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What We Do In The Winter

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A podcast about the lives of the people of the isles of Mull, Iona, Ulva and Gometra.

A podcast about the lives of the people of the isles of Mull, Iona, Ulva and Gometra.
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A podcast about the lives of the people of the isles of Mull, Iona, Ulva and Gometra.




21 James Westland

In this episode I talk with James Westland of Tobermory. Born in a castle near Stirling, James, or Seamus as we know him, grew up around Alloa before going to Uni in St Andrews and then headed off shore and came back to land where he studied Gaelic at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, in Skye. It was at Sabhal Mor that he met Moira, who later became his wife. Eventually they chose to settle on Mull where they live to this day with their family in Tobermory. Our conversation moves between Seamus’ love of...


20 Bill O'Neill

In this episode I talk with Bill O’Neill of Ceann Cuin, near Penmore outside of Dervaig. Born in Stirling within spitting distance of the castle, Bill grew up in the Raploch. He was a soldier in Cypress and Libya, and on returning to the UK lived and worked in Sheffield, Stirling and then Sheffield again, before settling on Mull in 1989. Bill and his wife Jackie live in the house he built with his own hands over the course of 8 years, without the aid of power tools. We talk about his...


19 John MacDonald

In this episode I talk with John MacDonald. John grew up in Tobermory at Springbank. A haulier for the last 40 years and more, as you’ll hear John has a passion for the West Coast of Scotland, and Mull in particular. His interests stretch far and wide, and he knows so much about the people and history of our islands. Our conversation ranges from his grandparents, parents and siblings, to details of his working life, the Tobermory of his youth, his family and travels both local and more...


18 Catriona MacLeod

In this episode I talk with Catriona MacLeod . Catriona, is a singer and cabaret artist who goes by the name of Cat Loud when on stage. Catriona is part of the famous MacLeod family in Tobermory. We talk a lot about growing up as part of a well known family, and her childhood in Tobermory. We then venture further into her student days and talk about the growth and development of her performing career. If you’re curious about any of the subjects we talk about, please feel free to visit our...


17 Pat Morrison

In this episode I talk with Pat Morrison of Penmore, outside of Dervaig. Pat and I spoke in her home at Penmore Mill at the end of last October. Originally from Ayrshire, Pat came to Mull as an itinerant art teacher. Our chat covers all sorts of topics, from the poetry of Robert Burns, to student life in Edinburgh in the 60’s, Turus Mara - the family company, which takes you out to Staffa and the Treshnish Isles from Ulva Ferry, the travails of running a fish hatchery and a reminiscence...


16 Euphie Wood

In this episode I talk with Euphie Wood of Bunessan. I spoke to Euphie in her home the other day, at the start of January 2019. It was a great pleasure to spend time in Euphie’s company, although we’d met some time ago, we’d never really managed to have a proper chat. I’m delighted that we got the opportunity to speak together this week. I’m pleased to say that there’s a Gaelic section in this episode, too. If you’re curious about any of the subjects we talk about, please feel free to visit...


15 Sandy Brunton

In this episode I talk with Sandy Brunton of Fionnphort. Sandy talked to me over Skype from his home in the Ross of Mull in the middle of December. I’ve known Sandy and his wife Jane for a number of years, so it was great to get a chance to chat to him about his life and family history. We talk about how his family lived and worked in Mull in the past, his training as a boat builder on the Clyde. We get into some detail about the process of Salmon netting, which has answered a lot of...


14 Duncan MacGilp - Christmas Special

In this special episode I talk for a second time with Duncan MacGilp of Tobermory. I know so many of us hold Duncan with such great respect and affection that I thought it worth releasing this second interview as a wee festive treat. Thank you to Island Bakery, again, for sponsoring the podcast through the medium of Lemon Melts. Everyone who takes part in this podcast gets a box of Lemon Melts. It seems to be everyone’s favourite of their range! I’m particularly fond of an oat crumble...


13 Olive Brown

In this episode I talk with Olive Brown of Tobermory. Originally from Dundee, Olive met her late husband, Alasdair, whilst a student at St Andrews, and, after some time down south came to Tobermory to run Alasdair’s family’s shop – the iconic Brown’s on the main street. We talk about her life growing up in Dundee, her student years in St Andrews, the shop, Mull Museum, publishing and the Rural. Links for this episode: Dundee High School - https://www.highschoolofdundee.org.uk/ Tommy Steele -...


12 John Maughan

In this episode I talk with John Maughan of Croggan. Croggan is a small settlement on the Lochbuie estate, on the shores of Loch Spelve. Born in Edinburgh, John’s mother’s family originally comes from Mull, and he can trace his ancestry very far back indeed. John came to Croggan and the area as a child for holidays, and like so many people before and since, it got a hold of him, and he always longed to live here. I went to see John and his wife Cathy, at their beautiful home in Croggan...


11 Archaeology with Clare Ellis

In this episode I talk to Clare Ellis of Argyll Archaeology. We talk about the archaeology of Argyll, Mull, Iona and Lismore. Links with further information on the topics covered can be found on whatwedointhewinter.com There's a few too many links to put into this text, so do have a look at the website to get further under the surface. Many thanks!


10 Zelda Sawyer

In this episode I talk to Zelda Sawyer of Dervaig. Zelda, born in Australia and raised in England, has lived in the village for the last 40 odd years. For many years Zelda ran a craft shop from her home on the main street of Dervaig. She was also a key figure in the little theatre, running the box office from her front room, amongst other duties. In this conversation we chat about her life here on Mull, her working life away, her family and childhood, memories of local artists, characters...


09 Janet MacDonald

In this episode I talk to Janet MacDonald of Tobermory. Janet is a well-known figure in the local community, having grown up in the town. To many of the people of North Mull she’ll be long remembered as the Gaelic teacher at Tobermory High School. Janet is also well known in Gaelic circles for her singing, and her involvement with both the local and national Mòd. I spoke with Janet by the fireside at her home in Tobermory. Archie, Janet’s husband, was there with us, and he occasionally joins...


08 Roc Sandford

In this episode I talk to Roc Sandford of Gometra. Roc has owned Gometra since the late 80’s. He has had a long and interesting career as both a farmer and a publisher, as well as working on the board for an inner city affordable housing trust in London. His family history is both long and full of remarkable individuals. Both of his parents have had acclaim and critical success for their era defining work. His mother, Nell Dunn, wrote both Up the Junction, which was inspired by their...


07 Al Morrison

In this episode I talk to Alistair Morrison of Dervaig. Al's family holidayed in Dervaig when he was young, and eventually bought a cottage in the village. I was keen to talk to Al as he’s someone who has always longed to be here. His experiences in childhood and throughout his teenage years here left such a mark on him that he always wanted to come and live here. What interests me is the gap between his dreams and the reality of living here. We talk about how music and culture affect who we...


06 Alasdair MacLean

In this episode I’m delighted to say that I get the chance to talk with Alasdair MacLean. Alasdair was born in Dervaig, and spent his childhood around and about the village. He can trace his family in the area back to the early 1700’s. Alasdair is well known for his work as a fisherman, and his vast knowledge of local lore and tales. He’s a true tradition bearer. Our conversation covers a lot of ground, and we move from topic to topic fairly swiftly. Some of the things we talk about include:...


05 Anne Cleave

In this episode I talk with Anne Cleave. Anne and her husband Colin moved to Mull in the late 90’s and ran Round and About, a local newspaper, and published the red book, our local telephone book, amongst many other things. Our conversation goes into Anne’s life here, her working life before coming to Mull, the Salen Show, being the archivist at Duart Castle, and her studies with the open university, after retiring. Anne also talks about the death of her sister Elsie Frost, who was murdered...


04 Lucy MacKenzie

In this episode I talk to Lucy MacKenzie about her childhood, here on Mull at Calgary House, and her life in France, the USA and in Italy. Lucy runs a beautiful garden and B&B at Lip na Cloiche, near Ulva Ferry. http://www.lipnacloiche.co.uk/ More information on the Happy Valley murder, which Lucy mentions, can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy_Valley_set The book that Lucy’s work is featured in can be found here: Island Gardens:...


03 Nick Turnbull

Oyster farmer Nick Turnbull talks about his life here on Mull and how he's seen fishing and aquaculture change over the years. There's a very interesting ghost story and tales of characters, some of whom are no longer with us, and some of whom still figure largely in the lives of many. You can follow Isle of Mull Oysters on twitter on Gordon Turnbull's page https://twitter.com/gturnbull1 You can find a short film featuring Nick, Kenny and Gordon at work here:...


02 Morven Gibson

Our second podcast features Morven Gibson from Bunessan in the Ross of Mull. Morven is the General Manager with South West Mull & Iona Development In our chat we mention: https://swmid.co.uk www.mict.co.uk http://nwmullwoodland.co.uk/ https://ionavillagehall.org/ http://www.tobermoryharbour.co.uk/ Rural Housing Scotland Woodland Crofts Lesley Riddoch’s books Blossom McSmorgasboard For more info please visit https://whatwedointhewinter.wordpress.com/ Or follow the podcast on Twitter:...