An­other Gaelic speak­ing Glasgow taxi driver

The Oban Times - - Leisure -

As any High­lander who has had ex­pe­ri­ence of Glasgow taxis will know, the driv­ers reg­u­larly recog­nise and com­ment on a Highland ac­cent.

More of­ten than you may ex­pect, the taxi driver has gen­uine links to the High­lands and Is­lands. In the past six years, I have ended up singing a verse and a cho­rus of Eilidh with a taxi driver from Har­ris; I have been taken to the air­port by a gen­tle­man who reg­u­larly at­tends the Na­tional Mòd; and (in an un­for­get­tably sur­real mo­ment) I have blethered to a driver who had a strong Cock­ney ac­cent but who, on dis­cov­er­ing I spoke Gaelic, pro­ceeded to speak to me in his mother tongue with a strong Eriskay blas.

I had an­other such ex­pe­ri­ence at the week­end when my­self and Martin Gille­spie, from Sk­er­ryvore, jumped into a taxi head­ing into town. Be­fore we had ut­tered a word, the driver ex­claimed: ‘Ca bheil sibh a’ dol, il­lean?’

It tran­spired he was an is­lan­der, flu­ent in Gaelic, who recog­nised both Martin and my­self thanks to his keen in­ter­est in tra­di­tional mu­sic.

We had a num­ber of friends in com­mon – in­clud­ing He­len Sonachan, about whom we chat­ted for some of the jour­ney. As we got out of the taxi, we both re­marked that we would need to tell He­len’s daugh­ters, Caitlin and Sheen, about this chance meet­ing.

We en­tered the es­tab­lish­ment to which we had been head­ing and, lo and be­hold, the first peo­ple we saw sit­ting at a ta­ble were Caitlin and Sheen them­selves.

The whole tale is the epit­ome of why so many High­landers feel at home in Glasgow. In fact, it re­minded me of the fa­mous line in Gaber­lun­zie’s Park Bar Song, which I have al­ways felt rings true:

‘The driver turned his head around say­ing “Is that your­selves I see?”

‘ Well, dammit, it was Lachie Mòr – a na­tive of Portree!’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.