My brief encounter and delightful account with Doric and the North East was brief, and came about around 1960 when I was offered a job with Grampian TV which was due to open. I was interviewed in Glasgow by the Programme Controller, Jim Buchan who said, “I’m not sure what job we have for you, but I like your cut…”
One of the newly-hired newsreaders/continuity announcers quit before the station went to air, and an engineer recalled that I had done some work for STV, and suddenly, I was on camera and honoured to be strutting my stuff along with the delectable June Imray and friendly and supportive Doug Kynoch.
The most fluent Doric I heard was probably during the programme “Bothy Nichts,” and I can still hear Johnny Mairns popping his head up once in a while and saying, “Aye, whit a braw nicht we’re a’ haen the nicht!” And then in Huntly, I remember being very impressed when Jimmy Finlay the garage man and dulcimer player, said he’d seen Scots Skinner play the fiddle. “Was he that good Mr. Findlay?”
“Guid? Goad, aye… If a flech walked ower his music, he’d play it!
In 1966, after a four year stint as a member of production staff with BBC Television, I upped stakes and headed for America via Canada, but I never got to the the U.S. Thing is, the Americans said if I set foot there, after 6 months I’d be posted to Vietnam! Not wishing to face ‘friendly fire’ (or Vietnamese fire for that matter), I decided to stay in Canada. Happily, I am able to spend a fair bit of time every year in Scotland – I generally head for my croft an’ wee howf wi’ the steen wa’s on Skye.
It seems to me that when a Scot like myself moves to a new country and culture that three things can happen:-
One, he soon turns his back on his origins and adapts fully to the new situation.
Two, he hangs on tenaciously to the superficial things from the old country in a seeming effort to become more Scottish than his compatriots back home. In many foreign countries there are shops carrying all manner of Scottish things from biscuits to sweets etc., and they flourish.
Three, one can develop a genuine interest in things Scottish; that is, it’s history, its dialects and so forth. In short, one really begins to appreciate the many facets of Scotland. I hope I fall into the No. 3 slot!
James Sleigh –
Toronto, Canada 🇨🇦
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