Document 1533

Tae See Oorsels. . .

Author(s): Prof Christian Kay

Copyright holder(s): Prof Christian Kay


The first item I turn to when I get my “Weekly News” is often “It’s a Great World”. It does me good to read about the daft things other folk do.

I used to get a laugh out of noticing that the strangest incidents reported in the column usually took place abroad, especially in the U.S.A. Sometimes I wondered if the Americans knew what sort of picture we were getting of them. But I never wondered what sort of picture they were getting of us!

I say “wondered” because two years ago I went to live in the United States. Like most exiles, I kept an eye open for news about home when I read the papers. And I soon began to think that the British were pretty odd people too.

Events in Britain didn’t have to be world-shaking to make the American papers. People all over the U.S. got the chance to read about one poor Scot who fell asleep at a football match and didn’t wake up until the match was over.

Another story widely reported in the American papers told of some glaikit English workmen who built a whole bus shelter on the wrong street while the natives looked on and said nowt. My favourite piece of home news of all was about a man down South who lost his false teeth during a bathe, only to find them waiting for him on the beach when he went back two days later.

Although important British news was reported too, it was these little items that my American friends pounced on with most glee. I remember chuckling with them over the sad tales of the birdman who tried to fly off London Bridge and the trombone player who was hoping to sell 40 jackets with one arm longer than the other. We also liked the story about the shop that was raising its moral tone by putting wedding rings on wax models clad in negligees.

Scottish stories, like the one about the pipe-band who refused to play until they got replacements for kilts made in 1898, were always popular. The day the licensing laws were changed, the American press came up with more corny jokes about whisky than I’d heard during a lifetime in Scotland.

Altogether, American newspaper readers must get the impression of strange goings-on in Britain.

Now that I’m back home, I know what job I’m looking for. I want to be the person who travels round looking for people who’ve dozed off at football matches or miraculously found their false teeth. It would be an interesting life – and I’m sure it would be good for international relations!

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Tae See Oorsels. . . 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 23 February 2024, from

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Information about Document 1533

Tae See Oorsels. . .


Text audience

Audience size N/A

Text details

Method of composition Handwritten
Year of composition 1965
Word count 456

Text type

Prose: nonfiction


Author details

Author id 606
Title Prof
Forenames Christian
Surname Kay
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1940
Educational attainment University
Age left school 18
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Academic
Place of birth Edinburgh
Region of birth Midlothian
Birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Glasgow
Region of residence Glasgow
Residence CSD dialect area Gsw
Country of residence Scotland
Father's place of birth Leith
Father's region of birth Midlothian
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's place of birth Edinburgh
Mother's region of birth Midlothian
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes All
Scots No Yes No Yes Work