The Banff and Buchan Collection

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Tape 1993.021 transcription

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[AO] Angela Ogg
[RS] Rachel Stewart

Wha would hae thocht the day would ever come
Fin fowk wid wint tae hear eens mair their mither tongue.


Fit's adee?

I beg your pardon?

I beg yours and it's grant.

Where do you come from and what do you want?

Aff the street and naething.

Off the street! What do you mean?

At's far I come fae, aff the street and in at the door.

And what do you want?

I tellt ye, naething!


Aye, and at's a I've gotten.

Got what?


I am afraid…

Oh ??, fit are ye fiert at?

I don't understand you at all. You come in here, you say you want nothing, well, you have got it, so there is no reason why you should detain yourself.

Is there onybody wi ye?

Here? I don't like this. Why did you come in and why are you keeping your hands in your pockets? What have you got in there?

IN ma pooches? O jist ma hands and my pipe and a puckle o ither odds and ends, ye ken.

Oh, is that all.

Aye, ye see it's affa handie fan yer needin yer hands, cause ye ken far tae get them. But eh, I'll tak em oot o ma pooches.


Tell me, fit's the maitter?

There is nothing wrong that I am aware of except that you are here.

O, but I winna bide lang tho, I jist come in tae see if I could be ony ees?

Any use for what?

I couldna say. Ye see, I wis traivellin doon the road daen nothin in particular. Fan I wis passin by the hoose I heard somebody howling oot o the window like they'd been hurtet. So just for the fun o thing and seein I wisnae in nae ony hurry, ye ken, I jist come in aboot and got you here!

Oh I see, but you are not very complimentary. I was practising my scales.

Practising yer scales? I doot I dinna understand ye! Fit div ye mean like?

Well you see, I am a teacher of singing--voice production you know. And in order to keep my voice in pitch I have to practice. The noise you heard my dear friend was my running over my notes.

Runnin ower yer notes. Oh, I see, and ye trippet on them like?

No, I didn't trip on them like. Now you know all about the noise you heard and is that all you wish to know? Shall we say good-day?

We could sae easy say at, but eh, tell me this, fit div ye gan rinnin ower yer notes for as ye ca' it?

Oh, what do you work for?

Well, I wouldnae work at a' if I could get aff wi it, but jist cause I hiv tae dae it.

And just the same with me, and my singing to earn a livelihood to keep the wolf from the door.

O, ye'll fairly keep the wolf fae the door wi howls like yon. But ye dinna mean tae tell me ye make a livin fae it!

Look, I make my living from teaching people to see. Now have you got it?

O I see, and ye wis jist takin a bit o a lesson tae yersel like?

Yes, that's exactly what I was doing.

And mebbe ye wis needin it?


Fit div ye get for the like o this work now?

Are you not getting a little bit too inquisitive?

I bet ye couldnae learn me tae sing.

Well you certainly don't look a very likely subject. But I'd be quite willing to try.

Ye'd hae a gey job nae doot. Fit wid ye chairge?

My usual charge is two guineas per quarter.

O, it gings by weicht dis't?

Not quite, a quarter means twelve lessons of an hour each lesson.

Oh aye. Ye'd get a guid bit at that if ye got steady work.

Yes, but unfortunately I don't get steady work as you call it.

Foo muckle wid ye tak for jist ae lesson?

Oh I wouldn't care to take a pupil for one lesson only.

At's a peety, I would like fine tae sing.

You would?

Aye, nae ony o your fancy singin ye ken. I dinna want ony o this do, ray, me fah soh kinda business. I jist wid like tae be able to sing a bit o a sing kinda half in tune if ye understand what I mean.

I'm afraid I don't. What on earth do you just wish to sing a 'bittie' of a song for. Why not do the whole thing from the beginning properly.

Nah, nah, I dinna hae time for that. But ye see I'm sometimes at mairrages, and at homes and things like at, ye ken. And fan there's singin I'm ae, I'm sometimes soucht tae gae a bit o a sang ye ken, and of course I'm ae tae say no.

Well which is very awkward.

At's jist fit it is. Now look here, I happen tae be gaen tae a mairriage next wik. Ertrie Futters gan tae be married tae, tae, tae Bella Muckle o Mossie Powe. Noo I'm a wee bit gone on Etrie Futter's sister, Maggie.


What are ye lauchin at?

Sorry, excuse me.

O, I'm nae carin. Onywey, I'm a bittie gone on Ertrie Futter's sister Maggie. Wid ye like tae lauch again?

Oh, no I'm listening quite seriously I assure you.

Aye, it's a serious kinda business. Well I have reason to believe that Maggie's fond o me. I'm watchin ye min.

Oh, I'm not laughing.

Yer coverin yer moo an affa lot wi yer hankie! Is is the bit. Maggie's affa fond o singin, noo if I ??? tae mairrage and gaed oot a moo fa' o song, it wouldnae do ony hairm.

Oh I see the idea. You think your lady love would like you better if you could sing a song at the wedding?

At's it. Weel, fit aboot it. Will ye dae it? And fit'll ye chairge?

Oh, look here friend, I have a few minutes to spare before my next pupil is due to arrive. And just for the sport of the thing I'll give you a short lesson for nothing.

Weel ye though. Weel, winna argue aboot the price then, thank you.

Don't mention it. Now what kind of song would you like to sing.

Oh, I'm nae particular. Mebbe something comic, or something sentimental, or och onything as lang as it's nae ill tae dae.

Oh it must be a love song. Let me see now, how would this do?

Come to the garden Maud, where the blackbird sweetly sing

Na, that winna dae.

What is the matter wi it?

There's nae ony blackbirds in the gairden o Mossie Powe. They dae an affa lot o hairm the blackies, and fan there's ony come in aboot, auld Mossie catches em wi a herrin net. Na, na the blackies are feart tae sing in the gairden o Mossie Powe, so I needna try and entice Maggie oot tae the gairden wi a song like at.

Well, what about this one then.

Ye bring to me a pint o wine and fill it in a silver

No, no, ye neednae ging ony far'er.

No? This is a very good song.

It's a capital song.

Of course it is, and I'm sure….

I ken it's a fine auld Scotch song, but it jist winna dae.

Oh, why not?

Well, ye see it would hardly look weel for me tae staun up at the mairrage and sing 'Ye bring tae me a pint o wine', it wid look as though I wis gaein a ceevil hint that I wis dry. Hiv ye nae something mair lovey-dovey, something 'bonnie lassie, flee wi me', ken at kinda affair.

Eh, ah! I've got it. This is the very thing for you.

Bonnie wee thing, cannie wee thing, lovely wee thing were't for mine
I would hide thee in my bosom, lest my jewel I should tie.

How's that?

At's it min! Jist the very don't. At very verse and nae mair. Fit wey dis she gang again?

Bonnie wee thing.

She's jist nae fit ye'd ca' a wee thing. Maggie's a fine sonsie kinda lass. Bit ging on, I'll seen learn it.

Lovely wee thing, were't thou mine.

Oh ho, jist thinkin it.

I would hide thee in my bosom.

It would tak a bigger bosom than I fit hiv, tae hide Maggie.

Lest my jewel I should tie.

Oh, there'll be little fear o temptin Maggie, but at's the very thing, if I could only manage it though.

Well have a try, come on now.

(Sing together).

Bonnie wee thing--fit is't? Cannie wee thing. Lovely wee thing, were't thou mine!

That's it.

I would hide thee in my oxter.


Bosom, Bosom.

A bosom, bosom. Lest my darling should be tent. I doot I dae hae the richt words o't.

Or the tune either. Come on and try it over here along with me. Sit down in this chair opposite me and we shall sing it together. Are you ready?

(Sings together, pupil, badly).

Bonnie wee thing, canny wee thing, lovely wee thing were't thou mine
I would hide thee in my bosom, less my jewel should tine.

Aye, at's better. I manage a lot better along wi you ye ken.

Yes, that was much better. You should be alright now. Just keep on practising and you will be able to sing it beautifully, by the marriage day.

Oh, I'll keep practising though. Bonnie wee thing, canny wee thing. Ye ken I'm affa obligin tae ye. Precious wee thing. I'll tell a fowks I got a lesson fae ye. I would hide thee in my oxt.. bosom. Ken is, I hiv it fine. Less my jewel I should tine.

Well I'm sorry you have to go and I'm very glad you called in and all that.

O, that's aricht. If you hadnae been tryin ower your scales, I would niver hiv come in. And if I'd niver come in I would never have met ye!

Quite true. And if you hadn't met me we would not now be able to say goodbye.

Weel, weel, I reckon I'd better be steppin. And if I ever hear o onybody wintin singin lessons, I'll put them stracht tae you and tell em that you wis the very man at learned me.

Oh please don't bother doing that.

I'll dae at though. Ae guid turn deserves anither.

Well goodbye

Guid bye freen. [sings]. Bonnie wee thing….

That was a sketch of Duffton Scott, the Inverurie humorist. Well best of luck Geordie. We hope you get your woman, but do you really know what you are getting yourself into. Peter certainly didn't when he chose Ivie. The poem is by David Rorie

The Wife She wis Ailin

The wife she wis ailin, the doctor wis ca'd,
She wis makin enouch din for twa!
Fyle Peter wis suppin his brose at the fire,
Nae heedin in maitter ava!

Hae doctor, ma back's fair awa wi it noo,
It wis racket the day spreadin dung,
Hey Peter soor the lamp like a man,
Til the doctor can look at ma tongue.

Peter hid baed wi her near forty year,
Fair acqwant wi her weel suppled ja,
Sae he lowsed his tap button far he's ??,
We a gant at the wag at the wa,

Weel Isie, says he, and it's me 'at should ken,
At's the ae place ye'll niver hae cramp,
The lamp's bidin here, if he's seekin a sicht o your tongue,
He can trail it tae the lamp.

Peter--a man definitely endowed with tolerance and staying power.

Not unlike the long suffering Dominie portrayed in J. C. Milne's 'Oh for Friday Nicht.'

Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday--hame and hummin!
Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday's lang o comin!

Noo lat's hae Geography!
Fut's the toun for jute?
Sit at peace Jemima!
Kirsty, dry yer snoot!
Hey there, Wullie Wabster!
Stop powkin in yer breist!
Fut? a horny-golloch!
Gweed be here, fut neist!

Faur's the Granite City?
Weel, Georgina Broon?
Glasga? Haud yer weesht, quine!
Glesga's just a toun!
Buckie? Hoots an havers!
The Broch? Preserve us a'!
Hey there, Geordie Gammie!
Pit that preen awa!

Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday--hame and hummin
Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday's lang o comin!

Noo lat's hear yer spellin's!
Fut? Ye got nane oot!
A'richt--Nature Study!
Fut gars tatties sproot?
Heat and moisture--fairly!
Fut mair, Wullie Gurk?
Fairmers! Gweed preserve's man!
Fairmers dinna work!

Dod, tak in the bottles!
Fa wants milk the day?
Gweed be here, fut's wrang, Jock?
Needin anither strae?
No! Weel, man, fut gars ye
Stan there and gowp and glower?
Twa deid fleas in ye bottle!
Be thankfu there's nae fower!

Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday--hame and hummin!
Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday's land o comin!

Fa wid like some singin?
A'richt, sough awa!
'The Smith's a Gallant Fireman
Or 'Charlie's Noo Awa'.
Sing oot, Susie Simmers!
Rax yer mim-like mou!
Mercy me, Jean Tulloch!
Ye're lowin like a coo!

Noo for Table Mainners!
Specially you, Jock Broon!
Dod, man, fin ye're suppin,
Sic a slubberin soun'!
And you Bell Bowie Baxter!
As far's ye're mebbe able
Try and haud yer elbucks
And spleeters aff the table!

Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday--hame and hummin!
Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday's lang o comin!

Noo tak oot yer pencils!
Draw--the Aul Kirk spire!
Fut's that, Jock? Ye're wantin
Tae draw the skweel on fire!
A'richt, fire aheid then!
Gar the biggin bleeze!
Gweed be here, Jean Gordon!
Fut gars ye scratch yer knees?

Dyod, faur's Meggie Mitchell?
Doon aneth her seat?
Tint her sweetie boolie?
Jock, haud in yer feet!
Hing in noo, Jean Calder!
You tee, Muggsie Wugs!
Loshtie me, Bill Boddie!
Fan did ye wash yer lugs?

Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday--hame and hummin!
Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday's lang o comin!

Govie Dick--the Register!
Fa's nae here the day?
Jackie Todd--the nickum!
Granny's washin day!
Jeannie--German measles!
Tammas--twa blin lumps!
Jamie Tough? Fut's that, Jean?
His mither's takin mumps?

Noo the aucht times table!
Weel dane, Wullie Flett!
Man, ye'll be Director
O the coonty yet!
Fut's that? No ye wunna!
Weel, weel, please yersel!
Dyod, it's time for lowsin!
Wullie, ring the bell!

Geordie, shak' the duster!
Jean, pit past the chack!
Fut's that, Wullie Wabster?
A wyver on my back!
Jack, the aspidistra!
Tak it tae the sink!
Canny wit, ye gumbrel!
It's auler then ye think!

Noo, a word o warnin
Afore ye tak the road!
There's twa Inspectors comin
Haud yer tongue, Jock Todd!
Twa Inspectors comin
Tae--fut's adee, Jean Squires?
Yer mither's mebbe comin?
Wha the deevil cares!

Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday--hame and hummin!
God bless Friday nicht!
It's been gey lang o comin!

But even the most tolerant person can be pushed to the limit when he encounters a character like Rob. Let's be flies on the wall watching the encounter between Rob and the Registrar as penned by Duffton Scott.

Quite a heavy mail this morning, I expect most of those letters contain trouble for me. The post of Births, Deaths and Marriages is no sin o cure. However I dare say that I shall just have to make the best of it. What's this? 'Dear sir, I write you these few lines to let you know that I am well, hoping you will look up your books and see how old I am. I should be 42, but I lost my papers when I was away, so I might not be so much. Hoping you are well as it leave me and oblige our friend. John Tootsie'. Now who in the world is John Tootsie?

[Knock at the door]

Come in! Good morning.

Guid mornin, and it's a richt fine een.

It is indeed.

Aye, jist as fine a mornin's a body could expect at is time o year.

Yes it is a beautiful morning, a somewhat…

Aye, I think if the rain keeps aff, it'll jist be a richt fine day.

No doubt.

Aye, so we'll hope the rain'll keep aff.

We will hope so.

Aye, weel ye'll be winderin fit I'm wantin?

Well, yes, but perhaps you will tell me?

You couldnae guess?

I'm not particularly good at guessing and it might save time if you told me straight away.

Ye're nae in a hurry are ye?

Yes, I am rather busy this morning.

Aye, aye, so ye've nae idea fit I'm seekin?

Now how could I possibly know what you want before you tell me?

Oh, that's so. Weel en, noo I've forgotten fit I wis gaen tae say. First, eh, fit time's it?

The time? Twenty-five to eleven.

Is't fegs? I didnae think it wis that time.

That is the time.

Twenty minutes tae eleeven. Weel, weel min.

Was that all you wished to know?

Now, there wis nae ill in my spierin the time at ye wis there?

Oh no, certainly not.

No, and I spiert ceevil at ye didn't a?

And I hope answered you civilly.

Well I thocht ye wis jist a wee bittie snappy like.

Well, what else do you wish to know.

Man, ye're in an affa hurry!

I have work to do, I cannot stand here all day discussing the time.

No, no but ye shouldnae gang at sic a rate. Tak things cannie like. Fit I say is this….

Quite so, but we cannot all take things canny like.

Mebbe no, but ye'd be a richt lot better if ye did. And as I wis sayin, and as I aften say tae Jock Mitchell.

Now I do not wish to know anything about what you say to Jock Mitchell.

Ye dinna?

I do not.

Well there'll be nae use in me tellin ye then! But I wish ye widnae be sae ill naittered like. Ye ken I've come a the wey fae Tipperton tae see you today.

Indeed, do you come from Tipperton?

Fairly, ye mebbe divnae ken Tipperton div ye?

Oh yes I know Tipperton very well.

Div ye min! Man I'm racht glad I've come in. Sit doon, sit doon. Aye noo, we'll get on grand the gither noo. And ye ken Tipperton.

Yes, I know Tipperton but….

Man, I'm recht pleased. I jist think I'm kinda acquant wi ye. Ye dinna belang tae Tipperton div ye?

Not exactly but…

Ye'll hae freens there?

Yes I have.

Jist that. Ye dinna ken my fowk div ye?

I am not sure, what is your name?

It's Mealmaker, Rob Mealmaker. I'm een o the Mealmakers o Ram?? If ye ken the place.

I think I have heard the name.

Now div ye ken far ?? is?

I'm not quite sure, but we will now….

Now, div ye ken the station?

Oh yes.

Dae ye ken the brae doon fae the station?

Quite well.

Div ye min the green bushes at the fit o the road on the wey doon fae the station?

Yes, I believe I do remember seeing them, but…..

Ye ken, ye'll nivver see them again then, cause they've cuttet em a doon. But tae get tae oor hoose at ??? ye turn tae the richt haun side at the fit o the brae and hud stracht on till ye come tae the peat moss. And if it's dry weather ye haud ower the moss.

I follow you.

Aye, bit I micht not be there for you to follow. I'm jist explainin so you can get the road yersel! Dae ye see? Weel, as I said, if it's dry weither ye hud ower the moss.

And if it's wet weather you don't go over the moss do you?

Na, na, if ye tried at, ye'd be ower the queets in a minute. Their moss is affa boggy in wet wither. So ye're better tae keep tae the road and ging doon past the meal mill, sin cross the burn and haud roon that wey.

Well I don't think I shall have the slightest difficulty in finding the place. But we really are forgetting ourselves. Now what is it you desire to see me about.

Oh aye, man fin'in oot ye kent Tipperton jist put at clean oot o ma heid. D'ye aften go the wey o Tipperton noo?

Oh dear. Occasionally.

Jist that. Ye'll gae aftenest in the summer I reckon.

Yes, but we will now proceed to…

Dae ye ken the burn?

I know the burn (sighing).

It's a gran burn for fishin in yon.

Yes it is very good, but..

Ye'll hae fished in't I warrant.

Yes often.

Man I eens took the bonniest troot oot o yon hole aneth the brig ye ivver sa'. Fit a proot he wis, he measured…

Quite so, I believe you, but we really must….

Aye, ye maun look for me the next time ye're fishin and I'll let ye see the best places for gettin the troots.

Now that will do about Tipperton. We really must get to business as I have other matters to attend to. Please tell me what you want?

But man, it's just a gey business I hae tae see aboot. Oh and seein' we're sae weel acquant, I winna be sae fear't tae tell ye. Ye ken I'm gaen tae be mairried.

Oh I see, and you have come to register your marriage.

Exactly. But I'm fairly lost at is kinda affair, ye see I wis nivver mairried afore.

So I should imagine. When a man has been married more than once he begins to know the ropes.

Ken the ropes? Oh well mebbe. I'd a lang crack wi a mairried man yesterday ye ken. And he tellt me fit I'd tae gang throw wi you, but he said naethin aboot ropes.

That is merely a figure of speech. But to proceed. Now when is the marriage to be celebrated.

Oh, the celebrations'll start whenever the meenister gangs awa hame.

You misundertand me. When are you going to be married?

Oh, a fortnicht come Saiturday. We're comin tae the hall here wit. We're expectin….

Wait a moment. Now what is your name?

I thocht ye kent it?

Yes but I must ask the question just the same.

Well, my name's Mealmaker. Robert Mealmaker. Robert Duncan Mealmaker.

Is that it then? Robert Duncan Mealmaker.

Aye, I hiv a nickname, but ye're mebbe nae sic'in it?

No. Now who are you going to marry?

An 'oman body.

I dare say it would be. Did you ever hear of anyone marrying a man body?

Aye, ma mither did when she married ma father.

You are very smart. Now what's her name?

Oh, it's Jean.

Jean what?

No Jean Cruikshank.

Jean Cruikshank, yes.

She's een o the Cruikshanks o Strapowe. Her faither's a brither o….

Wait a moment, we'll come to that presently.

You are a bachelor of course.

Na, I ging tae the auld Kirk.

I'm not asking you which church you go to, I'm asking if you are a bachelor. Are you single?

Aye, but I'll be mairried shortly.

And your bride, is she a spinster?

No, she jist helps her mither at hame.

(Sighs). I mean has she been married before, or is she a widow or?

Oh I see fit ye mean. There's nae o the twa o us been mairried before.

Now that is what I wanted to know. You are not related to each other in any way are you?

Weel we're affa weel acquant, Jean and me.

Oh dear, this is terrible. You're not cousins or…

No, no, but we've kent een anither a lang time.

What is your future wife's father's name?

Auld William Cruikshank.

William Cruikshank, yes?

Aye, ye'll mebbe ken him. Abody kens him, he's an affa fine man. He gangs…

What is his profession.

Now fit de ye mean like?

What does he do? How is he….

O he's fine, thank ye. He'd an affa time wi a sair tae jist last winter. But och it's kinda cleared up again, I'll tell him ye wis speirin' for him.

Is he a mason, a slater, a grocer or what is he?

Oh, he's nae ony o them, but I dare say he could dae a bittie o them a. He's a handy kinda man, but he jist keeps a craft.

Then he will be a farmer?

Oh mebbe he will be some day, but he jist keeps a craftie noo.

He is a farmer if he has a farm, however small.

Is he? Weel ye could jist pit him doon as a fairmer, in a sma kinda wey.

What is her mother's name?

Jeans mither like?

Of course.

Oh, it's Mistress Cruikshank.

Of course it will be Mrs Cruikshank, but what is her maiden name.

Ah, noo dae ye mean the name she hid afore she wis mairrie't


I think it wis, Jean, Jean, Jean Bremner. Aye at's it. Jean Bremner.

Jane Bremner yes? And when were they married?

Oh, but at's mair than I can tell ye. I didnae think o speirin.

We cannot go further then, you should have made sure of all those particulars before you came here.

Oh bide ye still though. I got a paper wi that written oot before I come awa. I kent I'd be sure tae forget if I didna write it doon.

And have you got that paper now?

I think it's in ma bag here. Noo at's the currants and the raisins, and at's the black leed, and that's the new tie I bocht. And, oh here we go, at's the tickety noo. See if at's it. Yer a better scholar than me.

What this? Yellow fish, currants and raisins, snuff, cinnamon, two yards of…

Hold on, hold on! At's nae the richt een. At's the ticket o ma evens. They tellt me tae be sure and tak hame yella fish. But it seemed tae be scarce, so I didnae get ony. Oh man, I believe I hiv the richt paper in my waistcoat pooch. Aye, here it goes. Is at it?

Yes this is the right one now. You would have saved me a lot of time if you had given me this at the beginning. Now please be quiet and I will copy it out.

Oh, I winna say a word. I dinna ken they'll say tae me if I'm nae takin hame yella fish though. Oor fowks affa fond o yella fish, and I like yella fish masel ye ken. There's naethin better than yella fish wi a bittie eggie, and fit dae ye ca' it, aye, oatcakes. I'm sure ye like yella fish yersel.

Be quiet! You've made me write down yellow fish!

Oh ho, that jist shows ye wis peyin mair attention tae me than the tickety!

Now that is all complete.

Jist wait a meenit. Och I've cowpet a jar o syrup ower ma ingens. Fa div ye wint me tae sign ma name.

Down here at the bottom of the sheet.

Ma full name?

Your full name certainly.

Will that dae?

That is quite alright. And that is all that is required. You can get away now.

Aye, I reckon I'll better gang awa noo, it's time I wis hame.

Just so, well good-day.

Good-day. Of course it's nae o my business, but if it's nae an impudent question, fit wey div ye come tae ken Tipperton.

Well as I told you I have friends there.

Aye, aye, and ye jist gang tae visit them like.

Yes, now good day.

Guid day. I say min.


Dae ye ken the Ogilvies at the fit o the hill yonner.

Yes I do.

They're nice fowk.

They are indeed. Good day.

Guid day. The Ogilvies hid a dauchter mairriet nae lang syne? Ye'll hae heard aboot it.

Yes I did.

T'was a man fae hereaboot at mairriet her. Div ye ken him?

There is no one I know better, now good day.

You're mebbe the man himsel for a that I ken.

Maybe I am.

But are you though min?

Oh this is the limit. Yes I am. Now please go away!

Man, I jist thocht it. Well I'm affa glaid I met ye. I'll come in and see ye wi Jean some Saiturday aifterneen.

You could not come at a better time. That is my half-holiday and I shall not be here.

Jean can spik tae ye mair than I can dae. Ye see I'm sae bashful like.

Yes, I have noticed that. Well, good day.

Guid day wi ye then.

Good day again.

Guid day, and I'll tell abody I've met ye.

I'll wager that Rob left that office without ever realising that he was responsible for the registrar's troubled mind.

One of Charles Murray's little characters clearly has a similar philosophy. He accepts no responsibility for anything that occurs. And protests constantly that 'It wisnae his wyte'.

It wasna his wyte he was beddit sae late,
An him wi sae muckle to dee,
He'd the rabbits to feed an the fulpie to kame,
An the hens to hish into the ree;
The mason's mear syne he set up in the closs,
An coupit the ladle fu keen,
An roon the ruck foun's wi the lave o the loons,
Played 'Takie' by licht o the meen.
Syne he rypit his pooches an coontit his bools,
The reed-cheekit pitcher an a',
Took the yirlin's fower eggs fae his bonnet, an fegs,
When gorbell't they're fykie to blaw;
But furth cam' his mither an cried on him in,
Tho sairly he priggit o wait--
'The'll be nae wird o this in the mornin', my laad'--
But it wasna his wyte he was late.

'Och hey ! ' an 'Och hum ! ' he was raxin himsel'
An rubbin' his een when he raise,
An faur was his bonnet, an faur was his beets
An fa had been touchin' his claes ?
Ach ! his porritch was caul, they'd forgotten the saut,
There was owre muckle meal on the tap.
Was this a' the buttermilk, faur was his speen,
An fa had been bitin' his bap ?
His pints wasna tied, an the backs o his lugs
Nott some sma' attention as weel--
But it wasna as gin it was Sabbath, ye ken,
An onything does for the squeel.
Wi his piece in his pooch he got roadit at last,
Wi his beuks an his skaalie an sklate,
Gin the wag-at-the-wa' in the kitchie was slaw--
Weel, it wasna his wyte he was late.

The fite-fuskered cat wi her tail in the air,
Convoyed him as far as the barn,
Syne, munchin' his piece, he set aff by his leen,
Tho nae very willin, I'se warn.
The cairt road was dubby, the track throu the wid,
Altho maybe langer was best,
But when loupin' the dyke a steen-chackert flew oot,
An he huntit a fyle for her nest.
Syne he cloddit wi yowies a squirrel he saw,
Teetin' roon frae the back o a tree,
An jinkit the 'Gamie,' oot teeming his girns--
A ragie aul billie was he.
A' this was a hinner : an up the moss side,
He ran noo at siccan a rate,
That he fell i' the heather an barkit his shins,
Sae it wasna his wyte he was late.

Astride on a win'-casten larick he sat,
An pykit for rosit to chaw,
Till a pairtrick, sair frichtened, ran trailin a wing,
Fae her cheepers to tryst him awa.
He cried on the dryster when passin' the mull,
Got a lunt o his pipe an a news,
An his oxter pooch managed wi shillans to full--
A treat to tak hame till his doos.
Syne he waded the lade an crap under the brig,
To hear the gigs thunner abeen,
An a rotten plumped in an gaed sweemin awa,
Afore he could gaither a steen.
He hovered to herrie a foggie bee's byke,
Nae far fae the mole-catcher's gate,
An the squeel it was in or he'd coontit his stangs--
But it wasna his wyte he was late.

He tried on his taes to creep ben till his seat,
But the snuffy aul Dominie saw,
Sneckit there in his dask like a wyver that waits
For a flee in his wob on the wa;
He tell't o his tum'lie, but fat was the eese
Wi the mannie in sic an ill teen,
An fat was a wap wi a spainyie or tag
To hands that were hard as a steen?
Noo, gin he had grutten, it's brawly he kent,
Foo croose a' the lassies would craw,
For the mornin' afore he had scattered their lames,
An dung doon their hoosies an a',
Wi a gully to hooie tho, soon he got ower,
The wye he'd been hanled by fate,
It was coorse still an on to be walloped like thon,
When it wasna his wyte he was late.

It's thirty year, said ye, it's forty an mair,
Sin' last we were licket at squeel:
The Dominie's deid, an forgetten for lang,
An a' oor buik learnin' as weel.
The size o a park--wi the gushets left oot--
We'll quess geyan near, I daur say :
Or the wecht o a stot, but we wouldna gyang far
Gin we tried noo, the coontin' in 'Gray.'
'Effectual Callin' ' we canna rin throu'
Wha kent it aince clear as the text,
We can say ' Mans Chief En' 'an the shorter 'Commands,'
But fat was the 'Reasons Annexed?'
Oor heads micht be riddels for a' they haud in,
O Catechis, coontin or date,
Yet I'll wauger we min on the mornin's lang syne,
When it wasna oor wyte we were late.

[End of Side A.]

…captures the very spirit of the farm roup in his poem, Grannie's Chair.

Well, fowks hiv met the gither to dispose of muckle gear,
And first ere comes the furniture, noo fit for grannie's chair?
A pound say ye ??, at's richt, ye ken bra weel whits guid.
Is chair will look like new, gaen it's sae pinted reed.

Fit a yer glowerin at Jock Todd, and you wee Meggie Mutch,
Jist mak it 30 new fit stripe, it winna taen yer pooch,
And bra ye'll sittin on't fan eens yer dinna's daen,
And dra'in at yer cattie at ye got fae Aiberdeen.

Twa pound! Guid losh preserve ma!
But is chairman be gey guid afore ye're biddin fortune ??,
And foo's yer mither's heid?

For ony's sake staund back Tom Low, ye're hidin a the fowk,
Wi that great muckle crown o yours, what fulli o tattie pyoke,
Twa pound I'm bid, jist tak a look. Fower legs as guid as new,
Twad staun up against the weight o Hullie's fattest coo.

Her back would mak ye sit, jist like a soldier on parade,
Gaen he wis sitting light ye ken, her seat's as saft's a bed,
Oh Mains o ?? as caff, fit's at yer sayin Mains, twa ten!
Man but yer loupin. Ah've nae doot yon bonnie tak ye hame,
A look gey bra at a ??, for a bid Jean Broon,
I hear yer gaun tae mairry Jock McGhee,
The foreman loon at Nether Mull.

Fit's at yer sayin--noo yer nae,
Weel, weel, ye'll gang a fair lang road afore ye'll meet,
A bonnier chiel.

Twa fifteen's bid, thank you.
Noo auld Jaimes, put on a croon,
Noo ye winna. But ye'll took oot yer shelt,
And hobble doon the Strichen road,
And bide a day in bonnie ?? toon,
Till ilka babbies gaen, and yer guid wifes ,
Waits up till twa, and syne gings forth,
And gets ye streakit oot in Meggie's stra.

Is that a bid yer gaen me Blackie?
No, well dinna staun and shak yer orra lugs,
As gaen ye wisnae beast nor man,
And fits adae wi you James Fyte,
Yer huddin sic a work,
A forkie doon yer neck!
Dyod man, ye'll need tae change yer sark.

Twa fifteen's bid, ye dinna tell me I'm a knock it doon,
For twa fifteen, a chair as bra as Mistress Tyler's goon,
Three pound I'm bid, three pound, three pound.
Tam turned roon aboot and let him see't baith back and front,
My fegs withoot a doot, it's the finest chair that ever,
Stood for sale at ony roup.

Aye, aye yer lauchin Sandie Touch, but faith I'd gar ye loup,
Gaen I were at yer lug my mannie, cracket div ye say,
Of course it's cracket, guid be here, whit sorro wid ye hae,
For jist three pound, a horse and cairt, forbye this airmchair,
Is's auld the hull o Mormon and ten pound's nae ower dear,
I wouldna winner, though Prince Chairlie hid sat on't himsel,
Three five, three ten, three fifteen, thank you Mistress Bell,
Faith but we're getting on. Guid losh is at you Mistress Sim?
I didnae think tae see you here, and foo's the bairnie's whine?
A bittie better, guid be praised. And foo's the hummel coo?
Twins div ye sae, dyod a min, hard tae believe aul ?? soo?
Just take a thocht noo Mistress Sim, and pit five shillin's on
Fower pound, I'm bid, and jist fower pound.
Going, going gone.

Flora Garry has combined similar perception and eye for detail when she remembers 'The Aul Wa' from a child's perspective.

'The Aul Wa'

Come oot o at, ye puddlin vratch,
Scraitches the gairnie wife at me,
Ye'll tummel in and droon yersel,
Ye'll catch yer death o caul,
Losh quine, fit div ye get tae watch,
In that aul wall?

Fit div I watch, see yon spoot,
Hear the watter tricklin oot,
And kept some in yon roosty mull,
Naebody badders, gaen me spall,
Doon by the aul wall,
I'm fear't at yon dark naisty place,
Lyin ower there at the back,
Far green and slivery tangles dreep,
And emertines and gollachs creep,
And puddocks loup and slaters cra'l,
Roon the eesins o the wall.

But I like at place far it's shinin blue,
The colour o the sky,
Far little pansies faces tee't,
Atween the stanes, and prudent aul pink foxgloves,
Bo to see themselves in their lookin glaiss,
The wall.

And fyles, on a still hairst aifterneen,
Nae braith o win tae stir,
The sma fyte dukies feather curled,
Roon the dry carl doddie flower,
I see doon ere, muckle fower twa fa'l,
Clood fleein bird and toosie heids at me,
The big whirl, and the little whirl,
The wall.

Come oot a that, ye puddlin vratch,
Scraichs the gurnie wife at me,
Come awa fae that aul wall,
There's nothin there tae see,
Says she.

There's a message in this poem for those whose eye for fantasy has been dimmed in the dull routine of adulthood. There is a clear message too in Robert Stephen's version of Aesop's cautionary tale of 'The Miser'.

'The Miser'

A miser sent his worldly goods and bought a lump o gold,
As a hedge against inflation, syne he hid it in a hole,
His claes were puir, his little hut wis damp and green wi mould,
But it cheered him up tae think aboot his hidden lump o gold.

He'd sit at nacht wioot a fire, suppin gruel in the cold,
But it warmed his hairt to think aboot his hidden lump o gold
Each day he'd ging and dig it up, jist tae see it in the hole,
But the very thocht o sellin it, wis mair tha he could thole.

Ae day he wint tae dig it up, but found it wisnae there,
He cried alood in anguish, and began tae tear his hair,
A passer-by speir't--fits adae? I thocht ye'd seen a ghost,
Yer face is fyte, yer shakin, is there something that ye've lost?

I hid a muckle lump o gold, I kept it doon this hole.
I come each day and dug it up, but noo ma gold's been stole,
Fan the mannie heard the story, he could hardly hide his smile,
But he says, I've got a notion that ye'll mebbe think's worthwhile.

Jist tak this muckle steen here, and bury it doon the hole,
And come each day and jist mak on at it's yer lump o gold,
For a the guid ye've haen o't, a steen wid dae as well,
And ae thing's sure, it's safe eneuch, for naebody's gan tae steal't

Tak yer wealth and use it wisely. Dinna keep it in the grun,
Summer winna last for ever. Spen your gold and hae some fun.

A cautionary tale, that brings to mind of what befell Jock, another of Duffton Scott's characters, when he chanced to fall asleep on the job.

'The Lawyer and the Client'

Some genius once said that law was like a little trap. Easy to get into but very difficult to get out of. My difficulty is getting clients to enter. It is now nearly two months since I commenced to practise law on my own behalf, and in that time I have not had a single case worth having. However I trust things will not always by thus. I know it takes time to work up a practise, but it is very annoying to see my rival, Mr Leitch, across the way, getting as much work as he can do.

[Knock at door]

Hello! Who's this I wonder. Come in.

Aye, that's been anither day.

Yes it has been another day as you say.

It his that.

And what can I do for you?

Fit can ye dae for me?

Yes, do you wish to see me?

I div see ye onywey.

Quite so, I shall put it in another way. Do you wish to consult me?

I dinna ken.

You don't know? I suppose you had some reason for coming in.

Oh aye.

Well, what is it?

Well, the fun o the thing is that I didnae ken whether I wis comin in here or no!


No, in here I mean. Ye see I wis comin doon the street atein a biscuit, when I noticed your braiss plate on your door. John Pump, Solicitor. And I says ta masel, this is the boy that I wint.

I see so you just came right in?

No, I didnae. I stayed a minute until I'd finished atin ma biscuit, and I the time I wis daein' at I happened to look to the ither side o the street and I noticed anither braiss plate on a door. William Leitch, Solicitor.

My rival.

Well, so I says tae masel, there's anither een. Now which should I gang til? Here's Pump and there's Leitch, Leitch and there's Pump. But I couldnae mak up ma mind ava! For a's I said, I might as well be Pump at ae sookit, but then again I said tae masel I might as well be sookit as Pumpit? Amn't I a gey boy?

Quite so. However you made up your mind to come here and…

No! I didnae. I couldnae decide which it wis tae be. But div ye ken fit wey I saittled it?

I have no idea.

Weel, I gaed tae the middle o the street, and I pinted tae the ae sign, and en tae the ither time aboot. And said, innerty-fingerty-bingerty-fay, an-tan-tellamanae-blackfish-fytetrout-eery-eery-yer oot. Div ye see? So Leitch wis oot and Pump was in. Amn't I a gey boy.

Yes, you are indeed a gey boy, as you say. But now that you've explained why you came to me…

But of course div ye see if I had started tae say 'ingerty-fingerty' and pinted tae Leitch first, Pump woulda been oot. Amn't I…

Yes! You are a gey boy…

Man, ye've nibber'd the words oot a ma moo. Fit wey did ye ken at I wis gaen tae say I wis a gey boy?

Well I have had some experience of your little eccentricities.

My little fut?


Aye, aye, please yersel. Little ecc… Sic a moo'fu o a word, yer wirth the watchin

Whatever you say yourself. But now that you have so carefully explained all your reasons as to why you selected my office and that you're a gey boy, we will perhaps make some progress. Now supposing you were to tell me just what I can do for you?

Man, ye can fairly let aff. At's jist the wey that Geordie Ferguson gets on when he's arguin politics. There's nae huddin him in aboot when he eens gets started. He gings on….

Yes, yes, but you are away from the subject again. You wish to consult me about something?

Fit wey div ye ken?

Well I presume so.

You presume so! Man, ye fairly hiv ma!

Have you--what do you mean?

Wi yer 'presume so'--I dinna follow you.

Oh I see. Well presume means to suppose, to venture, to be forward or over confident. Do you understand? When I said that I presumed you wished to consult me I meant of course that I supposed you did. Do you follow me now?

Hm. Man it surely taen you a lang time tae learn up a that. And fit wis yon ither big word that you said again.

Oh dear me, this is awful. What big word?

Min yon een, when you said ye hid some experiences o me, fit wis't again?


Eccentricities, eccentricities. At's it. I'll need tae min on that een.

Why do you wish to remember that word?

I'll bottle up Frankie Futtle wit. Frankie thinks he's affa clever ye ken and comes the lang waiscot wi me. Fan him and me's arguin aboot onything, and me getting the best o't. He comes aff wi some lang nibbet word that I dinna ken the meanin o, so I canna argue back. But aneesh time he tries at on again, I'll jist quickly say, look here Frankie, at's aricht aneuch, but the hale things jist a pure case o eccentricity, presumed, granted and supposed. At should dry him up.

Now you must tell me what you want, as I cannot afford to waste time like this. Now what is it!

Oh, but if yer ower busy to tak on my job, I can easy hud ower the wey tae Leitch

Oh no! I'm not too busy to take on your job, as you call it. If you would only tell me what the job is. It is no good larking like this you know.

Oh no, that's richt eneuch, richt eneuch.

Of course it's right enough

Aye, at's fit I'm saying, it's richt eneuch.

Well sit down and be serious, what can I do for you?

O I'm nae sure if I'm wantin ye tae dae onything ye yet, until I see fit kinda bargain I can mak wi ye. Fit's yer chairge.

Now how could I possibly tell you that before I know what I'm expected to do.

Oh no, at's richt eneuch.


Well, foo muckle wid ye tak till,--min I'm only a common workin chap, and you mauna put it on. Foo muckle wid ye tak tae get a lad at I ken siven year in jail?

I would not undertake to manage that at any price. What is your charge against him?


Blackmail? Then there's probably something in it after all. Did you say blackmail?

Yes sir, course law mean black tarry mail.

This is a very serious charge. Who is the blackmailer?

Tam ??, een o the ill trickiest clypes gaun aboot. But I'm for nae mair o his aul tricks. I'm determined tae put a stop tae it.

But tell me, how, who has he been blackmailing?

Me sir! Me, at niver did onybody ony ill in ma life. At's fa's been blackmailing. But I'll hae the la' on him for't.

But how has he been blackmailing you? Has he been threatening you?

He hidnae even the mainners tae threaten me. He did withoot ony warnin.

But how?

Wi a tarry brush.

I'm afraid I do not understand you. Please give me all the particulars.

Well it's like is ye see. I work at a place called 'Kittlyfit', oot by Netherton yonner. Mebbe ye ken't?

I don't think so. Proceed.

Well I work there onywey. And sae daes Tam ?? and sae daes Frankie Futtle, but ye ken o him I wis tellin ye aboot. Well I've naething against Frankie, he's a conceited kinda craiture, but there's nae ill wi him. This Tam ?? he's nae guid, but I'd better gae you the story fae the beginning.

It might be better, but be as brief as you can.

Oh aye. Oh weel. Aul Kittlie, at's the maister himsel ye ken, got a new timmer hen-hoos putten up. And me bein the maist artistic kinda o chap aboot the place, I got the job tae pint it wi tar.

I see.

Weel, Kittle gaed me a pailfu o tar and a brush and tellt me tae get it daen at eens, and to notice and nae spill mair tar than I could help. Then he gaed awa himsel till a mairket and left me wioot onybody tae watch me. Only I'm een o this kinda fowk I can easy dae ma work withoot bein watched, div ye see?

Quite so. Go on.

I'm gaen. I got started wi the job and I reckon I did aboot a squar fit and thocht I wid lie doon out ower a bittie tae see fit kinda an effect it hid. So I lay doon and I fell asleep.

Has all this got anything to do with the blackmail

Jist wait a meenit, I'll come to that by and by. Well, I sleepit langer than I intended for when I wakened it wis denner time. Man I jist waken till a meenit. I'm affa exact. So I jist gaed intae the hoose tae get ma denner, for a body at daes a day's work needs a denner. And as I'm gaen intae the hoose I met the maister's little lassie, and fan she sa' me she gaed a scream and run awa. I thocht this affa queer, cause she's ae in the wey o banterin wi me fan she meets me. She would say 'hello flypie, first tae yer denner again'. And I would say 'hello chase the chuckens, foo did ye like the sweeties I didnae gie ye last Sunday'.

Oh this is simply terrible. Do hurry up please.

I niver mind her, but I gaed awa intae the kitchen and a the rest of the boys wis seated roon the table. The kitchie lass wis cairryin ower a big bowl o tatties, and fan iver she sa me, she gaed a great skirl, and let a the tatties fa' a ower the flair. Think I, this is affa queer, but I happened tae see my face in the lid o a milk pail hingin on the wa', and fit de ye think, it wis clartet black wi tar.


I lookit ower the wey o Tam ?? and I sa' he wis lauchin awa tae himsel and winkin tae the ither chaps, and I noticed there wis some tar on his fingers at he hidnae been able to wash aff--div ye see?

I see. From that you concluded that he covered your face with tar when you were asleep.

Exactly. Noo fit did I dae?

Well, what did you do?

Fit div ye think I did?

I have not the faintest idea, you'd better tell me.

I took up a tattie and gaed him richt in the broo wit. And spiert foo he liket tatties. Wisn't that a naisty thing tae dae?

It was indeed, you might have hurt him.

Hurt him! I wisnae carin if I hurt him or now. Wisn't it a naisty thing o him tae tar my face.

It was a rough joke certainly.

Wisn't it. Div ye hear o a waur thing tae dae tae a body?

Just so. Now I have listened very carefully to your descriptive recital, but I fail to see where the blackmail comes in.

O weel, ye canna see't so weel noo, cause it's near a washin aff. But ye should hae seen't a day or so aifter he did it. I wis jist like a blaikie. I couldnae come a the wey here wi a face like yon, or folk woulda lauchen at me

But my dear sir, blackening your face is not blackmail.

Fit is't then? Slander mebbe?

The fact is my friend it is not worth your while going to the law at all. Even he did blacken your face you retaliated with the potato, so I think your best plan would be to go home and make it friends with ?? or whatever his name is and call it square.

Ca' it squar! Nivver. Man it took nearly a hale wik tae get aff the rouchest o't. But that's nae the worst o't. I happened tae be ganging tae a ball that nicht wi Bella Muckle, but of course I couldnae gang wi a tarry face. Now dae ye ken fit he hid the impudence tae dae?

What did he do?

He hid the impudence tae come and ask the lane o my fyte tie ate gang tae the ball wi Bella, cause I couldnae gang masel.

And did you let him have it?

Aye, I let him have it. Hait and reekit. I tellt him fit I thocht o him. I says, till him. Tam, I says, and ye hiv the doonricht impudence tae seek the lane o my tie efter fit ye've daen tae me, man I says, ye ocht tae think shame o yersels. Bit, I says, ye winna get aff wit. And yer nae getting my tie. I says, ye mebbe think ye're affa clever I says, blaikenin my face and keepin me fae the ball. But I can easy bide at hame I says, I can easy wash aff the tar Tam, I says. I'll wash't aff, even if though I hae tae wash ma face ilka day. I'll get it aff. And fan it is aff, I says, I'll ging tae the toon and see ma man o business, and I says, Thomas ?? ye'll rue the day that ye iver made a blaikie o me, and aye min I says, it's mony an honest face beats beneath a tarry hairt. And dinna think yer getting aff wit, for I'll hae the la' o you, should it cost me half a croon.

Er hm. You are evidently determined to have the law on him, as you call it, if you are prepared to spend a whole half crown on it!

Oh, but of course I only said at tae frichen Tam. I kent I could get it daen for less than at.

Indeed. I may mention that up to now it has cost you six and eight pence.

Na, it hisnae daen at. It hisnae cost me a penny. Fit wey div ye think it's cost me sax and achtpence.

The six and eight pence is for me.

For you! I doot I dinna unnerstaun ye?

Oh don't you. Do you think you can come in here and waste my time for nothing? My fee is six and eight pence. And I would advise you to pay it up at once and go home and make it up with ?? If you persist in charging him with blackening your face the chances are that he'll charge you with throwing the potato. At any rate, that is my advice and as I said before my fee is six and eightpence.

But fit's the sax and achtpence for?

For my advice.

But I'm nae takin yer advice.

You can please yourself, but that is my fee all the same.

Aye, I think I see you getting sax and achtpence. Fine wey o makin a livin. Your weel named Mr Pumpum. But ye'll pump a lang time afore ye pump sax and acht pence oot o me, for a I hiv on me is a shillin, and I'm gan tae buy a tippeny bottle o glue tae poor intae the pooches o Tam ?? Sunday claes. Then I'll mebbe ca' it square, as you say. And if there's onything left oot o the sax and acht pence, yer welcome tae't.

Then for goodness sake, clear out of this at once and not waste any more of my time!

But I'll gang oot, fit I'm sayin.


Fit'll Tam think when he gets his pooches fu o glue?

If I were Tam I would punch your head.

Ho, he can try at, but I would hae him up for a ?? afore he kent far he wis. Weel I reckon I'll need awa.

Good bye

Good bye. But fit wis yon big word that you said again?

Oh, this is intolerable!

Na, that's nae it, but it's a real guid een tae. Oh I min, it's eccentricities. I'll min on it noo. Weel, weel, so long, gan I hae ony ither jobs, I'll put em your wey. Ta ta wi ye.

A few more people like that and this office will be to let.

Disillusioned. Disillusioned and pessimistic, such words might describe not only Mr Pumpum on Jock's departure, but also the Reverend Patrick Hirple Hame, on J. C. Milne's humorous expose on ministerial misgivings.

'The Minister'

This nicht as I lie doon tae sleep
For fochin wi ma wanderin sheep
Lord, gie thy servant strength to pray
For ?? Gowie's gaen astra'
Tucked intae James o Memsie Cairns
Fa comes tae kirk wi wife and bairns
For o guid Lord tween thee and me
He likes guid draps o barley bree
And stappa thorn and hilly side
The deal his fulled him foo o pride
Since ere he bocht his mither's craft
And roched the ladle in the laft
And oh guid Lord gaent be thy will
Gar Kirsty Fyte a Nethermull
Come oftener tae thy holy place
For sairly she's in want o grace
Last Thursday nicht as sure's my names
The Reverend Patrick Hirple Hame
I heard her spikin till a dyuke
Sic words that arenae in they book
And fan I visit at her hoose
For aye she sets and cracks ae croos
For a that I could look or say
There's faint a crack boot maskin tae
Great Lord o hosts, o pity thou
Thy beadle maister, William Gow
Oh wits tae said, he wents bit twa
But lord o ken, he's naen ava
And far great Gabriel bla's his trump
And gar's auld James McWhapple jump
Though tears oh Lord run doon his cheeks
Believe nae word that Jamesie spiks
And Kirsty-Ann, aye werenae weel
When she comes pechin wi her creel
And hirplins up they gowden stair
Lord she's fin faut wi aithin there.
Oh gie me patience, Lord to thole
Thon trumpet blasts o puddock hole
Fa sings as sure as the deal's alive
Till a my hale kirk's like tae rive
And aye he's maistly half a stave
And sometimes mair ahin the lave
And taks nae coont o sense or rhyme
Lord veesit him in thy guid time
And as the wide bla's widderd leaves
O drive afore thee Geordie Greaves
For wi his snores I'm sairly vexed
When I expound they holy text
And tak guid note o Meggie Broon
Fa kicks her heels and cla's her croon
And reesles pandrops in her pyok
Confound her Lord in a her troch
And o guid Lord, I near forgot
To mention sleekit William Scott
Fa stole a cabbage fae ma yaird
The Dee'il 'll tak his ill far'd beard
Now, bless ma yowies een and a
And gie thy servant Lord a ca'
To some big kirk far I could dae
A hauntle better work for thee
And when I meet thee face to face
In thine eternal dwelling place
Remember though thy servant's name
The Reverend Patrick Hirple Hame

Humour, albeit black, and an insight into human nature, are the hallmarks of yet another of Milne's poems, 'Better Deid' where an old man muses on the subject of the dear departed.

'Better Deid'

O a ma freens noo gane awa,
A fyowe I hinna missed ava,
And fyles a thocht gangs through my heid,
A hantle folk are better deid.

First o a, there's Kirsty Young ,
For lang Jock tholed her soople tongue,
Day and nicht, withoot remeid,
The threepin jaud, she's better deid.

The Dominie he's gane lang syne,
But man his name I canna min,
They say he come fae Peterheid,
Bluemoggener, he's better deid.

And Gweed forgie aul Jeemsie Broon,
Wha kent the claik in ilka toun,
Twas aye the ill afore the guid,
Din-raisin vratch, he's better deid.

Alas for bonnie Jeannie Gow,
A strappin quine, fae owre the knowe,
I doot she wis but middlin gweed,
For a concerned she's better deid.

And Geordie Grant o Memsie Cairns,
Sair hudden doon wi wife and bairns,
Oh Rathen kirk he took nae heed,
The heathen! Dyod, he's better deid.

The girnin gamie's gaen, peer stock,
Wi his futtret tails and sic like trock,
Nae mair he'll vex my Buchan bleed,
A Hielander, he's better deid.

Cadger Lizzie's gane, dear quine,
She aye wis singin--Lord I'm thine!
And weel-a-wite the Lord took heen,
Noo Cadger Lizzie's better deid.

And guid behere, I near forgot
The Reverend Weellum Patrick Scott
Wha nivver did nae ill--Nor guid.
We are respeck, he's better deid.

And contermashious, Tammie Tough,
I aften wished him far aneugh.
Nae drogs, nor doctors did him gweed,
It's jist as weel, cause he's better deid.

And Kirsty Ann Jemima Tait,
Nae better han at makkin maet ,
Or catchin ferlies in her heid,
Preserve us a! She's better deid.

And lawyer Tamson's weel awa,
Tae faur there's neither lees nor law,
'Lauch and learn' wis Tamson's creed,
The twa-faced deil! He's better deid.

An for masel, fin caul fite death ,
Comes shiverin ben tae jeel my breath,
Let nae man nod or shak his heid,
And say 'I doot she's better deid'.

Perhaps in choosing our last piece, we are acknowledging that somewhere between childhood fantasy and the cynicism that can accompany old age there lies a comfortable reality where things are basically fine but not perfect. Ye see, there's aye something!

'There's aye a something' J. C. Milne

Bell Canny is foggin wi siller laid by,
Wi byres foo o feeders and pedigree kye,
Wi horse in fine fettle for ploo or for harra,
And a the tails needed fae Binder tae Barra.

The firehoose and steadin's nae harled and hale,
Wi bourtrie for life, and a gaen at a gale,
A hillside a bracken for beddin the stots,
And hairst for the thackin a gashet o sprots.

The snod dyke at ?? lies fair tae the sun,
And anither nineteen's little mair more begun,
He's lucky Bell Canny, he's bully rows weel,
But aye there's a something, the wife is genteel.

Hech, wife thocht a fairmer an onca come doon,
For a quine at wis teachin and raised tae the toon,
But though like the lave, her ambitions were big
She couldnae say na tae a lad wi a gig.

And soon they were baith sittin cushioned and saft,
And passin the paippermints up in the laft,
And faith she wis thra'n wi her chuckens and cheese,
Her eggs and her butter and skip faes o bees,
And better still, Hogmanay hardly wis by,
Or the howdy wis in and she's hippins tae dry.

But aye there wis something a ?? tae the mean,
She's great mon mainners, and Sandy his neen,
He's rouch and unshaven till Sunday comes roon
A drap at his nose and his pints hingin doon
His wife's got tae scairp it wi dribbles o kale,
He drinks wi his sa'cer and rifts wi his ale.

And fan he comes in fae the midden or moss,
Her new washen kitchie's as dubbie's the close,
She his her piana tae dirl and tae thump,
But gie him for music a spring on the trump.

She's thankfu for muckle, her doon ?? fine,
The hoose and the ? jest till her min,
But aye there's a something, the stob and the rose,
In spite o a tellin, he bla's on his brose!

There's lots o wa'r bodies, she'll freely alloo,
He's hairty and kindly, baith sober and fu,
He grudges her naethin, be it sweeties or claes,
And his for her ?? clappin and praise.

She's busy the butt as a hen amon corn,
Gaen noses need dichtin or breekies a torn,
And ben wi the little eens, need happen or help,
Tae kiss or tae cuddle, tae ska'l or tae skel,
There liker in looks as a pod fae o paes.

But there's aye a something.
Their mainners' his!

Our language is indeed a vital part of our heritage and as such must be preserved. We hope you enjoy our Doric sampler and we leave you with these thoughts:

Guid heritage is a gift tae darn a time,
Like weel vrocht grun, it richer gets wi time,
If naethin new's put in, it peerer gets,
And faith, foo can we build anew,
If a is dust aneth's?

Pay nae heed tae them fa shak their heids and say,
Fit's daen is daen, the past has hid it's day,
Afore it we maun gang, mair folks micht weel abide,
Be a wey o life for aul or new, are traivellin, side by side.

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