Old Neil outside Beehive Cottage
Photo: Christine MacFadyen © PPHA
Written on the back of this photo is the legend 'Old Neil Carbuncle – son of Big John, Beehive Cottage'. Old Neil stands on the left of this photo. His house was only called Beehive Cottage after the War [ see Brief History of Pennyghael] and older folk just knew it as "Neilly's House".
Bertie Black remembered : " Neill's sister Mary was in service in Glasgow. I remember her as being a very nice lady, a great baker! Once a year, for two weeks, she came back home. The first thing she did was to scour through the house – then she started baking. My brother and I always went to see her two or three time while she was there, such good cakes!
The house was beautifully made and in good repair. It was thatched and the interior was better than Ann Kennedy’s at Pennycross. Inside there were two rooms, a living room and a bedroom, with a dividing wall ending short of the door. The fire was at one end. Above the ‘lobby’ was a hatch into the loft space, where Neilly kept all sorts of things, lobster pot, nets etc. There was no piped water and I remember a white enamel pail for the water on a stool at the door. They also kept hens"
Jenny Watson remembered children climbing up the back of the old cottage- it was built close to the cliff- and pouring water down the chimney!
"I remember this as a Hallowe'en trick and remember the same thing being done at the Smiddy and Post Office. That house, being higher, the gig had to be moved to the back of the house and then planks put up to get to the ridge. Another trick was for Mrs. Stoddart to be lured outside on some pretext while one of her Clootie Dumplings was boiling in a large pot on the stove. The dumpling was then exchanged for a large stone which continued to rattle away in the pot until Mrs. Stoddart was ready to remove it in an hour or so! Only then was the trick revealed. A nastier trick was to cover the chimney pot with a sod so that the smoke went back into the house – not so easily forgiven, that one!"