Document 62

A Braw Guid Alairm

Author(s): Robert Fairnie

Copyright holder(s): Robert Fairnie


Geordie Jooks aye hid an awfie job gittin up in the mornin. He pit it doon tae the twa year he hid saired in the Royal Navy daein his National Service in his young days. The hail o thae twa year, apairt fae aboot seeven weeks, wis spent abuird ship an no in onie barracks or ocht an the first yin he wis on wis HMS Implacable, an auld aircraft cairrier yaised as a trainin ship for new recruits. Coorse, in thae days it wis aw hammocks for sleepin in – nae comfy beds like in the ships ye hae noo-a-days. Yince awbodie wis settled in, they aw hid thair ain poseetion for slingin thair hammocks an Geordie’s wis richt up alangside a Thermotank vent trunk, rinnin ablow the deck-heid, wi a Punka Louvre blawin air richt ower the middle o his hammock. Geordie aye hid tae mak shuir it wis blawin ower the tap o it an no doon intae it sae he didnae catch the cauld but at first he hid an awfie job gittin aff tae sleep for the noise o the air blawin throu the vent trunk no tae mention the endless sweeshin soond o the air blawin oot the louvre. As time gaed by tho, he got yaised wi aw the soonds an they stertit tae hae a kinna dreich sootherin effeck that gart him faw ower tae sleep raither than bide waukened.

Efter the Implacable, Geordie saired in the battleship Vanguard an then HMS Tyne, an auld destroyer depot ship, that taen ower the flag o CinC Home Fleet efter the Vanguard wis de-commissioned an went intae mothball. Baith thae ships wis as noisy as the first yin. In fack, the Tyne wis waur than the ithers for Geordie wis aye slung up aside a vent fan that clanked awa aw the time but, like the ithers, he juist lairnt tae sleep throu it aw. The only time the fan gart him wauken wis the odd time it brak doon throu the nicht an Geordie waukened up wunnerin whit wis adae.

When thae twa year wis ower, Geordie cam hame an sattled doon tae hame life but, tho he suin got yaised wi fawin asleep in a quiet bedroom, he aye fund the hypnotic buzz o the alairm clock in the mornins mair sootherin nor waukenin an he wis aye sleepin in an gittin up late for his wark. He tried awthin; pittin the alairm on tap a tuim biscuit tin, pittin it inside a tuim biscuit tin an e’en haein twa-three alairms aw ower the chaumer an gaun aff at different times but naethin wis onie yiss at aw. It wisnae lang efter Geordie an Beenie flittit intae thair new hoose in the Honest Toun that he got his haunds on an auld electric horn aff a motor bike, the kinna thing some fowk wad cry a klaxon, an he thocht that if he cuid juist git this horn tae blaw at seeven o’clock ilka mornin, gittin up on time wad be a doddle.

He got haud o yin o his auld alairms an sortit a wire throu the back o the clock face sae it wis stickin up juist the richt hicht for the oor haund tae come roond an mak contack at seeven on the knock an he jyned the ither end o the wire tae the screw doon terminal o a bell battery. Anither wire wis fixed tae the chassis o the alairm wi the ither end conneckit tae the horn an a third yin jyned the horn tae the ither terminal o the bell battery. Geordie preed his new alairm bi birlin the haunds roond an, shuir eneuch, juist afore the haunds cam roond tae seeven o’clock, whit soondit like a Parisian traffic jam, lowpit intae his bedroom. He lowsed yin o the terminal screws tae turn the horn aff juist as Beenie cam breengin throu the door tae see whit the racket wis.

“Whit dae ye think o ma new alairm, hen?” speirt Geordie feelin fair prood o hissel.

“New alairm? Ye’ll hae the hail street up if ye yaise that racket o a mornin!”

“A dinnae care if it waukens the hail toun or no as lang’s it waukens me for A’m seek o aye sleepin in an here’s howpin this’ll dae the trick.”

Weel, it fair did the trick aw richt an Geordie niver slept in yince efter that. He kep the alairm weel ower fae the bed sae he hid tae git up tae unscrew the terminal an switch it aff. Maist mornins it gied yin or twa wee stutterin toots afore the oor haund makit richt contack an ye got the full blaw o the horn an aft it wis juist as Beenie heard thae wee toots, she kep on kickin Geordie till he got ower the bed tae turn the thing aff. Coorse, she hid him daured fae yaisin the alairm onie time he wis on holiday an didnae hae tae git up for his wark.

Geordie’s braw new alairm clock saired him weel for the best pairt o a year an, juist aboot then, a new farrant kinna radio-alairm clock cam oot on the mercat an Beenie perswaddit him tae try yin. It turnt oot tae be juist the dab an aw, for he cuid set the wireless volume as high as he liked an it wad come on at the set time. Whit wi Radio Scotland’s news reader yellin in his lug an Beenie’s elbae diggin intae his ribs, he didnae hae onie bother waukenin up maist mornins an thochts o him sleepin in for his wark gaed strecht oot his heid. It suin got tae be juist a forgotten memory o days gane by.

Years efter when Geordie an Beenie hid bocht a hoose in anither pairt o the toun, efter bidin furth o Scotland for a nummer o years, Geordie jyned yin o the local boolin clubs an yin nicht efter the Seturday hat gemm, he fund hissel sittin at the same table wi Jimmy, that wis his throu-the-wa neibour in the auld hoose an wis, in fack, still aye bidin in it. No haen seen yin-anither for a guid wheen year, they hid a guid auld blether an efter a while, the crack turnt tae when they hid baith flittit intae thae hooses when they war first biggit.

“Did you hae onie bother wi noisy pipes when ye first flittit intae thon hoose Geordie?” speirt Jimmy.

“Pipes? Naw A cannae say we hid onie noisy pipes at aw.”

“Och we hid an awfie bother thon first year we war in the hoose. A think it wis the pipes rinnin up throu the chimney breist fae the fire but the orra thing wis, we aye heard the soond looder when we opened the door tae the big bedroom press.”

“Weel oor press wis backin on tae yours Jimmy an A cannae mind o haein onie bother at aw.”

“A cannae mind hou monie times A wis up airlie in the mornin wi ma heid inside the press or up the garret an it got that bad A hid the builders doon a nummer o times tae see if they cuid dae ocht. They pit yin or twa extrae pipe clips on some o the pipes in case it wis vibration but, apairt fae that, they didnae find oniethin.”

“It maun hae been a richt scunner no kennin whit wis wrang.” said Geordie.

“Ay, but it wis waur on Sheila nor masel for A’v aye been kinna deef but she aye yaised tae jump at the least wee noise an A hid tae hae anither word wi the builders. A telt thaim that it wis maistlie atween seeven an aicht in the mornin that we heard the noise sae they sent twa plumbers tae the hoose ae Monday mornin. It wis an Edinburgh holiday sae A hid the day aff an got up airlie tae let thaim in aboot hauf six an yin steyed wi his heid in the press an the ither wis up the garret but, tho they steyed tae aboot hauf aicht, thare wisnae a peep an they juist gaed awa an said they wurnae comin back.”

“A wad maist like hae the Edinburgh holiday thon day an aw but A dinnae think the’r onie chance A’d hae been up at hauf six, no on a holiday like.” said Geordie.

“Weel, efter that Sheila got intae the habit o sleepin wi ear muffs but a while efter, it juist seemed tae sort itsel oot an gaun awa.”

Bi noo, Geordie wis haein a sair time o’t tryin tae haud on tae his poker face an he juist said, “Ay, hooses is funny things Jimmy. Are ye ready for anither pint pal?”

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APA Style:

A Braw Guid Alairm. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 26 May 2024, from

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


Information about Document 62

A Braw Guid Alairm


Text audience

Adults (18+)
General public
Audience size 3-5

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 2001
Word count 1498

Text setting


Text type

Prose: nonfiction


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