Document 534

Craiters: 10 - E Hares' Lavvie

Author(s): Alexander Fenton

Copyright holder(s): Alexander Fenton


Hares ay gies ye a queer feelin. Ye can easy think ey're nae aathegither canny, e wye ey stan on eir hin legs an look aboot em wi eir een, dark-broon, nae expression tae be noticet, ye'd think it wis aa e same till em fither it wis caal ir hait, ir fither things wis coorse ir fine. Ere's a sang aboot Bright Eyes bit truth tae tell ere's naething jist aafa bricht aboot hares' een. Interestin craiters, though.

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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Information about Document 534

Craiters: 10 - E Hares' Lavvie


Text audience

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

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 1994
Word count 2681

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