Aileen was born into a farming family in Edinvillie in 1932. They owned Bush Farm in Edinvillie. Aileen’s first job was delivering pails of milk to three cottages in Edinvillie. Each house had their own pail (2 large and one small). Her Father milked their two Black Irish Cows each morning to fill the pails. From the age of 8 or 9 Aileen carried the three pails with her on her way to the local primary school in Edinvillie. The three families (Hume, Ellice and Grays) lived in Milton of Edinvillie and everyone spoke Doric. Each day Aileen was paid 6d per pail for the milk. At the end of each schoolday she returned to pick up their clean empty milk pail ready for the next day’s milk. Other people had their own cow to provide their milk. Milk would vary in consistency such as when the cows went out to grass in the summer. Her Father grew different types of grass for the cows to eat. Once she was ill and unable to do her round and they gave her the money anyway. She thinks her Father took the milk. She felt very guilty because she hadn’t delivered it herself.
Milltown of Edinvillie Primary school © Copyright Dave Fergusson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
At that time in the 1940s Edinvillie Primary School had about 40 children. There had been 70 children in her Father’s time there. It closed in 2000 when there were only 9 pupils. It had a Big End and a Wee End for the younger children (4 1/2 upwards). Each day Aileen took a bottle of milk (usually a camp coffee bottle). Many children took half full used bottles of whisky for their milk. This was placed on the windowsill, which could sometimes be in the full sun. The children also took a play piece to eat and nothing else for the day at school. It could be a hard boiled egg, a softie with butter and jam or an apple if it was the season. Aileen met an old school friend recently who said she used to covet Aileen’s regular hard boiled eggs (a benefit of living on a farm). At Bush Farm they also made their own butter and jam (only limited by the sugar which was on ration). During the winter months the children were provided with a soup dinner paid for by funds raised by the Soup Dinner Committee.They made money from whist drives and concerts. Local farmers donated vegetables including neeps and tatties. The money raised was used for the purchase of peas, beef and bread. It also paid for a cook and a set of little soup bowls. Aileen remembers eating lentil and bacon, broth, yellow split pea soup and tattie soup. Being further from the coast they didn’t have Cullen Skink (smoked haddock soup). The bread came from a bread van from Walkers of Aberlour. It arrived on Tuesday and Friday travelling round all the houses. Although many people often made their own bread they still bought softies, plain loaves, butteries, and queen cakes.
When she was 9 she had another job in the fields of the farm. She learnt how to build sheaves of oats and barley. The farm had a Clydesdale Horse and a 2 wheel wooden cart. The sheaves were forked into the cart when Aileen stood. She had to place them head down to “heart it up first”. She created circles turning round and round the bottom of the cart in a spiral. The heart holds everything together and eventually everything came level inside the cart with Aileen climbing on top. At the farmyard everything was lifted off and formed into a stack. During the farming year there were (and still are in places) ploughing matches and stacks were exhibited.
Aileen stayed on at school into secondary at Aberlour and completed her Higher Leaving certificate. She was not very good at maths. Mr Miller was her Maths teacher. She sat the Lower Maths in secondary in Class 4. She then went on to do her Higher English, Arithmetic, French, German, Latin and History in Class 6 at Secondary. She went on Aberdeen University to study Arts and later a Masters with honours in English Language and Literature. Her first year involved the study of English, French and German. Second yr- Advanced English, German and Latin. Third year- Junior Honours year- English and Moral Philosophy. Final year- Honours English. She then completed her teacher training at Aberdeen Training College in Psychology, Education and Biology. Her first job was at Narin Academy teaching Higher English. She stayed there her whole teaching career. She did stop in 1961 to help her mother on the farm after her Father suddenly passed away. By then the family had two farms, Bush and Upperton. Mr Grieve was a manager and he ran both farms for them. In 1965 her mother died and she returned to teach at Nairn Academy commuting from Bush Farm. Later she got married to James “Grantie” Garrow and he moved into Bush farm. He came from a local farming family, the Grant-Garrows and she had known him since they were both children.
Memory contributed by Aileen Garrow from Fochabers
The Tale of the Cheeryble Grants written by Aileen Garrow
“Arranging the sheaves on the cart was very skilled as well – as with rick-building the sheaves had to be arranged carefully or the cartload or rick collapsed” source: Dorset Life website
Another link to an e-book about stacking sheaves
Stacking on a two wheeled cart- some pictures of farming in the 1930s.
Edinvillie 50th Dinner Dance
Aileen spoke at the dinner on 14th August 2009 about the early days of the Village Hall.
“Mr Burns then called upon Aileen Garrow, a former resident of Edinvillie, who spoke about the early days of the Hall, remembering many of the personalities who had contributed to its successes.”
History of Edinvillie School
Edinvillie History website featuring the school
Here is a website with information about the History of Edinvillie School.