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islay video

Here's a card I made for my lovely studio mate, Lauren O'Farrell, who's having one of her tonsils removed today. Get well soon, Lauren!



My dad and his sister in Glasgow have been a-buzz about this video of the island where they grew up, Islay, in the Hebrides. It was filmed when he was a teenager, and he and my auntie recognise a bunch of the people in it.



It's so funny to think of my dad growing up there and talking like that. His dad was one of the three doctors on the island, and he used to go on rounds with him, so he would have seen a lot of these places. Now he's more American than the Americans. On our family visits to Islay, we've still run into people who remember his dad, and some who still speak Gaelic, which about half the kids in his school spoke as their first language. The school headmaster used to teach after-school Gaelic classes for those kids, but he could have been arrested if the government had found out. My dad has a lot of respect for him. The last time we visited, we arrived on Sept 11, 2001, which turned into a very surreal day and made for some long dinner conversations.


Two of the most colourful personalities include Burt Marshall, a hefty guy from Blackpool who owned the Machrie Hotel and golf course (which my great grandfather used to own). Mr Marshall wore a kilt every day, and almost always wore the sporan way off to the side or around the back, to keep it out of the way. His favourite phrase to use with his guests was 'If you don't like it, you can lump it', which pretty much summed up Scottish customer service of the era.

Another one was Bessie Williamson, who started out as the housekeeper for the guy who owned Laphroaig Distillery. But she got to be so good at running it that he left it to her when he died. Enter the Canadian chappie who you see at the end of the film, who says, 'I met a young lady down there...'. Dad chuckles, 'Yeah, she was 55.' Then I'm not allowed to blog the rest of it. Ha ha, island gossip. He sent me this link with more history about the distillery. I love Islay whisky, but I can never forget that my grandmother used to go down the road to Bowmore Distillery with a bucket to collect raw whisky for washing her windows. (Cuts the grease like nothing else, she said.)

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Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Jun. 16th, 2010 04:00 pm (UTC)
Islay
Hi, I enjoyed your blog post and thanks for linking to www.islay.tv (http://www.islay.tv). Best wishes Ron www.islayinfo.com (http://www.islayinfo.com)
jabberworks
Jun. 16th, 2010 06:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Islay
Great, it was very interesting to see the video, thanks for posting it!
joedecie
Jun. 16th, 2010 06:00 pm (UTC)
All my favourite whiskeys are from Islay.
jabberworks
Jun. 16th, 2010 06:44 pm (UTC)
Cool, Laphroaig is my favourite, what's yours?
joedecie
Jun. 16th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC)
Yeah Laphroiag is my favourite. Ardbeg is also my favourite. And Lagavulin is my favourite too (But is too expensive for me to buy)
notretro
Jun. 17th, 2010 04:06 pm (UTC)
i work for web design agency, and one of our clients is laphroaig. we do their website and what not for them. but i havent managed to get a trip up there !
jabberworks
Jun. 17th, 2010 04:21 pm (UTC)
Oh my goodness, you didn't do their 'Smoke on the Water' campaign in 2001, did you? That was island retro genius.

Thanks for adding me! :)
dlasky
Jun. 21st, 2010 07:53 am (UTC)
Islay
I have an armchair fascination with Scottish Isles (which I see in movies and in National Geographic) and have wondered which one your father is from. So nice to see this film! Thanks for your background stories too.

When the guy said "I met a young lady down there.." and then they cut to something else, I got the sense there was more to his story we weren't hearing. Thanks for a hint of it. I guess I'll never know the rest. :)

So interesting about the schoolmaster! If I'm ever in Scotland, I will visit Islay. Plus, my nextdoor neighbor LOVES Laphroiag.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )