Along the Pentland Road, 25 May 2017

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Sunday 30 May

Sunny and breezy today, a welcome change from the mist and rain of recent days. Last night was the Eurovision Song Contest, which has been going for more than 50 years. The UK entry came last, and the Dutch entry never made it to the final. The voting went as per usual, less on merit, more on neighbourliness. I'll have more later today, but will close this post with a breathtaking quote from the Napier Commission Report on South Uist.

Due to sheer poverty, the people of that island were reduced to feeding their children tea, rather than milk in the 1880s. A translator, acting for the Gaelic speaking witnesses at the inquiry, had this to say on the subject.

11529. Do you find that the children are properly clothed generally 1
—Well, upon the whole they are. You meet with exceptions, but upon the whole, they are fairly well clad. Of course there are cases where clothing is pretty scanty.

11530. You don't think they are so badly clothed that it has any generally injurious effect upon their growth or health ?
—I don't think so. It is insufficient feeding that has to do with their health, as I find, especially tea-drinking.

11531. A man to-day spoke about giving tea to the children. Is it common ?
—Quite prevalent.

11532. I suppose you don't consider that good for children ?
—I think it most injurious.

11533. In the absence of milk, what would you recommend them to drink?
—Beer, if they had cheap beer; certainly anything but tea. I think it is doing a great deal of harm to the people, especially to the rising generation.

11534. [...] At what age would you begin to give beer to the children ?
—At a year or two or three years of age. I think if there was cheap beer made it would be much healthier than living upon tea.


  1. my mind goggles at the thougt of giving two/three year olds beer

  2. I have been told that the beer the people in the above discussion talk about is actually seriously watered down. In 1883, water was the source of many a disease (e.g. typhus), and anything was better than water from a well or whatever.