A DROP IN THE OCEAN

LAWRENCE MacEWEN and the ISLAND of MUCK

Polly Pullar - Foreword by Mark Stephen

 

Lawrence MacEwen's family have owned the stunning island of Muck since 1896 yet he is as far removed from the archetypal feudal laird as it is possible to be. Well-respected in farming circles and a good deal beyond, and with a benevolent hands-on approach, he is a distinctively eccentric figure often to be found in the byre where he still milks his cows, or riding along Muck's tiny highway on a rusting bike, or vintage tractor to meet the latest ferry arrivals.
 
Frequently dressed in yellow oilrig style boots, with no socks, he is a superb storyteller, resulting in a treasure of a book dominated by liberal quantities of humour, as well as mind-numbing tragedy. Tales of coal puffers, livestock transportation in small boats, lifting cattle onto Caledonian MacBrayne steamers by crane in slings, and sagas of keeping the community afloat, the struggles to find new families, the battles for electricity, a new school, a pier and a hall, and the practicalities of farming and everyday life when isolated by the elements.
 
Punctuated with hilarious unexpected meetings with characters such as the maverick Tex Geddes in a bar in Mallaig, to the epic tale of how that meeting took Lawrence to Soay with a bull, and led him eventually to his wonderful wife, Jenny. Lively, entertaining and at times incredibly heart-rending, against a fabulous backdrop of brilliant Hebridean seascapes and wildlife, Polly Pullar leads Lawrence MacEwen to unveil his island's unique story, A Drop in the Ocean, destined to become a valuable record of Scottish social history as well as a thoroughly entertaining read on a par with Whisky Galore and other Highland treasures.

The book cover
 
Birlinn, Edinburgh.
Order online from   www.birlinn.co.uk  
Muck selection

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