Document 592

The Girnin Gates - Chapter 3

Author(s): Hamish MacDonald

Copyright holder(s): Hamish MacDonald, Dr James Robertson: Signed on behalf of Itchy Coo, a partnership between Black & White Publishing and Dub Busters.



Bi two in the mornin Clydebank Toon Haw wis fillt up wae evacuees. Da gote a haud a some blankets an hud laid thum doon fur Maw. Ah hud decidit ma time wis right, an that Ah wantit oot frae the womb at last. So Ah startit burrowin ootwards lik a wee mole, an Da shoutit:

"Help! My wife's watters huv broke! She's gonnae huv a wean! Help!"

Anen evrubdy crowdit roon, but there wis nae nurses nur doactors nur nuhin, ther wis jist a nun. The nun decided tae intervene.

She breenged in an held Maw's haun an goes in a tuneful Irish twang:

"What is your name, dear?"

"Merry MacGlinchy!"

"Well, Merry MacGlinchy, I'm Sister Josephine and everything's going to be just fine. I will pray to God and everything will be fine."

Anen Maw startit haein me. She's greetin wae the pain, an Da's haudin ur haun, an the crowd partit back a good six feet, an sister Josephine wis staunin ther prayin tae God, anen some bigot balloon frae oor street cawed Scobie interruptit an goes in ees big daft voice:

"Heh! Stoap! Stoap! Somedae stoap that nun prayin! The MacGlinchies ur Prodissants! If thon wean comes oot while the nun's prayin it'll be boarn a Cafflick!"

Anen Da goes:

"Ach shut yer stupit pus Scobie! Whit's it tae you? Ye spend that much ae yer time in a bookie's ur a boozer's ye widnae know the inside ae a church frae a flyin-saucer!"

Well, ma Da might well huv ees faults, but never hus ee hud any time fur stupit religious bigots. An ee goes tae Sister Josephine:

"Keep prayin Sister! At least until the wean's heid appears, anen ma wife'll manage fine bi ursel."

Sister Josephine stood an prayed hard. Maw gied a big push an Da went tae guddle me oot. The nun stepped forward tae help. Ah drew in ma first breath tae take a scream. Yes! Ah wis boarn!

Anen the wins ripped the angel frae its base. Bronze wings provin useless, it toppled doon a hunner feet frae the clock-tower dome an crashed right through the roof a the haw. It landit oan the flerr wae a mighty bang, landin exackly oan the spot wher Sister Josephine hud been staunin prayin jist a few seconds afore. Oh man. Whit a miracle.

Anen it boonced up oan the sprung dance-flerr a the haw. It landed oan its tip-toes an pirhouetted, shot ten fit intae the err. It burled roon, anen drapped an cloacked Sister Josephine right oan the side a the napper. Aye. It wis a miracle awright. A miracle she wisnae splattered. Six months in the Western wae a fractured skull. It's no exackly lucky-white-heather Ah know, but hud Sister Josephine no stepped forward at that very moment, she wid've gote pulverised tae burger-meat bi yon angel.

An that wis the night Ah wis boarn. But little difference wid that smaw mercy make tae me, the new arrival. A new-boarn wean, a fallen angel, an a comatose nun. Hauf a Clydeside blootert bi the Ned Storm. Ah suppose frae that moment oan, it wis gonnae be in the script that everhin wis ma fault.

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Cite this Document

APA Style:

The Girnin Gates - Chapter 3. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 23 February 2024, from

MLA Style:

"The Girnin Gates - Chapter 3." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 23 February 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "The Girnin Gates - Chapter 3," accessed 23 February 2024,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 592

The Girnin Gates - Chapter 3


Text audience

Teenagers (13-17)
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 2003
Word count 564

Text medium


Text publication details

Publisher Itchy Coo
Publication year 2003
Place of publication Edinburgh
ISBN/ISSN 1 902927 72 9
Edition 1st
Part of larger text
Contained in Extract from The Girnin Gates, contained in "Double Heider//: Twa Novellas in Scots"
Editor Authors: Hamish MacDonald and Sheena Blackhall
Page numbers 10-11

Text setting


Text type

Prose: fiction


Author details

Author id 725
Forenames Hamish
Surname MacDonald
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1950
Educational attainment College
Age left school 16
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Writer
Place of birth Helensburgh
Region of birth Dunbarton
Birthplace CSD dialect area Dnbt
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Kirkpatrick Durham, near Castle Douglas
Region of residence Kirkcudbright
Residence CSD dialect area Kcb
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Various industrial occupations
Father's place of birth HM Prison, Barlinnie, Glasgow
Father's region of birth Glasgow
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Gsw
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Various, inc. schoolteacher
Mother's place of birth Renfrew
Mother's region of birth Renfrew
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Renfr
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes All circumstances
Gaelic; Scottish Gaelic No No No Yes A little understanding
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes All circumstances