Let's do some Ms


The Patter : Get oan tae eh Ms

"Haw, Mammy, wher's mah soaks?" "I say, Mother! Where are my socks?"
"How wid ah know? Wher ye left thim ah s'ppose!" "How would I know? They are where you left them, I would presume!"
"Ah cannae fine thim." "I can not find them."
"Shout oan them, an thill probably stert walking towards ye!" "Give them a call! They will probably start walking towards you."

"Ah tell ye , mah maw's making the maist eh this Mother's Day lark. Cerd, breakfast in bed, flooers, choclits ..." "I will tell you. My mother is making the most of this Mother's Day situation. A card, breakfast in bed, flowers, chocolates ..."
"Hiv ye no geid hir a kiss yit? Ah'ts eh maist important bit!" "Have you not given her a kiss, yet? That's the most important bit!"

to go beserk
"Heh Mammy! The cat's takin a maddy." "Hey, mother! The cat is going crazy!"
"Whit's it daen?" "What is it doing?"
"It's runnin aboot mental." "It is running around in a demented state."
"It must've fun yir soaks!" "It must have found your socks!"

"Gaun furr the messages" "Going for the groceries" means collecting provisions from the shops/store/supermarket.

message bag
The messages urr kerried in a "message bag" "shopping bag" - clever, eh!

a small mischievous person, usually a child
"See that wee messin, eh jist rang mah doorbell an ran away!" "See that young rascal! He just rang my doorbell, then ran away!"

"Mibby ah'll go, an mibby ah'll no." "Perhaps I may go. Perhaps I might not."

refuse collection point behind a tenement
The "middens" "rubbish dumps" were an important part of tenement life. They consisted of brick outhouses containing a number of large dustbins for the the rubbish generated by the folk who lived there. Since coal fires were the order of the day, ash was the principle waste found in the "middens" "rubbish dump". If someone discarded ash that still contained hot embers, a "midden fire" "dump conflagration" would ensue, much to the delight of the local weans.
Situated in the "back coorts" "back yards" (back courts), the "middens" "rubbish dump" from a child's point of view, could be castles, caves, treasure troves, shooting galleries (stones and tin cans), hiding places (believe it or not) and basically, adventure playgrounds of infinite variety and imagination. This is where you were likely to find those much sought after items such as pram wheels, bits of wood, "jeely jaurs" "jam jars" , empty beer bottles, string, nails, old clothes, tyres, bed springs, tin cans, discarded toys, mattreses, cuddly toys... everything you could ever wish for.
In summer they, and the area around them, were dry and dusty. The 'pail an spades' that were originally intended for the annual trip to the sandy beach, would be brought into service to build ashcastles and dirtpies. In wet weather the same equipment was used for mudpies. The "middens" "rubbish dumps" were the hub of childhood life, whether parents chose to believe it or not.

Wanna mah favourite Billy Connolly lines:
"We used tae pit good stuff in the midden jist tae show wae wirr well aff!" "We used to throw out perfectly good stuff to the tip. Just to show that we were well off."

"midden" "mucky child" could also be used instead of "messin" "rascal".
"Ye know that wee midden that wis ringin mah doorbell?" "You know that young rascal who was ringing my doorbell?"
"Aye!" "Yes!"
"Well, noo eez throwing stanes at the windae!" "Well, now, he is throwing stones at the window!"

And just to make life even more interestin, a "midden" "rubbish dump" could also be known as a "glesca" "glasgow".


one who sifts through the middens lookin for... stuff

dustbin lorry

"Ah'm away doon eh shoaps tae get some messages." "I am away to the shops to purchase some groceries."
"Dont furget eh mulk!" "Don't forget to buy some milk!"

Has a variety of meanings.
minced meat. Of the famous "mince an tatties" "mince and potatoes" variety.
[Not to be confused with the fruit found in those wee so called 'mince pies' you find at christmas time. That has always confused me]
"Eez heid's full a mince since eh kim back fae that course!" "His head is full of nonsense since he came back from that course."
a bad job.
"Eez finished paperin the wa' bit ye want tae see it, it's mince!" "He has finished the wall-papering. You should see it. It is dreadful!"
"Eez as thick as mince!" "He is not particularly bright."
"Aht's sickened hurr mince!" "She is truly disappointed."

"Gie meh that back, it's mines!" "Give me that back! It is mine!"

stinkin, rotten, bad

absolutely drunk and incapable
Probably a play on the word 'miraculous!'
Just how that translates I don't know!
"Eh kim in last night absolutely murockulous. Eh wis aht drunk eh dooned hoff a boatle a Cally Lotion afore eh realised it wisnae mulk!" "He came home last night in an alcoholic stupor. He was so intoxicated, he downed half a bottle of Calamine lotion before he realised that it wasn't milk!"

miss yersell
to miss out on the benefits due to non-appearance at an event
"Aw Betty ye missed yersell at the party last night it wis a rerr terr!" "Oh Betty! Because you were not there, you missed all the good things at the party. It was a splendid affair!"

shortened version of "c'moan" "come on" , which in turn is a shortened version of "come oan" "come on" , which comes from the expression 'come on'.
"Aw Jimmy, urr ye cummin urr no?" "Oh James! Are you coming or are you not?"
"Aye ah'm urr." "Yes! I am."
"Well moan en urr wull miss eh train!" "Well, come on, then, or we will miss the train!"

yet another Glescaism for dirty/filthy.

Model Lodging House
"Ye want tae see eez hoose, it's lik a moadil." "You really want to see his house. It resembles a Model Lodging House."
"Eez a dirty messin, eh should be livin in a moadil!" "He is a dirty rascal. He should be living in a Model Lodging House!"
[The Victorian era saw the introduction in Glasgow of a large number of 'hostels' for the homeless, destitute and detritis of society. These are not to be confused with the Poorhouses of the time. As I write this, I realise that there is a lot to be said about Models, and a lot of it isn't funny. So I think I may leave it for another topic.]

Wan eh mah childhood favourites.
"Ah'm gaunae molacate you!" "I will pulverise you!"

"See ye aw eh morra." "I will see you tomorrow."

malkie or malky
to beat up someone, to set about them with a vengeance
"Ah better get some flooers furr mah maw furr murra's day urr she'll gie meh the malkie!" "I had better by my mother, some flowers for Mother's Day. If I fail, she will thoroughly chastise me!"
[There's a bit of history about this word. The story goes that, in the days of the Glasgow gangs ie. Teddy Boy era (c.'No Mean City' and all that). There was a gang leader/member called Malcom Fraser. Malcolm, shortened to Malky, and rhyming slang (Fraser/Razor) led to the term 'Malky' becoming synonymous with razor attacks. I really can't vouch for the authenticity of this but the expression "Tae gie sumbiddy the malky!" "To do something nasty to someone!" [in a humourous way] carries on to this day.]

"See that eejit doon therr?" "Do you see that idiot down there?"
"Whit, that yin comin oot the pub?" "Who? The one coming out of the pub?"
"Aye." "Yes."
"That yin staunin oan eez fingers as eh staggers alang the pavement?" "That one standing on his fingers, as he staggers along the pavement?"
"Aye." "Yes."
"The wan thit's tryin tae light eez fag fae the streetlamp?" "The one who is trying to light a cigarette from the street lamp?"
"Aye." "Yes."
"Whit aboot im?" "What about him?"
(With pride!) "That's mah man!" "That is my husband!"

"Yer troosers urr manky, wher huv ye bin?" "Your trousers are filthy! Where have you been?"

"Ah wiz in eh hoose aw bae masell. Oan mither's day of aw days!" "I was in the house, all by myself. On Mother's Day, of all days!"
"Ahm sorry aboot that faither bit ah took mammy oot furr a wee drink!" "I apologise for that father, but I took mother out for a glass of wine."

"Kinna hiv some merr eh that mince maw?" "May I have some more of that mince, mother?"
"Naw, it's aw done, nae merr left." "Alas, no! It is finished. There is none left."

"Ye know the wife an masell hiv been merrit noo furr 25 years." "You know that the wife and I have been married for 25 years."
"Hiv yeez?" "Have you, indeed."
"Aye!" "Yes" (sobbing deeply)
"Whit urr ye greetin furr?" "Then why are you crying?"
"Cos if ah'd murdered irr when we furst met ah wid hiv served mah sentence an been a free man bae this time!" "If I had murdered her when we first met, I would have served my sentence and been a free man by now!"

An oan that note ah'm beatin it before mah wife finds oot whit ah jist said an gies meh the malky!


This nixt bit wis written at Christmas!

Well? Wiz Santi Claus good tae yeez? Whit'd yiz get?

Aul Santi didnae let us doon ah kin tell ye. The wife didnae seem too happy though. Bit a hink ah know whit's wrang. Urr favritt colour's liliac an eh vaccuum cleaner she goat fae the geezer in red's yella! So ah know whit tae dae. Whin eh shoap opens amorra ah'll swapp it furr a purple wan. Who knows, if ah tell thim thir's sumhin wrang wae it, they micht knoak sumhin aff eh price - seasinal goodwill an aw aht!
Yeez aw know ah'm jist kiddin, Mrs Moonwatcher's delightit wae whit she goat. Efter 27 years ah merrage ah know eh score, know whit ah mean, innat! Hope aw yooz oot there are iz happy iz we urr here. An if yer no - then ah hope things get better furr ye iz eh day progresses.

Here's a wee tale tae keep ye gaun, ye might recognise eh characters. Cheers!


The Informant II

[Any resemblance to any person, living, dead or collecting benefit, is unintentional]

Scene: Dennistoun Registry Office in Glasgow's East End.
Time: A long time ago.
Protagonists: 'Reggie', the Registrar and 'Jimmy:', the Informant.

Reggie the Registrar, recently returned from a sabbatical at the Garngad Sanatorium for the Distressed, swallows another Askit Powder, washes it down with a slug of Bells and slips the bottle discretely into the drawer of his shiny mahogany desk. He's okay now. The nightmares have subsided, the shaking is less noticable and the eye twitch hasn't bothered him for weeks. He's on the mend, professionalism and confidence restored, thanks to the kindness of the nursing sisters and psychiatrists.
He takes a deep breath, picks up his fountain pen, carefully dips the nib into the inkwell and writes the date in flowing script on the paper in front of him. Ah! He hasn't lost his touch as he prepares for his first informant of the day. He's ready to face the challenges ahead, however demanding.

The door opens. He smiles a warm smile and in walks... Jimmy!

Jimmy: "Hullawrerr! It's yersell! 'member me? Wae've met afore, 'member? Whin mah pal died. Howzittgawn!"
[Reggie groans. There's a snapping sound as the pen nib breaks under the pressure.]
Jimmy: "Ah didnae hink ye'd stull bae here. Yerr stickin it well."
Reggie: "Hu..Hello Mr... Of course I remember you... how could I forget! What brings you here this time, somebody else die?"
[He cant help but notice Jimmy's rather erratic route to the chair and the smell of booze as he executes a heavy landing. It's only five past nine in the morning!]
Jimmy: "Nah! No iss time, ah've goat great news furr ye sir"
[He slouches forward on the table, knocking over the black ink pot, spilling it over the big white blotter.]
"Ah'm a faither!"
Reggie: [Forcing a smile whilst sliding the blotter off the desk into the wastebin.]
"Congratulations. Boy or girl?"
[The psychiatrists would be proud, he's holding up well.]
Jimmy: "Eh. Ah think it's a boay."
Reggie: "You think!?"
Jimmy: "Aye. Ye see, ah hivnae actually bin hame yit!"
[He holds up his finger to emphasise a point.]
"But, it's def'nitly wan... urr the ither!"
[He sits back, folds his arms and nods to himself, chuffed that he's managed to answer the first of what he knows from experience will be difficult questions.]
Reggie: "Don't you think you should go home first and see the little ba... baby?"
Jimmy: "Nae need son, eh wife sent wurd tae the pub wae aw eh details. She telt meh thit whin ah sobered up, tae get mah erse doon here an register eh burth!"
Reggie: "And when was this?"
Jimmy: "Last Tuesday!"
Reggie: "That was a week ago man!"
Jimmy: "Ah know son, bit ye know how eez hings urr! It took a while furr meh tae get tae the state ah soberness thit ye see meh in noo. Thir wiz a loat ah celebratin wae eh lads innat! They aw kept throwin drink intae meh an invitin meh tae perties innat."
Reggie: "But, excuse me for saying but I thought you said the last time we met that your wife had... passed on?"
Jimmy: "Oh aye! So she hiz, ah should hiv said. Eh auld yin popped urr cloags years ago. Bit ah met this lassie an wae deciditt tae get igither an live iz man an wife, ye know lik common law innat."
Reggie: "I see. And when did this come about?"
Jimmy: "Last Tuesday."
Reggie: "Eh! Sorry, I dont mean to be insensitive. Let me get this straight. You've been with this girl for..."
Jimmy: "Six months. Aye, six wunnerfull months son, an noo she's made meh a faither. Great wee lassie she is."
Reggie: "Six months you say. Em. Excuse me for asking this but... are you sure the baby is yours?"
Jimmy: "Oh aye son. Def'nitly. She telt meh ursell. It wiz even boarn wae eh name Jimmy!"
Reggie: "Oh well, that clinches it then doesn't it!"
[He senses the sarcasm creeping into his voice and struggles to fight it back. Taking a deep breath he digs a new pen and wee bottle of ink from the drawer. The bottle of Bells grins at him and he feels a slight twitch return to his eye. He slams the drawer shut and continues.]
"Let's get some details shall we?"
Jimmy: "Sure!" [he slurs] "Fire away son!"
Reggie: "Okay. Where was the child born?"
Jimmy: "Och aht's an easy wan - in eh bed! Ye know, the wan in the recess. Lik ah said ah wiz in eh pub it eh time."
Reggie: "Yes, I'm aware of that, but perhaps you might tell me the address?"
Jimmy: "Middletons Bar, at eh coarner a Garngad Road an Middleton St."
Reggie: "No, no, not the pub, your home address."
Jimmy: "Oh, right, ye mean wher ah stie innat?"
[Reggie nods]
Jimmy: "33 Rhymer Street. Wan up oan eh left. Oh aht mines meh, it's mah turn eh the sterrs eh night!"
Reggie: "Did the midwife leave you a... note?"
Jimmy: "Whit midwife? Thir wis nae midwife son. The wean wiz delivered bae the auld wummin nixt door. She's good it aht kinna hing. Goat a hoose full a cats. Delivirt em aw ersell, knows whit she's daein aht wummin."
Reggie: "How nice. And exactly what time was the child born?"
Jimmy: "Right, ah kin answer aht wan. It seems eh wean popped oot jist iz the coalman arrived wae the coal."
Reggie: "The coalman?"
Jimmy: "Three Thirty every Tuesday efternin, regular as cloackwork oor coalman, his name's Jimmy as well, that's whin eh wean wiz boarn!"
Reggie: "Are you sure about that?"
Jimmy: "Oh aye son, wiv hid the same coalman furr two years noo, never bin late. Aeways geez eh wife a wee bit extra so ah'm telt! The wean wiz boarn tae the soond eh the coal rumblin intae the bunker beside eh bed!"
Reggie: [Reggie starts getting the 'facts' down on paper. His flowing script entering the details for posterity.]
"And your name please?"
Jimmy: "Jimmy."
Reggie: [Experiencing a sudden attack of deja vu he treads carefully.]
"And what's your second name, Jimmy..."
[He meticuously enters the details.]
Reggie: "Do you realise that the child will be considered illegitimate unless the pair of you get married?"
Jimmy: "Eh? Whit?"
Reggie: "I'm afraid so. The child will unfortunately be recorded as a bastard... of the adulterine variety."
Jimmy: "You cawin mah wean a bastard pal?"
[Rising and steadying himself against the table before falling back again into the chair.]
Reggie: "I'm afraid that's the law sir. And anyway, I ask you again, are you sure the baby is yours?"
Jimmy: "Coarse ah'm sure. It must bae mine."
Reggie: [Drawing on all his reserves of diplomacy.]
"How can you be sure? When did the err...act...take place?"
Jimmy: "The whit?"
Reggie: "You know the...act of conceivement."
Jimmy: "Ye mean kissin innat?"
Reggie: "I think I mean a bit more than just kissing."
Jimmy: "Aw wait a wee minnit! Urr you referin tae... Let meh tell ye this boay, thir wiz nane ah aht. A come fae a good proddy faimly. Nane eh aht hanky panky wae me mate ah'll let ye know!"
Reggie: "Then how do you account for the birth of the child?"
Jimmy: "Well..." [Thinking hard.] "Mibbay it wiz wan eh they immasculate contraptions ye hear aboot in eh Bible?"
Reggie: [Puzzled for a moment.]
"You mean, Immaculate Conception?"
Jimmy: "Aye! Wan eh thaem!"
[Reggie goes to the window, parts the curtains, shades his eyes with his hand against the low morning sun, and looks up the length of Duke Street.]
Jimmy: "Whit urr ye daein son?"
Reggie: "Well, the last time something like this happened, three men on camels came from the east!"
Jimmy: "Zattright!? Ye mean... fae Carntyne?"

First posted on SPDG 4 April 2004

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Original postings on Scotlands People Discussion Group © 2003, 2004 Bob Wilson
Layout, editing and additional material © Dave Sloan 2005, 2012, 2016
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