Another Gaelic speaking Glasgow taxi driver
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!’