Document 831


Author(s): Dave Howson

Copyright holder(s): Dave Howson


Ah chist wisna quite sure fit till say till 'er. Ah knew ah'd bettur say somethin' 'cos she wiz still up, an' if ah'd crept up till ma bed, she'd hiv thought somethin' wiz up - 'at ah'd bin up till somethin. So ah thought ah'd chist pop ma heid in eh door an' kin' o' mak ma presence known. Carefully, ah wiped ma face tae kinda remove eh evidence o' fit ah'd bin doin', pulled ma clothes egither an' popped ma heid roond eh door chamb.

"Oh, hello. Ah'm back," ah seyd. (Eh "Oh, hello" wiz 'cos she'd fowk in. Ah hedna a clue fa they were, for ah hedna' got ma glesses on, an' they were chist a blurr).

"Ah'm chist goin' till ma bed. Goodnight."

This wiz seyd in a kind o' a hurry, since eh blud hid sterted runnin' fae ma nose again.

But ah stopped ootside eh door an' hed a lissen. Id didna' take long till ah'd heard enough voices till ken 'at id wiz eh W.R.I. committee were in. It must hev bin a special meetin' . Oh hell, ah wiz for id!

Ah knew id : ah'd hardly got ma clothes off (a difficult kind o' business considerin' eh number o' pints ah'd had) an' inta bed, when ah heard them leavin'. Ten seconds, a creak o' at floorboard at eh top o' eh stairs, an'....

"Just what do you mean, coming in like this? You're an absolute disgrace. I'm black-affronted : the committee members in, and you coming home like this. You've been fighting too!"


"Don't you 'but' me. I've told you time and time again about going to that pub. Well, now you've done it! Just wait till I tell Jimmy tomorrow. You're for it! And don't expect any sympathy from me!"

Eh door slammed to, (or three more lek id!) an' ah wiz left in ma misery. Oh, ah felt rotten. Ah wiz sore aal over - ma very bones ached. Ah hoped there wiz nithin' seriously wrong. What a thumpin' ah had!

Id hed bin a typical kinda night : eh pub wiz full, an' there wiz a good crowd o' us in eh lounge bar - we hid moved through from eh pub 'cos there wiz music on in eh lounge.

Fan eh time hid come till go, ah hid a good shot in me. Ah wiz chist fine - anither pint more an' ah wid ha'e bin oot o' hid a' thegither, but ah wiz chist fine. Burns wid hiv said ah wiz chist "bleezin' finely".

Ah'd no sooner weaved ma way oot, when ah'd seen him in trouble. Ah didna' really ken him, lek, bit he'd bin in eh company, so he must hiv kent somebody. He walked wi' a stick, an' noo here he wiz, gittin' molested wi' four kinda beeg chiels. Ah'd wheedle 'im oot o' id - aal that wiz necessary wiz a bit o' diplomacy.

"Hey, Chon. Are ye comin' doon eh rod? Ah'm chist...."

Wallop! Whit in eh heck? A fist connectid wi' ma cheek. Right. Ma drunkin fist sailed slowly roond lek somethin' 'at didna' belong ti me.

Wallop! Ah wiz doon. A boot thudded inta ma side.

"Hey. ..."

Chist oot o' eh corner o' ma eye, ah saw him makin' off. Faar wiz hes stick? Eh? Bit that wiz eh last thought ah had.

"He's comin' roond. Are ye aalright, David? Whit a state ye're in. Here's yer specs, they were lyin' in eh rod. Here, Robert, gi'es a han' wi' him."

Ah stood swayin', tryin' t' focus. Oh, ah wiz sore!


"They're off. Hid wiz trawlermen fae Eberdeen. Somebiddy said they wur through fae Screbster. Ah dinnae ken for sure. Are ye O.K.?"

"O.K." probably wizna' eh right word for id, but ah gethered masel' thegither an' efter a rejuvenatin' dram in eh cocktail bar fae eh owner, ah wended ma weary way home doon eh 'Cliff' an' across eh river. Whit a state ah wiz in!

Ah lay there on ma bed. Abject misery set in. Ah wiz for it tomorrow. When Jimmy came back fae his nightshift at Dounreay, ah'd be for id. Mercifully sleep came, and wi' hid oblivion.

Mornin' came, an' ah painfully pulled ma eyelids open. Oh jeez - ah wiz sore. A trip till eh bathroom, an' ah felt worse. Fit a state ma face wiz in! Wan eye wiz shut an' eh ither wan wiz hardly open. Ah couldna' get ma specs on, ma heid hid swollen 'at much. Eh room spun. Ah headed back till ma room an' got dresst - ah kinda felt less vulnerable 'at way.

"You needn't bother coming down, there's no breakfast for you!"

And then - nothin'. Not a word. A stiff back wiz presented ti me. Ah wiz persona non grata. Sent tae Coventry. A condemned man.

Ah went back upstairs, an' lay on ma bed. Oh hell. Ma only comfort wiz eh sense o' injustice 'at flowed through me. Some treatment - ah'd only tried ti help eh bloke.

Time passed.

Who wiz 'at at eh door?


"Could I speak to David, please?"


"You see, he got into a lot of trouble last night, trying to help my brother. I've come round to thank him."

"Eh'm.... Come in. What exactly...."

Their voices dimmed ahind a closed door. Fit wiz up? A sister? Minutes flew past. Steps came up eh stairs.

"David, you've to go down. There's someone to see you."


"Why didn't you tell me what had happened?" (This delivered in a kind o' brisk undertone) .

"Oh, eh'm, hello."

There she stood. Pauline. Eh dream girl o' eh entire male population o' eh toon from eight up. A blonde, long-legged, mini-skirted import fae eh Sooth, who'd arrived wi' her parents a few months afore.

"David. Oh what a mess you're in. Does it hurt? I heard about it this morning and I've come round to thank you. My brother is O.K. He ran off. What a mess they've made of you!"

"Oh, it's O.K. Ah've felt better, ah'll grant you, but ah'm not bad."

"It was very brave of you. Thank you."

An' she leaned forward an' placed a wee kiss on ma somewhat battered nose.

"Eh'm. Oh, it was nothin'."

Shuffle o' feet.

"I can't understand why he ran."

"Eh? Oh, he was right - look where id got me."

"They were trawlermen. Apparently the police have got them. So my brother said. They'll probably be to see you soon."

"Oh. Well, eh...."

"Look, I'll have to rush - I've got to go to my work this morning. We've a rush order on."

"Oh. Eh'm. Well, eh. Would you like to come out some night? We could go to the pictures, or a walk or somethin'?"

"Lovely. How about Monday? Come for me at seven. We're number 17. Bye. And thanks again for helping my brother."

Eh self-assurance o' eh thing! She'd known ah'd know far she lived.

Suddenly, eh future seemed kinda rosy. Veiled thoughts began ti form in ma heid - maist o' them o' young seventeen- year- old legs and blonde hair.

"David, you just sit yourself down here and read the paper. I'm off to David Lewis's for some bacon to get you a decent breakfast. If Jimmy comes home, tell him I'll be five minutes. Oh, but I don't know what to do with you. Take it easy."

Fit wiz id they said? 'Every cloud has a silver lining.'

Gold more lek hid. Gold.

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APA Style:

Beginning. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 23 February 2024, from

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"Beginning." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 23 February 2024.

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


Information about Document 831



Text audience

Adults (18+)
Audience size 3-5
Writer knew intended audience

Text details

Method of composition Handwritten
Year of composition 1989
Word count 1320

Text setting


Text type

Prose: nonfiction


Author details

Author id 846
Forenames Dave
Surname Howson
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1950
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Catholicism
Occupation Schoolteacher
Place of birth Wick
Region of birth Caithness
Birthplace CSD dialect area Cai
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Montrose
Region of residence E Angus
Residence CSD dialect area Ags
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Policeman
Father's place of birth Greenock
Father's region of birth Renfrew
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Renfr
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Nurse
Mother's place of birth Canisbay
Mother's region of birth Caithness
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Cai
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes Daily life
Scots No Yes No Yes Work