Tatty Hoakers

I asked my brother Liam to recall what it was like to have left Springtown to go to the spud fields of Scotland to earn a wage.This is Liams story.

Hello everyone,?just trying to get my head around some of this,it was nearly 50 yrs ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!,I must have been only 3 when I went i was around 16 when i went(I only went the once,once was enough) which would make it around 1962.From memory i went with Seamus Feming,Willie Divin, Francie Frandon, bap.and bigger Morrisson. I don't recall who organised the trips though the name of Joe mc Gill sticks in my mind .I can't remember exactly how long it took but if my memory serves me right we got the scotch(cattle ) boat to Glasgow and then a lorry to Maybole.I think we were travelling for the best part of 24hours.We went to Ayrshire to a farm outside of Maybole. The farms name was something like Castleview or Castlehill . The conditions on the farm were worse than the conditions in the Camp. When we arrived and were handed two sacks a large and a small one .We were told to fill them fullof straw and that these would be our pillow and our mattress.We were then given two horse blankets and told to go and make our beds.

Food was purchased from a mobile shop which called round twice a week,we got a sub of 10 bob(50pence) to get us through until our first wages.We lived in a big bothy(barn) good job it was summer.We had to work like dogs from 0700 to 1700 5 days a week.To make a few extra bob we would harvest the hay on a Saturday and Sunday.I am not quite sure about the wages but I think they were around 6 and 7 pounds a week all in.I used to send 30bob a week home(£1-50pence).?We used to go to mass on a Sunday morning.This would give us an oppurtunity to confess all the sins of the previous week but more importantly a chance to eye up the local talent.?Some of the memories that stand out to me are things like bap Morrisson recieving his first wage slip,he nearly cried, "were's the rest of it he shouted,"bap was well over 6ft and his back was breaking, I don't think he lasted too long.The other one was a Sunday after bringing in the hay the tractor was left outside the bothy and everybody was taking turns to ride it.I got my turn and i was doing great until I came to the front of the bothy,the drive up to the bothy was a steep angle with a 10' drop at either side,?anyway i drove up and put my foot on the brakebut the oul hoor dropped her 2 right side wheels over the drop andI was left hanging like a snaughter.Then the thing started rolling over and i knew i had to jump or be crushed so i jumped,funny how you remember things in slow motion at times like this because I saw seamus Fleming run out of the bothey and cover his head with his towel,he thought i was a goner,any way i landed a few feet from the wall and the tractor came after me.I heard a thud and waited for the inevitable crush but thank god it never came,it had landed on its nose and was staying there.You know what i done then? i climbed under the tractor and switched off the engine.I wouldn't say i done a runner but a couple of days after the?incident i suddenly got an invite for a wedding which i could not turn down and i was on the next boat to ireland,I got a letter from seamus fleming that this james bond look alike was out looking for me in the tatty fields,talk about shitting yourself.shortly after that your man arrived at the camp and started questioning me da.it ended up we had to go to an insurance office in derry where i had to tell my story again.?the upshot of it all was that since the keys were left in the tractor and it was common use for everybody they dropped the case and contrary to urban legend there were no RUC involvement,? ?  ?



{jcomments on}