step i wi' my cromak tae the isles

Monday 15 September 2014

C'moan ya ba'as.  See they feart folk wi' bag's ay plooms? 
Oo'll batter th' soor bastard English or oo'll git a beamer.*

By Friday morning, it will all be over.  I've been listening to this with equal joy and melancholy. Its utterly incomprehensible lyrics perfectly reflect the tangle in my heart.

I was born in Edinburgh and went back to Scotland most summers as I was growing up.  My year there at school was by far the happiest of my silly education and I still see the friends I made there.

I see most of them because they, too, no longer live in Scotland.

It's rather interesting that my extensive weeks of questioning have revealed two distinct camps:

1. Expat Scots who say 'No'
They feel that leaving the union would be hasty, imprudent, bad-mannered and economic suicide.

2. English Folk who live in Scotland and say 'YES! YES! YES!'
They are full of wind and whisky and feel it's time the Scots had charge of their own affairs. It is beyond annoying to the expat Scots that this camp get a vote and the first do not.

There are also some Scots who live in Scotland who have always referred to me as 'that forrin lassie' and who hate the English with a breathtaking vociferousness that Camp 2 must surely be aware of.  They have not responded to my questions, but are posting lots of misty photos of heather-coated wilderness and themselves skirling about in tartan.

I am blaming my advancing years. but the impending vote has reduced me to hot-eyed lumpy throatedness.  Today, I bought a huge expensive armful of grey-blue thistles that reflect my current spiky fragile mood of fierce nostalgia.

I want us to stay together.  Nobody north of the border gives a stuff what I think.

*Look, there are our neighbours.  Let us give chase, for they have fruit.  Our honour is at stake.


  1. I cannot imagine a Great Britain without Scotland. It is entirely incomprehensible this whole movement towards separation at a time when it is increasingly clear what this effing world needs is not separateness but interconnectedness.

  2. Beautifully put. And especially in these isles; I can't believe this has come so fast on the heels of the Olympics, Jubilee, Commonwealth Games and the gradual shy resurgence of British national pride.

    I made fierce, peppery Scotch broth this afternoon. It could have done with more thyme. Oh the culinary irony...

  3. I didn't know you were born in Scotland but it makes me all that much prouder of my family's Scottish origins.

  4. You need to complete this:

    I am enjoying the potentially last days of this 300+ years of marriage. We had a meeting with our estate agent this afternoon, and his prognosis if it's "Yes" is that there will be a recession, and it would be best to sell ASAP. If it's "No", them wait until the Spring. I do not disagree. He transferred a substantial amount of cash from a Scottish bank to an English bank on the basis of a bank run on Friday, but I think that is unnecessary. The pound will dive globally if it's "Yes". But whatever the outcome the country will be deeply divided in the aftermath, which is sad.

    In answer to your earlier question - Loretto, not Fettes. Et vous?

  5. I dread the aftermath whatever the vote.

    My husband was listening to Five Live on his way home and said they are making up for the perceived BBC bias by broadcasting live from a Glasgow pub with a bunch of pissed-up tartan warriors slagging off the English and Cameron and itching to break away.

    I wonder what they're saying in the tea room in Jenners.

    Sorry, Loretto, you did say. My year was a state in the Borders.

    Sound advice from your Agent. Hope the clear out not too painful.

    1. Clear out much better today after the auctioneer (Lyon & Turnbull, of Broughton Place), and estate agent made some impossible tasks look more surmountable. I'm having a glass (or two of the bubbles) to calm my (much more fractured nerves) from this whole experience. In this particular case "better together" would have been better on our own, methinks! Still, my priority is to get rid of so much, and have less interest in keeping "stuff" which I neither need or want.

  6. Phew it was touch and go.... but I'm seriously glad we're still together.
    Like others have said before me, I just couldn't envisage us no longer being the United Kingdom. Surely the more there are of us 'together' has to be a better outcome in the end.



Please leave a comment if you can be remotely bothered - anything you have to say is valuable and I absolutely love hearing from you all. Elizabeth