Monday, 26 June 2017

Lillian Beckwith's Tales of Life On a Remote Hebridean Croft


I was trying to recall what first put me on to the books of Lillian Beckwith many years ago, most likely it was by happening to find a library book once that captivated me.  Whatever it was, I'm glad I made their acquaintance and collected them (though am still missing some other titles outside of this series), as they are a joy to read and have much humour and warmth and are filled with completely down-to-earth characters and amusing mishaps.  Despite the hard work and sometimes hardship, there's something alluring about someone taking off to a remote island or countryside and being free and getting by on their own, or nearly on their own, though this usually involves being blessed with the help of others (which is always reciprocated in the small community-people care about each other and don't want others to go without or be neglected).  Taking off to an old stone cottage in the remote Hebrides in Scotland for a doctor-ordered rest is just what Lillian Beckwith did in the beginning of this series, with book number one, 'The Hills Is Lonely', first published in 1959. 

At the beginning, when reading the offers for lodgings, in reply to her advert posted in a paper, this first one from a certain Hebridean crofter was the start of her new life: 

Dear Madam,    Its just now I saw your advert when I got the book for the knitting pattern I wanted from my cousin Catriona.  I am sorry I did not write sooner if you are fixed up if you are not in any way fixed up I have a good good stone house and tiles and my brother Ruari who will wash down with lime twice every year. Ruari is married and lives just by.  She is not damp.  I live by myself and you could have the room that is not a kitchen and a bedroom reasonable.  I was in the kitchen of the lairds house till lately when he was changed God rest his soul the poor old gentleman that he was.  You would be very welcomed.  I have a cow also for milk and eggs and the minister at the manse will be referee if you wish such.   Yours affectionately, MORAG McDUGAN
P.S. She is not thatched. 

 She loved it so much that she decided to stay and buy her own croft.  Her rest cure was abandoned as she found herself drawn in to working harder than she ever had in her life, and getting very healthy in the pure island atmosphere! And so this series continued on.


Here I will feature the lovely art on the dust jackets (for seven of the books) by Douglas Hall, which perfectly suits the stories. 


'The Sea For Breakfast'




'The Loud Halo'



'A Rope- In Case'


'Lightly Poached'



'Beautiful Just!'


'Bruach Blend'














2 comments:

  1. I'm looking forward to reading one or more of Lillian Beckwith's books. Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Hello, that's great, I'm sure you'll enjoy them!

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