Posted by: cochinblogger | July 27, 2009

Scots Humor

The other day, I picked up an interesting book titled A Dash O’ Doric: The Wit and Wisdom of the North-East from one of those used book exhibitions that have become a permanent feature of the city. The book are scattered across tables without much organization, so it’s a bit like treasure hunting. A born bookstore browser like me enters an altered state of consciousness in such surroundings. Anyway, it was the cover — a wonderful depiction of a bar scene with a couple of old codgers with glasses in hand in the foreground, one of them laughing uproariously at something the other codger’s telling him, and other old codgers (with glasses in hand) and a barmaid in the background — that caught my roving eye. (You can see the cover here: http://www.amazon.com/Dash-ODoric-Robbie-Shepherd/dp/1841581488) I picked it up, and knew at once I had something special in my hands.

For now, I’ll leave you with one sample of the book’s humor, which is drawn from true incidents in the North-East of Scotland:

A young mother from Fraserburgh was becoming increasingly fed up with her brood’s incessant demands for sweeties. On one shopping trip to Aberdeen, her patience finally snapped. ‘Lord,’ she shouted, ‘ye dinna stop aetin a’ that gulshach, ye’ll be that fat that folk’ll aye be lookin at ye.’

On their way home on the bus, the boy noticed a very pretty, but heavily pregnant, getting on and he began smiling to himself. Not many miles along the road, she caught his gaze and he smiled at her. She smiled back and his smile broadened into a grin and a steady stare.

Eventually, she became puzzled and leaned across to him. ‘Div I ken you, or div you ken me?’

‘I dinna ken ye,’ said the boy, ‘but I ken fit ye’ve been deein.’

The book is heavy on dialect like this, and sometimes it can become hard to follow. The glossary in the book is far from adequate.

The humor has a unique flavor, and I might give another sample later. I also see from the Net that the authors (Robbie Shepherd and Norman Harpe) have written two more books on the same theme.

Oh, how much did the book cost me? About half a U.S. dollar.

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