Posie's Blog. Tales of island life on a hebridean hill farm

Posie's Blog. Tales of island life on a hebridean hill farm

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Jimmy Hoot




The happy farmer is out demolishing the old stone walls adjoining our house, attaching chains to the old cement work and hauling them down with the tractor. It is an apt time, a time of change, pulling away the old steadings, and replacing them with new stronger walls, extending our family home. The building warrant has finally come through and things can get moving.

Though as we pull down those old crumbling walls we are struggling today, our dear friend Hoot has died. We have visited him often over the past few weeks, reminiscing about the good times, as he, as sturdy as ever, bravely began to lose his battle with cancer, a battle that has spanned some thirty years, one which for the most part he has had the upper hand. His passing is a blessing, but tinged with great sadness for all who knew him well. Hoot was another of life’s rich characters. He was part of the fittings and fixtures of the farm, and we will miss him dreadfully, but his stories, his wicked sense of humour, that twinkle in his beady eyes, his character, will remain with us always.

Hoot could usually be found in his tackety boots, cap and boiler suit, down at the fank with the happy farmer working at sheep. When the work was done, a beady eyed Hoot would sit, mug of tea in his hand, roll up between his fingers and put the day and the world to rights. He has passed many a happy day on the farm over the years, a great man with the sheep, usually with his faithful Dan dog at his heels, always offering timely advice and the wisdom of one that truly knew and understood the ways of nature and the countryside. He has fenced the length and breadth of Scotland in his time. Never a day passed when he didn’t indulge in a bit of ‘the old tail pulling’, as Hoot would call it, as he would wind someone up and watch them take the bait. A remarkable man when it came to stalking and shooting, Hoot knew the hills well, and was a great teacher in the ways of the ‘Highlands’, when the boys were younger he would take them out to the north end of the island, where they would set up camp in the caves and live off the land.

So at the weekend Hoot will go back to rest in the land he so loved, he is to be buried on his sister’s croft on Jura……

18 comments:

UN PEU LOUFOQUE said...

Poor Posie you seem to have had so many local cahracters and friends die this year but what a wonderful loving epitaph you have given Jimmy Hoot.

Suffolkmum said...

What a great character. I bet the boys in particualr will have some treasured memories of those trips. It does seem like your island has lost a lot of friends lately.

Milla said...

Yes, it does seem dangerous where you live PR. You describe him vividly, and just as he dies he comes to life for us. Oh dear, I'm putting all this clumsily. Good luck with all the work.

Inthemud said...

Treasured memories, you paint a very special epitaph of this wonderful character Jimmy Hoot.

RIP

bradan said...

Sad for you Posie, to lose another friend, but how lucky you were to know him and especially for your boys to know some one like that. May he rest in peace.

bradan said...

P.S. forgot to say, good luck with the work!

Exmoorjane said...

Farewell Hoot.....sounds like a good life and a fine place to lie down to rest.
Good luck with the knocking down...wow, that looks scary. If you did that to one of our walls, I think the whole house would collapse! But exciting to get going on it. jxxx

muddyboots said...

l love the name, Hoot, & isn't it grand for him to be buried on on his own patch. lucky man!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

A lovely moving tribute written so well.

Crystal xx

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Hoot would have laughed I bet to read your lovely tribute and to know that all us women are sad at his passing. How wonderful that you had him in your life - people like this really enrich our daily living.

I am so sorry though Rosie . . not an easy year for you. I hope the funeral is a good send off and you are all able to rejoice in his life.

Pipany said...

Oh so sorry to read this Posie. I hope he is at peace now xx

Pondside said...

Lovely tribute to a man who sounds as though he was a big part of your island world. I liked the photo - he could be a Cape Bretoner!
Good luck with the tearing down and rebuilding. You're in for some fun!

elizabethm said...

What a hard time you have had this year with losing friends. He sounds a great character. Hope the house improvements go well. We're still waiting for planning consent to do things to our utlity building - basically an old shed but listed because everything else is!

ChrisH said...

That's a great tribute and a lovely photo.

KittyB said...

Lovely blog - very poignant. A fitting tribute to a much loved character in your lives.

Miles Away In France said...

Hi, I just found your blog and wanted to say hello.
Racheal x

laurie said...

in just a few words, you have caused many of us to pause and think about someone we'd never have otherwise known--jimmy hoot.

may he rest in peace.

@themill said...

That was so moving but you seem to have had too many deaths on your wee Island this year.