Ronald Mackay

Ronald Mackay feels that his life has been and still remains a series of periods and experiences somewhat detached from one another. He was born during WWII in his grandmother’s rural home in Scotland. In 1946 his family settled in the city of Dundee. Until he attended school, he was bi-dialectal, speaking both Broad Scots and Standard English. On leaving school he worked at a variety of temporary jobs that took him throughout Scotland, England, France and Spain. He has been a market-gardener, a forester, a cod-fisherman, a farm-labourer, a cook, and was employed in the banana plantations in Tenerife where he delighted in learning to use dynamite. Ronald talks about these experiences,his later adventures and how he became a writer.

Part 1:

Part 2:




10 thoughts on “Ronald Mackay

  1. Ron, thank you for “baring your soul” a little, and allowing your aficionados to peer into some of your creative processes. Thank you, even more, for having two wonderful excerpts ready to read to us. Your tale of Mrs. Molloy was brilliant. I certainly could see no way that you would escape a beating. The ambiguity of the missing “tanner” was delicious: had the harridan “mislaid” it, in order to see if she could bully you into giving her another, or had she really, temporarily lost it in the turnup of her man’s breeks? In Bali, Indonesia, taxi drivers have a scam whereby they accept payment, let the payor walk away a few steps, while they secrete a large note somewhere, then produce one of much lesser value, calling out, “Mister, you made a mistake.” The first time a driver did this to me, I fell for it. The next day, I was not so easily fooled, but though I locked all over the taxi, and even rifled through the man’s sweaty pockets for the bill I had definitely given him, I could not find it. We went to the local police station, where the sergeant, obviously in cahoots with the scammer, proclaimed, “I KNOW this man. He is HONEST man. You make MISTAKE. GIVE HIM MONEY.” After that, I slowly and loudly counted out my taxi fares, forcing the driver to acknowledge that he had received his due.

    • Thank you, Palmer, for being such a faithful reader and for your compliments.
      Mrs Molloy’s actions with the ‘tanner’ were identical to your Indonesian taxi-driver’s. She knew exactly what she was doing and it was only when I could not allow her to get away with it, that the ‘tanner’ miraculously appeared in the ‘turn-ups o’ her man’s breeks’!
      Best to both,

  2. Always a pleasure to hear Chris and Gwynn interviewing interesting people. Great to hear Ron Mackay speaking about his writing, explaining his experiences and how they contributed to his intensely varied, complex and interesting life. His memoirs are always interesting, full of valuable experiences and, often amusing. Whist his writing is a pleasure to read, it is even further enhanced when read by him in his cultured Scottish accent. Many thanks.

    • I guess we share that cultured Scottish accent in common, Euan, having been brought up in the same place and attended the same school together.
      The hosts of Word on the Hills do an excellent job.
      I’m pleased to know that you include me among “interesting people”!

  3. I listened to both interviews and it can be noticed in your speech the solid principles of home that make you such a special person. In addition to this, the great quality of the stories narrated only increases the admiration and respect we all feel for the great writer you are.
    Sincere congratulations to both, you and the presenters, for such a marvelous present you all give us.
    A big hug.
    Nila Mendoza

    • Thanks for listening, Nila and for your flattering words.
      Best wishes from Ontario!

  4. Fantastic interview – thanks for allowing us to hear all about Ronald Mackay’s experiences and insights into his writing. I have had the pleasure of featuring some of his stories on Fred’s Blog and in the anthologies I’ve published. It was great to hear his voice.

    • Happy to know that you enjoyed the interviews, Robert. Perhaps some other members of our Writers’ Group will contribute to your Authors Showcase. Thanks for commenting. Best wishes!

  5. Great interview. Obviously your encounter with Mrs. Molloy stood you in good stead for at least some of the adventures you had later on in life Ronald!! Being a devout coward, I regret to say I would probably have handed over the “missing” tanner at her first utterances! You’re clearly made of much stronger stuff which has enabled you to deal with any situation in whichever part of the world you find yourself in.
    I very much look forward to hearing more of your wonderful stories in the future.
    Best wishes.
    Jim Power

    • Thanks for these kind words, Jim! They are very much appreciated.
      It was a split-second decision that came to me after I realised what the consequences of handing Mrs Molloy her tanner would be. That would have been the end of me as the master of the berry-field. And my employer, Captain Bentley, might never have given me a position of trust again had a failed that afternoon. I learned that personal sacrifice is not the only solution to problems of great import! Best wishes!

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