For me, a good book is essential. At the moment, the book taking pride of place on my bedside table is Crowdie and Cream by Finlay J. MacDonald.
A number of years ago, when I was still living in Scotland I flicked on to BBC Alba one night. Now I don’t have the Gaelic, but an appreciation of it with subtitles to support! This was where I first came across this fantastic story, so naturally, when I discovered it was based on a book, a couple months ago, I snapped up an old copy.
Finlay MacDonald transports you back in time to his childhood on the
Isle of Harris in the 1930s. His father on returning from the 1st World War, becomes a crofter in a new settlement on the island. This is a really interesting point in time, as this new community grows in a period of great change for the Islands with English slowly eroding Gaelic culture, and changes to transportation.
The family face economic hardship during the Great Depression. The moment he describes hearing his mothers tears splashing on the grill while she cooks is heartbreaking. However, there are moments of celebration of the Reiteach for James and Mary. The Reiteach is a party before the wedding, where a representative for the groom (the groom is not present) asks permission from the Father of the bride. Needless to say, much whisky is drank by the grown ups. James, the groom was set the task of babysitting Finlay and the other children to young to attend, with hilarious consequences.
This book really transports you back in time and I highly recommend it.