Document 1796

Scots Tung Wittins 145

Author(s): Robert Fairnie

Copyright holder(s): Name withheld


Nummer 145
Dec 2005

A guid Scots Tung in yer heid's nae guid if yer mooth's ower blate tae yaise it!

Scots Tung WITTINs

Eydently Campaignin tae Uphaud the Scots Language
Ph. [CENSORED: phonenumber] Scots Tung Wabsite: Stravaiger Ph. [CENSORED: phonenumber]

Hae a Richt Herty Yule
A HERTY YULE AN A GUID NEW YEAR tae aw oor readers! Scots Tung wishes ye aw ye wad wish for yersel an for yours. It wishes an aw a better year for the Scots language an for aw the millions o fowk that yaises it on an ilka-day basis. In particlar it howps the Scots Executive will cairry oot aw the requirements o the Comatee o Experts frae the European Chairter an pit its siller whaur its mooth is annent its verbal commitment tae estaiblish an Institute o Scots Languages. Scots Tung howps an aw that this incomin year will see a guid ootcome tae the 2006 Census test question that cairries a question on the Scots language an that this will gar the Executive tae dae the richt thing in the hinnerend an allou a question on the Scots language tae be pitten intae the 2011 Census. Whit it disnae want tae see is a repeat o whit happened afore the 2001 Census whaur the Depute F.M. proponed that if the Scots question wis kept oot o the census, it cuid be pitten intae a Faimly Survey insteid but, coorse we aw ken noo that they haed nae intention o daein ony sic thing. When they war speirt aboot it later on they reponed that they haed nae plans for haein ony Scots question in ony Faimly Survey, an they didnae. Anither thing that Scots Tung wad be howpin for wad be that Eurolang, EBLUL an ADUM wad pit an end tae the invisibility o the Scots language in aw thair new wabsteids an gie it its richtfu place amang aw the ither minority leids o Europe. Scots Tung hears tell that at the verra least, twa fowk haes pitten forrit an up ti date description o the Scots language tae Eurolang months syne sae whit's haudin thaim back frae complyin wi the ECRML?

Braw Blithe Bairns in Borders
[NOTE: two photographs here of children in Borders in original]
ON Friday 11th November 2005, mair nor twenty bairns o P5, P6 an P7 frae Longniddry Primary Schuil, East Lothian, taen a walcome brek frae thair ordinar lessons an heidit up tae Fort Kinnaird on the sooth east mairches o Edinburgh tae hear Matthew Fitt o Itchy Coo in the bairns' section o Borders buik-shop giein thaim a different kinna lesson that wis aw guid fun an gey entertainin tae the bairns, thair three teachers an tae the Borders staff that wis thare.

He stertit aff speakin in English an tellin thaim hou there wis 400m fowk in the warld that yaised English as thair first language then went on tae speir the bairns if they kent o ony ither languages an did they ken ony words frae thon languages. French, Spanish, German, Italian an Gaelic wis some o the yins the bairns cam up wi alang wi a guid selection o words an phrases tae gaun wi thaim. Then Matthew chynged ower intae speakin Scots an speirt whit language he wis speakin noo. "Scots" an "Scottish" wis amang the answers he got then he gaed on tae pruive tae the bairns juist hou weel they cuid unnerstaund this Scots language bi tellin thaim in Scots tae dae sindry things tae an wi sindry pairts o the body the likes o "Pit up yer richt haund." Maist got it richt but yin wee laddie in the fotie pit up his left haund only tae be telt, "No that yin. Yer ither richt haund!" The bairns haed rare fun stickin thair richt finger intae thair left oxter an then tae thair neb tae smell if it wis mingin then giein thair bahookies a guid skelp wi the richt haund.

The shop haed a braw selection frae some o the 21 titles o Itchy Coo buiks on display an Matthew haed brocht a kistfu o "Blethertoun Braes" an "Hercules" that he raxed oot tae the bairns an teachers sae they cuid follae the bits he read oot tae thaim then the bairns aw got the chance tae read oot bits an pieces frae thaim thirsels. The lave o the time wis taen up wi signin copies o the buiks that the lad-dies an lassies wis fair anxious tae buy.

The bairns an teachers o Longniddry P S taen hame a wheen o happy smilin faces thon day.

Itchy Coos
DURIN the Saicont Warld War, roond aboot 1943, the Ministry o Food (MoF) wis gettin a wee tait fashed aboot the want o certain vitamins in the raitioned war-time diet o the population an syne they proponed tae aw the schuils in the land that they speir the bairns tae gaun oot intae the kintrae ae weekend in the Hairst tae gaither as mony rosehips as they cuid find an fetch thaim back tae the schuil on the Monday mornin whaur they wad aw be taen awa tae be turnt intae Rosehip Syrup. This Rosehip Syrup wis said tae be fou o vitamin C amang ither things that wis thocht tae be awfu guid for ye.

Coorse the Scottish bairns wisnae shuir whit rosehips wis until they war telt that it wis juist anither name for Itchy Coos. Thon weekend when they war oot gaitherin the Itchy Coos, they suin got tae ken that if ye opened up the skin o the hip, it wis fou o jaggy, sticky seeds inside an if ye pit some o thae seeds doon the back o somebody's neck, they juist aboot went gyte tryin tae scart thair itchy backs. For aw that there wis an awfu time tint aither joukin getting itchy coos pitten doon the neck or ettlin tae pit thaim doon somebody else's neck, maist o the bairns managed tae gaither in twa three pund o thaim an nae doot it wis a guid help tae the war effort.

The MoF pit oot a recipe for the makin o this Rosehip Syrup in case some fowk wantit tae mak thair ain an they pyntit oot hou important it wis for the het liquid mixture tae be sieved at least twa three times throu a flannel or linen jeelly bag tae mak shuir that aw the wee sherp jaggy hairs, that gied the itchy coos thair name, wis taen oot.

They advised an aw hou a teaspuinfu o the syrup taen ilka mornin wad dae nae want o guid an it cuid be yaised an aw as a flavourin for milk puddins, ice cream an gey near ony kinna puddin forbye bein mixed wi water for drinkin.

Scots Tung WITTINS
On the wab.
Mair raicent copies o the Scots Tung Wittins can be gotten in pdf format frae Scots Tung's wabsite at:-
A hard copy o STW is sent free o chairge tae aw maimbers o Scots Tung ilka month.
Maimbership subscreivins is £5 (Scotland/UK)
Peyed ilka September.
£6 (Ireland/EU) $14 (Americae)

HERCULES - Bampots and Heroes
A Review bi Irene Broon (Owerset intae Scots bi the Editor)
[NOTE: image here of the book cover in original]
THE legend o Hercules an the Twal Labours haes been kent tae the Greeks syne at least the time o Homer (aiblins aboot 600 or 700BC). They hiv been raxed on, no juist athin Greek culture, but universally. The legend tells o Hercules, the weel luved son o Zeus, ruler o the Universe, that's luve for Hercules brocht aboot the wrath o his new guid-wife, Hera. She wis ill-taen aboot her son, Eurystheus, playin saicont fiddle tae her stapson, sae she wantit Hercules deid. Hercules grew tae be baith richt strang an richt clever sae he makit a guid mairriage that produced mony bairns. He wis a hero an a champion an muckle luved bi awbody. This steered up Hera's hatred e'en mair, sae she castit a cantrip that gart Hercules kill his hail faimly. As punishment an penance for thon terrible crime, Zeus threapit that Hercules wad be thirlt tae his stap-brother, Eurystheus, wha set Hercules the twal ootrageously fykie labours wi his ain freedom bein the gree he wad beir at the hinnerend o thaim.
In this Scots owersettin bi Matthew Fitt, he retells it wi sic panache, that tho it's airtit at a young readership, it is thorowly entertainin an grippin. He haes taen thae auncient tales fou o muckle monsters, jeelousy, pauchlin, violence, grue an daith an pit thaim intae a recognisable Scotland. He haes duin this bi descrivin Hercules as bein "built like a hoose end" wi "legs like cabers". He gies the Lion o Nemea in Labour Yin " claws like the dirks in a kiltie's soack" an descrives him as bein "as big as a tenement" an wha leuked as tho he'd pit Hercules "…in a piece and eat him for his tea." In Labour Fower, Hercules haes the darg o bringin the Erymantian Boar back tae Eurystheus alive. We are telt that the boar's antics haed the fowk o Arcadia "tremmlin in their semmits" as it creatit dirdum bi dingin doon touns wi the particular Scottish bit o cheek afore leavin o knockin "…bunnets aff aw the auld men's heids." Recognisin bairns's luve o bodily functions, Matthew's descriptions is no in the least wey euphemistic. The "spew o glittie green slavers" o the Lion o Nemea an "the broon, bowfin bing o manure" frae Augeas's Byre is eneuch tae gie the reader the boaks, but it prepares ye for the climax o the fecht wi Cerberus, the Fifty Heidit Dug wi its "yella bluid" an pushion that "poured oot like rain". Whit micht be the stuff o nichtmares for some adults is maist likely high delicht for young readers.

The Twal Labours haes been taen up bi modern popular culture throu characters the likes o Asterix the Gaul an Wonder Wumman, whaes writers haes pitten thair ain twist ontae the universal theme. Matthew Fitt haes stuck tae the original story as weel as tae the classical order o the Labours but haes managed tae place it intae a recognisably Scottish environment throu his yiss o the language. This rollickin, gallus rendition o the Legend haes been fabulously illustratit bi Bob Dewar. His wark thorowly convinces the reader they wad definitely no want tae meet thae craiturs on a dark nicht! I particlarly liked the double page o the Fifty Heidit Dug, the battlin Amazons in full make up an puir Atlas uphaudin the sky while shoutin efter Hercules, "Whaur ye gaun, ya big chanty? "

It is easy at this time o year tae cry this a gret stockin filler, whaur in fack it's a gretly entertainin an educational read for ony time an, for that maitter, ony age.
Hercules Bampots and Heroes is publisht bi Itchy Coo (ISBN 1 84502 0561) at a cost o £7.99. The cover design is bi Creative Link.
© Irene Broon

Auld Reekie Ministers frae the Bygane
THERE wis wee Scotty o the Coogate Kirk; an a famous preacher he wis. Ye couldna get a seat in his kirk, when he wis at the heicht o his popularity. But he wis sadly bathered wi his flock, for they kept him aye in het water.

Ae day he wis preachin on Job. "My brethern," says he, "Job, in the first place, wis a sairly tried man; Job, in the second place, wis an uncommonly patient man; Job, in the third place, never preached in the Coogate; fourthly, and lastly, had Job preached there, Lord help his patience!"

At anither time, afore the service began, when there wis a great noise o folk gaun into their seats, he got up in the poupit an cried out - "Oh that I could hear the pence birlin in the plate at the door wi half the noise ye mak wi yer cheepin shoon! Oh that Paul had been here wi a lang wudden ladle! For yer coppers are strangers in a far country, an as for yer silver an gold - let us pray!"

An there wis Deddy Weston, wha began ane o his services in this mainner :- "Firstly, I'll tell ye somethin that I ken an you dinna ken. Secondly, I'll tell ye somethin that you ken an I dinna ken. Thirdly, I'll tell ye somethin that neither you nor me kens.

"Firstly, Coming ower a style this mornin, ma breeks got an unco skreed. That's somethin I ken an you dinna ken. Secondly, What you're gaun to gie Charlie Waddie the tailor for mendin ma breeks is what you ken an I dinna ken. Thirdly, What Charlie Waddie's to tak for mendin ma breeks is what neither you nor me kens. Finally an lastly, Hand roond the ladle."
Frae the Scottish Anecdote o 1874

Language o the Deil
EFTER thon airticle aboot the Language o God last month, yin o oor maimbers wrote in aboot a medieval Celtic manuscript she minds o seein in the National Library o Scotland in the 1960s. It wis aw written in Welsh (or it micht hiv been Manx, she cannae richt mind) an wis yin o thae "Miracle Plays" aboot stories frae the Bible that wis acted oot in the villages bi the villagers thirsels in the days when maist fowk wis illiterate. The play wis aboot the Gairden o Eden, wi Adam an Eve. Coorse aw the characters, God, Adam an Eve wis aw speakin in Welsh. Then alang cam the Deil in the form o a serpent tae tempt Eve, an aw the sleekit words that cam oot o his mooth wis in English. Sae in medieval Wales, Welsh wis the language o God an his ain Welsh fowk an the language o awthin guid but English, a foreign ootlin tung, wis the language o the Deil an awthin sleekit an evil. Fowk micht jalouse that medieval Scotland aiblins, micht hiv hauden siclike consaits aboot God an the Deil, wi Scots takin the place o Welsh for it wis juist roond aboot thon time that it wis the common belief amang Scots fowk that aw English fowk haed tails. Cuid this belief hiv cam aboot cause aw the English spake the language o the Deil? Sae if English wis the language o the Deil in some non-English speakin cultures includin Scotland, hou wis it that the language o the Deil cam tae be the language o God an o authority in general? Wis this cause the Deil haed somethin tae dae wi it hissel? Wis it the Deil hissel or politicians in his service we hae tae thank for hivin tae dree the biggest creenge in Europe that blinds sae mony o us tae the value o Scots?

Tak Tent
IN LAST month's review o "Whaur the Deep Sea Devauls" the wabsteid address shuid hiv read:-

Makar's Neuk

Ah've never been a paragon
O virtue in ma life.
Ah've wasted mony youthfu years,
An caused nae end o strife.
So, when Ah gan tae meet ma maker -
Wha ever he may be,
Ah'm no wantin happ'd in mournin cairds,
In a yaird fir aw tae see.
Just mark me oot twa yairds o grund
That'll tak me - heid tae fit,
An let the worms an moudieworts
Dissect me - bit bi bit.
Nae need fir tears tae ower me shed,
Nae flooers, nae mournin feast!
Nae pseudo-incantations said
By Minister, or Priest!
An a million future years fae noo
When they're siftin thru the clay,
They micht find some worth
In me - at last,
When they check ma D.N.A!

C. W. Berry "Lochinvar"

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Scots Tung Wittins 145. 2023. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 10 December 2023, from

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The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2023. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 1796

Scots Tung Wittins 145


Text audience

Audience size N/A

Text details

Method of composition N/A
Word count 2668
General description monthly newsletter

Text medium

Leaflet/brochure (prospectus)

Text publication details

Publisher Scots Tung
Publication year 2005
Part of a longer series of texts
Name of series Scots Tung Wittins

Text type

Prose: nonfiction
Other mixed text type


Author details

Author id 95
Forenames Robert
Surname Fairnie
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1930
Educational attainment College
Age left school 16
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Consultant Marine Structural Engineer (Retired)
Place of birth Musselburgh
Region of birth Midlothian
Birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Musselburgh
Region of residence Midlothian
Residence CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Fisherman
Father's place of birth Musselburgh
Father's region of birth Midlothian
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Fishwife
Mother's place of birth Musselburgh
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 At work
German Yes Yes Yes Yes In Germany to communicate with two grandsons
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Wherever Scots is understood