Saturday, 30 July 2011

Atween tha haein an tha wantin

Anithir yin o tha oul sayins fae hame..... Mae granda used tae say

Atween tha haein an tha wantin wull get there.

An as usual he wus ricth.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Last Man on the Mountain by Brian Rankin

As promised a few weeks ago here is another one of Brian Rankin's poems. 'The Last Man on the Mountain', is one of my favourites. The story is simple yet moving and by the end you can almost smell the turf.

The Last Man on the Mountain
by Brian Rankin

This soil, this turf, this land of his-
Eighty years below his feet,
Man and boy with his bare hands-
Each year he cut his peats.

He did not see it as a chore
Even tho' it was so tiring,
He saw it as a fair exchange
For all his winter's firing.

He stacked them up like his father did
To dry out in the sun,
Then drew them home into the shed
Many's a weary run.

He remembered the mountain as a boy-
When many neighbours would toil
To gather in their winter fuel,
Before the days of oil.

He remembered the crack, the noise, the fun-
Tractors at full throttle
Welcome lunch beaks, soda farls,
Warm tea in a bottle.

But that was many years ago-
Too many to be countin'
Numbers dwindled till he was left-
The last man on the mountain.

But he was at peace - he was content,
His sharp spade slicing clean.
Jet black peats coaxed up and out-
To land on grass of green.

Long centuries in the making
By mother nature good,
But yielded up so willingly
To those who understood.

He knew nothing of a T.V.
Or trips to foreign lands-
But he had a leather bible
Worn smooth by his rough hands.

And that was how he passed the time
Those dark and wintry nights,
Cosy in his favourite chair
Reading by firelight.

A basket of turf was burned each night,
Carried inside from the shed-
When they were all used - it was time
To head on up to bed.

But this one night - he stayed in his chair
Whatever was his notion......
He watched the in a trance
The peats burned in slow motion.

He threw the last one on the fire
Up drifted smoke so sweet,
Soothing..familiar..part of him
The smell, the glow the heat.

But every fire ends up ashes-
Flames for a while then gone,
Something told him, as he closed his eyes
That he might not see the dawn.

Aye - eighty summers he had seen-
But his time was finished here.
A ship well-sailed, a race well-run-
He somehow had no fear.

The last peat faded - and so did he
The clock slipped past eleven.....
With a smile he mumbled his last words-
I hope.....there's heaven.

If you would like a copy of Brian's books - 'Walking Through the Heather' and 'Big Mary' (proceeds from which go to charity). Please phone him on Tel: 028 777 63082

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Fu tae tha Gills

Fu tae tha Gills

Thur ir a brave wheen o suggestions as tae tha origins o this yin. Fish fu wae stuffing etc. Hooiver I like tae equate the 'gills' o a fish wae oor necks. Oanyboady wa hae's taakin a guid slug o tay wi'oot checking tae see if its scaldin ir no, wull unnerstan exactly the sayin:

Thon wud burn tha gills o ye

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Tha poet farmer - Brian Rankin

A wheen o' months ago. It wuz privileged tae attend a musical evenin at Faughanvale Church, whur tha poet farmer Brian Rankin read oot a wheen o hae's poems. I enjoyed hae's rhymes sae much (whilst thur no aa in Ulster-Scots thur's a brave guid braid twang tae thim) that I bocht hae's twa books, 'Walking Through The Heather' and 'Big Mary'. The proceeds fae whuch gae tae help orphans oot in Uganda.
I spoke tae Brian a wheen o weeks ago tae ask him if I cud pit a wheen o' hae's poems on mae blog. Sae that tha twarthy creeters wha tak a wee gleek noo an again, cud hae a skelly an mebbe even order yin or twa copies o' his books fur thursel.

Sae if ye like tha poem I hae pit unner, gie him a ring oan,

Tel; 02877763082
Mob; 07961486401
or email him at

The Ballad of "Wee Willie & Big Mary" by Brian Rankin

Wee Willie still lived with his mother
Tho' he was fifty-four
He just worked away on the farm
Never went out the door.

A miserable looking crettar
As thin as you could get
Seven stone would've been his limit
If he was soakin' wet.

Then his mother passed away
To her funeral neighbours came
No longer there to shelter him
Willie was now...... fair game.

At the graveside there were several girls
Who made sure they kissed him
But "Big Mary" waited till the end
She wasnae goin' to miss him.

A hefty heifer - man she was
As broad as she was long
She gave him a hug and lifted him!
With big thick arms so strong.

Like a roaring fire were her cheeks
Like tree trunks were her legs
Every morning an Ulster fry

When she finally set him down she said
"I might call some day for tea"
Willie was dizzy, feard and flummoxed
"Aye.... That's alright by me".

So she started to call with cakes and buns
For she was a fair ol' baker
He thought that she was after him
But she ... was after acres!

You see, she had a wee farm of her own
Nothin' but whin bushes
Her ween of sheep - they had to graze
In amongst the rushes.

She had got her eye on his nice land
Its rolling fields so green
The good farmhouse - the tidy yard
As nice as she had seen.

She turned the charm up full on him
He thought she was a clinker
It wasnae long till she'd reeled him in
Hook and line and sinker.

Before he knew it - the date was set
And she had him up the aisle
But they had no choice - with her size...
Had to walk out single file!

Into the wedding car was a squeeze
She must have been twenty stone
Willie was jammed up against the glass
For she filled it on her own

That night, he got into bed before her
Sort of feard - he lay still
Then Big Mary.. she got in
And he sort of rolled downhill.

"I think it's straight to sleep" she said
"For that big day did weary us"
He lay in tight at her back
The heat from her was serious.

He thought about the comin' winter
And how she'd keep him warm,
He thought about the buns she'd make
And how she'd help him farm.

She'd be a quare help with the sheep
For lambing was a battle,
And with her size - she'd fair block a hole
If he was movin' cattle!

Aye - he slowly came to the conclusion
She'd be good about the place
Soon he was drifting off to sleep
With a smile upon his face.

So how does this story end up
The marriage - was it a go?
Was it happily ever after?
I'm sorry to tell you... no.

For later on that night - disaster!
The marriage was ill fated
Big Mary rolled over in her sleep
Wee Willie.........suffocated!

The recording below is of Brian Rankin performing at 'Faughanvale Music Evening' (March 2011)

Inches disnae breck squares

"Inches disnae breck squares in a load o' whins."
Meaning: In insignificant matters, minute discrepancies are of little consequence. 

The square referred to almost certainly refers to the military formation used by both the British and Roman armies among others. To break the square is also a military expression which means that an attack has managed to penetrate it.
A one-inch gap between the soldiers forming the square is of no consequence.