Community Radio Ard Parrais.
Good morning, this is Tom Tom Mac a Piobaire with your early morning news from your own community radio station.
Concern continues over last week’s report that the rain gauge in the rear of Archie Eachan Stap’s garden had registered an astonishing 24 hour measurement of 52 inches of rain on Friday night, despite the fact that the grass in the village remained bone dry. Rumours abounded that this was somehow connected with tales that Iain ‘Domnhaill Mor Mac Neana’ had been seen behaving suspiciously in Archie’s garden late that night on his way home from the pub. Iain strenuously denies that this had anything to do with his having drunk 13 pints of pale ale in the two hours before closing time before setting off homeward on a course that led him suspiciously close to the back of the aforementioned Archie’s garden.
Alec Mac Donald ‘Dorus’ reports that he recently visited Inverness prison to see Ian Ban, an old friend who had been sentenced to 21 days for stealing a sheep. Alec says that he advised his friend that when he next needed some mutton that he couldn’t afford he could avoid a jail sentence by buying the sheep – and then not paying for it.
He jocularly added that he had also told his friend that he was a baa baa boy, and that he mutton do that!
The Reverend Eachainn ‘Fearailhe’ MacDonald, the new young Free Church minister at Kyles Mor, appears to be in more trouble. Listeners will recall that we recently broadcast a story we had received from our most regular and prolific contributor, Maighdeann Mairi ‘Nighean Ioseph’, two weeks ago, regarding her having witnessed the minister’s bicycle parked all night against the fence outside the cottage belonging to ‘Flash Alice’ (as she is popularly known), the young model who took up residence in our community a few months ago.
We have just received an anonymous report – from a very reliable source – that the same bicycle is now to be seen outside Mairi ‘Nighean Ioseph’s’ cottage, where it has been parked since 9 o’clock last night. In reply to our telephone call to Mairi a few minutes ago, she said that she had already heard actionable allegations about her conduct; that she knew who the alligators are and will be taking action against them!
There has been a report that the janitor in our secondary school has discovered what appears to be a spy hole bored into the wall of the senior girls’ shower room. I personally spoke with Sergeant Alasdair ‘na Ton’ a few minutes ago and he informed me that he and all available members of his staff would be deployed to look into this as soon as possible.
I also took the opportunity to ask him for his comments on the story that two salmon had been seen early one morning recently, hanging on the handle of the Police Station door. He strenuously denied that this had anything to do with his investigation of reports of poaching in the river but added that the salmon had been a welcome change from the venison that he and his wife had been eating for some time now.
There have been no new developments on the rumours that the new door on the henhouse belonging to ‘Coinneach Beg, Mac na naigh’, our local grave digger, closely resembles the lid of a coffin. ‘Coinneach’ steadfastly refuses to comment on this.
We, at this radio station, are quite disappointed that no-one has responded to our request to hand in any scrap paper to Iain ‘Botach na Gleann’, who lives alone at the head of the glen. Iain is a confirmed pipe smoker who needs a lot of spills to re-light his pipe which, as he is now a bit short of breath, goes out regularly. He has, we are told, had to resort to making spills from the old family Bible and has now smoked his way through to Jeremiah!
In deference to, and as a sign of its great and increasing wealth the residents of Leurbost on our neighbouring Isle of Lewis are being agitated (we are told) by a movement of people wishing to start a Symphony Orchestra on the lines of the Boston Philarmonic model.
Appeals for instruments so far have led to contributions of three melodeons (one nearly new), a fiddle, and an accordion that has most of its keys intact; a drum (actually a criathar or sieve that was never perforated) and two dogs that bay in a mournful fashion at the full moon.
A conductor would be desirable but due to so many Jews having gone back to Palestine there may be some difficulty in getting one. At the moment the post is temporarily held by a Hearrach who lost his mind after the last Communions.
Seamus Beg, the local fish chandler, tells me that he was asked by the local doctor to radio out to inform Scaddan Dan, who was at sea in his fishing boat, that his wife had given birth to their first child. He was somewhat bemused when Dan, who hails from Harris, replied, very excitedly, shouting; “Oh that’s great news – great news indeed. But tell me, Seamus, am I a father or a mother?”
There was a wee bit of a disturbance in the village shop yesterday when the owner, ‘Iain na fear-buth’ showed off his new ham slicing machine and proudly told his customers that it: “Could give you fourteen different sicknesses!” Consternation reigned until someone remembered that Iain came originally from Uist and so, in common with most native Gaelic speakers from that area, he had difficulty with his diphthongs. A previous misunderstanding had occurred when he had related how, on the occasion of his first landing on the mainland from a ship he “Didn’t know whether to go Souse or Norse!” Iain also had greeted a visitor – whom he recognised, saying; “I sink I know who you are, are you one of the MacPhails from Norse Uist?” When the man admitted that he was, Iain carried on; “I sought so. Wass it you or your brother that wass drowned in the War?” He had also - on the occasion when a customer who was on holiday from England asked if he had any fish for sale - answered: “Ah well, the fishing hass been very poor lately, so all I have is two or sree Lyce or a few Saise!”
We were distressed to learn of the sad tale of the old lady who died recently in South Harris, in the croft where she had lived alone for many years. A coffin was ordered from Stornoway and it arrived with its lid on. Each of her two brothers, neither of whom had, of course, lived with her, thought that the other had coffined her. The mistake came to light when two days later one of the deceased lady’s grandchildren went around tidying up the house and in so doing found her granny still in bed, screened by the curtains.
I have just been told the sad tale of the botach who had left Ness in his native Lewis while still a young man and who now, living alone save for his faithful collie (as old in dog years as he was in human ones) in a tenement in New York who, feeling that his days on this Earth might now be few indeed, took an almost unbearable desire to taste just once more a guga – food of his youth. I am assured that the guga, which as I am sure you are aware, is a fledgling gannet, is very much an acquired taste!
He wrote to one of his young nephews in Ness, telling him of his plight and asking if he could help and to his great delight, not many days later, he received a parcel containing not only a pair of guga, but also – oh what a lovely thought on the part of his nephew - a generous boiling of potatoes that had, the enclosed letter informed him, just been dug from the old plot that had in his youth been so lovingly nurtured by the botach’s deceased mother.
That evening, with tears in his aged eyes he unwrapped the guga and washed them and the unpeeled potatoes carefully before putting them, in the same pot of water, on his old cooker.
Oh the memories that filled his mind as the smell arose from the pot; memories of his beloved mother – he could see her still in his mind’s eye as she stooped over the peat fire – and of his father and his siblings who waited at the table for her to serve the feast.
When it was ready, he sat at his small table and gave thanks for the food. His dim old eyes were by now flooded with memory induced tears but as he ate, he fed the guga bones to his old collie that sat by his chair.
When he had finished, he pushed his chair back but was surprised to see that the dog was licking his arse to put the taste from his mouth!
And now for the local weather report.
Seamus Og, our venerable village expert on weather, confidently reports that because the seaweed that hangs outside his porch is dry, it is not raining but that, as the sky is away to the north, there will be more weather tomorrow.