Tuesday, January 03, 2006

My Life: F'it Like Loon?

Continuing the tales of holidays from my youth...

Fishing, Butteries and The Doric!

That would mean going up to Keith during Show time to stay with some of dad's side of the family and that was always good fun. We sometimes sayed with mum's Aunt Jean and Uncle Alec as well as they lived in Keith as well. We usually got into the show free as we usually had relations working on the gates or as stewards.

Keith is also where I caught the fishing bug as mum bought me my first rod and reel from the tackle shop in the town and I spent many an hour trying to catch brown trout on the Brandy Burn and River Isla. Caught quite a few as well! I've been fishing ever since although not so much these last few years. I'll need to get back into it again as it's a great thing to get out for the day and into the hills or onto a rocky shoreline.

It's is also where I discovered Butteries, which are the most delicious salty rolls on earth. Mind you they're not for the diet concious being almost 50% fat. You can get them in lots of supermarkets these days as Aberdeen Rolls but these are a pale imitation of the real thing, purchased from almost any small bakery in the north east. There's also a softer, flourier variation called Softies, more like baps, and these are nice too.

Most local folk up there speak Doric, which is a very old Scots dialect and when we'd first arrive, it'd take a day or two to get used to it well enough to hold a conversation. It's all "Fi't Like?, loons and quines" but Of course, dad had no bother and fell into it right away but mum and I took a bit longer. Then, you'd get the opposite effect when we got home, having to relearn Glaswegian again!


When my Aunt Jean bought a house in Blackburn in Lancashire, that was another potential holiday destination. It was somwhere near Cherry Tree Station but that's all I remember, other than it backed onto fields and you can see that from the photo to the right. That's us in the garden with me, mum, cousins and neighbours and Aunt Jean.

I spent a few summers down there and made friends with a few of the local kids. From there we could venture out for day trips to places like Blackpool and Southport. The photo on the left is mum, myself and two cousins, who's names elude for the moment, on Blackpool Beach. I must ask my mum to remind me who they are as I don't think I'veseen them since those photos were taken.

Camping Around

When I got a bit older, I joined the local Scout troop and that opened up opportunities to go camping under canvas.

We had a fair few camping holidays at Auchengillan, which is pretty close to Glasgow and handy for short breaks, and a couple of weeks on the banks of the River Tweed near Berwick-upon-Tweed. That was great fun as we were pitched right beside a serious salmon fishing run and we spent hours watching the men working with little boats and a net to catch the silvery salmon and sea trout.

With the camping craze well and truly in effect I got a small tent, one of those little white one man jobs. It was great for taking away fishing and I remember having to use it earnest one day when four of us decided to trek from Loch Lomond over to Garelochhead via Glen Fruin one crisp winter's day. We'd been dropped off by one of my friend's dads and off we went into the hills only to be hit by a blizzard a few hours in. We couldn't see two feet ahead and the snow was getting thicker on the ground so we put up my wee tent and all crammed into it, hoping to wait it out. We'd brought a wee gas stove with us as well so it was hot soup and sandwiches all round and no worries that we could be in any danger. Luckily, an hour or so later the snow stopped and we dug ourselves and the tent out and headed back towards civilization.

We've still got a tent, a much better one, and still occasionally go camping. However, I'm not as young as I used to be and a night lying on the ground plays murder with my back so I've got a wee folding camp bed thingy that seems to do the trick. It's either that or a couple of lilos inflated under the sleeping bags.

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