Tolsta District News 1937 as reported in the Stornoway Gazette
FOWLS FOR THE HOSPITAL
Now that each section of this area has exhausted its quota of fowls for the Hospital, it is hoped some other district will continue the supply. Doff hats to the Collectors!
The house-to-house Collection here on behalf of the Bernera fire victims should buy a few yards of sarking. Neighbourliness is not dead yet, excepting of course, the moving spirit that was heartless enough to send the following pleasant information on Christmas Eve to many Fishermen and Fishergirls:- "Pending decision by the statutory Authorities, payment on your claim for Unemployment Benefit will not be made on and after 18th December, 1936." As though relief from worries was to be denied "the children of the dead end" in the wind-up of this eventful year. If this "seasonal workers" decision is confirmed, none of those affected will be entitled to Unemployment assistance in the usual manner. So if your "Happy New Year to you" is returned with flashing eyes and a scowl, you'll know you've met a Fisherman.
THE NEW YEAR
Most of the vessels in Broad Bay welcomed the New Year by "Blawin the whistle" but we cannot say if the trawler that was prowling close inshore without lights helped in the din. It is very unlikely. In the early morning of Monday, 4th January another one passed very close to the only boat that was out from the village - also without lights. Something wrong somewhere.
Mr. John MacRitchie, our Postman, has not to mop his forehead so often now that the Festive season is past. When he recalls the lean days on black bread and skilly during four years in an internment camp in Holland, he finds an added pleasure in footing out with parcels of New Year cakes, etc. Mr. MacRitchie was the youngest member in the R.N. Division.
Mr. Murdo MacRitchie, New Tolsta and Miss Catherine MacLeod, 2 Hill Street, were married on 7th January. Rev. R. MacKenzie officiating.
The Fisherman's friend, Captain Murray, of the Fishery Q boat "Vigilant", paid us an unexpected visit during the weekend, hiring a private car solely to investigate, reports of alleged illegal trawling. He evidently means to make our boys a hot spot for trawlers. The trawling menace is certainly not what it was and in the absence of a pier, we have ceased to worry about it. We shall surely add that for patrolling to be one hundred per cent effective we would require an additional "Vigilant" as vigilant.
DAY OF HUMILIATION
Thursday, 14 January, was observed by the Free Presbyterians as a day of humiliation and prayer "for the state of religion in our midst as a Church and the low state of religion in our nation."
IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
We are gratified to read in the daily Press that their Majesties King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth have decided, not to invite guilty parties in divorce cases to Royal Functions. This is a firm step and a definite lead in the way of righteousness.
A DISHEARTENING EXPERIENCE
On Thursday morning, while it was still dark, the "Faithful" was launched safely and two of the crew remained behind to help launch the "Hopeful". The latter was caught by heavy breakers and carried a distance of fifty yards to be flung with little ceremony against some boulders. Fortunately, none of the crew were injured. "Faithful" put to sea, but after the crew set their lines, a southerly gale sprang up and they were obliged to cut away and run for the shore, only to find on reaching the haven that they would have to dodge about for an hour, awaiting ebb tide, to avoid being smashed to pieces. Truly a heart-breaking experience. They are indebted for the recovery of their lines to the Fishery drifter patrol, who discovered and hauled them off Cellar Head (five miles from where they were set) and landed them on Saturday, disclaiming salvage, "bar a fry of flukes."
Last Friday at 6.30 pm., a Meteor about four times as big as a star of the first magnitude, was seen here directly overhead, passing from east to west. It was of a bright and greenish colour and had no tail.
IN THE MERCHANT SERVICE
With the revival of trade, more than fifty Seaman from the village are employed in the Merchant Service and there are good prospects that others will a berth during the coming Spring.
We have become so accustomed to stormy weather that a 60-mile-an-hour gale is hardly noticed, except by the consequent absence of fresh fish from the menu. The famous French Meteorologist who predicted that this Winter would be the most severe since 1564, as far as gales are concerned, is not far out.
Donald MacDonald, 1, and Catherine Morrison, 5 North Tolsta, were united in marriage on January 28th. Rev. R. MacKenzie, officiated.
PIERS AND FERRIES BILL
The Piers and Ferries Bill is having a quick passage through the House of Commons. No wonder, the same craft won't seek an anchorage at Tolsta and small-line fishers are being dispersed to other climes.
A TOLSTA VIEWPOINT
A Town Councillor, has a poor opinion of us country yokels when he says that most Lewis people would sign anything if asked to do so by a Minister. But the opinion of 10,000 signatories, however contemtible, ought to have received more serious consideration than the unanimous decision "to take no action."
Still another marriage has taken place here and the Rev. R. MacKenzie, though unwell is kept on the move. On Thursday last, Mr. Angus MacIver, 17 North Tolsta were married.
'Flu appears to be a convenient label for any and every illness one's bones are broken. Many families are laid up here.
THE CORONATION OATH
The news of the alteration of the Coronation Oath has been received with surprise and concern by many here, but apart from meagre press reports, we cannot say to what extent that affects us as Protestants. Many readers may be interested in reading for themselves our progress or the lack of it, as far as that Oath is concerned in past years.
The original Oath 1689, reads thus - "I do solemnly and sincerely in the presence of God, profess, testify and declare, that I do believe that in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, there is not any Transubstantiation of the elements of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, at or after the consecration thereof by any person whatever and that the invocation or adoration of the Virgin Mary, or any other Saint and the Sacrifice of the Mass, as they are now used in the Church of Rome, are superstitious and idolatrous and I do solemnly profess, testify and declare that I do make this declaration and every part thereof in the plain and ordinary sense of the words read unto me, as they are commonly understood by English Protestants, without any evasion, equivocation or mental reservation whatsoever and without any dispensation already granted me for the purpose by the Pope, or any other authority or person whatsoever, or without any hope of such dispensation from any person or authority whatsoever and without thinking that I am or can be acquitted before God, or man, or absolved of this Declaration or any part thereof, although the Pope or any other person or power whatsoever, should disperse with, or annul same, or declare that it was null and void from the beginning. Since 1910, the Coronation Oath is as follows:- "I do solemnly and in the presence of God profess, testify and declare, that I am a faithful Protestant and that I will according to the true intent of the enactments which secure Protestant succession to the throne of my Realm, uphold and maintain the said enactments to the best of my power according to law."
A furious gale from the North-North-East, sprang up during the weekend and accompanied by sleet and rain, March entered like a roaring lion. Mountainous seas are sweeping the coast.
A MODERN MIRACLE
The homecoming of Mr. Donald Campbell, 47 North Tolsta, is a triumph of modern science and the Lewis Hospital. Admitted some time ago as a Haemophilia (bleeding) case, his chance of recovery was considered slender indeed. When he had literally bled dry, he underwent a delicate operation that was a complete success. Transfusion was successfully performed, with almost magical effect, as Mr. Campbell recovered strength and vitality immediately and is today looking and feeling quite well and suffering no unpleasant after effects. If Campbell was Lord 'Arfamillion and the "case" staged in London, it would make front page news in our dailies and the successful Surgeon would have had a Knighthood conferred upon him!
Owing to unfavourable weather conditions, fishing has been at a standstill for some time now.
The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was dispensed in the F. P. Church last Sabbath. The Rev. M. Gillies, Stornoway, officiated, being assisted by the Rev. D. N. MacDonald, Portree. Owing to the prevalence of 'flu in Lewis, very few visitors were present. Free Church folk wishing to attend Communion have to travel seven miles to Back. In the local Meeting-house Rev. A. MacLeod, F.S.A., Cross, preached on Thursday and Rev. R. MacKenzie, Back, on Sunday. In Tolsta the sectarian spirit is still minus a limb, though we fratenise in everything except in the public worship of God.
RESEARCH OR SPORT?
The weather is moderate and three boats which were at sea on Monday night secured good catches of very small haddocks. The Fishery Research boat "Explorer" was in the bay for a few hours. Marked fish are very seldom caught hereabouts, though we have known one or two instances. Scientific research has it's place in the order of things nowadays, though ordinary folk like us consider it a different kind of sport for the rich.
A CORONATION CROWN
We suggest as a Coronation gesture by the Authorities concerned, that they "crown" and lengthen the stone parapet at Glen Tolsta Bridge. It is a dangerous bend at best and it is decidedly more dangerous than need be, because a stone prapet about one foot higher than the middle of the road is all that gusrds against a possible plunge into the burn more than twenty feet below. For skidding buses and for cyclists with faulty brakes, it is a real danger.
THE HOOD TO THE RESCUE
Ravens have been very destructive here this month and many lambs have been killed. The timely arrival of a Crofter in one instance at least, saved a lamb. The attacking ravens employed the following stratagem. While one hopped up to the sheep and continued flapping it's wings to draw the mother's attention from her trembling charge, another made rapid swoops to strike home. As stated, the "Hood" saved the situation.
On two successive days last week, we saw several flocks of wild Geese coming from the mainland and flying towards Muirneag. We counted thirty-two in one group, eighty-two in a second and approximately one hundred and fifty in a third, as well as many lesser flocks.
A school of basking Sharks were seen off Longsands within the last few days and we expect next week's fishing will show if they are among the herring or not. Local Fishermen are taking advantage of this good weather to give a splash of colour to their motorboats in anticipation of a better season. Though the Fishery Board reported "Scottish Fishermen earned more during 193-!" we fear herring fishing has fallen on evil days. In any case ninety per cent of our youth seek more remuerative days.
THANKS TO THE PROVOST
For voicing his opinion that he does not want a seaplane service in Lewis. We thank Provost Smith and the Harbour Commission. It is always best to know where you stand, before you allow the noose to go on your neck.
It may be news to most Tolsta folk to know that we as a village have cost the Lewis Hospital from 1st January, 1937, the sum of £60, while our contribution during the same period was only £28. I. suggest that every Tolstonian in employment at home or abroad, transcribe the sum of 2s 6d as a Coronation gift, to wipe out our debt.
As long as "And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord" can be said of their Majesties we shall say, "Long may they reign."
WHO IS THIS MR. BALDWIN?
"A son of Ramsay MacDonald!" The foregoing heard recently shows that some of us are not too interested in politics. Still, we would have felt happier if Mr. Baldwin was not present at the Duke of Norfolk's party on the last Sunday of his Premiership. Keep clear of these wheels within wheels list.
Miss Joan MacIver, daughter of the late Kenneth MacIver, 38North Tolsta and Murdo Smith, 11 New Tolsta, were married on 25th June, at 6 Kennoway Drive, Partick, Glasgow, (the home of the bride's aunt). Later that evening, the newly married couple who were for many years as far apart as Canada is from India, set out to make their home in Tolsta, where their childhood days were spent. "Gu ma fada beo sibh agus ceo as bhur tigh."
After encountering heavy shoals of dogfish with disastrous results to small lines, our Fishermen are now getting excellent catches of flounders. The elusive herring having turned up once again, local motor boats have had a goodweek, though not as good as those among us on holiday with pay. A goodly number of these who have and some who have not made good, are with us again. To all of them we say - Welcome Home!
NORTH TOLSTA PUBLIC SCHOOL PRIZE DAY
North Tolsta School closed for the Summer vacation on Thursday, 1st July. Rev. Roderick MacKenzie, Back, briefly addressed the children and distributed the Prizes to the various Classes as follows.
ADVANCED DIVISION (CLASS 2)
1. Alick M. Nicolson
REGULAR ATTENDANCE - Alick Campbell
COOKERY - Annie MacIver
ADVANCED DIVISION (CLASS 1)
1. Dolina Nicolson
2. Donald Graham
3. Christina I. MacLeod
4. Jessie MacDonald
PERFECT ATTENDANCE - Christina I. MacLeod
REGULAR ATTENDANCE - Donald MacLeod, Angus Morrison, Jessie MacDonald,
RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE - Margaret Ann MacKay
1. Isabella Smith
2. Alexander Graham
3. Catherine MacIver (b)
4. Christina MacMillan
SPECIAL PRIZE FOR DILIGENCE - Alick Neil Campbell
PERFECT ATTENDANCE - Catherine MacIver and Angus Murray
RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE - Mary Campbell
SEWING - Murdina MacIver
HANDWORK - Donald MacKenzie
DRAWING - Torquil MacIver
1. Margaret Campbell
2. Murdo MacIver
3. Catherine Murray
4. Mary Murray
PERFECT ATTENDANCE - Margaret Campbell, John Angus MacIver.
REGULAR ATTENDANCE - Henrietta Murray, John MacDonald, Angus Allan
RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE - Isabella MacIver
1. John Murray
2. Margaret Ann MacLeod
3. Isabella MacLeod
4. Johanna MacLeod
PERFECT ATTENDANCE - Kenneth Murray
REGULAR ATTENDANCE - John Murray, Johanna MacLeod, Katie Ann
Morrison, Johanna Nicolson.
SPECIAL PRIZE FOR DILIGENCE - Annie Campbell
RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE - Alexander Murray
1. Donald J. MacLeod
2. Donald A. MacKenzie
3. George MacLeod
4. John A. MacMillan
GOOD CONDUCT - Mary Finlayson
REGULAR ATTENDANCE - Donald A. MacKenzie, Donald J. MacLeod, John
A. MacMillan, Ian A. Murray.
1. Margaret M. MacKay
2. John MacLeod
3. Roderick J. MacLeod
4. Donald MacIver
5. Alexander Murray
REGULAR ATTENDANCE - Angus N. MacKay, Isabella MacIver.
RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE - Mary MacLeod
1. John MacIver
2. Annie MacIver
3. Isabella Campbell
4. Angus MacKay
5. Kenneth Campbell
PERFECT ATTENDANCE - John MacIver, Angus MacKenzie.
REGULAR ATTENDANCE - Joan Murray, Malcolm MacIver, John MacKay,
Angus MacLeod, John Murray.
RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE - Mary MacLeod