Bushside Letter

Author: Charlie Reynolds

Date: 1999

Source: Ullans: The Magazine for Ulster-Scots, Nummer 7 Wunter 1999


Supplied by CHARLIE REYNOLDS — from “The Constitution”, February 1906

In the aul’ toon o’ Edinboro’ there is a hoose which haes this inscription ower the door, “Heave awa’, boys; am noa deed yit.” Weel, sir, am leevin yit, an’ gled at it; an’ a hope it will lang conteenue. Its wunnerfu’ hoo excitement comes tae an en’ an’ weers itsel oot. A harly iver heer a word o’ the elections nae mair if they had happened in the year wan. Did ye iver, sur, notish a pot o’ broghan boilin’? Efter a while ye’ll fin that it quats o’ its ain accord, and jist gies an odd plout noo an’ then. Sae efter a’ the hurly-burly an’ splutter o’ a wheen days ago, an odd splutter is a’ that remins uz that we wur grate pollyticians, wae battle in oor ee. There’s an odd yin here haes loast their eyesicht an hae likewise gaen deef an dum’ ower the heed o’t; at leest “They niver speek as they pass by,” as the sang says. It’s a curious deseese, but noa incurable.

Did ye hear that yin mornin’ Bellymoney wus posted ower wae green bills an “Home Rule” on them! A hae hard mony’s a time o’ a toon bein’ painted rid, but, bedad, it’s the first time A iver hard o’ yin painted green.

There’s a nue Goverment in noo for guid or ill, an’ A hope for guid, espeshully tae oor ain poor distressed cuntry. It’s noa the hen that caickles the maist that lays the biggest egg, but let is hope them in power will lay eggs o’ prosperty, an’ plenty o’ them, sich as cumpulsory purches for the fermers, a guid bill for toon tennants, dae somethin for eddication, Bann dranage, an’ duble ivery body else’s salary &c., an’ then they can caickle as muckle as they lake; aye, and flap their wings an’ crow as weel. Promises er easily made at election times, but naebody lakes their mooth filled wae an’ empy spoon, nor tae be lake the German toon that advertises for a bell-ringer — wages naethin’ tae begin wae, but this will be dubled if satisfacshun is gien.

There’s yin thing A hear a heep o’ tak’ aboot, an’ that’s the amalgamation an’ coordination o’ boords (them’s twa ja’-brakers at ony rate). There’s a boord for this an yin for that — A beleeve aboot 46 a’ the gither. A wud lake tae see the oul’ tree that sawed oot intae sae mony planks. It man hae bain a corker. The Liberal perty aye tak’ o’ economy, an’ noo’s their chance. If I had the daein’ o’t A wud slap them a’ in yin. Jest imagine the Intermediate Boord, for instans. Am toul they spen’ 8,000 pun odd in prizes for wanes, an’ 1,600 pun in workin’ expences, an’ sae on.

Talkin’ aboot boords A hae notished that the Boords o’ Guerdians, at lest in the North, dae their wurk a heep mair sensibly nor they ust tae dae. A canna tell the raisin, except that a mair intelligent set o’ men compose them, or maybe the advance o’ eddication haes something tae dae wi’t. At ony rate they get throo’ their wurk in a mair expedicious menner, an’ arna sae carnapshus as they used tae be.

A want tae tell ye a wee story in illustration o’ a this, an’, min’ ye, this is no lake mony a story for it’s true. A gid mony years ago at a boord that will be unmenshunable somebody proposed tae spenn a loat o money in a needless menner. This wus opposed by wiser heeds, an’ an intelligent member in a sarcastic speech axed them whun they wur at it tae spen’ a wheen o’ thoosands on a lake in a park and get a gondola for the toon fowk. Up jumps an aul’ member that could niver see a joke and cried, “By jaminty, I second the moshun, but instead o’ yin gondola I propose we get twa an’ let them breed.” Pair body. I suppose he thocht they wur swans. Ye get nae lauchs o’ that soart noo-a-days. There’s whiles a lauch in the papers yit tho.”

Am jest thinkin’, mister sur, o’ sum o’ yer election potery. Potery comes as natural tae sum folk as chowing hedges daes tae a goat, but they ir fue an’ far atween; an’ a didna discover ony grate geniuses amang yer budders, tho sum o’t was mair than ornary, an plenty o’t was balderdash. If ye gied a watch for a prize for the warst potery instead o’ for gessin’, ye wud hae a michty lot o’ trubble in finin’ oot the wunner.

A’m terrible sorry tae hae tae record the death o’ Jamie Broon, oor ain station-mester. The circumstances will lakely appear in ither columns. A quarter an mair obleegin’ man cudna be got onywhar, an’ the sympathy o’ the hale cuntryside is wae hes poor wife an wee wanes. Poor Jamie, we’ll no’ see he’s lake for a while agen.

A’m feart ye’ll no hae space for a’ me blethers, so A’ll stap in time; an’ tae nixt week ye can tak’ me kin’ regerds.

An Aul’ Han’.



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