Friday, February 27, 2009

[to be a scot] what must it feel like

Local VIPs clearly approve of the image of Glasgow Rab projects

I’ve often wondered what it must feel like to be Scottish.

Apart from being home to G-d’s own nectar, it must have something else going for it. If Salmond and the gang are the result of Scottish evolution, then one really wonders.

And yet a glance at the major movements in the world, from the military through literature to the shop stewards who close down sections of British industry, e.g. in Liverpool, shows that the Scots have always been in there at the sharp end.

An article from some years back on a central issue to the Scottish heart gives the non-Scot some insight:

At a Berwick Highlands Gathering, event co-ordinator Ross Chudleigh said "simulated haggis" would be used as the real stuff would be too messy. The simulated version would instead use sand or oatmeal in a Hessian bag that would be thrown in the traditional Scottish style similar to a shot-put action.

But the decision not to use the sheep organs minced and boiled in the animal’s stomach - has outraged traditional Scots. Butcher Rob Boyle asked: "If there's no haggis, how can it be haggis throwing?"

He said he had supplied haggis to other festivals in vacuum-sealed bags, which did not result in any unsightly mess. "If you have an egg-and-spoon race you don't use a golf ball."

For the ignorant non-Scot, under haggis hurling rules, the dish is either thrown from one person to another until someone drops it, or the greatest distance without ruining it.

Trying to understand the Scot in the same way that I try, tomorrow, to understand the nature of giving birth, I came up with the following, beginning with that anthem, IMHO one of the best pieces of music ever used as an anthem, alongside maybe La Marseillaise:

“Those days are passed now
And in the past
They must remain
But we can still rise now
And be the nation again
That stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again.”

Why would a national song largely dwell on a terrible enemy rather than concern itself with its own greatness and the national ability to overcome all obstacles?

No matter, let’s move on.

‘It came with a lass and will pass with a lass.’ [James V]

Hmmm. I thought Macbeth had had something to do with it.

‘There are few more impressive sights in the worlds than a Scotsman on the make. [J.M. Barrie -1908]

I can well imagine although I’ve nae been wooed by a Scot, with the single exception of a Highland lass, Morag, I was once sweet on but that was me doing the wooing, bloody Sasenach.

‘Oh Caledonia! stern and wild,
Meet nurse for a poetic child!’
[Scott – 1805]

That poetic child was certainly not Byron who ungraciously wrote, in 1812 [auspicious year otherwise]:

‘A land of meanness, sophistry and mist.’

Well, this blogger is not averse to bit of mist, especially Irish Mist and dear olde Eire will be the next subject in this ongoing series. An example is to the right here.

If I’ve breached copyright, forgive me, Mr. Lane and I’ll take her down immediately.



I love Scottish accents but they're tight buggers.

Martin said...


Byron's prejudice might have been formed by having been raised in an Aberdeen boarding house, while at the same time being subjected to the attentions of a Calvinist nanny.

As far as your broader question's concerned...well, I would try to venture an answer, but there are those who would claim my Irish ancestry disqualifies me; and I can't be doing with that stuff any more.

dearieme said...

"The sixth High Steward of Scotland, Walter Stewart (1293-1326), married Marjorie, daughter of Robert the Bruce..Their son Robert was heir to the House of Bruce.. he eventually inherited the Scottish throne when his uncle David II died childless in 1371."

That's how it came with a lass. It went with one, though not with Mary but with Queen Anne.

god-free morals said...

I'll just take those backhanded compliments as a bit of a laugh and say that this is what it's like to be Scottish:
P.S. awa n' ghanny ya mockit gipe!

CherryPie said...

And yet a glance at the major movements in the world, from the military through literature to the shop stewards who close down sections of British industry, e.g. in Liverpool, shows that the Scots have always been in there at the sharp end.

Funny you should mention that, a friend of mine who is one of the main TU activists was born in Glasgow ;-)

Pisces Iscariot said...

Ubermouth: you're perpetuating English myth - Having spent 18 years living in Glasgow I found the Scots to be generous, open and friendly.

dearieme said...

Fair enough PI: but how did you find the Glaswegians?


Pisces- I speak from firstand knowledge based on 4 Scots I've known. As all were tight-that's 100% of the Scots I have come across.

I am currently involved with a 'tight Scot' so observe but do not condemn.

James Higham said...

Tight, as in money, Uber?

Martin - ah, that explains it.

Dearieme - so now I know and thanks.

Chris - thanks for making it clear what a Scot is.

Cherie - yes, it's so. Look at the stats.:)

Pisces - interesting that.

Well, well, people.

Baht At said...

Well I would guess that being a Scot involves admitting your inferiority to the English which must be hard, especially as we value the welsh more than the Scot Johnny-come-lately servant to our Empire.

Martin said...

What a delightfully 19th Century sentiment. How quaint.