Monday, 13 April 2009

Romance and realism

I passed this ruined cottage on Saturday. I can't help thinking every time I pass it.... what happened to the people who once lived in it.
I've no idea how old it is but it looks at least 100 years? I have a romantic notion that the family once ran a wee croft which was 'cleared' for sheep, and they jumped on a ship in Dundee and headed for the good ol' USA or Canada or Australia. Their descendants now own ginormous ranches with 40,000 head of cattle and an oil well or two.
Or possibly they just snuffed it and not even the family wanted the shithole.......

For more romantic my world posts click here


  1. I'll be right back...
    [she's off googling 'croft']

  2. Ok...

    That's a wonderful building. I love those stone walls and that chimney is something else!

    I wonder about that sort of social history stuff too. My grandparents migrated from Scotland to Canada. I never got a chance to ask them why they 'jumped on a ship.' Was it a push or a pull? It's actually kept me up at night, wondering. Actually, I think that's partly why I ended up in the UK.

    Anyways, time to go check on the herd. ;-)

  3. Aha.... so you are Scottish! Do you know which part of Scotland they came from? That info would prob determine whether they were pushed or pulled.
    Do you have a wee man who checks the wells every night?
    The chimney is magic, isn't it, how it's survived the gales etc, I'll never understand.

  4. Well, half of me I guess (the weird half) and some Scottish people that I've met have said that oh no, I can't be Scottish.

    They were from Motherwell. I went there as I just had to see it. I got off the train and the first thing I saw was a very drunk elderly man who had just wee'd himself. That sort of summed up the visit for me!

    Still, the people were very nice and the country was positively gorgeous. As much as I disliked the city, I still wonder why they just didn't move to Edinburgh (like they should have, dammit!). Perhaps that's where I get my itchy feet.

    Have your ancesters been in Forfar forever?

  5. Hmmm ... Motherwell. Doesn't really clear things up as far as pushed or pulled is concerned. Do you know what your grandfather did for a living?
    Do you know much about the Scottish (Highland Clearances)?
    At the risk of offending Motherwellians, it's not the finest area in Scotland, and I can imagine your first impressions.
    Funnily enough we dont really take ancestry very seriously in Scotland. One grandfather was from Forfar and the other from Dundee.
    I'd like to imagine my great, great, great...etc grandad was one of those who kicked the Northumbrians arses.

  6. lol... giving them a good upsinge!

    IRRC, my grandfather was a steelworker at least at one point.

    My knowledge of the Highland Clearances is not very good, to be honest. Something I have heard about but I do not really have a thorough understanding. I hadn't even thought about that in terms of my grandfolks' migration. Hmmm.... thanks for that!

    A lot of my UK friends do not really think about their ancestry, in my experience. Same with some Japanese friends. I think being in a 'new' country and being a Heinz 57 stirs identity questions. Maybe.

    When you're wandering around a croft or a wee burn, do you wonder why you're there? (God I sound flakey!) lol... I mean, my grandfolks might have just migrated cos they were bored and I'm now having to google words that they used everyday... make sense? (no! lol...)

    Ok... I'm blethering away... ;-)

  7. 'Blethering'..... nice one!

    My grandfather was a Tinsmith all his life, not a kick in the arse away from a Steelworker.
    I posted something recently in which I quoted The Proclaimers song 'Letter from America'. Can't remeber which one it was but I'll find it.
    Point is, the song was about the similarities between the Highland Clearances and the effects that Thatchers political catastrophies were having on Scotland in the 80's. Find it on You Tube.
    I'm sure it will have some resonance for you.....
    But I understand what you mean about a sense of place.

  8. 'not a kick in the arse away from a...'
    lol... :D

    I found the video (and lyrics)... check out the building at the 0.45 second mark.

    Thank you for that. I got a bit teary-eyed watching and listening. Not that I dislike where I'm at but I don't have a strong sense of place and sometimes that eats at me. I think understanding my grandparents' world a bit better might help put it in a better light (for me). Of course, learning more about that time in Scottish history when I actually lived on that side of the Atlantic would have made sense but in typical ms toast burner fashion...

    Looking again at your photos, I now see so much more than a ruined cottage. S'funny...

  9. hah...while we think it looks country-charming, it most likely isn't...we often attach more to places than called for. it is the people that we should have the attachment to :)

    anyway...lovely post...always enjoy your blog.

  10. I prefer to believe the more romantic story. And it HAS to be more than 100 years old, doesn't it? It's interesting,and I would wonder every time I saw it, too.

    I must also comment on your Torridon post. The pictures leave something to be desired??? They're wonderful! They make me want to see it with my own eyes!

  11. Yep their descendants might be living anywhere near me!

  12. Sometimes I wish I'd followed my cousins to Canada. Too late now - this is home - but at least one of my children is planning to follow.

  13. Old ruined settlers' or crofters' cottsges always make me sad thinking of the herculean effort of building them, loving them, glorying in the achievemen of a substantial roof, loving and raising children, only to have them fall into ruin and stone by stone return to the ground again leaving no trace of those who lived and loved in them.