A young Ruth Barron
Ruth Barron

My mother had an answer for everything, even if it didn't make sense, very depressing when we were little, we think a lot of her sayings came from her mother, a "country quine", as we say and some were a little uncouth, at least for the 1950s and some were and still are, in common usage and therefore not hers but the majority seem to quite unique. My brother, Colin and I have tried to remember them and here's what our memories trawled up, I hope you enjoy them.

When someone was in a hurry "Patience Peter filst the bride piddles"

When someone was asking if she'd finished a task she was doing "Feels an bairns shoodna see jobs half deen".

When we complained of being peckish "Hungry? Well lick the Bowls o' Bungry/Bungerie". Although we're not certain if it was Moles, Boles or Mungry, it certainly stopped you in your tracks.

When wanting a drink "Thirsty? Well kiss kiss Kirsty"

If we wanted our socks darning "A hole in yer sockie? Weel there's a hole in the Heilanman's wife".

If she was caught being sneaky, "Fit the een disna see, the hert disna grieve ower".

If she broke wind, which she often did and someone asked "Whose farted?" as quick as a flash she'd reply "A doggie ken's it's ain stink first".

If someone obviously needed to go to the lavatory, 'Let wind an' water be wie gaen.'

If she was told to shut up "Sae am I, must be the weather".

Often referring to a bad singer "A bonny singin bird, the cra".

She caught me with this one when I was boasting to everyone about the muscles in my arms, "That's a fine spurdie's (sparrow's) mush."

If something was very hard, undercooked, uneatable, it was 'Hard as Hinnersins' [Hendersons was a metal factory].

If something was really clean or polished, "It's shinin like sharn on the lea rig." Colin used to think it meant "like seagull shit on the rigging" but now we feel it's a sarcastic comment that, "it's as clean as (cow) shit on the grass".

If a child was crying/sobbing "Greetin again? Christ, yir aye greetin"!

If food had been dropped or looked dirty or not quite right, you were encouraged to eat it up with, "It'll stick a' the closer tae yir ribs".

If a singer she didn't like asked for any requests, "Kin ye sing Far Awa?"

If the smell of food was particularly good, "Ah, it gings roon yer hert like a hairy wurem".

As a way of dismissing what you said, or as just saying something was rubbish, she'd say, "Farts and fiddlesticks, slivers and sharp teeth"

A way of putting pompous people down was "He thinks he's the big cheese bit he's only the smell"

If someone was farting a lot he/she was "Farting like a kettle drum"

A way of welcome, "Mine yer feet's clean an wipe yer nose on the mat"

A word on departure "Here's yer hat fars yer hurry"

If asking her where to put something e.g. an ornament, she'd say "Up yer humph".

If being given something, or being pleased she'd say "Stop it I like it, keep it up I need the money."

Being Scots she made lots of soups, rightly so, she believed second day's soup was the best flavoured but never eat third day's soup because, "It wis Resurrection Soup".

If someone, including me, blocked her view of the television, we'd hear, "Wis yer faither a glazier, cause a cannae see through ye?"

If you left a door or a window open, you'd get, "Fits this, fresh air fortnight?" I always wondered about this strange phrase, till I discovered in an ANESFHS Journal, there was an actual Children's Fresh Air Fortnight in Aberdeen (there could have been others, elsewhere). It was started by an Alexander Webster, quite a radical in his day, after the measles epidemic of 1888-9. The inscription on his grave in Oldmeldrum Kirkyard reads, Alexander Webster, Unitarian Minister, Aberdeen through whose efforts the present church was built, founder of the Children's Fresh Air Fortnight 1889 b. 13 Jan. 1840-d.16 Aug. 1918. Quite a unique epitaph!

On explaining something or telling mum what you've just done, we'd be told "Al believe ye bit thoosans widnae".

When mum, or someone else, gave us a small coin, such as a farthing, she'd say "Dinnae spend it a in one shop".

If caught talking to herself she'd explain, "Am the only een a can git sense oot o".

A classic from mum: when she was in a bad mood with dad and he entered the room, she'd whisper to me "Here's the man fa thinks he's yer faither"

Dad, on the other hand, didn't seem to have many set sayings, apart from, when faced with a difficult decision on what to do with my brother or myself, he would solve the problem with, "As langs the bairn's happy".

After seeing my mum's saying, Joan a relation from the Thomson line, has sent some in.
Her mother used to say if anybody had very thin legs, "She's surely trocked legs wi Robin" I think meaning the bird.

If someone was bragging, "Fat stotts in Ireland they cannae wan here for their horns"

Referring to someone who has plenty and is always getting more apparently. "A fat sous erse is aye well creased".

If someone always had something wrong with them, or so they thought, " Och, ye're aye dein the death ye'll niver dee".

A child complaining about a sore finger or some such thing, "Ye'd rither weer sheen than sheets".

Finally, one of mum's favourite jokes. Twa al wifies wak past a close an the hum is afa, een tirns tae the ither, fit a smell, it mist be urine," "na" says the ither, in a huff, "it's nae mine een, mist be ure een."

If ye canna unerstan fit wir spikin aboot, try the Scottish Glossary.

Mum at the Fleet Air Arm, Donnibristle, Fife, WWII, second row from back, eighth from right.

FAM Donnibristle civilian employees WWII

View from family home in Union Street

St Nicholas Kirk, around 1908, the family lived from near where this Post Card was taken (above Woolies), for many years.

Ruth Barron in Rosemount

Mum with friends, working at a shop, possibly a bakers in Rosemount, in the 1920/30s