Monday, 2 April 2012

The calf answered the door

15 October 1912. The Dewar Commission is sitting at Tarbert, hearing evidence from Dr John Pringle Tolmie, the medical officer for the parish of South Harris. One of the problems being highlighted across much of the evidence, heard by the Commission, is the practice of cattle and people living under the one roof. It is a practice that meets with disapproval, and measures are being taken to put an end to it. Sir John Dewar is questioning Dr Tolmie, when the following exchange occurs. 

13,537. Is there a house in Harris with cattle under the same roof as the people ?

13,538. Where is this case ?
—Down in Strond, near my own place I reported it twice to the District Committee and they took no notice of it. I was going to a house where somebody was sick, and I was met by a calf ; it was a calf that answered the door.

13,539. Was there a cow too ?
—Yes. I reported the case twice, and the sanitary inspector reported it twice.

13,540. Is it still going on ?
—No, there was a party staying with this woman, and they had a row and she pulled the house down.

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