tree_and_leaf: Peter Davison in Five's cricket gear, leaning on wall with nose in book, looking a bit like Peter Wimsey. (Books)
Hmph. Morning has thus far failed at being productive; having discovered I needed to get a friend a birthday present, er, about three days ago, and equally needing hay fever tablets, I sallied into the centre of town, only to discover that Boots wasn't open until 11; which necessitated a protracted hang about in Borders, which, well, I think the phrase is technically 'resulted in', rather than necessitated, spending more money on more books than planned. Ran into Incumbant, and exchanged gulilty glances over stacks of books; he said "You see, this is what happens when you come to a place like this, you have to spend all your time putting down books you've picked up," and I said, "It's putting them down that's the trick," - though I did manage not to splurge on Jim Butcher, so it could have been worse.

On the other hand, I did buy one of UA Fanthorpe's collections, and a nice little book of 100 Favourite Scottish Poems (not kailyaird, honest!) which, though sadly lacking in Buchan, has a good selection of obscure but good stuff, including some which was new to me:

Mary’s Song


I wad ha’e gi’en him my lips tae kiss,
Had I been his, had I been his;
Barley breid and elder wine,
Had I been his as he is mine.

The wanderin’ bee it seeks the rose;
Tae the lochan’s bosom the burnie goes;
The grey bird cries at evenin’s fa’,
‘My luve, my fair one, come awa’.’

My beloved sall ha’e this he’rt tae break,
Reid, reid wine and the barley cake;
A he’rt tae break, an’ a mou’ tae kiss,
Tho’ he be nae mine, as I am his.


Marion, Angus (1866-1946)

RELIJUS SUBTEXT IZ BAIRLY SUBTEXTUAL

And, from the Exile's corner: )
And, even more so: )
However, let us not be sentimental, even about Scotland: so here is an excellent poem of political advice to our lords and masters at Holyrood (or anywhere else):  )
And finally, as a warning to all academics inclined to take themselves too seriously (which is about 99%, and I count myself in the majority), a jolly exercise in quasi-Middle Scots  )
tree_and_leaf: Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in uniform glengarry bonnet, Jamie in kilt, caption "Wha's like us?" (Scots Soldiers (Icon of patriotic prejud)
Scotland

It was a day peculiar to this piece of the planet,
when larks rose on long thin strings of singing
and the air shifted with the shimmer of actual angels.
Greenness entered the body. The grasses
shivered with presences, and sunlight
stayed like a halo on hair and heather and hills.
Walking into town, I saw, in a radiant raincoat,
the woman from the fish-shop. ‘What a day it is!’
cried I, like a sunstruck madman.
And what did she have to say for it?
Her brow grew bleak, her ancestors raged in their graves
as she spoke with their ancient misery:
‘We’ll pay for it, we’ll pay for it, we’ll pay for it.’
tree_and_leaf: Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in uniform glengarry bonnet, Jamie in kilt, caption "Wha's like us?" (Scots Soldiers (Icon of patriotic prejud)
[profile] parrot_knight's tweet about a local festival which, among other things, commemorates Jacobite doings in 1715, reminds me of a very short poem by Hugh McDiarmid. Who one would not have expected to be a natural friend of Jacobite imagery, but the poem is none the worse for that.


The rose of all the world is not for me:
I want for my part
Only the little white rose of Scotland
That smells sharp, and sweet – and breaks the heart.

It is, incidentally, one of the fine assortment of quotations about Scotland or Scots opinions on the nature of politics, all bar one by Scots† carved on the Canongate Wall, part of our mildly eccentric Parliament building (about which opinions have differed, but I rather like it).


† The exception being Fr. Hopkins, who gets in on the strength of "Inversnaid" - as well he might.
tree_and_leaf: Peter Davison in Five's cricket gear, leaning on wall with nose in book, looking a bit like Peter Wimsey. (Books)
Fareweel, ye dungeons dark and strang
A lang fareweel tae thee!
MacPherson's time will no' be lang
Alow the gallows tree

Sae rantingly, sae wantonly... )
tree_and_leaf: Peter Davison in Five's cricket gear, leaning on wall with nose in book, looking a bit like Peter Wimsey. (Books)
Empty Vessel

I met ayont the cairnie
a lass wi tousie hair
singin til a bairnie
that wes nae langir there.

Wunds wi warlds ti swing
dinna sing sae sweet,
the licht that bends owre awthing
is less taen up wi’t.



Hugh McDiarmid, proving that he's actually more comprehensible in Scots (Or it would do, if anyone could actually face reading "On a Raised Beach", or the "Hymns to Lenin". McDiarmid is probably the only poet in the world to have been kicked out of both the Communist and the Scottish National Parties....)

NB: if you're struggling, try reading it aloud. A cairnie is, in this case, a field boundary marker, tousie means 'tousled', and a 'bairnie' is a baby or a child (a good old Germanic word, cognate with 'bear' as in 'to bear a child, to give birth' - the bairn is what is born)
tree_and_leaf: Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in uniform glengarry bonnet, Jamie in kilt, caption "Wha's like us?" (Scots Soldiers (Icon of patriotic prejud)
Oh yes: yesterday the Scottish government launched the Homecoming 2009 campaign, which I would be inclined to cast as a piece of towrist-oriented daftness, except that much as I hate to admit it, it actually does stir some sort of response in me, even as I groan at the slight whiff of shortbread'n'tartan. They do have some very nice e-cards with good pictures of Scotland - am especially pleased by the number of Common Riding* pictures, as there's a tendency for the Borders to be ignored.

And then of course there's the video, which involves a number of Scots celebrities singing, trying to sing, or in the case of Mr Connery, intoning, Caledonia. It has, I gather, been much mocked, and probably deservedly, though I think Connery gets away with it, just, by sheer force of Big Tam-ishness. At least with the straight female portion of the audience, anyway:

Videos and exiled Scottish navel-gazing beneath the cut )
tree_and_leaf: Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in uniform glengarry bonnet, Jamie in kilt, caption "Wha's like us?" (Scots Soldiers (Icon of patriotic prejud)
(Made harder by my difficulties in, er, getting out of bed this morning.)

* go to library, return books.

* Buy wherewithall for clapshot (please note that the 'turnips' are what the English call 'swede'); buy wherewithall for cranachan. Buy second haggis, due to sudden influx of last minute guests.

* prep clapshot, make cranachan.

* get on with some of the translation work for Chaotic Publishers.
tree_and_leaf: Photo of spire of Freiburg Minster (14th C broached gothic) silhouetted against sunset. (Schönste Turm)
Yesterday - celebrating getting the paper down to time - I went out with a friend to drink whisky, from the excellent selection in Schlappen, Freiburg.

I started off with the Mannochmore South African sherry finish, which wasn't bad - a bit thinner than I was really in the mood for, but nice notes of vanilla and a bit of fruit (pear, probably). Would make a good aperitif. L, who has only just started drinking whisky, was very enthusiastic about the 10 y.o. Balvennie, which is a nice drink, with an awful lot of honey and flowers on the nose, and a bit of body towards the finish. We then moved away from the highlands - I had Jura, which I haven't had for ages, and surprised me by the burnt toast in the finish - and persuaded L to try Highland Park (oddly enough, it seemed to be my description of the scene in Dalziel and Pascoe where poor Novello is persuaded to substitute Glennfiddich for Highland Park that did it. That got an absolutely priceless reaction - very dubious face when she sniffed it, and a slightly bemused/ repelled reaction to the peat in the first mouthful. Followed by sudden enthusiasm at the second. "It just gets better and better the more you drink it!" Followed by the judgement that the Balvennie smelled more interesting, but the Highland Park was more interesting to drink.

I had considered trying the Loch Dhu black whisky, but after reading the review I'm rather glad I didn't - though a certain amount of (morbid) curiosity remains...
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
I was at the Writers' Museum in Edinburgh ( http://www.cac.org.uk/venues/writers_museum.htm ) and was reminded once again what a great idea Makars' Court is - Makar is Scots for 'poet' (cognate with 'maker'), and quotations from Scottish poets have been carved in the flagstones.

The most noticable one is from Barbour's Bruce "fredome is a noble thing" - the whole passage is magnificent:

A! Fredome is a noble thing!
Fredome mays man to haiff liking;
Fredome all solace to man giffis,
He levys at ese that frely levys!

But I also really like the Goodsir Smith (1915-75) quotation they chose:

"Bards hae sung o lesser luves than I o thee
O thou my great follie and granderie"

Somehow nails it....

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