Mae Childhood Hame

Author: Wee Charlie

Date: 1997

Source: Ullans: The Magazine for Ulster-Scots, Nummer 5 Simmer1997

Th’ first hoose that ah hae mine o’ leevin in wus a wee low yin storey hoose. Ah mine it had a half-leaf dorr, a stane flure, wile wee wundas an ah mine it had a rid tin roof an nae bak dorr. It had yin pokey leevin room, an apen fire-place wae a crook an al’ tae hing th’ kettle, griddle or oany ither kine o’ pots fur cookin. Noo th’ leevin room wus used fur cookin in, ettin in, washin’ claes in, washin yersel in an ah mine it didnae even hae a ja-box, so in fect th’ oany thing yae didnae dae wus sleep in it unless of coorse yae wur a wee wain or wusnae weel wae some bad seekness. The leevin room wud hae tuck up th’ hail half o’ th’ wee hoose, th’ ither half wus divid intae twa bed rooms yin bigger than th’ ither.

Noo jaist tae pit yae in th’ picture aboot th’ velue o’ guid counthry beins in them dehs, agen th’ hoose an a bit langer than th’ cottar-hoose itsel, wus an oot-hoose fur coos or pigs tae leeve in. A think what am tryin tae seh is that in th’ wie o’ things in them dehs th’ fermer wud hae thocht mare o’ a oul coo, than hae wud o’ th’ labourin man an his femly, mine you whiles hae thocht deng little o’ bastes ither.

Noo mae faither didnae wark tae th’ fermers, hae wus a plate-layer on th’ nerrow-gauge relwey that run frae Bellymoney tae Bellykasel in them dehs. A mine th’ wey hae got th’ hoose wus lake this, hae wus gien it rent free on th’ untherstanin that hae wud luck efther a herd o’ beef kettle. Noo th’ kye wud hae grazed in th’ medda grun abak o’ oor hoose, th’ medda run fur aboot twa feil lenths doon tae th’ wee Blakwatter, an money’s a time mae faither wud a had tae poo yin o’ th’ bastes oot efther it wud hae got laired in th’ watter whun it went in fur a drink. Deed ah mine it wus heavy wark an mae faither wud a had tae pit a tether roon th’ baste, an gye an affen hae wud a needed a nybour or twa tae help him get th’ brute oot on hard grun tae stap it frae gettin drooned. Ah mine as weel th’ bastes wud had tae be fed in roch wather, whun mae faither wus warkin mae mither wud had tae kerry battles o’ stra on her bak through a heavy snaa-fa, uch sure there wus naethin aisy fur a counthry woman in them dehs. But th’ mare o’ that ah think maist o’ folk wur brave an content then an had nae bother faun ower tae sleep at nicht.

Gan tae mae Grandfaither’s

Th’ langest memory ah hae is o’ gain tae mae grandfaither’s, man ah ahlways looked foorit tae it. Ah micht hae been aboot three year owl at the time. Mae grandfaither an grandmither leeved aboot a half a mile up abain oor hoose. Mae mither an me wud hae wakked up th’ wee nerra road tae whur mae grandmither leeved. Mine you there wisnae mony kars in them dehs but mae mither hel on tae mae han jaist th’ saim tae stap mae frae gan intae th’ wee trinkets alang th’ sides o’ th’ dakes. Noo in them dehs there wus naen o’ yer pesticides that we wud hae noo, an th’ dakes wur aye covered wae wile flowers. Whiles mae mither an me wud hae gethered snowdraps or primroses dependin on th’ time o’ year it wus. Noo an agen a wud hae stung maesel wae nettles an mae mither wud hae rubbed mae airms ere legs wae a dockan tae mak it better.

Noo whun wae wud hae got tae mae grandfaither’s loanan it wud hae been hoochin wae fowl, jucks an odd banty or twa an then there wus th’ powny an the wee donkey in th’ bak gerden. Ah wud hae pluttered aboot amang them til ah wus leggered an gie an aften mae feet wur wat. Ah mine ah wus brocht in th’ hoose an whiles ah wus gien a clash an scowled fir gettin clarried. Noo if mae grand faither wus there he wud hae said, “lea th’ weefla alane”. Ah mine he wud hae sut wae a wee doag on his knee an pared Warhorse tobaka fir he aye laked a reek o’ th’ pipe. A mine it aye took him a serious while tae get it gan, twa or three matches wus aboot normal, yae wud hae thocht he wus daen a vanishin trick fir he wud hae disappeared in a cloud o’ reek alang wae his doag, but it didnae last lang as it went oot gie an quick, an he wud hae tae start agane, maybe he had shares in th’ Bo-Peep match company.

Noo mae grandfaither had been a sojer in his early dehs an focht at th’ Somme lake so mony ithers but yin thing ah mine wus that he wudnae tak aboot th’ war, ah think it man a had ower mony memories fir him. Hooaniver it sticks in mae heed that he wus a man wha got on weel wae maist folk. He was as thin as th’ branders, wrocht a his dehs, smoked his twa ounces o’ warhorse in the week, an had th’ odd drink roon th’ twelth, whiles mair than th’ odd yin, but sure he wus th’ saalt o’ th’ earth an wus aye daen an obleegement fir someboady.

Noo he wudnae hae been th’ soort o’ a boady tae vex his heed if an odd thing or twa wisnae workin aboot th’ hoose an whun mae grandmither wud hae said, “John that water closets naw workin”, he wud jaist a lached an said, “Sure it will dae richtly Mary”, wee things that aye stick in mae heed.

Noo th’ wie am takin ye wud think mae grandfaither wus a soort o’ a saint but ah kan tell ye he wud hae dane a bit o’ poochin in his deh, ay, an he wud hae set a nicht line or twa in th’ wee burns jaist tae keep th’ troot frae takin ower th’ place, ye onderstan, and then there wus th’ wee still, but ah think th’ mair o’ that if ah iver get tae th’ purly gate an meet mae Maaker am sure that mae grandfaither wull be there. Ah canny see him bean in cherge o wather closets but.

‘Wee Charlie’



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