[Reading] ➸ Crowdie and Cream and Other Stories By Finlay J. Macdonald – Motyourdrive.co.uk



10 thoughts on “Crowdie and Cream and Other Stories

  1. says:

    Born in 1925, Finlay J was a well known and important figure in Scottish broadcasting and publishing, particularly in Gaelic This book is an autobiographical trilogy I wonder if it is always the case as it tends to be with me that we respond much deeply to the first book in a series, which seems to contain all the author s inspiration and energy I enjoyed all three books, but it is as children that we are at our most elemental, and Finlay J tells it like it was well, as in the best tradition, with a bit of Gaelic exaggeration As he says, Time as it is lived doesn t slide into neat compartments, least of all in the long memory The diarist or the historian or the biographer may be forced to define his parameters and affix his tags of time and date, and by doing so achieve an accuracy which is a different thing altogether from the truth, just as the photographer, freezing his bit of landscape, can only hope to capture a view while letting the scenery escape And so, even if I were of a mind to do so, I could not hope to catalogue the building of the village stone by stone, because it wasn t of stones alone that it was built, but of moments, of moods, of happenings that were sometimes long and sometimes short and frequently overlapping most indefinably of all, it was built on tears and laughter Crowdie and Cream recaptures Finlay J s childhood in the Isle of Harris, in a new village of eight crofts, land made available to First World War veterans from families who had been evicted in the Clearances A major theme throughout the books is Finlay s relationship with his father, an intelligent and literary minded man who, to his unending regret, was never able to access the benefits of education, and who was not a particularly good crofter He had been a sniper in WW1 and his subsequent aversion to using firearms provides an interesting thread By the end of this book the years of The Depression have come Self reliant communities such as Finlay s suffered less than the population in cities because they could sustain themselves directly from land and sea Having said that, life was very hard, and one thing I like very much about Finlay J s writing is that never does the account become gloomy or maudlin in the way, perhaps, that Angela s Ashes does He does not shy away from describing the rampant exploitation of the makers of tweed He narrates one example in detail and goes as far as to hope explicitly that the man concerned, a Mr Brooks of Manchester, is reading about the devastating effect he had on the village families At that time also there was no market for the crofters livestock Here is an abbreviated extract about the family s straitened circumstances Lazarus so named because he had been left for dead represented the nadir of our fortunes When he was sold as a yearling at the annual cattle sale a sale which was by then reduced to a symbolic sham he fetched less than a pound, because any would have made it uneconomical for a buyer to ship him to the mainland It was that year too that we killed Daisy the calf s mother Within the serious narrative of the realities of Hebridean life, the account is peppered with hilarious anecdotes that sometimes go on for pages or even begin in one book and end in another This is authentic humour in the isles the humour is in the story and the characters, in their context and in their lives For me this was a re reading after several years, and it was enjoyable all over again, enhanced by my reading it aloud on siar.fm and so sharing the humour Many of the anecdotes related by Finlay J reminded me of the way this island was when I came here for instance, the way the postman didn t get out of his van but simply hooted the horn and you had to go down to the road and collect the mail or mails as was said then One of my favourite stories from the south end where I live is when an adjacent isle became connected to us by a causeway, and got its first minibus The driver stopped to offer a lift to a crofter with a sack of potatoes on his back The man replied, Oh, chan eil, chan eil, that c bhag orm Not at all, not at all, I m in a hurry The second book, Crotal and White moves into Finlay J s early adolescence and also marks the rise of the Harris Tweed Industry crotal is a lichen that is used in dyeing I was interested to see that a man from this island Barra went up to Harris in the thirties to teach the Harrismen weaving He inspired Finlay J s father to buy a loom, and their circumstances became easier The tragic dichotomy, for Finlay J, was that success in those days was equated with leaving the island This tenet was fed into him by everyone, including his teachers, from an early age Fortunately he did live long enough to see the beginnings of the resurgence of the Gaelic language and culture and the early attempts to develop opportunities for success within the islands framework.The third book, The Corncrake and the Lysander reaches the onset of World War Two, and weaves in sic the beginnings of the end for the traditional way of life of the islands, and the end, for Finlay J, of his life as fully part of the island Towards the end of the book there was a detailed account of the departure from Tarbert Pier of the boys who had signed up for the Army Finlay was too young and of the later news that their regiment had not escaped at Dunkirk but had been captured Finlay J is too consummate a story teller to end there, however, and the last few pages of the book seem to take him into his adult life with what comes across as a bit of a yarn There would have been much of this sort of stuff in the life he went on to lead as a public figure in BBC and Gaelic media, and he obviously enjoys the telling.A highly enjoyable read of life almost a hundred years ago in Harris You ll remember the story of the day the plane landed on the beach still a daily event where I live


  2. says:

    What a lovely book The author describes his childhood and youth on the isle of Harris in the 1930s and realises that the traditional way of life was changing forever at that time The characters, the incredible way of life, and the attitudes of the time make a wonderful story At times the earthy humour makes you smile, and then the poverty and struggles make you weep Well written, the version I had was three books in one Crowdie and Cream, Crotal and White, and The Corncrake and the Lysander, which takes his life to starting the big school and the outbreak of the second World War A way of life chronicled which has gone forever.


  3. says:

    Utterly captivating


  4. says:

    A charming and easy to read memoir about growing up in the Hebrides in the early C20th I particularly enjoyed the details of how Harris Tweed is made, ie the women scraping ripe crotal a brittle grey lichen off the rocks on the machair and moor, and then the matured urine used later on the material Community life and Scottish customs and traditions are detailed as remembered by Macdonald His childhood adventures and mishaps are recounted warmly, and he paints memorable portraits of various characters in the village.


  5. says:

    What a fun book The author grew up on the Isle of Harris, in the Outer Hebrides, right after the First World War and remembers some of his favorite moments of childhood, from the time his family moved to their own croft to the day when he considered himself a man Amusing anecdotes, interesting facts about Island life, all told with an intelligent wit If you find a copy of this knocking about somewhere, grab hold


  6. says:

    Nonfiction I read the 3 books in the series about life in the Hebrides in Scotland Island of Lewis and Harris Learning about island life and dependence on one another as u r not anywhere close to the mainland of Scotland is very interesting and I loved it Finlay is a wonderful writer and u can just picture the people and the places on the island Another destination I intend to go one of these days


  7. says:

    My particular copy of this book is just Crowdie and Cream without the other stories.A fascinating insight into a time gone by in a place like no other The Hebridean islands of Scotland This is the authors memories of an impoverished crofters childhood in the years after the first world war.


  8. says:

    This is Finlay J Macdonald s story of his boyhood on Harris in the Outer Hebrides just after WWI I have just visited Harris and so I could identify many of the places Mr Macdonald describes Really well written and a fabulous read Highly recommended


  9. says:

    Read while I was traveling in Scotland and felt that it gave me insight into my heritage THe opening episodes were so funny I cried.


  10. says:

    A very enjoyable and interesting view of life on the island of Harris post WW I There are two others in the autobiographical trilogy and I will try to read these, too.


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Crowdie and Cream and Other Stories download Crowdie and Cream and Other Stories, read online Crowdie and Cream and Other Stories, kindle ebook Crowdie and Cream and Other Stories, Crowdie and Cream and Other Stories fd341e0c3733 CROWDIE AND CREAM Peopled With Characters Like Great Aunt Rachel, Built Like A Churchill Tank And With A Personality To Match , These Are The Stories Of A Childhood, Of The Hard Years Of The Depression, And Then The Departure Of The Island S Young Men To Fight In The Second World War Together They Bring Alive The Warmth And Closeness Of A Unique Hebridean Community CROTAL AND WHITE Finlay J Macdonald Continues His Story With A Witty Account Of His Adolescent Years During The Depression Hard Days For The Villagers, But Their Sense Of Humour Never Deserted Them And When Young Finlay Won The Bursary To Secondary School In The Northlands It Was With A Mixture Of Joy And Sadness That He Prepared To Leave Behind Him A Community That Would Soon Be Changed ForeverTHE CORNCRAKE AND THE LYSANDER As Finlay Macdonald Set Out For High School In Tarbert, Hitler S Growing Military Strength Had Begun To Menace The People Of Europe But To Finlay This Was Just One Exciting Prospect Along With Living In Big Grandfather S House, Making New Friends And Meeting The Girls Of His Adolescent Dreams