. The laird gave him a lift with the pock his back, and telt him not to come back again. “Broom Park” took a big dram. Once after emptying his bottle he sent the ploughman for a half-mutchkin to Baker Johnston’s, who had the license. The man filled the bottle at the pump and put the shilling in his pocket. The laird must have been far gone, for he did not detect the trick, though as he filled up the glass he would say — “Man, Jock, it’s as weak as water.”  


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