Document 527

Craiters: 03 - Stirries

Author(s): Alexander Fenton

Copyright holder(s): Alexander Fenton


Fin e hoose wis deen up, e waa atween e best room an e maid’s room wis knockit oot. Ere wis a touch o dry rot in e fleer o e maid’s room onywye, so be makin ae room o e twa, ere wis mair space an air, an forbye fit damned eese is a maid’s room fin ye’ve nae deem? It wis fine in e simmer. E hoose wis a stoot bit o wark, an e waas keepit e heat. Bit on a winter day, it wis a jyle o a place. Ye cd a pitten in storage heaters, for ere wis plugs, bit na! na! at wisnae e style. Ere wis ae open fireplace, a fancy bit o work wi marbly kinna sides an a marble mantelpiece, an fower flooery tiles at ilky side o e grate. Ye cd keep it goin on aa e orrals o sticks aboot e place, aal hackit up palin posts, branches fae e plantin, e withert breemstocks e loon trailt fae e wid. Fin it deet doon ye cd aye kittlet up wi a fyow faalt pages fae een o e Press and Journals at aye claggit up e hoose. Aa e same, ye’d tae wirk at keepin a gweed lowe, an ye’d still tae sit wi a thick gunsey an a thick jaicket, an lowp up an doon noo an aan tae haad yer taes an fingers oan geelt. E three windaes – twa in e north an sooth waas, an a smaa een in e east gale – didna help edder, bit ere wis nae-bad curtains ower em an fin ye sattlet doon on an evenin an e heat built up a bittie it wisna sae bad syne.

I eest tae come aboot e New Ear, Easter an e time o Turra Show. Caal ir warm, e table wis a fine place tae sit at. It wis a solid bit o timmer. I ay likit it. Ye cd look throwe e windae stracht up e Howe, e aipple trees on e waa ootside framin ae side o yer picter. I’ve tried it wi a camera at a time, bit e lens disna see fit yer ain ee sees, nae mair’n it kens fits in yer min fin ye’re lookin at something. I’d look oot an I’d see e road faar I bikit ilky day till e skweel, an e parks faar I’d forkit shaves an hyowt neeps, an aa e little crafties on e Hill an e fowk at bade in em. An files I’d see little for blin smore driven be e win at roart in e trees an moant in e lum, or I’d look oot at clean drift scoorin e parks in e win o a clear day at a frosty time, or stame risin sometimes, eery like, fae plooed an rolled grun, nae lang afore aathing turnt green an e corn an e barley an e wheat grew, an e girse nott aitin an ye couldna traivel throwe e parks or roon e wid without gettin sypit on weety days. An fit aboot aa e wirds I’ve written on es table, notebooks, an byeuks an pairts o byeuks, an fit I’m writin noo tee? It’s nae mowse fit ere is aboot es table, in es quairt room at I tak ower fin I’m aboot e place.

Jist ahin faar I sit, I’ve got e bed faar I sleep, wi e heid till e north windae, alangside an aal-style dresser wi a mirror in e middle. Ye can aye tak a teet at yersel fin ye rise in e morning, fin yer heid’s aa huddery an ere’s sleep in yer een. Queer tae think ye niver see yersel richt in a mirror. Ye’re ay backlins, left’s richt and richt’s left. Backlins is e only wye ye iver see yersel, and fit ye’re eest till aa yer life, ye tak as normal. If ye misst oot on a vyow o e maister in e dresser mirror, ye got a secont chance in e een abeen e fireplace on e road till e door. E room wis weel enyeuch for mirrors.

Sae I geed tae ma bed es nicht, an jist lay still tae let e thochts o e day sattle. If ye’ve been wirkin on something fin ye gang tae yer bed, it can tak a filie for yer heid tae stop turnint ower, an ye begin tae winner if ye’ll iver drap aff. Noo an aan ye’ll jist catch yersel slippin ower intae the dark peel an jerk back, bit neesht time ye slip in an ye’re awa, till e mornin dreams start tae come. It’s jist winnerfae fit comes on ye at at time. I sometimes think a buddie niver forgets onything, it must aa be tuckit intae pigeon holes somewye ir ither, an fit wye, wid ye say, div things pop oot at es dream time?

Onywye, it wisna a gentle wakenin I got. First a reemish an a reeshle shot in anaith e grey mist o morning sleep, syne anither cleart e fog, an be e third time I wis sharp an clear, prickin ma lugs like a taid in a hole. I didna meeve. Athing wis quairt for a meenit. Ere cam e furr o wings an e soon o hard bumps. Abeen ma heid a squadron o three stirries wis plyin back an fore, full tilt atween e north an sooth windaes, faar e licht o day wis sypin throwe. I didna stop tae meditate on fit wye three hid thocht tae squeery doon e lang, black hole o e lum. Mair tae the pint, ey were passin richt abeen ma heid. I’d visions o ma bed bein turnt intill a shithoose pail. Canny as ye like I turnt till e side tae haal on a bit o clyes, for though ma bed wis warm, e room wisna, an it’s bad enyeuch chasin stirries in a room at ony time withoot deein’t in a state o naiter.

Iv coorse, e breets took fleg fin I meeved. Instead o e reglar sailin back an fore, ey heidit in aa airts, an een hovert near abeen’s facin e big dresser mirror, faar it saa fit it thocht wis its fella hoverin tee. Syne crash like a steen fae a catapult intill e glaiss. E beak crackit intill e hard surface an e bird fell back, half killt, afore terror garrt its wings go again. Be es time I wis on ma feet, an ma thick socks on. I paddlet ben e room, nae wintin tae agitate em ower much, for ere wis ornaments an aa kins of trock aboot. Anither took a look at e ither mirror, an hid a swerve at it, bit held by e edge. Ey didna tak lang tae learn.

Back an fore geed e patrol, windae tae windae an me wi’t. Ae bird got ahin e curtains. I cam on canny, haadin oot ae han fin it ettlet tae meeve ae wye, an anither han fin it socht tae meeve e ither. Es jookin back an fore wi ma airms confeeset e craiter. It wis maybe expeckin’s tae come stracht on. Onywye, I got close till’t, made a pounce, an got it. It scraicht like e deil an its beak pecht up an doon, e same’s it wis gaspin for air. Bonny colours in e fedders fin ye teetit close. I took it ben e passage, throwe e kitchen an aa e wye till e back door, faar I let it lowse. It shot aff e airt o e cornyard wi a maist ondeemous scraich.

Back tae ma room I geed. Naething tae be seen, till I noticet e twa on e fleer. Ey’d learnt it wis nae eese bein birds, sae they tried tae be mice. Ey scuttled aboot, gaan ahin cheers an dressers, an in anaith e aal piana wi half its notes deid, bit in e eyn I managet tae herd een intill e angle o e door an e waa, an got im. Oot e geed e same wye’s e last.

Noo for number three. Easier said’n deen. Ere wis nae e faintest trace in e room fin I cam back in. I triet ma torch ahin e bits o furniter. I haikit aawye, bit naething. Ere wis nae doot it hid craalt ahin e gaird ower e fire an back up e lum e wye it cam. I left e hunt, an craalt back tae ma bed again, thinkin fit tricky breets e stirries mn be. Ugly divvels, bit ey cd fairly think.

An I half dovert, as e warmth o e blankets heatit’s up again, ma heid full o e birds. I couldna bit come back ay till e mirror, an e stirrie tryin tae dive throwe’t. It garrt me start tae think o life, an death. Ere’s plenty gangs till e kirk, an reads e Bible, an thinks ey’ll win till anither place faar ey’ll meet again e freens at geed afore. Maybe ey’re like e stirries hoverin in front o a veesion at’s nae mair’n a shadda o fit ey ken emsels. Fin e meenit comes tae dive throwe e hard glaiss, fit a begeck ey’ll get.

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Craiters: 03 - Stirries. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 22 April 2024, from

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Information about Document 527

Craiters: 03 - Stirries


Text audience

Adults (18+)
General public
Informed lay people
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 1994
Word count 1596

Text medium


Text publication details

Publisher Tuckwell Press
Publication year 1995
Place of publication East Linton
ISBN/ISSN 1898410739
Edition First
Part of larger text
Contained in Craiters. Or Twenty Buchan Tales

Text setting

Other Putting the dialect on record, Aberdeenshire

Text type

Prose: fiction
Prose: nonfiction
Short story


Author details

Author id 27
Forenames Alexander
Surname Fenton
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1920
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Academic/Writer/Editor
Place of birth Shotts
Region of birth Lanark
Birthplace CSD dialect area Lnk
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Edinburgh
Region of residence Edinburgh
Residence CSD dialect area Edb
Father's occupation Shoemaker
Father's place of birth Aberdeen
Father's region of birth Aberdeen
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Abd
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Housewife\Crofter
Mother's place of birth Keith
Mother's region of birth Banff
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Bnf
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes At work
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes At home and wherever possible