This Tuesday, we were enjoying a local village magazine from Arnol/Bragar/Shawbost. It had some wonderful old small ads from the 1960s, which we spent a long time reading, while munching on barley and cherry scones.
‘Barley doesn’t have much flavour, I used to cook with it but the cherries are a good idea’, a lady from Bragar explained.
It was a wonderful insight into the economic landscape of the 1960s because the salaries were listed, and we had a feel for the kinds of jobs available at the time. A manager for the Daliburgh care home (called an ‘old people’s home’ in the ad) earned around £600 a year and had to spend around £200 of that on accommodation and board. There were ads for waitresses and housekeepers, a nanny (‘must be fond of children’ – really? You actually had to state that in advertising for a nanny?), bar, hotel and restaurant staff, a night sister on the hospital maternity ward.
There was a recipe for a very frugal version of a chocolate cake from the London ‘Ministry of Food’. Water instead of milk, cocoa instead of chocolate. Margarine instead of butter. I’m sure, in the Hebrides, butter would have been easier to come by.
11 of us gathered this time, including staff, people from the ward and visitors.
We met about a special NHS Western Isles memory box after the ceilidh.