Category Archives: A wee countdown

A wee countdown: 8

Today’s taste of Meggie-speak comes from the kitchen—a rare sweet treat in Scotland at the turn of the twentieth century.

DSCN3064jeely pieces

meaning

bread and jam

From Elemental:

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.

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And if you don’t know what it means to have a jamaica or be plucked like a chuckney, click on the links!

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A wee countdown: 9

Nine days to go until the release of Elemental, and here’s today’s little taste of Meggie Tulloch’s voice. An easy one!

iStock_000000908146XSmall copychuckney

meaning

chicken

From Elemental:

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

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A wee countdown: 10

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.)

DSCN3004But 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

meaning

to shock (someone); have a seizure

From Elemental:

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.

AngerHave a great day, and I hope you get by—with confidence. And without anyone giving you a jamaica!

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