Monday, 29 August 2011

aa richt

I'm no tae sure wuther or no this yin haes oany Ulster-Scots roots. But its yin wae say at hame.

It's aa aa ricth whun its gan aa ricth.

Its works weel wae tha reply

 Aye.. lang runs tha hare

Sunday, 21 August 2011

The Poet Farmer Brian Rankin performing: 'Big Mary' (audio only)

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

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Tae aa oul maids

'She haes a guid moany nicks in her horn'

This is said of a girl who is becoming an old maid. As a cow is said to have a nick in her horn for every year.

Tae aa spendthrifts

A nerra gatherin' get a broad scatterin'

This proverb alludes to the case of a thrifty man who gathers up a fortune during a lifetime, and is succeeded by a spendthrift son who squanders his inheritance.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

A Cut Loaf

I wus able tae fin thrie different versions o this aul sayin

"A slice aff a cut loaf's niver miss'd." - Ulster-Scots

"A whang aff a new cut kebbuck [cheese] is ne'er miss'd."-Scot. "

'Tis safe taking a shive of a cut loaf."-Eng.

I have only ever heard this idiom used in the justification of taking, usually without permission, an insignificant item ( one of many). However my research has also revealed a sexual context for the saying. Apparently it is also used colloquially to describe having sexual intercourse with someone who is not a virgin, especially when they are in a relationship. The analogy refers to a loaf of bread; it is not readily apparent, once the end has been removed, exactly how many slices have been taken.

This idiom also appears in - Titus Andronicus -Shakespeare

Demetrius- What man! more water glideth by the mill Than wots the miller of; and easy it is Of a cut loaf to steal a shive we know.

Monday, 15 August 2011


Let ivery her'n' hing by its ain tail.

Meaning - Let every man depend upon himself.

Origin: - In croft's and cottages, dried herrings are suspended by a rod passed through their tails.

In the original Scottish: Let ilka (every) herring hing By it's ain tail.

Monday, 8 August 2011


This is yin o mae favorites an an oul yin ferbye. It first appears in Allan Ramsay's book o scottish proverbs in 1737. Howaniver tha wurd cadger (or variants thereof) are recorded (in Scotland) as early as 1491.

Tha king aa cums tha cadgers road.

The word Cadger is used in Scottish as in standard English to mean a travelling hawker (chiefly of fish), or beggar. However in Scots / Ulster-Scots it can also be used to denote "A person of a disagreeable" temper” (J. Sellar Poems (1844)
The Proverb also appears as: The King’s Errand may come in the Cadger’s Gate (Sc. 1737 Ramsay Proverbs 62). The king will come in the cadger’s road. Followed by the explanation: a great man may need the services of a humble one.
This proverb is also referred to in 1894 by D. MacLeod - Past Worthies of Lennox 175: "I telt ye then that the day micht come when the king would come in the cadger’s road, an’ ye micht be gled o’ a nicht’s lodgin’s frae me."
Update: Phililp has kindly reminded me that from cadger we also get the Ulster-Scots word Cadge. "Tae Cadge" is to beg, borrow or peddle.

A similar proverb we used at hame

Lang runs tha Hare

Monday, 1 August 2011

Cryin fur nithin

If you believe that the droplets issuing from the eyes are without justifiable provocation i.e. thur cryin fur nithin. Then it is entirely appropriate to use the phrase......

Yer blether's brave an near yer een

Update: My thanks to Philip for the spelling correction. You are of course correct.
Interestingly I also came across some debate as to wether the word blether, in this instance, comes from the term for talking nonsense and is a reflection on the sincerity of the emotion or more directly from the word (bladder) blether, reflecting the dubious nature of the droplets. Both sources seem to have merit.
However, like yourself, I am fairly certain it's the later