A pearl fishing success; anecdotes and reminiscences of trav...
Date October 1978
Track ID 55961
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A pearl fishing success; anecdotes and reminiscences of travelling in Ireland and playing the pipes for a living.

When Alec Stewart was a boy his father was pearl fishing on a wet day. The water was too murky to see the bottom, but he got a high grade pearl by groping for shells with his hands. Belle Stewart comments that when Travellers got money in those days, they went to the pub with it, as they did not need much money to obtain the necessities of life.

Alec tells an anecdote about a time in Ireland when his bagpipe chanter was broken. He convinced an old woman that she was deaf and that was why she hadn't heard it. She gave him one and sixpence. Belle adds that she got another thruppence for reading a man's fortune, and that one and ninepence bought them as much as they could eat for a weekend, plus cigarettes. Any farmhouse in Ireland would give them a hen in return for playing the pipes. Alec recalls a time in Ballymoney when a farmer invited friends round for a ceilidh. The farmer was keen for them to stay in the area. Their daughter Cathie was upset by the farmer's turn of phrase when he said to Alec, "Tell me this and tell me no more." Alec and Belle reflect on their days in Ireland and Scotland.

Item Subject/Person

Stewart, Alec [Bidley/Biddley]; Stewart, Cathie