Ian and Toots share a romantic moment. Photo by Jamie-James Medina
I am originally from Vatersay, which is a small island not far from Barra. The population is about 80 people. My husband Ian is from Barra, although I always thought I’d never get married to a Barra guy.
Until 1991, we were separated from Barra by the water so we had to take a 15 minute ferry ride to get there. The ferry would get cancelled if it was bad weather, so sometimes all it would take would for it to be raining. That was okay though. If it was raining we would have to miss school. Hooray!
Even though we’re glad about the causeway, Vatersay was really great before they built it. You could spend all day shooting rabbits then go fishing for your tea. Everybody knew everybody and as soon as your feet could reach the pedals you were allowed to drive a car.
Eventually they built the causeway and for that we were very grateful. I think that if the causeway had not been built then Vatersay would be seriously dead by now.
Now, when I was little, people from Barra didn’t like the people in Vatersay.
If you went to school in Barra you were bloody picked on like anything. Barra people always thought Vatersay people were backwards so they were always mean to us.
For me, the feeling was mutual. I always thought Barra guys were arrogant arseholes. They were always in their car, listening to Irish music and country music dead loud. They’d go spinning around the island really fast, shouting at people and shagging anything that was 16 years old.
I thought they were all a bunch of numtees. Which is my way of saying “numb nuts” or “dumbo”.
My husband Ian was different though. I always fancied him and I think he fancied me but he was being really shy.
All his friends were giving it: “Oh my God Ian, she’s so nice” and he was like: “Aaah, she’s just a mate”, so I remembered worrying that we’d never really get together.
It was my third week into the job working behind the bar at the Heathbank Hotel and he was there with his friends and he asked me what time I finished my shift. I told him seven and he asked me if I’d like to have dinner with him. I agreed so when I finished my shift I came from out behind the bar and we had dinner in the Heathbank restaurant. He had steak and I had fish I think.
I think the next day was Saturday night and there was a dance on at the Castlebay Hotel and that’s the night we “closed the deal”. We’ve been married three years now and I’m ready to have children. I don’t think Ian’s ready for it yet though.
Just after we finished this interview with Toots we offered to buy Ian a drink and he shouted loudly across the bar, “You can shag my wife if you want but only if you make her cum!” Ian, mate, we like you but this made us feel really creepy.