Hangin’ over the bridge, peeking for broon trout,
too warm for your gansie the day.
Bin bags filled with water
splitting their sides,
laughing at her Arbroath joke
Gas mantels, flax seals, the Troubles, bingo wins, trainee beekeepers. Being scunnered, trees, jokes about wind, photees of the Tay rail bridge. Culverts and herons, a mallard, the Ferry, pulleys for the washing. Grandchildren, comics and songs and the plastic cable ties that sometimes dinnae work.
He calls me ‘little spuggie’.
But I’ll take it,
My second gift,
a still life of Dutch compare,
funny and brlliant.
they show me how to eat jaffa cakes
Apparently I’ve been getting it wrong all these years.
( spuggie is Dundonian for sparrow.)
its off to work……
‘An’ wha’s ‘Grumpy’ the day?’
A cold under baked morning,
not fit to rise.
Shiny boots and woodpeckers,
buzzards and mibbe a newt, but na’.
Macaroon bars at a celtic game,
fun- sized mars bars,
meeting a childhood friend not seen for thirty years.
March 25th 2014
It was one of those cool, ash-coated mornings, the kind that are good for a job such as this.
The sun, sallow, thrawn, slunk low in the sky.
Down by the burn where Asda and Lidl took the plunge, a sparrowhawk skimmed the trees as we climbed through the fence.
The silence of holding breath.
strung taut a line in a funereal tone we came to the place in plain sight.
With an L-cut in the earth we buried the stash.
He laughed about Paris in Springtime.
“Shut it “, she snapped tight a cable tie.
The canary grass fizzled in the easterly wind,
from Russia with love.
This may or may not have occurred in quite the way detailed but, one thing is for sure, we did plant some trees.
Her Mother worked in the mills,
sixpence a day,
A luppie o’ tatties an’ a hauf loaf.
Her Granddad swung great bales of jute and carried them on his shoulders,
he picks up his Granny and swings her round
the soldier boy back from Jordan.
Her Dad lost his fingers in the mills machines,
the war, an evacuee aunt.
A London accent too thick to be clear
her Dundonian as foreign
as an Afghan province,
in the wash house wi’ Granny.
10th March 2014.
Tilting at windmills
with hogweed stalks.
and love-bitten damson.
A Sherlock greatcoat,
a turquoise wink
ice climbing in Glencoe.
But to Angus for the tatties,
for the slates in the buckets at the weighing.
(notes – These conversations came about from a trip with the conservation group to a piece of waste land behind the Michelin factory in Dundee. The title Plunkin’ is playing truant from school.Sherlock and wink refer to herons and knigfishers spotted along the burn. The slates in the bottom of the buckets was a trick to get more money from the farmers. )
13th March 2014
I can’t draw,
my hand is someone elses.
‘That rubbers getting a lot of use ‘, she says.
Her Dad was the second Scottish man to swim the English Channel.
Thats better than kissing David Cassidy.
6th March 2014
awa to where ?
To the bleaching fields by the Dighty,
spreading linen on the grass
to dry and blonde.
Its fallen angels
sooking up the sun.
(notes – 1. Tenerife- ee and Finger-only were someones memory of a friends pronunciation.
2.The Dighty Burn had dozens of mills along its length and the linen was originally bleached and laid out to dry in the fields next to the burn.
3. The Fallen Angels beauty parlour is round the corner of the community centre. )
4th March 2014
Apple trees in the tattie field,
doon the street with a barrow and wellies.
We sang the song of Connolly fame
and spoke of spuggies and scrammies and cundies.
we guarded the fruit with sentries of plastic.
Fallen Angels beauty parlour.
24th February 2014
Black magic boxes of bats
and hames for wee spuggies.
A word for my day.
The timber all cut and ready and bound with blue tape.
But the edges of the wood turn to keek at each other
and will no behave.
As outside the absent school turns its back and runs awa to the Dighty Burn,
(notes – a spuggie is Dundonian for a sparrow. Outside, in the vacated green space next to the community centre stood a school.)
26th February 2014.
Tessarae colours in blues and greens spark
smashing, cutting, nipping, filing, glueing, placing,
waymarking the Dighty Burn.
Holidays in Birmingham and seeing that one off Coronation Street in a restaurant.
Opera behind the scenes.
Tea and biscuits and the top six things in life –
Dundee FC, family, singing, pyjamas, the sun and
A woman seen shopping ina ‘onesy’,
the guise of a cat and a tail an aw.