Document 1394

Divinin for cables

Author(s): Laureen Johnson

Copyright holder(s): Laureen Johnson


It's joost da wye, isn' it?
Funny things happens
at naebody lippens.
I mean, I never towt
dey wir onything in it,
aa yon owld trash.
An I'm heard dem on
aboot watter divinin.
Me faider wid caa it
a kind o a gift
laek playin da fiddle
or draain a picter -
some fokk can dö it,
an some could fin watter,
nae idder as dat.

Noo, he couldna dö it,
an I'd never tried it -
weel, poncin aboot wi
a branch o a tree or
a bit o bent wire -
weel, I'd feel a föl! (Widn' du?)
An onywye, why wid you
need ta fin watter?
It's no laek you hae ta
dig wals nooadays!
An God knows, da watter
at comes fae da heevens
is mair as anyoch
every year at we see!

But onywye, it wis da
year I wis drivin
da peerie Kubota
ta Anderson's men.
Dey wir makkin a rodd ta
da pier at da Leeans
inbye da hooses,
an as du weel kens,
when you're diggin roond hooses
der pipes an der cables,
an du haes ta watch
when du sets in da bucket
at du kens what du's doin,
or dey'll weemen be plötin
an neebors be yallin
an cooncil officials
aa swaarmin aroond!

here we wir waitin
ee Wednesday moarnin
for someen fae Lerook
ta come wi a scanner
an mark oot da places
for wis ta steer clear o
whaar cables wis lyin
anunder da grund.
Dey wir Tammie an me
an a fellow fae Glessgow
an peerie John Alec
(just oot o da schöl)
an we waited an waited
an got kinda scunnered.
An hit wis aa Tammie,
he aye haes ideas,
he says, ‘Boys, I tink we
sood try finnin cables!
Dey say it can wirk, an
we're döin naething idder.
We'll try for a fun!’

An fae da cut fence, he took
twa bits o wire
- an bloddy owld wire
hit wis, I can tell dee -
straight bits o wire at
he bent at right angles
an held dem laek dat!
Dan aff he sets walkin
an we wir aa watchin
an laachin an skyimpin
dan all of a sudden
da wires swang tagidder
an fairly crossed ower
an Tammie stöd grinnin.
‘John Alec,’ he says,
‘come an pit in a marker.
Da cable is here!’
An we aa stöd an gaakit,
an said he wis lyin
an dan we aa tried it.
An wid du believe - weel,
I daresay du widna -
but we could aa dö it,
every last wan!
An da last wan wis me, for
I widna believe it,
but it wis a pull du
could feel trow dy airms
right oot o da grund.

We wir markit tree cables
an aa in agreement
when here comes da fellow
fae toon wi da scanner.
He lookit an listened an
towt we wir halfwits.
(He didna joost say it,
but lookit da pairt!)
But he got a sook-in when
him an his scanner
wis forced tae agree wi
wir bits a aald wire.
He only could tell you
da depth o da cable
but he never shifted
a wan o wir markers.
I never saw Tammie
sae plaised wi himsel!

I ken at it most be
some kind o magnetics

But I can fin cables.
Nae budder ava!

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Cite this Document

APA Style:

Divinin for cables. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 24 July 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Divinin for cables." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 24 July 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Divinin for cables," accessed 24 July 2024,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 1394

Divinin for cables


Text audience

Adults (18+)
General public
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 2004
Word count 571

Text medium

Magazine (e-zine)

Text publication details

Publication year 2004
Place of publication Shetland
Part of larger text
Contained in The New Shetlander, No 229, 2004
Editor Laureen Johnson and Brian Smith
Page numbers 10-11

Text setting


Text type



Author details

Author id 969
Forenames Laureen
Surname Johnson
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1940
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Retired teacher
Place of birth Lerwick
Region of birth Shetland
Birthplace CSD dialect area Sh
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Voe
Region of residence Shetland
Residence CSD dialect area Sh
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Clerk / crofter
Father's place of birth Voe
Father's region of birth Shetland
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Sh
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Machine knitter / housewife
Mother's place of birth lunnasting
Mother's region of birth Shetland
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Sh
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes In formal situations, or wherever required
French Yes Yes Yes Yes As appropriate
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Incl. Shetland dialect. At home and elsewhere