… and to complete the countdown, here’s a word that’s unlikely to be heard in ‘real’ conversation today. The archival photograph is courtesy of my friends at the Buckie and District Fishing Heritage Centre in Scotland.
large tubs or troughs containing herring ready for gutting
There was also the screaming of hundreds of gulls circling above the farlins, and calls of Fill up! and Over here!
Elemental will be available tomorrow from good bookshops, online booksellers and direct from UWA Publishing. Thanks for checking in!
Nearly there! Today’s quote comes from the fraught world of sibling relationships—a case of foot-in-mouth. The mouth in question belongs to Meggie’s brother.
Don’t ye be foolish, he said, and he seemed to be casting about for some reassuring word. Ye’re no bonnie clip, that’s true, but ye’re a hardworking quine an’ there’s lads who don’t take poorly to a fat face.
If you’ve missed these, just click on the links: having a jamaica, chuckney, jeely pieces, laavie, quine, tammie norie, peenie and bubblyjock.
Would you know a bubblyjock if you met one?
I sidle in and look from one to the next. Granda, his face as scarlet as the comb on a bubblyjock. Ma, upset but tight-faced. Unty Jinna by the window, keeping a wary watch for anyone passing by.
Have you also mastered having a jamaica, chuckney, jeely pieces, laavie, quine, tammie norie, and peenie?
Today’s snippet from Meggie might come in useful if you’ve had a hard night—or maybe if you’ve eaten too much chocolate (um, not that anyone round here would do that…).
Wasn’t that I didn’t like my cousins—oh, but that Liza! If she wasn’t whining she was prattling fit to give us all a pain in the peenie.
To catch up on other useful additions to your vocabulary, click on have a jamaica, chuckney, jeely pieces, laavie, quine, and tammie norie.
Today’s little snippet comes from Lerwick, in the Shetlands.
puffin (local term)
The cliff face is home to hundreds of puffins, hunkering down among the small mauve flowers—I don’t know their name—that cluster over rocks, sheltering burrows. Ye canna look at a tammie norie without smiling, Magnus Tulloch says, and I think: Aye, they are the strangest little things, birds that look as though they’ve been put together on the Lord’s day off by someone with a sense of humour—a hodgepodge thrown together with the bits left over from other birds, some I’ve only ever seen in The Class Book of the Natural World at school. Fat, stumpy bodies in black and white penguin clothes. The brightly tropic-coloured beaks of toucans. Enormous orange feet, webbed like a duck’s, splaying all ungainly as they come in to land on graceful eagle wings. Who could dream up anything as—what’s the word? Anything as preposterous as a puffin?
Click on the links to catch up with the meaning of having a jamaica, chuckney, jeely pieces, laavie and quine.
Only six days to go until Elemental is in stores, and here’s today’s little language lesson.
girl, young woman; ‘quinie’ is an affectionate form of the word
All the way from India, Kitta had told me in a hush of awe. All the quines wear silk in India. Their dresses an’ shawls, the scarves on their heads, even their drawers! And we looked at each other, trying to imagine such extravagance, such indulgence, and thinking what a scandalous, perfect place it must be, this place called India.
For more quick language lessons, click on the links for have a jamaica, chuckney, jeely pieces and laavie.
An especially wee countdown, if you’ll pardon the pun. It’s down to basics for Meggie’s (easy) word of the day!
But even if there had been a break allowed for the laavie, I would have held out still. You’d to be desperate to use the rough shelter with its panless seat open to the sea and in full view of returning boats. If your belly muscles weren’t strong when you arrived at Gremista, they were when you left.
Click on the links to learn about having a jamaica, being plucked like a chuckney, and jeely pieces.
Today’s taste of Meggie-speak comes from the kitchen—a rare sweet treat in Scotland at the turn of the twentieth century.
bread and jam
When we reach the top of the world, we sit on the grass with our jeely pieces. Clementina throws a few crumbs to a gull, and soon there are four of them waiting for the next. Rabbits dart about among the marigolds.
And if you don’t know what it means to have a jamaica or be plucked like a chuckney, click on the links!
Nine days to go until the release of Elemental, and here’s today’s little taste of Meggie Tulloch’s voice. An easy one!
They had this way about them, those wily women, and I wasn’t their match, not even near to it. How Kitta would laugh and call me plucked like a chuckney.
If you missed yesterday’s have a jamaica, just click here
There are some great language guides around for travellers. I have one called Get By in French: All the French You Need to Get By with Confidence, which has helped me, well, get by (not necessarily with confidence) many times in cafes and shops in France when my high-school vocabulary deserted me. (It didn’t help last November when I fronted up to a police station in Paris to ask suspicious-sounding questions for research, but that’s a story for another day.) I’ve also got two little Lonely Planet guides, Small Talk Western Europe and Small Talk Eastern Europe, and I couldn’t have done without the latter when I had to find vegetarian alternatives in Prague. (Tip: There aren’t many vegetarian alternatives in Prague.)
But I also have guides that I’ve used for the kind of imaginative travelling writers do—the kind that helped me create the voice of Meggie Tulloch in my forthcoming novel, Elemental, and to keep in my head the words, accents and cadences I heard in the north-east of Scotland and the Shetland Islands.
Elemental will be available on 1 May—10 days and yes, I’m counting! For each of those days I’m going to post a little taste of Meggie’s idiosyncratic vocabulary, with its Scots, Doric and Shetland influences. Here’s the first.
to give (someone) a jamaica; have a jamaica
to shock (someone); have a seizure
He looked grave, and I thought my boldness not to his liking, just as it would be scandalous to Granda Jeemsie and would give Da a jamaica.
Have a great day, and I hope you get by—with confidence. And without anyone giving you a jamaica!