Occasionally my work has taken me to Shetland. I find it all a bit overwhelming - once you leave the safety of the north coast I find there is a disconcertingly large amount of cold sea beneath the plane before you put down at Sumburgh and the land of Vikings.
Once we were just getting ready to land and then the pilot decided he wasn’t risking the cross winds and we had to turn around and head back to Edinburgh. Eeeek. Mind you that was in the good old days when you got a free gin and tonic to calm the nerves. Having finally arrived on Shetland I’ve always struggled with the dialect. They did their best to help me …. talking to each other in dialect and then turning to me, the soothmoother, with their best attempt at RP. I have the same problem up in Peterhead – all those quines and loons and watching out for the scurrys. Again, smiling while looking blank seems to help get a translation. Scots, I can cope with a bit better – but not much. The Provost once kindly invited me to a Burns night supper at St Johns and I marveled at the lyricism of Tam O’Shanter without having a clue what that blessed horse was up to. Again - Dundonians may as well be speaking ancient Greek and a Glasgow lean leaves me none the wiser. Nevertheless Scots is alive and well in this edition of The Bridge. It turns out the people who spent a week learning to perform the Magic Flute at Birnam Arts were not learning it in Italian or English but Scots.
Also Tippermuir books are publicizing a new translation of The Story of the small mole in Scots. Come on readers … what do you think the title for the book is? And finally to cap it all a reader has sent me a poem ‘Prelude Tae Winter at Balhomish’ It’s taken me a while – but I think I know what he’s saying. I’m interested to hear how you get on.
Guid cheerio the nou.
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