An Aul Han’s Letter

Author: (Charlie Reynolds)

Date: 2004

Source: Ullans: The Magazine for Ulster-Scots, Nummer 9 and 10 Wunter 2004

from the Northern Constitution, July 1906

Supplied by Charlie Reynolds, Ulster-Scots Researcher


What maks the wather aye breck at the twelth A wud lake tae no? A canna tell maesel’, but as sure as there’s an eye in a goat the rain comes aboot this time, an’ this year hes been nae excepshun tae the rule. Some say it’s the batin’ o’ the drums cases a vibration in the air, jest iz rain makers in het countries sen’ up an’ explosive balloon an’ mak’ rain cum frae a cloudless sky. Nae metter what it is the fact remains, but A’m gled whun they get a guid day, even if it shood poor oot o’ buckets for a munth efterwards. Isn’t there a day (the 14th) caed for some saint or sinner, an’ if it rains on that day there’s tae be rain for six weeks efter ivery day. It maun hae been wat on that day, for it hes been rain iver since roon here. That perticular saint canna hae much influence in the makin’ o’ the wather, or else he’s a drouthy aul’ customer. Maybe he’s found o’ fishin’ an’ lakes big floods. There’s mair fishin’ nor catchin’ iz the rool roon these borders, tho’ A sa’ a man wae a gie big yun bae the tail the ither day.

Man a dear, sur, but the nummer o’ commissions noo gan on taks the leek. There’s commissions tae fin’ oot that an’ the ither, an’ A hear the Goverment desna know the nummer o’ them theirsels. What there a’ for puzzles me, for efter they sit for a wheen o’ years iverybody hes forgot what it wuz a aboot, an’ naethin’ iver comes oot o’t. A wud hae nae objecshuns tae be a Royal Commissioner maesel’ an’ get as much salary as wud dae the Bann Drainage. Why daen’t they appoint yin tae investigate the methods o’ commissions themsels? When a see a nue yin appointed A aye think o’ the clergyman that went tae visit in a hoose.

The guid wumman wuz goin’ tae gie him hes tay, iz a guid wumman wud, an’ went tae boil an egg. The clergyman took oot his watch, an’, efter a wheen o’ minutes, toul her it wuz ready. ‘Hoch, nae, guid man,’ sez the wumman. ‘The water’s niver come aboil yit’. An’, sae, whun ye expec a report frae these Commissions, ye fin’ that the water’s niver come aboil.

A see anither Commission — agricultural this time — is bein’ held in Belfast, an’ ivery man hes his ain idea hoo tae improve the country, but the thing that struck me maist wuz the evidence o’ yin man that sed a quarter o’ the coos in Irelan’ wuz infectet wae tuberculosis, an’ that drinkin’ milk wuz mainly responsible for sae much consumshun amang the yung. Noo, sur, A denna doot it, but comin’ on the tap o’ the tinned meat scaur, it’s enuch, iz the policeman sed, tae twist a boady’s nose up, an’ turn his hair blue. Mae freen, Dooley, A see, sez hes gan tae leeve on snowba’s in the wunter, an’ fresh air in the simmer. Commissions may be verry weel, but A’m feart they help tae scar folk.

A maun add mae congratulations tae ither folks, on accoont o’ the Bann men dain’ sae weel at the regetta. They’re the boys, an’ lang may they bring victory an’ cups — noa tae speek o’ sassers — tae guid aul’ Coulrain.

Bellycassle hes its wee blaw oot on the 24th, but is the posters say the year 1905, it wud be hard tae go. Maybe thay made a mistak; printers whiles dae that. There’s aye a lot o’ folk goes doon on that day onywy; some tae watch the races, some for a day’s coortin’, an ithers for a day at the shore.

At the risk o’ scunnerin’ ye, a man refer yinst agen tae oor gran’ goold medal competition. It comes aff on Friday, the 27th, an’ as it is for the Championship o’ North Entrim there’s a big nicht before is. Edam M‘Millan will be gled tae receive entries, an’ wull gies’ informashun, sae A hoap a gid shots wull turn up. It’s a case o’ ‘Johny get yer gun’ noo.

A’ll hae tae bid ye gid-by jest noo as time an’ the poastman wait on nae man, noa even,

An Aul’ Han’



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