Friday, 16 July 2010

The Confrontation

Oh Hullo there! It's you again, come in come in, sit yersel doon. Oh, afore ye sit doon wid ye pit that kettle oan? Ah wid dae it masel but ah'm a bit wearied. Ah've been sittin here tellin ma stories aw mornin an tae be honest wi ye ah'm right done in. Ye ken, sometimes this storytellin malarkey's like floggin a deid horse so it is. Ah'm a martyr tae ma art so ah am, but then, it's true whit they say, a wumman's got tae dae whit a wumman's got tae dae...

Actually ah shouldnae say that, ah mind ah got intae bother fer sayin that yince. Weel, tae be fair it wisnae actually me sayin it that got me intae bother, it wis the reply ah got an whit happened efter that that did. Oh, let me pit that tea oantae brew an ah'll tell ye aw aboot it.

Noo let me see, this widda been ooh aboot 1904, no, wait a meenit, it wis 1903. That's right, it wis jist a fortnight efter thon Wright Brothers had took their flight in America, an we were aw still buzzin wi the news, no that ah wis buzzin tho, cos if ye mind ah'd awready been fer a fly, but abody ah kent wis buzzin. We wid likely hae been buzzin onyroads, fer it wis Hogmanay, which wis aye a big nicht in the auld toun. Ah wis lookin forrit tae feenishin ma work, gettin the hoose straight, an then heidin up tae the Tron fer the Bells. Ah fair loved the first-fittin, gettin oot the sherry, pairtyin aw nicht, singin alang wi aw the turns, dancin til dawn, gettin loads o kisses aff the boys. But first ah had tae feenish ma work, so ah wis hammerin oan...

Ah had a guid position at the time, daein stairs up alang Regent Terrace up oan the Calton Hill. It wis a nice area, fowk up there kent how tae keep a stair clean. Ah wis scrubbin awa, singin merrily awa tae masel, at the stair ootside number 20 when ah noticed the St Cuthbert's milk float comin alang the street. Ah didnae much care fer the milk-laddie tho, Jimmy Dobbie, big lanky dreep o a boy, his mither stayed up the street fae yin o the lassies ah kent fae the dancin, an she wis yin o thae lippy sorts, aye needlin ye, thocht she wis a cut above, ye ken the sort. Her laddie wis a bit like her an aw...

Jimmy comes by, an ah heard him gettin his joog aff the back o the float an' comin up ahint me. "Ye haein fun there Sophia? Ye've missed a bit there ye ken."

Ah wisnae risin tae him. "Weel, a wumman's got tae dae whit a wumman's got tae dae." says ah. "Aye, an a scrubber's got tae dae whit a scrubber's got tae dae" he comes back. Oh he wis gettin ma goat.

It's likely he wis bashin oan a bit fast cos like me he wis thinkin o the nicht aheid an whaur he wid be seein in the New Year an wha wis gettin his first fit, but that's nae excuse fer whit he did. He swung his joog aroon that fast that he skailt milk aw ower ma fresh-cleaned stair. Oh ah wis beilin! Ah startit layin intae the big eedjit, ca'ed him aw the names o the day. Ah probably shouldnae hae ca'ed his maw a lippy auld mare, but there ye go, ah said it onyway.

He goes runnin back ower tae his float an climbs up, picks up a breid roll, like as no his breakfast, an launches it at ma erse. Ah spun roon an launched back at him - wi ma scrubbin brush!

Weel, ma aim's nae guid at aw, nivver has been, ah've nivver won a sod oan a cocoanut shy, an ah beltit the puir horse slam-bang oan its backside. Up it rears, an taks aff at a gallop alang the street! Up oantae the pavin-stanes it went an the first thing it hit wis the railin ootside number 27. That thump saw Jimmy flyin intae the air, alang wi the maist pairt o his milk.

But that nivver stoapped the nag, an it went careerin alang, till it reached the corner whaur the terrace turns intae Carlton Terrace, whaur it beltit across the road, cairt gaun up oan yin wheel, right intae the rails across fae number 6. Crash! Bang! Wallop! ye could say...

Aw this, mind, is occurrin at 6 in the mornin. Windaes are flyin up aw aroon us as fowk are lookin oot tae see whit the noise is, an number 6 only belongs tae Geordie Mackie, the posh-biscuit manufacturer o the shop oan Princes Street, him that had made biscuits fer the auld Queen, an still made them fer King Edward. His face wis purple, which wis nice fer it matched his language. He had guid reason tae be mad mind, the railins were aw broken tae bits, the cairt wis lyin in pieces, an the horse? Weel ah'm sorry tae say the horse had got an iron railin in the throat an wis lyin deid in the middle o the road richt in front o his front door.

There wis hell tae pay right enough, an a bill o £4/5/- intae the bargain. Jmmy got intae an awfy bother an had tae pay this oot his wages fer the next ten month fer no lookin efter his horse. Ah got let go an aw, but ah wisnae that bothered, there's aye stairs need cleanin, an it saved me the climb up that hill every mornin. At least ah had a story tae tell ma pals that nicht when it cam tae daein ma wee turn at the New Year's pairties.

An if ye're wonderin why ah stuck that sign oan the horse, it's because we were jist up the hill fae the North Back Canongate, an the fowk doon there were awfy puir an mair than a wee bittie rough. The sort that wid flog a deid horse if they got a chance...

Ach look, ah've went oan that lang ah've stewed the tea. Pit that kettle oan again wid ye?


  1. Aye, this bloagin malarky kin be great yin day and shite the next; tons o' comments and hunners o' hits on somethin ye did pished aifter the pub. Then somethin ye put yer heart an soul intae gets SFA.
    The hurt feelin o' zero comments versus a new follower, or comments in double figures a' balance oot.


  2. Aye ye're no wrang there Mr Conan, ah wisnae intendin fer ma feelins tae leak oot intae that story, but there ye go, that's art ah suppose.

    Wid ye listen tae me. Naw, ah'm awready aware that yin wee comment, be it guid or itherwise, can mak up fer a desert o' indifference. Thanks tae ye fer takin the time, it really is appreciatit. Ah'll jist gang oan tellin ma stories, fer they want tae be telt, an' ah'll be content wi tellin them.

  3. Awww.. I love these stories from your youth. I wish someone would come and clean my stairs, but there you go...

    Yeah Conan's right there. Sometimes you work away and you think....Yep, that's a well turned piece, and no one looks or says a word... and you think... why am I doing this? Or someone who's commented in the past stops commenting and you wonder what it was you did to offend him/her...

    Then you get a bunch of comments on the next piece that wasn't half as good....

    The nowt as queer as folks, I say.... and blogging isn't for the sensitive soul.

  4. Art indeed Sophia, and you are a slave to it. "Slave to Art" could be the sub title of a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta, with you as the main character. Why not see if Andrew Lloyd-Weber is available to put your next story to music. (I'm afraid that Sir Arthur Sullivan is dead so you will have to make do with that ugly Lordv fellow)

  5. PS... Love the new decor... who did you get in to do that?

  6. I love this blog Sophia. I wish I knew sooner you had one. Aye ye are like my granny and all her stories from her youth. Wish you could come and tell me some stories and tuck me in a night lol.

  7. No tris, ye widnae be lang at this affair if ye took the doonside too much tae heart. Ye've got tae be clear as tae why ye're daein it, an' personally ah'm daein it because the stories need tae be telt, pure an simple. Comments, o' any sort really, are jist the sugar-icin oan the cake o' ma enjoyment, if that maks sense tae ye. Thank ye yince again fer yer support, ah'm only here as a result o' yer support an encouragement oan Munguin's Republic, which is still tap o' ma list o' essential readin.

    Ah'm gled ye like ma new look, ah'm deid prood o' it masel, if ah may say so. Ah had tae get ah wee man in tae tae dae it, but ah did help by haudin ontae his legs when he wis up the ladders...

  8. Munguin, ye've ticklet me pink wi yer idea o' stagin a wee opera, though ah'm awfy upset tae hear that Sir Arthur's passed oan tae that big stage in the sky. It's nae wunner tho, he wis aye smokin an' drinkin too much, ah telt him it wid dae him nae guid. Ah can see masel as a fragrant wee Yum-Yum, tho ither fowk wid likely see me mair as a big Katisha.

    Alone, an' yet alive, Oh sepulchre...

  9. Allan, welcome tae ma world, an' thank ye fer yer kind words. Ah'll happily come roon, mak ye a nice wee cup o' Ovaltine, pit ye intae yer jammies, tuck ye intae yer bed aw snuglike, an' sing ye a wee lullaby.

    Speed bonnie boat, like a burd oan the wiiing,
    Ooover the sea tae Skyyye...

  10. Here you lot, ye'll hae ma neebors at ma door wonderin whit aw the singin's in aid o'. They'll think ah've been at the sherry! Again!

  11. Ahhhh Allan... I've got memories like that too.

    There's something incredibly special about grannies and being a wee boy....

    Well, there was for me anyway, and it seems for you too.

    Sophia: Thanks for your kind words. You're right of course. It's a bit like politics, we probably do it partly, at least out of vanity. We have something to say, and it's such a disappointment when we say it and no one listens...

    I love your blog. I love your stories. So does my mum, who never comments on anyone's blogs, not even mine.

  12. Hullo tae ye tae then tris's maw, or should ah ca ye Mrs tris? Naw, oan second thoughts ah'll stick wi tris's maw. Ah'm gled ye like ma wee howf, tho ah'll be keepin ma beady een oan ye, jist like ah dae wi aw the quiet yins...

  13. First time in the comments for me, and as an Englishman (are we allowed in here?) I struggle a little bit with the translation, but I'm getting there after a bit of practice.

    Very entertaining piece.

  14. Methanks tae ye Mr Viking, an' welcome in, of course ye're welcome. Ah love the English me, the Union ah hate sae is as Scottish a product as it is English, ah'm weel aware o' that. It has nothin tae dae wi the inhabitant's o' oor particular nation. Ye're aw welcome here, there's aye room. We're aw Jock Tamson's bairn after aw.

    Ah try tae tred that line atween the languages tae gie fowk fae ither airts a fightin chance, but ah dae go aff oan yin at times, ah'm sorry. Ah've added a wee glossary link if that helps.

    Thanks again, an' thanks Mr Lochnagar, nice tae ken somebody's keepin score.

  15. Weel here's comment number 16 fur ye, Just stumbled ower yer blog and am gled I did. It's totally unique, looking furrit tae yer next post.

  16. Cheers tae ye Mr Ryan, fer yer awfy kind words, an' welcome tae Shootinfaetheshin. 'Totally unique' is yin o' the highest accolades ah can imagine. Ah'm gaun tae pit it oan ma pillae th'night an' sleep oan it...