Working on Wardhead Farm in Dufftown by Jean Ramsay

Jean started work at 14 in 1950 as a farm worker. She lived on the farm where her father was a tenant farmer. The farm grew hay, potatoes and turnips. There was also a small herd of 30 cows. The working day started with breakfast at 6 o’clock. This was usually brose, which is dry oatmeal with boiling water and salt added. Sometimes there was porridge. Her work included feeding and cleaning out he hens. The eggs were sold to the local grocer. They were free range eggs as the hens were kept in a shed and allowed to go out if they wished during the day.  Isobel also fed the cattle. She drove the tractors, by then there were no horses doing this work on this farm. Her Father showed her how to put on the equipment. She also did the cooking for everyone as there were no other employees.

When she was 20 she got married to a local young farmer she had met at a young farmers club. There were dances held in Dufftown at the Memorial Hall. Her husband had a croft. They had a large store for potatoes, turnips covered in straw. On bad winters the cattle stayed in the sheds. They made jam from their raspberries and apples. There was a milk house where they made their own butter and cheese.

Memory contributed by Jean Ramsey, Dufftown


George MacIntosh, Grocer by Jesse Stuart

Deschar Road in the Boat of Garten

Deschar Road in the Boat of Garten

Her family had moved to Boat of Garten from Cawdor. George McKintosh Grocers were in the Boat of Garten. They were a general store and sold newspapers as well as fresh fruit and vegetables. There was also pots and pans and haberdashery. Jesse started work there in 1951 at the age of 15. She had to cut the cheese to order and wrap it up.  There was also a slicing machine for bacon. Some items were already packaged up however many products still needed to be weighed. Sugar, cereals, barley, split peas, lentils, oatmeal and porridge oats.

Judith Meakin (left) and Jesse Stuart (middle)

Judith Meakin (left) and Jesse Stuart (middle)

Cheddar Cheese came in a truckle (cylindrical) with a gauze on it. Jesse was trained to use the machines and how to mark up the products for sale. The largest markup was on the china. There sometimes had Dairylea processed cheese but not Crowdie/ The Cheese was cut into wedges and wrapped in paper. Another cheese they stocked was Gorgonzola. Cold meat was cut into slices on a meat machine. There was ham, corned beef, chopped pork and luncheon meat.  Added flour to help clean the machine.

Jesse's cut on her arm from the tin of ham

Jesse’s cut on her arm caused by the tin of ham

One day Jesse cut her arm on a tin of ham. Someone gave her a lift to the nearest doctor in Grantown where she got stitched up. She had the stitches out the next time that Dr Williams was in the Boat of Garten.

The shop also sold mash for hens, corn and kibbled maize. It didn’t sell any butcher’s meat.

Memory contributed by Jesse Stuart from Tomintoul

Additional information
Tulloch Talk– more information about George MacIntosh and his van going around collecting eggs.

Frances Cruickshank’s first job in Cairnie

Boghead house near Cairnie which was an old shop and sub-post-office

Boghead house near Cairnie which was an old shop and sub-post-office

Frances Cruickshank worked as a shop assistant in the licensed grocer’s in Boghead House, Cairnie between Keith and Huntley. She started work when she was 15 and a half in 1956. She also worked in a post office cycling around farms delivering telegrams. She had to wait for replies to wedding invitations and deaths. When other people gave birth to a child she was very happy. Shops sold fruit, veg and bread was delivered to them in a basket but not wrapped. She had to slice the bacon, cut the cheese into pieces. There was cheddar and Crowdie.  She had to cut butter and put it in tubs. The sugar and flour was measured out then put into brown paperbags, which were sealed by folding over the top. Had to weigh out the oatmeal on old weighing scales. There was petrol pumps outside in the form of a hand pump.  There were very few cars usually owned by wealthy people. There were no other shops in the village. The butcher, baker and fish man all visited with their vans on a specific day of the week. The post lady may have brought the newspapers.  She stayed there until 1960 then her dad moved to Oldmeldrum. She helped him there and this is where she met her husband.

Memory contributed by Frances Cruickshank from Tomintoul