Craiters: 10 - E Hares' Lavvie
Author(s): Alexander Fenton
Copyright holder(s): Alexander Fenton
Ere wis eence I wis aboot e fairm ae winter, fin I'd got a bit o a holiday. A lot o snaa hid faan, an it wisna a great journey. It wis a maitter o drivin canny, an mair sae fin ere's bairns in e car wi ye. It wis touch an go at e heid o Linshie brae, bit e Turra lads hid been by wi e ploo aboot an oor afore an ere wis ae-wye traffic on e road. For a blissin, we met naebody, for ere wis naewye tae gang bit forrit ir back, an we jist managet nae tae get boggit doon ir beddit in a drift. In places e snaa wis heicher'n e sides o e car. I'd a spaad in e boot, bit I didna need it, haad awa fae a bit o diggin tae get e car intill e mou o e close at e fairm. I winna say bit fit I wis glaid tae get ere.
It's niver fine gaan intill a caal hoose, mair sae comin oot o a hait car. It warms up seen enyeuch in e main pairts though, bit it's a thocht gaan tae yer bed in blankets at hinna been in eese for a file, even if ey hiv been gien an airin. Ye wis glaid o a bottle put in, een o es modren rubber contraptions ir an aal style lame pig vrappit in a cloot.
Ae queer thing aboot bein up ere in e winter, ye nott a thick gunsey as weel as yer jaicket an cwyte for e first twa ir three days, syne ye jist got acclimateesed an deil a cwyte geed on for e lave o e time, haad awa fae weety wither. Iv coorse it wis nae eese stannin still. Ye'd ay tae be gungein aboot tae keep e heat up, ir aan if ye wis in e hoose, ye'd tae get a gey gweed fire gaan
Fin I wis up in e simmer, I ay fullt e black sheddie wi sticks, hackin up aal posts an faan branches fae e plantin at e back o e hooses, sae ere wis aye plenty o kinnlin. Inside, I set up camp in e ben-e-hoose room. It hid an open fireplace, an eence ye'd cleart e lum o aal copies o e Press & Journal, stappit in tae keep oot stirries an kep black lumps o sit at wid itherwise hae broken an maybe scattert ower e fleer, ye cd set e fire wi paper an sticks, nae badderin wi coal, an shortly get a gweed lowe. I cairriet e sticks in fae e shed in carboord boxes, an jist fullt em again as ey teemt. Ye'd tae be canny wi aal posts, for ey were files a bit rositty an ill for cryin crack an throwin sparks.
Aifter a file e heat built up jist graan in e room an ye cd sit at e table in e middle tae yer hairt's content, yer byeuks an bits o paper roon ye, wirkin awa, fither or no e rain wis batterin at e windae or e blin smore wis yomin ower e parks ootside. Ye'd jist tae stop noo an aan tae tap up e bondie, an gin ye'd run oot o eesefae thochts, ere wis a lot o pleesher in sittin in e airmcheer alangside e fire an hearkin till its crackin an files a puffie o gas ignitin ir watter explodin in a branch, an watchin e flicherin shapes o e lowes an e eyns o wee stickies curlin up an turnin intae fite ais. E ais drappit throwe e bars intill a metal pan an eence it hid built up ere, it keppit e heat tee an helpit aye mair tae shore up e temperature. A graan thing, a gweed fire.
Es holiday, e snaa niver liftit. A fresh niver cam. It dang on near ilky day ower frozen meels, noo an aan e sin wid keek oot atween e great fite cloods for a filie afore haalin its heid in again. Ere wis een or twa richt blaas at fullt e road wi wreaths an we couldna ging naewye. Nae at I was ill pleased, for it wis aafa fine jist tae traivel ower e parks an roon e biggins an see aa e queeriorums o shapes e snaa hid been made intill be e win. Hiv ye iver seen parks o snaa smokin as e win sent e drift swirlin an billowin ower em, biggin up wreaths big an smaa ahin ony obstruction, fither a clump o girse or a lang steen dyke? Ere's nae mony fowk gangs oot, haad awa fae seein till e beas, though ere's aye an antrin chiel at'll be ower e parks wi e gun aifter rabbits or hares, an feels like masel at gangs oot wi e camera jist for very pleesher. An pairt o at pleesher wis jist bein yer leen, faar ye left nae mark in e world unless a lang line o fitmarks at fullt in ahin ye, bit ey bade ere an fin a fresh cam, aften followt be a quick frost, ye cd see yer trails again fine. At's aboot as close tae bein immortal as a buddy can get.
Bit ye cd niver be richt yer leen. E birds an e beasties left eir tracks tee as ey huntit sair for mait, sae ere wis ay company. Ae foreneen I set aff on a roonaboot trek, haadin first up e park abeen e road, syne ower by Berrie's Wid. Weel, it eest tae be a wid, bit e fairmer hid felled e trees an cleart it. E trees hid been plantit ower rig an fur ploo marks, fit e aal fowk caad burrel rigs. I watchet e park ower a lot o ears as it wis tilled an grew different craps, bit it took an aafa lang time ir e marks o es rigs startit tae weer oot. I widna winner gin ye'd see em yet, in a laich sin. Fit e fairmer left, though, wis e fail dyke at lay roon aboot e wid, crooned wi a floorishin crap o breem an funs at geed gweed shelter till e craps an a hame tae birds an wee beasties.
On fae ere ower a rale flat park wi a watterin troch at e far side, e watter jist a raised block o solid ice, an up e slope at ay got steeper, an e country wilder. A little difference in hicht can mak an aafa odds in sic a cwintraside an ye begin tae think at ere's maybe something aifter aa in fit es literary kinna lads says aboot e 'hard' Northeast, 'e caal shooder o Buchan', an sic like, though its only files. I plunged on, noo an aan up till e knee, bit it fairly haits ye up, an on till e Geese Peel. It wis a perfect mass o ice, smooth bits an roch bits, fite bits an bluey bits. Across e middle wis a line o posts at some lads'd got weet feet caain in. If ye hid a teet at e one incher, ye'd a seen at e dividin line atween Aiberdeenshire an Banffshire ran richt throwe e middle, an maybe e palin wis e marker. Funny, at e reet o ilky post wis a wee circle o bare watter, same's a bit a heat wis comin oot o em. At wis a gweed enyeuch warnin, sae though I tried ma fit on e edge o e ice I didna gang far oot, mair sae cis I cd hear a bittie o sighin an crackin an I'd nae fancy for a frozen doup in at wither. Ere wis some tracks o birds bit nae a geese or watterhen or ony ither tae be seen es day.
Syne roon e Peel an alang a dykeside, haein tae keep weel back fae't tae dodge e warst o e wreaths, ower till e nyeuk o e park faar a fyow trees, een o em a rodden, an e relics o some gairden plants, blue-flooert in e simmer, wis signs at ere'd been an aal hoose ere at ae time. On be anither lang dyke, risin aa e time till ye felt ye wis on e reef o es pertickler world, in full sicht o e Knock Hill, an e air aye gettin nippier aboot yer lugs.
Ma heichest pint wis e quarry at e heid o Pitties' grun. It wisna very welcomin, half full o snaa) an e deep pot at ae side wis clean beeriet an gey chancy tae gang near. E sheddie at eest tae be win an watterticht, faar e quarrymen keepit eir tools, hid begun tae faa in. Bit ower be e quarry face I cd see a bit o carvin, something at e birkies at eesed tae roam e slopes lang seen wid a recogneesed - it wis jist a carvin o fit e antiquarians caa e 'crescent an V-rod', copyin e symbols at ye get on some o e steens e Picts is supposed till a carved. In case ye're thinkin es wis a Pictish quarry, I'd better pit ye oot o yer misery, for it wis masel at cut it, in a fit o relief aifter I'd feenished ma exams at Aiberdeen.
Fae ere, doon een o Pittie's parks, by fit wis left o fit hid been a steen circle. Maist o e steens hid been shiftit (likely they'd been broken tae big pairt o e dyke), bit a twa-three wis ay ere, e big flanker an een wi cup marks on't, fit ey were for naebody kens bit it's fine tae think ey were for libations at some ceremony ir ither, I aye thocht o em as bein fullt wi milk bit it cd easy been something a lot waar. Naebody kens.
I heidit back till e road, comin at it aside e aal hoose at ma faither used for eez souter's shop, though noo ere wis a big crack in e gale an e windaes hid nae glaiss. Es wis faar e young lads gaithert in e evenin, bocht fags an sweeties an bottles o ale (at wis lemonade, ye ken, naething mair pooerfae'n at), an jist blethert an held a hyze wi een anither as ma faither sat haimmerin at e tackets. E wisna awa fae hame a lot, bit ere wis little e didna ken aboot fit geed on aboot e place. It wis e local communications' centre.
Es is a queer kinna trek, nae jist plungin throwe snaa, bit plungin throwe past time tee, ma ain as weel's e country's.
Doon e mou o e Arnheid road, faar rubbish hid been dumpit oot o e gairden sae in e spring ere wis e flooers o yalla lilies an fite lilies tae be seen mixed up wi e breem an e funs, bit naething tae be seen inoo anaith e snaa. Eence a gweed cairt track, noo it wis aa chokit up wi growth, an I seen desertit it for e parks. Ey were easier tae walk in, an I slantit ower em up till e wid, crossin e place faar I eence fun an oolet in a stook, an enterin e wid at e tap eyn. I geed richt roon e back o't as far as a set o big trees faar I'd eence carved ma initials, syne crossed ower e foon o e hut circle, an doon till e pint faar ere wis some big beeches, likely e biggest trees left in e wid. E nuts hid lang seen faan. Inside e wid at e back o e trees wis e foon o an aal hoose, faar a wifie caad Nellie Dempster eence bade, though Gweed kens fit she did for fresh watter. Fin I wis a student I took a fancy tae howk it oot. Nellie'd heen twa rooms an a sheddie at e eyn. Er kitchen hid a steen-flagged fleer an somebody'd likely made bee-skeps aboot e place for I come on a skep needle, wi a flat curved pint an a hole at e back eyn. It wis gey roosty, bit in its potestater it wid a been clean an shiny, slippin smooth throwe e baans e skeps wis made o. Ye cd mak strae mats wi em tee, roon ir oval.
Ere's an aafa aal foons aboot e place. Ere'd been een at e fit o e brae, abeen e plantin aside e bog, though ye cd only tell't fae e bigger quantity o steens at turnet up ere fin ye wis plooin. E feck o em's clean cleart awa if ey were in open grun, an its jist aboot wid edges an on roch grun at ye get e mair substantial remains. It fairly maks ye think foo mony fowk ere'd been aboot a place a hunner ear seen. An ere mn a been a lot o help fae neepers for ere wis plinty o aal craiters in at hooses an maybe nae a lot tae keep sowl in body withoot a han noo an again.
Aye, fin ye gang for a walk like es, it's nae jist fit ye see aboot ye, bit fit ye min on, an fit ye've got tae ken, at aa comes egither in a richt birn o thochts at ye're nae exactly thinkin, bit mair jist lettin wash ower ye. An aye ere's something new tee. On es day, it wis e hares.
Fin I left Nellie's hoose, I crossed e aal fail dyke at a gate an geed on intill e park. I wis gettin a wee bit weary be noo, for I'd come a lang wye. Plungin throwe snaa wi a rale hard crust for an oor or twa'll likely use up near as much energy as ye'd need for e Marathon. Bit I come on a novelty at made me forget I wis tiret. In e nyeuk o e park, ere'd been an aafa traffaickin amon e hares. Eir tracks wis awye, comin oot o e wid, up e park, an throwe e palin aside's, an een an aa led till e same spot amon e snaa. Ye'd a thocht, if ye'd been superstitious, at ey'd been at some aal-farrant cantrips. A halla hid been made in e snaa, a gweed half fit deep an aboot a fit across, an sure's death e hares'd been usin't for a communal lavvie. E snaa scrapit oot wis bankit up roon aboot it, an ere wis nae doot ey'd mint tae mak it. Ere wis a scatterin o black drappins at e boddem. If ey did at amon snaa, fit did ey dee at ither times on dry grun? I dinna ken, bit maybe e snaa hid made em excitet, for aa roon e hole ere wis yalla lines faar e strang hid been sprayed oot, e same's ey'd been dancin an furlin as ey loot e watter go. They say ere's naething as queer as fowk, bit hares tak a lot o beatin.
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Craiters: 10 - E Hares' Lavvie. 2023. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 7 December 2023, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=534.
"Craiters: 10 - E Hares' Lavvie." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2023. Web. 7 December 2023. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=534.
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