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Elphinstone Kist   Folk-History, Place

A Traivellin Quine     by: Penny, Cecelia

I hid aye been a traivelin quine a ma life, until my man an me cam here tae bide in Stuartfield, mair nor twinty eers syne noo. Sattled at last efter a oor traivels! Abody caas this village "Crichie," the aul name for the placie, an it's fairly a bonnie village. Richt in the hert o Buchan.
Fan we lookit aroon, that first time, we liket the mills at baith eins o the village, we liket the muckle dam wi the swans an the dyeuks an the water hennies. We liket the wey a the burnies were makin for the Ugie River as fest as they could rin. We liket a the trees an the peace o the place.
So we bocht the "Dyesters," far the aul Woollen Mill eesed tae be. It hid bin stoppet workin an hid bin quaet for aroon ten eers. We chynged the name tae Quartalehouse Mill as we thocht the ither name wis a bit o a job tae spell, bit at wis a rale big mistak. Ye see naebody can spell this new een either!
A weel, this past eer his been rale excitin aroon the village, wi a oor millennium projecks. Tae let ye ken jist twa o the things we've deen, we noo hiv the Replica o the Aul Crichie Bell in the Square. An, as weel, the tapestry, that ivery organisation in the village designed and shewed eidently, is a sicht tae be seen. It hings ahin the stage in the hall an is wonnered at by abody.
I brocht oot a buik caed "Stuartfield Our Place," wi the help o jist aboot abody in Crichie, fae bairns tae grandparents. Some folk were near at han, ithers were noo bidin hine awa, bit we a got thegither. I interviewed mair nor forty folk aboot their memories an thochts, on athin tae dae wi this placie. As we newsed awa, I saw the wey I hid tae gang wi the buik an I winted, as weel, tae hing on tae a the gweed memories and tae preserve them. I collected a lot o aul photies an foun a kinds o ferlies aboot the village.
We hid mony a lauch I can tell ye, fan I listened tae stories o past characters an fit they did an said. Bit I hid some wee greets tae mysel as weel. Files, I coudna find the missin link in a bittie o research. Worst ava wis fan things went wrang, an the computer wint a gite wi me! Bit a'm fine pleased noo that I've fineeshed the buik. Twa eers it took ma, a lang time. Abody wis invited tae jine in, tae spik an write aboot Crichie in the past an present.
Noo, the ae body I didna spier at wis maesel. Weel, this is the moment. I am gan tae interview maesel. Dis at soon daft? Ah weel, there's nae feel like an aul feel!
1.Abody kens that yer name is Cecilia Penny tho yer kent as "Bunty." Fit are yer speeshal momories, lookin back, ma quine?
Weel, fan I look back I min on a the different roadies I've traivellt.
I think o the journey fae the ferm far I wis born an brocht up, tae Newmachar Skweel. I walket a the wey, mair nor twa miles there an twa miles hame, until I inherited a bike fae ma brither an sister. At journey wis for sieven eers, near aneuch.
Then fae twal tae siventeen eers aul, I biket tae the railway station an travaillt tae Ellon Academy on the Buchan Line. By that time I hid ma ain bike, bocht wi Mam's Christmas Turkey Money.
Noo, I dinna think I'll hae time tae tell ye aboot the buses in tae Aberdeen University an a the dramas o catchin the last bus hame tae the ferm. An I'll leave oot the stories aboot fan I emigrated and wint tae Canada and shuttled back an forth across the Atlantic. Na! Na! At wid take ower lang. Ye jist wint a bittie "shared experience" as they say noo. A ken fine! So we'll stick tae the earlier days o ma life.
2. Tell us somethin aboot yer early journey tae the skweel, fan ye were a little quinie.
At first, I hid ma big brither an sister tae waalk wi ma, tho they were aye walkin as fest as they could tae get awa fae ma an I'd be skirlin,
"Wait for me. Wait for me!"
At's foo I got the ither nickname "Squeaks." It wis rale coorse o them a the same tae leave ma ahin. Bit I got ma ain back tho. I wis a real clype! If they did onythin wrang ava, I tellt ma Mam a aboot it. They could ca ma " Clypie clypie clash pie" if they winted. Didna bother me!
3. Dae ye min on the war eers? Ony evacuees bidin wi ye?
O fine dae I min on the war! The skweel wis rale crowdet for a whilie wi a the evacuees tae teach as weel as oorselves. We needet a the extra room in the skweel an in the village hall as weel. I min foo cosy it wis in the back roomie in the hall wi a blazin fire tae snuggle up till.
We hid mair nor oor share o Glesca bairns at the ferm. There wis George an Sadie an their brither Robert in the fermhoose. Then there wis a woman wi a wee bairnie bidin in the Chaamer. Ye see she wis left ahin at the railway station fan abody hid collectet their evacuees, wi naebody hid room for her and her bairn. So my Mam said,
"You cam awa hame wi us my lassie! I'll see nae herm comes tae you an yer bairnie."
Oor Mam wis like at! She wis plump an lovin. Weel kent tae the tinkies for miles aroon for bein a saft mark! Onywey the mither an her bairn didna bide lang. She wisna eest tae country life. She said we were ower far fae the Chippers an the Picters. She wint back ae Glesgae efter a a couple o months.
Oor evacuees were like family, as we a set oot for skweel fae the ferm. If there wis a fecht they were on oor side an I can tell ye, they were fearsome fechters! We a hid oor gas mask boxies tae cairy at a times wi yer skweel bag. I discovert that ye could peel the black ootside layer aff the box cover, bit efter I got a lickin for daein at, I left the rest aleen. Min, I aye kent ma gas mask box hinging on the peg. Easy tae find, for it wis black an fite wi bald bits!
4. Did ye enjoy traivellin the road tae skweel?
Oh aye, fairly at! That's fan I got interested in a the birds an beasties an athin and learnt their weys. Later, fan I read an recited Charles Murray's poem, "It Wisna His Wyte," aboot the lad gan tae skweel an seein a the sichts o Nature, I kent fine jist fit he wis spikin aboot.
"Till a pairtick, sair frichened, ran trailing a wing
Fae her cheepers to tryst him awa."
I hid seen the trick o at bird for maasel an marvellet at it. Forbye, I learned a the wirds for the birds in oor Doric as weel as in English. We could switch fae "teuchat" an "peasie" tae lapwing. Fae "pairtrick" tae partridge. Fae "corbie" an " cra" tae crow. Mind you, I wis niver sure fit the English wis for "Yalla Yitie." Fegs, I'm still nae sure!
Every season hid its pleesures. In winter, we slid and skated and plodded through the snaw making herrin been pattrins wi wir feet in the sna. I liket makin "angel wings." Ye dinna ken foo tae dee at? Affa easy! We jist threw oorselves backwards into deepish sna wi oor arms straiket oot and fan ye stood up an lookit ahin ye hid a shape o an angel on the grun ahin ye.
I wis niver feart o ony livin cratur on my road tae the skweel, except for ae beastie. I wis a bittie feart o weasels or "futrets" as we caaed them. It wis the wey eince ye hid passed them on the road( jist a glimpse and reeshle in the dyke), ye lookedt back up the road and there they were, keekin at ye fae the dyke as bold as could be. Noo I used tae fussel ( still like a wee tweetle tae masel) an ma feyther telt ma that futrets made whistling souns as weel and maybe the craturs were interested in my fussling. Ill fashioned beasties they were onywey, watchin ma, wi their heids cocket tae ae side.
Noo some journeys were speecial. Files a sna storm blew up fan we were at skweel. A message cam through tae bide far we were, that my feyther wis comin tae collect a the bairns fae oor airt. An richt eneuch, Dad wid harness Jock the Clydesdale tae the sledge, wi the box cairt on tap. There wis strae inside making a cosy nestie for us. We clambert aboard and snuggled doon and aff Jock went hamewards. It wis an adventure. An I showed aff, jist a wee bittie, cos it wis my feyther's sledge!
4. Were ye iver in danger?
Oh aye! I wis nearly droonet in the lade fan I wis a toddler. Then I nearly lost my life, in the sna, roon aboot ten eers auld. It hid been blaain blin drift bit, it wisna that bad, so I set aff wi the ithers for hame. I seen foun oot that the sna wis getting worse, bit on I plodded, aleen for the last bit cos I hid farrer tae gyang than the lave. Noo I wis nearing hame an wis gan alang the "broon roadie" an makin for the ferm an hame. At's far I made a bad decision. I thocht I wid take a short cut through the park neist the road I wis on. It seemed tae hae less sna and be a bittie barer like. So I left the road tae tak tae the park. I hid forgotten aboot the dutch at the side o the road, noo swaled wi water. Doon I slid, abeen ma cuits in watter an wi the sna richt ower ma heid.
I did fit ony bairn wid dae, I yelled for ma Mam. Noo the miracle wis that she heard ma in the ferm kitchen, still a lang wey awa. Naebody else could hear my desperate roars.
" I can hear oor Bunty,"she said.
" Na! Na! I canna hear onything,"said my feyther.
Bit she traipsed oot tae the cornyaird an thocht she heard the faint skirls an yells. She saw naethin, bit kept gyan. Fan she jaloused far I wis, deep doon in the dutch,she comforted me as she shouted tae haud on an went for help an spades tae dig ma oot. It wis a near thing!
5. What happened when you left the Primary skweel?
I think my parents were nae sure fit tae dae wi ma. Bide at Newmachar or gang tae anither skweel tae study for my Highers? My brither wis at Gordon's College. My sister wis at the Central Academy. Fit tae dee for the best? Noo my Mam wis an aul friend o Dr. Gordon's wife at Ellon.
"Why don't you send her to Ellon?" said she. It wis as easy as that! Nae regrets! I loved ma time there.
I seen made new friens! At first there were bourachies aroun ma in the playground. I knew a lot more about sex than they did ( as a ferm quine) an I hid a really broad accent. I kent words they hid niver heard o like "scud" for the strap an "Yallachie" for yellowish an "k-nock" for the clock.
6 Tell us about the Buchan Line.
Yes, there wis the Buchan Line. A new experience. I traivellt fae the ferm( by bike for five eers ) tae the station tae catch the train for Ellon. I still remember the "Cries" o the stations as we drew into them. I eesed tae perform them as a party piece in a gruff voice:
"Nyouoomachaarr"( Newmachar), "Uttneee" (Udny), "Logeeerivv"( Logierieve), "Aessilmintt"(Esslemont, tho nae a the trains stoppet there) and "Aelinn"(Ellon)
The compartments were often big and withoot a corridor. I wis warned early on,
"Dinna ging inta them. There's nae escape fae funny mannies."
I took tent o this. We were a gweed friens, wi pals comin on at the various stations.
Trains were fine an dandy for daein homework and nae ower shoogly. Mony a day I'd be writin oot ma Pensum Latinum which hid tae be in ink and tidy, fitiver the latin wis like.
The train arrived at Ellon close on nine o'clock, wi nae time tae spare, and we hid tae rin a the wey tae skweel an ye missed a bittie o the first lesson. If it wis something religious, ye were O.K. If ye missed a bittie o Domestic Science, at wis mair serious. I files didna ken the recipe they were followin at first an ye werena alloud tae spik. Wis a bit o a challenge!
At nicht we hid tae get oot a bittie early so we could race up the road tae catch the trainie again. I've niver forgiven ae nesty teacher fa aye kept ma till the last meenite, as ma face got mair an mair anxious. I wis late eneuch by the time I cycled hame efter the train journey withoot missing the train. The win aye seemed tae be on my face comin, an again goin fae hame, as I chaved up an doon the hills. I've niver managed tae work at een oot!
Bit there aye wis the welcome o the bleezin coal fire, supper on the table and my ain tilley lamp through the house, for homework and piana practice. At wis efter my jobbies were a deen like hackin kindlers and takin in coal an helpin my Mam and Dad. We a worket hard at oor farm.
7. So ye enjoyed the Buchan Line journeys?
Oh aye! In the fifth eer we wint tae Peterhead for first aid. Fit a caul place! This meant gan to "Maaaad"(Maud) and chengin for "Peeeterheed"( Peterhead). Noo anither thing, we hid vandals on the trains fa chengd the lettering on the signs, by scrattin some letters oot. I niver saw onybody dae this and I wis far too goody goody tae dae sic a thing maesel. But I still get a wee lauch at the readin fit they did:
TO STOP THE RAIN (TRAIN) PULL THE CHAIN DOWNWARDS.
DANGEROUS PASSENGERS PUT OUT OF THE CARRIAGE WINDOWS ( IT IS DANGEROUS FOR PASSENGRS TO PUT THEIR HEADS OUT OF THE CARRIAGE WINDOWS).
TO LET (TOILET) AND LADDIES (LADIES)
Then sometimes a wee holie wis scraped oot between carriages so ye could hae a peek at fit they were daeing in the next carriage!
8. Fit happened in the Winter Fan The Roads Were Blocket Wi Sna?
There were a few snavy days fan I couldna win hame tae the ferm an hid tae bide in Ellon wi a frien. At's fan I enjoyed toon life, like seein the picters in the Victoria Hall ( at's far athin happened in Ellon). There wis a bittie in the papers nae lang syne aboot the Hall being a hunner eers aul this eer. Brocht back memories tae me. I min fan the picter files cam on upside doon, an we'd a gang through the pantomine o standin on oor hans, puttin oorselves upside doon, to see the picter the richt wey up!
Durin these times fan I wis bidin in Ellon, I did as little homework an studying as possible.
Instead I played a lot o whist wi the neebours and learned tae read folk's fortunes wi tay leaves in cups. I became well kent for this, and mair an mair folks cam in tae hae a han o whist an get Bunty(me) to read their cups. It wis dead easy. I can divulge the secret noo. Sugar at the bottom meant sweet words. A drappie o tea left wis a journey ower water. I didna hesitate tae push the tea leaves into mair interesting shapes wi ma pinkie. I kent maist folk weel eneuch tae mak it personal for for each person. The best trick wis jist tae tell them what fit they wintet tae hear!
I did think o turning professional and hingin oot a sign, bit the sna disappeared and it wis back tae the ferm journeys again.
Efter train journeys tae Ellon and bus trips to University ma journeys got langer and langer. A ower Europe and a fair bit o America. Aye, I wis a traivellin Quine for mony eers, bit I cam back to Scotland. It wis a gweed feelin, I can tell you, tae cross the Ythan River eince mair and return tae Buchan.
Back tae aul friens, back to the special sense o fun we hiv here, bit abeen a, back tae spikin the Doric!



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