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A MALLAIG BOYHOOD
John Alexander MacKenzie
Flashbacks series no. 5

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Subject: Scottish History
Demy octavo
ISBN: 1 898410 93 3
174 pages
Illustrated: 8p b/w
Reprint April 2002
Paperback £7.99


A splendid reconstruction of life in a West Coast fishing village between the wars

John Mackenzie’s recollections are sharp and vivid, and of people as well as places: of his railwayman father, for example, a man who hailed from Skye and whose definition of DIY appeared to be ‘Don’t Involve Yourself’; who would fish enthusiastically for ‘Jerusalem haddies’, which were red in colour, or a blue fish he called sea soo, but despised the humble cod or haddock, and always threw them back. On his father’s office desk there stood a wooden box full of pen nibs, hundreds of them all shining and golden and all different, and on the side of the box the legend:

They came as a boon and a blessing to men
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley Pen.

Boon and blessing to men or not, they certainly caught the imagination of one small boy!

Recollections such as these – of schooldays, children’s entertainments, Sunday school picnics, Mallaig and the Railway, early motoring, the Big Pier, herring fishing and the Wee Pier – all of these spring vividly to life. It all adds up to a splendid reconstruction of life in a West Coast fishing village between the wars.