Tuesday, 26 March 2013
Week 2: Creetown Flags
On my first day in Creetown, two of the ladies I spoke to.... descibed themselves as “blow-ins” and said that “local” people would be better qualified to tell me about Creetown. In subsequent conversations with other residents, I have noticed that people are quick to distinguish themselves as ‘local’ or ‘newcomer’.
Sitting with a group of Creetown ladies knitting the other day – four out of five of the group, described themselves as ‘new’ to the village. One has been living in the area for over 20 years.
As they knitted, I asked them to tell me about Creetown from their perspective and (similar to other recent conversations) ‘Granite’ was the first word on their lips. One of the ladies told me about a block of granite she had unearthed in her back garden – she described it as rounded and polished - she thought that maybe it had been part of a garden wall at some point - she wasn’t sure. Our conversation moved to Adamson Square and (as with other recent conversations) I was told that it isn’t made from local granite.
“Creetown granite is really beautiful, it has quartz in it.... and sparkles in the sunlight”
They talked about the salmon nets, farming, red squirrels, the Ferrythorn, the pre-cast factory, the fisheries, the wood-working group, Glenquicken lead mine, the bowling club; the Balloch wood project. That they do their food shopping in Newton Stewart – but that some do their food shopping online, with the delivery van travelling all the way from Carlisle in some cases. The 'local' lady amongst the group said that Creetown used to have a bakers, a bank, a post-office, a police station, a hairdressers, a cobblers and a hardware shop.
They described Creetown as a friendly place and when I asked them what had brought them to the village, some talked about arriving for the first time as tourists - how they loved the peace and quiet, the laid back life-style.... that Creetown is a crime-free place. One lady had moved to the area from a major city, and told me that she had grown tired of being surrounded by so many people and that recent return visits to the city had left her feeling drained. The ladies talked about community spirit, how people in the village are supportive of one another. That everyone very quickly knows your business (they all laughed at this point), but that they would do anything to help you if you needed it.
When I asked the group about their hopes for the future of Creetown, the ‘local’ lady (who had remained mostly silent throughout) – said “mare jobs”.
The conversation eventually moved back to knitting – one of the women talked about the local fleece she had sourced, which she is currently spinning into yarn to make socks. Opposite her (as we spoke) one of the other ladies worked on knitting herself a moss stitch, moss green jumper.