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Annexe : contributions from the memories of others, which I am delighted to pass on.

- Woodhead Food Shop, from Helen Taylor.

Woodhead Shop owned by Mr William Giles, Fyvie. Shopkeeper Madge Morrison. Madge could count three columns of figures at the same time. £sd. Pounds, shillings and pence.

Sold loose biscuits, oatmeal, lentils, broth mixture. Sugar, Tea leaves in ¼ lb packets, Brooke Bond tea. . Coffee was not a regular drink. Lots of ingredients for home baking. Flour, caster sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda. Syrup, margarine, dried fruit, currants, sultanas and raisins. Spices ginger, mixed spice and cinnamon.

Cigarettes, Woodbines, Senior Service, Capstan brands were sold. Tobacco in the form of Bogey Roll was sold. I remember John Pratt cutting off bits and chewing it then spitting out the excess saliva.

Butter, home made cheese and eggs would be produced locally. Exchanged or bartered for groceries by the supplier.

Tinned fruit, peas, beans and big jars of loose boiled sweets.

Cheese in large blocks was cut into smaller pieces with a wire which never was washed as far as I can recall.

Paraffin was sold, filled from a tank in an outside shed into gallon tins brought in by the customer. Methylated spirit was sold for soaking the --- needed to warm the mantle before lighting the Tilley lamp.

There were no plastic containers.

Shop had an outside chemical toilet and no running water for hand washing. A basin with some cold water and a towel which was changed every few weeks.

No fridges or freezers. But the shop was facing north and was extremely cold. A stone floor and two long mahogany counters, one on each side of the door, with shelves and drawers behind them.

Small coal fire was lit on the very coldest of days.

No self service. Everything was asked for and served. Items were weighed on the scales (the scales had a ready reckoner for calculating the price per pound or ounce). Brown paper bags came in different sizes and when filled the name of the content was written on and priced. The items purchased were all written down, checked and totalled. No automatic tills or calculators were used.

Lots of customers kept a message book and purchases were written in it. Tallied up and paid once a week. Additional supplies and goods not stored at Woodhead were requested from the main shop in Fyvie and delivered the next day by van.

- Village "notables", from Gordon Simpson

You mention a few of the Fyvie "notables" of the day. To those perhaps I could add, Ninian B Wright, the Minister; Bob Mitchell, the Milkie; Bill Hay. the Joiner (at the bottom of Andrewsford Brae); "little" Mrs Simpson who dressed those bound for another world and Eddie Hacker who ran the bus depot amongst many others.

- Wedding tradition, from Gordon Simpson

I remember traditions also such as "blackin" when the bridegroom (usually on the night before his marriage) was chased, cornered and then covered in black shoe polish (blake as we called it) and paraded through the village.

- Telephoning, from Helen Taylor

There was a phone box in the village. The shop had a telephone and a few farm houses. Our house number was 250, Doctor 205, Police in Fyvie 222. No mobile phones. Residents in the village would ask us to phone for the doctor or other important messages and we would receive and pass on calls received for them. There was no idle chat or gossip on the phone.

The phone box was connected to the Fyvie exchange. It had an A and B button. Coins were inserted in a slot at the top and when the caller could hear the phone being answered, the A button was pressed to make the connection, button B was used to get your money back if no one answered. There were telephone poles every twenty five yards with the lines attached leading to the few houses which had a phone. (Now all underground).

[ I can add that the Fyvie Castle number was Fyvie 8 - not that I was in the habit of phoning the Laird, but I have an old letter-head in my possession. AG]

- Electricity, from Helen Taylor

The coming of electricity in 1955 and television ended local entertainment for a few years.

Prior to Electricity from the National Grid System, the farm and steading at Woodhead had a Delco lighting system... This provided one ceiling light, approximately 40 watts, in each room of the house. The engine room was situated in the house behind the kitchen. The smelly paraffin engine had to be crank started. The room had shelves filled with large rectangular glass jars. Each jar held distilled water or rain water. Light was restricted to an hour or so in the evening when the engine was on and spare energy was stored in batteries. No power was wasted. A strict "switch off the light" command was obeyed.

- Poetry, from Charlie Copeland (Charlie is the contributor, not the poet!)


     By the side o’ the Ythan, some miles frae the sea
     Stands a canty wee village, though ‘atween you and me
     It is scarce worth the name but ye a’ will agree
     That a big, little village is Fyvie

     They’re prood o’ their village, their kirk and kirk-yard
     Whaur the famed Tifty’s Annie sleeps ‘neath the green sward
     And their auld-fashioned castle whaur dwelleth the Laird
     O’ the big, little village o’ Fyvie

     Three wee grocers’ shoppies, a smiddy, a skweel
     They hae’ nae public hoose and it’s maybe as weel
     Though a big treacle can shelters mony a chiel
     That is fond o’ his dram aboot Fyvie

      A mullert, a baker, a soutar, that’ sa’
     They had a photographer noo he’s awa
     He aince had guid hopes but he verry soon saw
     There was little tae tak’ aboot Fyvie

     But for gossip and claik, why they carry the bell
     Frae an inch o’ a story, they seen spin an ell
     A’ their neebors’ affairs they can modestly tell
     And think it nae sin aboot Fyvie

     They’re clannish but what little placie is no
     Gin a stranger show face they’re a’ oot in a row
     Wi’ their hand ower their een they’re a’ in a go
     Tae ken fir he’s wintin in Fyvie

     They’re prood o’ their parson, he’s prood o’ his flock
     They’re a prood the gither, they’re a’ wir ain folk
     And they mairry through ither, Bess, Jean and Jock
     Nae a stranger’s admitted tae Fyvie

     Gin a medal be struck for pride and conceit
     And a’ the wide world alooed tae compete
     Ony judge wad declair that they couldna be beat
     And straightway award it tae Fyvie

     In conclusion, I hope ye’ll nae think me ower hard
     And leave me ootside when you mak’ your award
     Though I put forth nae claim tae be poet or bard
      I mysel’ am a native o’ Fyvie

James Cheyne,70 Jute St.,Aberdeen