30 years in Scotland

2016 is a bit of a landmark year for me because it is 30 years since I moved to South West Scotland which means that I have lived here longer than I have lived anywhere else.   This has made me  rather reflective and I find myself looking  back with nostalgia to those first few months of living in a foreign land.  I had to get used to a different language – turnip was swede, lum was chimney and a rather brilliant word “foutering” which seemed to mean dithering .   The word I loved best though was “dreich” which coincidentally is the subject of my latest watercolour painting –“ Brollies in the Rain”, a scene from the Glasgow Central Hotel on a very “dreich” day.

Rainy Day, Glasgow webmark

So used was I to learning new words that I wasn’t at all surprised to see that a tasty uncut loaf which I had always called a “bloomer” was labelled “boog” bread.   It sounded very Scottish – “boog” and I was puzzled when my exhaustive enquiries in local shops for “boog” bread was met with puzzled looks.    At last I tracked down the very item and presented it with a triumphant flourish at the till, only for my bubble to be burst when I had time to examine the label more closely – “800g Bread” Ah, okay, the penny dropped and I  slipped out of the shop with a rather unflattering crimson face.

Scottish expressions were also new to me and it is the practice here in South West Scotland to be asked “Is that you?” when you present your groceries to the checkout assistant.   “Er, yes I am me” I would reply rather puzzled by the question.   It was repeated “That’s you then?”   “Er, yes I am definitely me” I would reply again, my face creased up in bewilderment.   The assistant wouldn’t be satisfied until I had said “Yes, that’s me”.

This year I  married the local farmer next door – all very Mills and Boon.  This meant I was, technically speaking, a farmer’s wife which for a girl who resolutely refuses to wear anything else but evening dresses accessorized with either wellies or Doc Marts is chuffin’ hilarious.

This is the year that I had to learn a whole new language again and was rebuked for describing cattle as “Mummy cow, daddy cow, baby boy cow and baby girl cow” when I was in fact describing a cow, bull, heifer and bull calf.   I had to learn that cows don’t lie down on the grass because it is going to rain – my husband hooted with laughter over that one – a “townie” misconception of the highest order.   I also learned that when a cow lies down and puffs up it is, in fact, dead and not just doing a lying down, puffing up cow thing because it is bored with chewing the cud.     It was also news to me that the term “drying off the cows” doesn’t involve lovely warm soft fluffy white towels.  Oh dear, so much to learn and so many opportunities to look a right numpty (another Scottish word).

I am resigned to the fact that my husband gets excited when a fellow farmer invites him up a large open tower, accessed by a ladder to examine a million gallons of poo – or slurry as it is called.   For a girl who doesn’t know the difference between silage and slurry I just accept that it is interesting to some and not to others.    Whilst these two farmers were discussing the finer properties of cow poo I came all over “farmer’s wifey” and approached a cute calf in the byre to stroke its soft nose.   The poor creature backed into the corner, bellowing frantically, terrified of this stranger who was so clearly out of her depth.

In the last 30 years much water has passed under the bridge but what underpins all of my life is my passion for art and my desire to paint.   I have always coloured in as a child and I am fortunate to still be colouring in as an adult.   I am fortunate indeed that I have been able to found a successful business with my daubs and be in contact with interesting folk around the world.   Those interesting folk are my customers or potential customers and I value each and every communication.   So if, in my reply to you, I use words like “craig, wean, mingin, drookit or scunner” you will know that I am now bilingual in a confused sort of way.    Keep chatting to me and here’s to the next thirty years.