Top Ten Tuesday | My Ten Favourite Words

ttt

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

I already sort of did a summer TBR post, so I went back into the archives and pulled a random topic. Here are ten of my favourite Scottish words.

Well, okay, there’s eight and one that isn’t a Scottish word.

Haar

A Scottish word I only recently learned when my mum pointed it out on the Forth. It refers, according to the Edinburgh Evening News, “specifically to the coastal fog which typically forms in Spring and Summer over eastern Scotland and England.” So there you go.

haar
Its haar, not fog. I mean, it is fog, but it’s haar. Ya ken?

Drumnadrochit

This is a place name rather than a word, but my god it’s fun to say, isn’t it?

How?

Not a Scottish word, you might say. Well, you’re right, but I’m not sure anywhere else has swapped it for the word “why” over time. It didn’t ever occur to me that we do this until it was pointed out by a few baffled non-Scots. It’s probably my favourite cute little quirk of language.

Crabbit

As a self-professed miserable cow, I use this one quite a lot. Incidentally, it was also one of the first colloquialisms we taught my friend Tackle before he came to visit. An excellent descriptor.

Shoogle

Roughly translates to “wobble” (“that chair’s a bit shoogly”) but can also mean to shake something. Giving someone a shoogle means to swing them around in a manner that may induce motion sickness.

Shan

In Edinburgh, “Barry” and “Shan” are used to mean “good” and “bad” respectively. I think shan is a brilliant word, which is just as well as since I started working in Morningside I’ve found myself picking it up from my colleagues. Definitely not shan.

Ken

I really want to know if anyone’s ever come away from a conversation with a Scottish person wondering who Ken is, and why he’s so popular. It means “know”. Ya ken?

Dreich

This is a good one to learn if you ever come to Scotland. It’s used to describe miserable weather, and as we have a fair few dreich days in all seasons,

And one that isn’t Scottish…

Bleach

This might be my favourite word and I have absolutely no justification for it. I just love the way it sounds.

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Gimme your favourite words in your local dialect. I love them.

How I Know It’s Spring: The Scotland Edition

Scotland is famous for many things. Tartan, whisky, deep frying anything we can get our hands on, crap weather…

Fortunately, after a winter that’s lasted for several years and a snowstorm so bad it shut down the country, it’s starting to look like spring. How can I be sure, when I live somewhere you have to dress for all four seasons in one day? Well, I’ll tell you!

It hasn’t snowed for over a week

Particularly relevant this year. Scotland has a reasonably temperate climate at the best of times, and I live on the coast so it’s even milder, but it snowed this year for longer than I can remember. Now the temperatures are consistently above zero! Nothing is frozen! SPRING.

beast
Oh Beast from the East, I do not miss you.

I’ve turned the central heating off

IT IS REAL. As someone who likes the house to be roughly the surface temperature of the sun, you know the seasons are changing when I turn the heating off for good. I’m sure the people who come round to visit and end up sweating profusely on my sofa are glad.

It’s sunny, cold and windy instead of cloudy, cold and windy

Before lambs, leaves and daffodils, spring is here when the sun reappears and the country either whips off their shirts or crumbles into dust. It has happened (finally), and the temperature is starting to hint towards double digits, but make no mistake: it’s still freezing. It’s Scotland, of course it is.

hill

I’m not scared to pee at work

My office may have a dog, but I’ll tell you what it doesn’t have: central heating. I am delighted that the temperature is increasing purely because I don’t have to wait until I’m cultivating a kidney stone to brave the toilet.

And, in that vein…

It’s time to stop wearing thermals

I came to this decision after dragging myself up the hill after work yesterday, sweating profusely. Now that I’m not attempting to set myself on fire with the aforementioned propane heater, it might be time to scale back the layers.

edinburgh

The last Christmas song has been removed from my playlists

There’s always one I forget in the January purge. This year it was Ring Out Solstice Bells by Jethro Tull.

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Spring is here! As we say in Scotland, taps aff. Enjoy the heatwave that’s apparently happening.

Not here, of course. We’ll settle for moderate cloud.

Book Review | Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the story of a quirky yet lonely woman whose social misunderstandings and deeply ingrained routines could be changed forever—if she can bear to confront the secrets she has avoided all her life. But if she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.

eleanor oliphant

This is a brief review, but for a good reason: I don’t want you to be reading it. I want you to go out of your house, go to a bookstore, BUY THE BOOK and read it instead. Go. Now.

If you’re still here, I can only assume you’re snowed in, gravely ill or temporarily incapacitated, so sure, read this while you recover.

First of all, don’t be put off by the fact that, for a decent chunk at the beginning of the book Eleanor Oliphant is supremely annoying. It’s immediately obvious that she’s an unreliable narrator, but it’s also immediately obvious that there’s a lot to unpick.

Her interaction with a number of other characters – Raymond (the IT guy at her work), Sammy (the pensioner they help in the street) and her mysterious musician, only serve to highlight the difference between being “Completely Fine” and Eleanor’s idea of Completely Fine. It’s a gut-wrenching, life affirming, thoroughly relatable masterpiece of a journey. I promise you that by the time you get not even halfway through, Miss Oliphant will break your heart, put it back together and then break it again.

Recommended for: anyone with eyes and feelings. Seriously. Read it.

The Third Forth bridge: an experience

They’ve been building the Queensferry Crossing for so long it feels like we should be celebrating its centenary, never mind its opening. So many years of driving down towards Ferrytoll and finding out the road layout is completely different every single time – I sweated my way through four driving tests in case the test route took me down there and I ended up in a pile of cones GTA-style. Thankfully I didn’t have to drive over it on the day it opened, as a broken down lorry (beautiful irony) and a swathe of people who wanted to be among the first to cross meant it was choked with traffic by rush hour.

Sean and I waited until 11:30pm to drive across, but by that time it was disappointingly dark and we saw nothing outside of the headlights. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to cross it as one of the 50,000 people selected by ballot to walk over it at the weekend. Unlike the Forth Road Bridge (known going forward as ‘Old Bridge’) the New Bridge is going to be motorway all the way so no pedestrian access after this weekend, so despite the fact that I was ridiculously light headed, I made the 1.7 mile wake in glorious blue sky sunshine, and it rammed home something I’ve been slowly realising over the past year.

Three of us
With the parents pre-crossing. Maw wanted a photo, Paw and I weren’t keen, hence my awkward hands.

I love where I live. I love Scotland. I’ll sit and slag Fife off until I’m purple, but I love it here too. I love the water and I love the bridges. One of my earliest memories is waving to my dad in his drivers cab at the end of my grandparents’ garden in North Queensferry when he was crossing the rail bridge. My wedding reception is on the south bank of the river, between the rail and road bridge.

And, despite all of the protests of “it’s just a bridge, get over it” (which is the best unintentional pun ever by the way) I’ve grown up in the shadow of these bridges and it was really cool to walk across the new one.

This has been a relatively brief wander through the weekend as I’ve spent most of it lying on my back with food poisoning, idly wondering whether I’m more likely to be sick or explode but yeah. Bridges are cool and Scotland is cool. Peace out and look at these photos I took.