Sunday, 20 November 2011

Up tha Lum

Taken at the Ulster American Folk Park

As a wean I often heard burning something on the fire referred to as sending it "up tha lum". The lum being the chimney.
References to the lum can be found in Scots / Ulster-Scots literature from 1700 onwards eg.
1879 W. G. Lyttle Readings 77:
    Puir buddy, she lukit startit like, an’ sut doon awa at the tither side o’ the lum.

1786 Burns Halloween viii.:
    Till fuff! he started up the lum. 

I also uncovered a few sayins regarding the lum on the Internet.
Someone with a cast might have been referred to as - 'One eye on the pot and the other up the lum.'
  'Lang may yer lum reek.' — was a common expression to wish someone prosperity and plenty. 

Note my mother whose takin up computerin sent me an email to tell me that the entire sayin is:
Lang may yer lum reek an yer spicket (spigot) dribble.

Lastly 'Cryin' up the lum.' - it has been suggested that this phrase was used to stress the importance of self reliance. However I'm not entirely convinced that this is correct. Any suggestions on the meaning of this sayin' would be most welcome.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Hame Again - Oor ain apples

Several weeks ago I was fortunate to be part of the Loughries Ulster Scots Trip or 'A Forenoon Doon the Upper Ards', (clydesburn.blogspot.) hosted by the Twa Marks. Although, because of the persistent rain that day, Mark Thompson (our guide) later dubbed it "A Forenoon gettin droont in the Upper Ards". 
Ecklinville Apple Tree back in Ulster 

One of the more obscure pieces of information we received that day was the story of the Ecklinville or (as Mark called it the) Ulster-Scots Apple.
The following extract is from the 'Bloggin fae the Burn' article entitled Scottish Bishops and Ulster-Scots apples

On 4 March 1613 Robert Echlin from Pittadro in Fife was appointed by King James I as the new Bishop of Down and Connor. Echlin (initially at least) tolerated the arrival of the Presbyterians and compromised with them in order to ordain them into service in Ulster. Echlin set up home at Ardquin (between Portaferry and Kircubbin - it is said he chose the location because it reminded him of the landscape of Fife) and built an Abbacy there beside the old church.
It is in this location that some of Echlin's descendants who remained on the Ards Peninsula invented the Echlinville / Ecklinville cooking apple. The description of the variety is:

"...the tree is vigorous and has decorative blossom. It is a cooker or sauce apple. It was popular with the Victorians and widely grown in gardens also recommended for an 'artistic' orchard...."

Daniel's Ulster-Scots Apple Tree
The Ecklinville cooking apple, once popular around County Down, all but disappeared by the 1930s. as it had become unfashionable when new varieties, that didn't bruise so easily, were introduced into the province. 
This research got me thinking about this small but unique part of our heritage. Determined to bring it hame I searched the Internet and eventually found Ecklinville seedlings at a fruit tree nursery on the Isle of White (Deacon's Nursery). The owner was extremely helpful and dispatched five 1st year seedlings which I distributed to a handful of Ulster-Scots patriots in Down and Londonderry (The Twa Marks included). So yince mere wae hae Ulster-Scots apples in oor hames'. (well not quite yet)

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Weel creeshed

I recently heard someone remarking on how 'them that hae' (people with money) 'a seem tae en up wae mere' (always seem to benefit from financial transactions or windfalls).

I was reminded of an aul sayin that an old lady from Carrowdore was fond of using:

A fat soo's arse is aye weel creeshed (creesh- soft, thick grease)

(You may wish to modify the language somewhat but its a great idiom)
For a more comprehensive definition of the word creesh you may like to visit